Weaning - The posts, blogs and questions on message boards regarding weaning have seemed profuse to me lately. "When is the right time?" "What do you substitute with?" "How do you cut out nursing sessions?" "What if they won't give up the bottle?" "What do you do if you end up with engorgement or a clogged duct, etc?" I'm glad that I've made the decision to allow W to self-wean (which he has started and is doing splendidly with, thank you) I don't have to worry about which nursing session to drop, W will choose. I don't have to worry about substituting something for nature's perfect food, W won't drop all nursing sessions until he is receiving adequate nutrition from other sources. Have you ever had a craving for a ham sandwich? Probably because your body needs/craves protein. Babies work the same way. If W needs milk, he will have a craving for it. I have already seen times when he wants adult food specifically or wants just to nurse.
Illness - No one wants to see their child sick. I've seen W ill more times than I would like. But I always have the ability to sooth him. Warm liquids for a sore throat? Check! Electrolytes and high water, low sugar content for dehydration? Check! Snuggle session with Momma to make it all better? Check! Release of endorphins to help you sleep? Check! (Let me just say that none of the typical drinks: sprite, Gatorade, pedialyte, juice meet all of the aforementioned criteria). Even when W is 18 months, 24 months, etc. I will still have the ability to meet his needs when he is sick.
Weight Gain - Baby is a year old, so it's time to make the switch from bottle to cup, right? What if your child isn't good at drinking from the cup and winds up like W most days with more water on his shirt and the floor than in his mouth? What a waste to have milk or formula all over the floor and the fear that your child will come in 'underweight' at their next well-visit. Not to mention the possible dehydration that could follow. And what about that 'need to suck' that babies are instinctively born with and sometimes take more than a year to outgrow? Since we won't be weaning from the breast W will still get his fix instead of relying more and more on the pacifier. W will start taking EBM from a sippy this summer but as he has mastered the art of reverse cycling I won't be surprised if the mid-day milk is the first to be dropped and subbed for water or natural juice.
I feel so blessed that I had the education, support and opportunity to breastfeed my son. And we will not be 'nearly done' with his first birthday rapidly approaching. We will be 1 year and counting; I will continue to provide him with nutrition and support as long as he requires it.