Tomorrow is the first birthday of our dear little Shira. A year ago, she was placed in my arms for the first time, small and fragile, secure and comfortable. I find it hard to believe how time has flown. We came home with a precious, snuggly bundle. Now we have an energetic little explorer who is eager to put her hands to use. She crawls and sits and stands and has excellent coordination when it comes to grabbing stuff. She has even started saying a few words. The progress a baby makes in a year is simply awe-inspiring.
This has been a year of successful breastfeeding, despite some dire predictions of ill-informed pediatricians. In case you have been wondering, Shira remains small and lean, even though she eats plenty of solids now. She still loves to nurse. She's down to about 3-4 times a day now, but she loves those special times with her mama and isn't at all inclined to give them up just yet.
I'm now beginning to face many raised eyebrows and scandalized expressions when I say I don't plan to wean my child anytime soon, if at all. And that's from people who only not long ago applauded me for nursing my baby. I hear lots of ridiculous suggestions, such as that after one year, formula is healthier than mother's milk and also that if I don't wean soon, I will be stuck breastfeeding until my baby is twenty years old.
Personally, I don't see why I would rush to stop breastfeeding. Shira doesn't even have teeth yet! I'm not saying babies should be weaned when they have teeth, but I do see something ironic in the fact that a toothless baby is seen as too old to nurse. I see something even more ironic in the idea of weaning my baby just to give her formula. Formula is, at best, an inferior substitute to mother's milk. Yet most children I know drink it until they're at least two. In my eyes, if the child drinks formula, he should have still been breastfed.
Beside the obvious health benefits of mother's milk, which don't just disappear because the baby is older now, it's a sweet and relaxing time. And I don't believe my child won't wean. She used to nurse around the clock, now she only nurses a few times a day. The way I see it, she will self-wean eventually and gradually. Perhaps I will feel a twinge of sadness, but by that time, I might well have another baby to nurse.