My baby turned a year old on the first of January. Do you know what that means? My sweet little boy is growing up WAY too fast! I can’t bear the thought of him getting any bigger. 🙁 But also, now that he is one, I actually succeeded in accomplishing my biggest breastfeeding goal!!
Today marks the 363rd day of breastfeeding my son. No formula, very minimal bottle feeding and… one truly happy baby! He is SO fortunate because I was regrettably unable to nurse my first baby this long. I am blessed by this accomplishment because I feel that our extra snuggling and bonding time is that much greater because of it.
I think our next breastfeeding goal will be to start nighttime weaning…
(HA, ain’t that a joke?!)
I honestly don’t mind nighttime feedings or I have at least adjusted to it nicely. STILL, in the wee hours of each night, he lets out a cry and I turn into zombie mom and somehow end up in the nursery with him on my lap. Some nights, I hardly remember even getting up! I know I fall asleep occasionally. But most nights, I do remember. I fall in love with his precious little face over and over again as he snuggles up against my chest. I wrap him up tightly and it is our special time together. No interruptions from big sister, daddy, or phone calls. No television or songs playing in the background. It is our one peaceful moment together, which is hard to find at any other time of day.
If you were to ask me how I liked nighttime feedings during the first two months, I would have felt entirely different! My body would have filled with rage the instant anyone told me how their baby was sleeping through the night. Sleep deprivation takes A LOT of time to get accustomed to and even then, it is NOT enjoyable. If I were making bottles in the middle of the night, it would have been that much worse. (Been there, done that!) Luckily, I was able to transition into a smooth routine that made nighttime feedings more of a blessing than a hardship.
Now that my son is a year old, I like the idea of nighttime weaning but I don’t have any real intentions of trying to push it. My main goal is to provide him with three nutritious and filling meals with snacks in between in hopes he won’t be hungry in the middle of the night. He actually surprised me with a wonderful present on Christmas by sleeping all through the night but that’s about it so far.
One and Done?
It is recommended that babies should receive the majority of nutrients from breastmilk for the first year of life. Our pediatrician even told us that babies are just practicing eating and exploring food before age one. After that, solid food becomes much more important for maintaining health and nutrition.
So, how long should we breastfeed our babies?
According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire. The World Health Organization recommends continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.
With those recommendations, I will officially set my new breastfeeding goal to two years.
I already dread the intimidation of other’s differing opinions on this subject. I know there are people who strongly believe babies should be breastfed until one (or maybe less?) and be done. But that does not hold true for many mothers around the world. I am okay with other people’s opinions on this as long as they equally respect mine. My baby is already one and I can’t even begin to imagine him NOT wanting to nurse. He is such a little nestler! If he falls or gets hurt, he wants to nurse for comfort. If it’s naptime or bedtime, he wants to be nursed to sleep. And of course, he wants his nighttime feedings. Since, I’m not ready to stop breastfeeding either, I am okay with that. If a time comes that he no longer wants to be nursed, then we will wean at that natural time frame.