Saying Goodbyes to ‘kaka’ breastmilk

Brelfies

So I have been asked so many times if I intend to have another child and I have told people that unless the Big Man upstairs has other plans I have no intentions. I was blessed to have a peach and pear so that is good enough. I breastfed Kupa till he was 22 months old and I stopped because I was pregnant with Nashe and I was always sick. I would have loved to drag it on till he was 2 years old.

Nashe is almost 23 months and I often get told by friends and family to stop breastfeeding her but i tell them it is my choice and when we are both ready to stop it will happen. After all the World Health Organisation (http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/ ) states that, “Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.”

First feed

The Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.org) also states the benefits of breastfeeding as, “Balanced nutrition. Breast milk is considered the gold standard for infant nutrition. As your baby gets older, the composition of your breast milk will continue to change to meet his or her nutritional needs. There’s no known age at which breast milk is considered to become nutritionally insignificant for a child.Boosted immunity. As long as you breast-feed, the cells, hormones and antibodies in your breast milk will continue to bolster your baby’s immune system.Improved health. Research suggests that the longer breast-feeding continues and the more breast milk a baby drinks, the better his or her health might be.

The benefits of extended breast-feeding for a mother include:Reduced risk of certain illnesses. Extended breast-feeding — as well as breast-feeding for 12 months or more cumulatively in life — has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.Improved health. Research suggests that the longer breast-feeding continues and the more breast milk a baby drinks, the better a mother’s health might be.

Every time I thought of or tried to wean Nashe she would get sick and would not be eating well so she breastfed more for comfort. we were now at a stage were she just feeds for literally less than a minute. It was like she was just making sure I am still there. So before we left for our overseas trip I was going to wean her and then she got this terrible chest infection. I decided to continue because I knew she would struggle with her ears during the flight and the change of environment too. For sure the change of environment and the flight made sure she was attached to my breast like a leech.

The day after we returned I thought let me give it a go so when she came for a feed, “mama kaka” which is “mama milk” my response was, “yucky kaka.” she ran off and a few minutes later she was back but she came to tell me that her “kaka” was yucky. Since then even when I am holding her she touches my breasts and says the milk is yucky. When she has woken up at night she has also said that. I am so happy because I was worried about weaning as I thought she would not be ready.

Physically I was ready to wean because I was constantly tired from getting up when she was restless for feeds. Emotionally, I will be honest, I am not ready. I know it is time but that time she came and spent on me feeding was our connection time. She just wanted me and knowing that I could give her the comfort she needed made me happy. She is now at an age where she is independent and barely wants my help even with dressing. Yes getting dressed she will try by all means to do it herself. Tell you what though, breastfeeding a toddler can be interesting. Sometimes she would ask me to feed her ‘babies’ before i fed her or at the same time. Moments I will surely miss.

Breastfeeding Basics (https://www.breastfeedingbasics.com/articles/weaning-your-baby) states that,”Weaning should be a process, rather than an event. You actually begin weaning your baby the very first time you offer him/her any food other than your milk.  Depending on how you go about it, weaning can be abrupt or gradual, and may take days, weeks, or months. Abrupt weaning should always be avoided, if at all possible, for the sake of both you and your baby. If you suddenly stop nursing, your breasts will respond by becoming engorged, and you may develop a breast infection or breast abscess. Your hormone levels drop abruptly, and depression can result. Mothers with a history of depression should especially consider this when making decisions about weaning.Since nursing is not only a source of food for a baby, but a source of security and emotional comfort as well, taking it away abruptly can be very disturbing.” Nashe seems to be doing okay and I am glad. She has  not thrown a tantrum because she wants her milk. If she had I probably would have given in and fed her because I would have known she is not yet ready. Today she was very emotional and she wanted a feed since that has always been her source of comfort. She latched for a second and took off. She even seemed like she was not interested in the milk.

Now we are not fully weaned yet as anything can happen but i believe and hope that she will be happy and not feel neglected. Myself on the other hand, I may be emotional but I know it is a phase that will pass.

My advice to those who intend to breastfeed for a longer period or are still breastfeeding. How long you breastfeed is up to you and your baby. If loved ones and even strangers  decide to share their opinions about when to wean, remind them that the decision is yours. Try not to worry about what other people think. Instead, trust your instincts and happy breastfeeding. It is the most beautiful natural thing a mother can do.


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