Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Am I breastfeeding a preschooler?

I might be. I guess technically I am. Is that weird?

For the majority of my young life I was fairly indifferent to children. I had no idea whether or not I wanted to have them let alone consider breastfeeding one. When my husband and I finally succeeded in creating one, I read a bit about breastfeeding but it seemed SO weird to me. What little experience I had with seeing others do it did little to warm me to the idea of it. When seeing a relative breastfeed well into preschool age, I absolutely belonged to the "If they're old enough to ask for it they're too old to do it" school of thought. A friend and I cracked many a joke about her neighbor that breastfed her older toddler.

But here I am putting breastmilk into the sippy cup of my almost 4 year old. How did we get here? With zero education and little support in the hospital, Athena and I never figured out how to latch her on. I gave up almost immediately and started pumping her milk. We easily breezed through the first year. Then Athena did not tolerate milk well early in her toddler years, so I kept pumping for her. Pumping became such second nature, all of a sudden she's 2 1/2 and we're still going strong. Then along came Zofia. With a new baby my supply went up like crazy again and Athena kept drinking the leftovers because she liked feeling like a baby again and she likes my milk. Kellymom says:
Although there has been little research done on children who breastfeed beyond the age of two, the available information indicates that breastfeeding continues to be a valuable source of nutrition and disease protection for as long as breastfeeding continues.
This past week the ladies had a stomach bug. Athena couldn't even take a sip of water without if rocketing back up, however when I gave her 3oz of breasmilk it all stayed down. For the duration of the illness I was able to keep my ladies hydrated and fed using my magic milks. Right then I was so happy that I had continued letting Athena have breastmilk.

I've been asked if I plan on putting breastmilk in Athena's lunchbox when she goes to school. Well, if that's what she wants, I just might. I don't know how long we're going to continue on like this, but as of right now, every time she goes and gets my pump out of the cupboard, hands it to me and says "Mom, will you please pump me some booby juice?" I'm going to do it.