Monday, May 14, 2012

When are you going to wean?

The simple answer...I'm not.

I'm getting asked this more and more now that the girls are approaching the one year mark. I see no reason to wean. With this being said, I will not be breastfeeding 5-year olds.

I really struggled with breastfeeding after the girls were born. I was overwhelmed and discouraged. If you're new to my blog, you can read about some of my struggles here.

Somehow I just knew that Teagan, Quinn and I would overcome our challenges and breastfeeding would work for us. Or, it may have been my intense desire to prove several people wrong who told me that most people can't breastfeed twins. Tell me that and I become more determined than ever.

I appreciate breastfeeding struggles even more after what we went through. I've talked to lots of new twin moms about it. I usually feel like I've gone back in time, talking to the 'me of last June'. I can see the frustration in their eyes. I try to encourage them with my story and tell them to give it just a little bit longer. I can also appreciate why mothers choose to stop breastfeeding. It is the most difficult thing I've ever done. It takes up so much of your time and doesn't allow you to be away from your baby for more than a few hours. If you are away from baby, you are most likely carting a pump around.

As I've continued to breastfeed the girls, I've read more and more about the amazing benefits of breast milk. It really is liquid gold, as we called it in the early days.

Here are just a few of the benefits of breast milk:
  • It is the baby's immune system before they have one -- it contains secretory IgA, an immunoglobulin, which helps fight viruses and bacteria that baby is exposed to. 
  • It is designed specifically for your baby(ies) - it contains the perfect balance of water, carbohydrates, protein, fat etc. and is all your baby needs for the first six months or more. 
  • When a baby breastfeeds, whatever he or she is exposed to gets absorbed into mom's skin from baby's saliva. Mom's body then makes antibodies which get passed through breast milk to protect the baby.
  • Numerous studies show that breastfeeding decreases a baby's likelihood of developing asthma, allergies, ear infections, diabetes and obesity later in life. 
  • It can be applied to baby's skin to heal eczema and diaper rash. Also, when Quinn had a blocked tear duct at 1-week old, we were told to put a few drops of breast milk in her eye. It cleared up in no time. 
  • Babies have fewer incidences of diarrhea and constipation because breast milk is so easily digested. 
  • It's free! (can't argue with that one!)
  • Selfishly, breastfeeding has helped get me back to my pre-baby weight (and now I'm actually weighing less).
This list could go on for ages. While breastfeeding has been a lot of work on my part over the last 11 months, it works for us. I can't help but smile when I sign "milk" at the girls and they come crawling over to me with big smiles on their faces. 

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