• Breastfeeding Before and After

    Welcome to the January 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: The More Things Stay the Same

    This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about the continuity and constancy in their lives. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

    ***

    As I prepared to stop breastfeeding with Dylan I was worried about how our relationship would change.

    Would I still be able to give him the closeness and intimacy he needs?

    Would we still snuggle as much?

    Would I be as in tune with his needs and rhythms?

    Would he suddenly stop being my little baby and turn overnight into a big kid who didn’t need me anymore?

    Would he hop in the car and drive off to his first apartment on his own?

    Wait, no. Not that last one.

    But I did wonder how things were going to change. There’s no denying that breastfeeding creates a certain kind of togetherness that is unlike any other. We nursed continually for two and half years, still going strong until the very end.

    We were very physically close, with lots of snuggling, cuddling, tickling, and back rubs. Physical closeness with him is very important to me, especially since Dylan is so big and I can’t carry him as much as I want to or as much as he wants to be carried.

    It turns out that since stopping breastfeeding our relationship is… exactly the same.

    We are still super touchy with one another.

    I am just as keyed in to when he’s tired, when he’s hungry, and when he needs comfort.

    He is still my sweet little boy who wants to be near me always.

    Breastfeeding is so important to early parenting. Ending breastfeeding is a big transition, and it makes sense to wonder how it will go.

    How snuggly is this baby?!

    But I also think that breastfeeding can be built up too much, making it harder to see that the close mama-baby relationship is built on many, many actions and many, many moments.

    Breastfeeding was a wonderful shared activity for me and Dylan for over two years.

    It was part of the foundation of our positive relationship, but our relationship is its own thing that transcends any particular activity, even one as important as breastfeeding.

    Breastfeeding was awesome, and now it’s over.

    Our wonderful relationship has stayed the same.

    ***

    Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

    Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

    (This list will be updated by afternoon January 14 with all the carnival links.)

    • Always an Artist — Some kids take longer than others to come into themselves, so you have to stick with them, as a parent, long after everyone else has given up, writes Douglas at Friendly Encounters.
    • Not Losing Yourself as a First Time Mom — Katie at All Natural Katie continues to stay true to herself after becoming a new mom.
    • Using Continuity to Help Change {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs from A New Day talks about how she is using continuity in certain areas of her life to help promote change and growth in others.
    • Staying the Same : Security — Life changes all the time with growing children but Mother Goutte realised that there are other ways to ‘stay the same’ and feel secure, maybe a bit too much so!
    • Harmony is What I’m AfterTribal Mama gushes about how constant change is really staying the same and staying the same brings powerful change.
    • A Primal Need For Order and Predictability – And How I Let That Go — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she overcame her primal need for order and predictability once her awareness shifted, opening her eyes to the impact this had on her young daughter. Take a short journey with Jennifer and she bares her soul, exposes her weaknesses and celebrates her new outlook and approach to living life, even in the face of total chaos.
    • Breastfeeding Before and After — Breastfeeding has come and gone, but Issa Waters at LoveLiveGrow finds that her relationship with her son is still just the same and just as good.
    • A Real Job — Back in high school That Mama Gretchen had a simple, but worthwhile career aspiration and today she is living her dream … is it what you think?
    • Comfortingsustainablemum never thought she would want things always being the same, but she explains why it is exactly what her family wants and needs.
    • ‘The Other Mums’ and The Great IllusionMarija Smits reflects on the ‘great big magic show of life’ and wonders if it will continue to remain a constant in our lives.
    • Unschooling: Learning doesn’t change when a child turns four — Charlotte at Winegums & Watermelons talks about the pressure of home education when everyone else’s children are starting school.
    • Finding Priorities in Changing Environments — Moving from Maine to a rural Alaskan island for her husband’s military service, Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work found that keeping consistent with her priorities in changing environments can take some work, but is vital to continuous health and happiness.
    • Keeping it “Normal” — Kellie at Our Mindful Life has moved several times in the last two years, while doing her best to keep things stable for her kids.
    • The Evolution Of Our Homeschool Journey — Angela at Earth Mama’s World reflects on her homeschooling journey. Homeschooling is a constant in the life of her family but the way in which they learn has been an evolution.
    • Sneaking in Snuggles: Using Nurturing Touch with Older Children — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama’s son was a toddler and preschooler, he was the most loving, affectionate kiddo ever. But during the course of his 5th year, he drastically reduced how often he showed affection. Dionna shares how she is mindfully nurturing moments of affection with her son.
    • Steady State — Zoie at TouchstoneZ writes a letter to her partner about his constancy through the rough sailing of parenting.
    • A Love You Can Depend On — Over at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, Jennifer has a sweet little poem reminding us where unconditional love really lies, so it can remain a constant for us and our children.
    • Same S#!*, Different Day — Struggling against the medical current can certainly get exhausting, especially as the hunt for answers drags on like it has for Jorje of Momma Jorje.
    • New Year, Still Me — Mommy Bee at Little Green Giraffe writes about how a year of change helped her rediscover something inside herself that had been the same all along.
    • One Little Word for 2014 — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs has decided to focus on making things this year, which is what she is loves, as long as she doesn’t kill herself in the process.
    • The Beauty of Using Montessori Principles of Freedom and Consistency — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the continuity of her teaching, parenting, and grandparenting philosophy using a combination of freedom and consistency.
    • My Husband’s MiniCrunchy Con Mom shares which of her sons looks more like her husband’s baby pictures — and the answer might surprise you!
    • Growth Happens When You Aren’t Looking — Lori at TEACH through Love is treasuring these fleeting moments of her daughter’s early adolescence by embracing the NOW.
    • A New Reality Now – Poem — As Luschka from Diary of a First Child struggles to come to terms with the loss of her mother, she shares a simple poem, at a loss for more words to say.
    • Making a family bedroom — Lauren at Hobo Mama has decided to be intentional about her family’s default cosleeping arrangements and find a way to keep everyone comfortable.
    • New Year, Same Constants — Ana at Panda & Ananaso takes a look at some of the things that will stay the same this year as a myriad of other changes come.
    • I Support You: Breastfeeding and Society — Despite how many strides we’ve taken to promote “breast is best,” Amy at Natural Parents Network talks about how far we still have to go to normalize breastfeeding in our society.

