*Check out my guest post from February on tandem nursing over at Granolaish!*
Starting off, I wanted to share a little bit of my breastfeeding history. Hallie is the fourth baby I've nursed. My first two children were nursed with supplement due to inexperience and pregnancy lowering my milk supply. (I was pregnant with my third baby when my second was just a few months old.) My third child exclusively breastfed with supplemental solids when he was ready. He nursed for 3 1/2 years, weaning in March. We tandem nursed for 13 months. Hallie is now 14 months old and still nursing.
I think part of the reason I put off this post is that I was sort of in denial that Avery was weaning. He was the first baby I nursed exclusively. I fought through the early weeks of sore, bleeding nipples and toe curling pain. When we hit a year, I was just enthralled. I absolutely never thought we'd end up going until he was 3 1/2 years old. I sort of figured he'd wean by his second birthday, but then we just kept going.
After Hallie was born, I knew we'd be tandem nursing. I didn't really put a time limit on it. I just figured with the way things were going, Avery would be done between 3 and 3 1/2 years old. I would be fibbing if I didn't say I was ultimately relieved that he did wean. While tandem nursing has many benefits, I was definitely ready for a break. Since Cheyenne and Avery are a year apart, I have been lactating since August 2009!
Hallie and I have had a pretty easy breastfeeding relationship for the most part. The hardest part has been nursing through a class 4 lip tie. In the beginning, she had a very shallow latch which led to frequent clogged ducts. Ultimately, we've had about four bouts of mastitis. The last I had bilateral mastitis (which is rare, according to my lactation consultant!) This occurred just over a month ago and was not fun whatsoever.
Looking past the hard parts, breastfeeding has been so very rewarding for me as a mother. I'm extremely bonded to my children. They are all extremely healthy, with very strong immune systems. Being a mom who has used formula in the past, I do not miss the lugging around of bottles and extra water in order to mix the formula in the go.
As for the future, I'll nurse Hallie for as long as she wants. We are currently planning on having one more child, so I do not know if she'll wean before the next pregnancy or not. We shall see.
If you're nursing, or planning on nursing, working through all the the "booby traps" and hard times is so worth it. Before you know it, you'll be hitting those 6 week, 6 month, and 1 year milestones. You are giving your child a gift that formula cannot replicate.
Are you a breastfeeding mother? Do you have any questions or would you like to see me do a specific post on breastfeeding? Please leave your questions in the comments!