Sunday, November 22, 2009

All of them and a big soapbox which you might want to skip

Aiden still nurses and this is a post about nursing. If you don't want to read about a toddler nursing, this is a good place to stop.

So Baba still says "switch" when he wants to nurse. Tonight as I was getting ready, I asked him, "Baba, which side do you want" and he said, "all of them!". There was so much abundance in the way he said it, like I had 10 breasts.

*****My Soapbox Statement*****
If you have concerns about the fact that some toddlers nurse, you're not alone. I'm starting to get raised eyebrow comments from members of my own family. Here are some facts....

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends

Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child....There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer."

Here's more from the American Academy of Family Physicians

"Breastfeeding beyond the first year offers considerable benefits to both mother and child, and should continue as long as mutually desired." They also note that "If the child is younger than two years of age, the child is at increased risk of illness if weaned."

If you're wondering why the AAP and AAFP are officially OK with extended nursing its because it's so gosh darn good for kids, regardless of their age. We all know there are immune properties in breastmilk. Some of these properties actually *increase* during the second year and during weaning. Considering that toddlers (and even children) don't have mature immune systems this is a very good thing. It's as if the mother's body is giving her child as many immuno-boosters as she can as her child enters toddlerhood and gets ready for increased independence.

Here's more research I found on-line.
Nursing toddlers between the ages of 16 and 30 months have been found to have fewer illnesses and illnesses of shorter duration than their non-nursing peers (Gulick 1986).

"Antibodies are abundant in human milk throughout lactation" (Nutrition During Lactation1991; p. 134). In fact, some of the immune factors in breastmilk increase in concentration during the second year and also during the weaning process. (Goldman 1983, Goldman & Goldblum 1983, Institute of Medicine 1991).

In this soapbox statement, I'm focusing on health benefits. There's more...all of the benefits of nursing for the mother and the baby (I won't list them all here) are *cumulative* so the longer you do it, the greater the benefit. That means extended nursing is good for me too. It protects me from several different types of cancer. It gives Baba great protection from allergies. The list goes on and on and it's amazing.

I haven't even touched on the emotional and social benefit of giving the child the freedom to decide when he or she is "old enough to stop". We all mature at different speeds and Baba is the only one who will know when he's done. However, nursing has to work for both mother and child. It's shouldn't be forced on a mother who's not game or is feeling resentful of that aspect of the relationship. Personally, I don't and can't know what my upper limit is. If Aiden is still going when I reach it, then we'll have to talk. Until then, I'll keep asking him "which side?".

Hair Up

Aiden is turning out to be....opinnionated....I could have said bossy, but I'm trying to be nice about all this. He has really strong feelings about how I wear my hair, glasses and more. You may have noticed a trend here, maybe we should just call him a fashionista. For the record, I wear my hair up 99.9 percent of the time. I usually sleep with it up. If Aiden happens to see my hair down say after a shower or God forbid if I take it down for a *second* to re-adjust my barrette he says "Hair up". Glasses are much worse because I wear them all the time. We have lots of talks about how Mama gets to decide what she wears on her body and how she wears her hair. I don't think I'm getting through to him. In fact I'm sure I'm not.

Today while skyping with his Auntie Gunush in Bangalore Aiden noticed a problem. "Hair up" he said. Auntie Gunush was surprised but complied (she's way more accommodating than Mama). After she put her hair up, Aiden said "That's nice". Geeze!

For the record here is a list of Aiden's fashion pet peeves:
Long hair down
Eye glasses
Jackets and big sweaters on Mama
Hats (on Mama, Aiden and sometimes Dada)

All is right in the world. Mama's hair is up and Aiden is pretending to be Rosie the hen.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Big Smiles

It hardly seems possible that someone so small could have such a big smile.


We did the whole shebang for Halloween this year: pumpkin patches, pumpkin carving, pumpkin seeds and trick-or-treating. Aiden loved most of it, except for maybe scooping goo out of the pumpkins which was way too yucky for him.

Carving pumpkins with BFF Hope.

Aiden was a tiger this year and was finally old enough to go trick-or-treating. He had a blast but thought it was really odd that after ringing the doorbell and saying "Hi" he wasn't supposed to go *inside* and spend more time. We almost lost him the first few homes when the kindly grandparents answering the door seemed more than happy to let him come in and join their party.