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9 Responsesso far.

  1. I was very worried about weaning, but it’s true — Mikko and I still have that close and snuggly relationship, even as it’s evolving. It’s reassured me that things can change without getting worse or even that much different, if there’s that foundation of love and responsiveness.

    Love that photo!

  2. Meegs says:

    I definitely had some of the same worries when Gwen weaned, but happily had the same takeaway. The beautiful foundation of closeness and love that we’d built didn’t change. :-)

  3. Beautiful post! And so true. While I mourned the passing of my breastfeeding relationship with Kieran, we have simply found other ways to be close. Breastfeeding did not define us – it was simply one piece of our larger relationship.

  4. Gretchen says:

    I had so many of the same worries when Jemma weaned and you’re so right, that mama child closeness and love doesn’t change one bit with the ending of breastfeeding.

  5. Jaye Anne says:

    Wow this makes me so hopeful! My three-and-a-half-year-old is still nursing and I am worried about how she will respond. Hopefully my experience is very similar to yours :-)

  6. I agree with you comment about too much of a big deal made about weaning from breastfeeding and how it could change the relationship. I snuggle, hug, and kiss my baby boy all the time. Breastfeeding is just one aspect of our close physical relationship.

  7. Charlotte says:

    Lovely post, and I think it is something that all of us worry about when it comes to breastfeeding, but actually there are so many other wonderful things that come after breastfeeding, it doesn’t need to be a negative thing x

  8. Jennifer R says:

    One thing: I continued to nurse my son well past the average weaning age, and found that our relationship changed as he matured regardless. Kids go through developmental leaps anyway, they push you away at times and cling to you at others. That’s kind of the flip side of saying that your relationship didn’t change after weaning, but I thought I’d bring it up.
    I felt totally excluded, though, in the La Leche League toddler meetings for bringing a 3 year old, I guess because he wasn’t technically a toddler anymore. So there were consequences to continuing to nurse.

    • Issa says:

      I’m sorry to hear you were left out at your LLL meetings. I’ve found those to be so dependent on the particular leader – it can be a crap shoot.

      That’s a very good point you bring up – that your relationship with your child is changing all the time. Nothing is going to make it stay the same forever, and it shouldn’t! Traveling with your child through their growth is so rewarding.

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