Thursday, May 22, 2014

18 Months And Counting!

I can't believe we're here! Audrey is 18 months old today! 6 short months ago we were in the hospital and were going through a traumatic and difficult time. We had no idea what was wrong with her and were being told by some of the doctors that our parenting and feeding choices were to blame. I'm so glad we're on the other side of things now! And I'm so glad that she is still nursing!

For awhile I thought she was going to wean and I was devastated at that thought. Although most babies in the US are not breastfed past one year, I was determined that Audrey should nurse to at least two for a number of reasons, including: health, nutrition, and bonding. The normal biological age for weaning is actually between 2.5 and 7 years! (See here and here for more information on "extended nursing," or as I prefer to call it "full-term nursing.") This was around January soon after she was discharged from the hospital. She was being tube fed formula and not tolerating it well at all-lots of vomiting. Although she had comfort nursed a lot during the hospital stay she was now gagging when I tried to nurse her and often refusing the breast. I was so worried that this would inadvertently cause her to wean before either she or I was ready. Thankfully, we switched her from formula to breast milk (both mine and donors) and she mostly stopped vomiting and started nursing more often again! It was not easy going against the medical advice, which was to try all these different hypoallergenic formulas, and say "No, she needs to be back on breast milk!"  There was concern that breast milk alone is inadequate for a baby over 12 months old and that she would be unable to grow. Granted, I agree that only breast milk is not ideal for most toddlers (although I have heard several stories about toddlers who would not eat solids until closer to 18 months old) but considering that she was not keeping formula down it was the next best choice for her. And, amazingly, she did really well on all that donor milk and even starting gaining a half a pound a week!

So now Audrey eats solids on her own and she also nurses for comfort and nutrition. Her nursing patterns are typical of a toddler her age: nursing to sleep and after she wakes up, for comfort during the day when she's upset, to reconnect with me if I've been gone, etc. I hope we are lucky enough to continue nursing for as long as she needs and wants it.

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