Friday, September 3, 2010
This little man hasn't nursed for the past week, so I'd have to say that a chapter is finished in his precious life. No longer a baby, but on to becoming a big boy. 17 1/2 months of nursing. Wow! I have never done that before, lol! Layla only nursed for 10 1/2 months and poor Julius only did about 7 1/2. I feel horrible, but my views on health and nutrition were so different a few years back.
I think the reason I was able to successfully nurse so long is because I handled his food introduction much different than with my other two kids. With Layla and Julius I began introducing cereal around 4 to 5 months and quickly proceeded to fruits and vegetables. Layla got exclusively homemade baby food and Julius got only store-bought baby food. I noticed that as soon as I did this, nursing became less and less of a priority to both them and me. They struggled to nurse efficiently throughout the day and then wanted to chow at the milk bar all night long. It was not fun times.
But with Gunnar, I had read some interesting theories on food introduction that differed quite a bit from what conventional doctors and baby sources teach. Four months, five months and six months passed and I exclusively nursed. Around six months of age, about once or twice a week I would give him a little bit of mashed up avocado. And then, still only once or twice a week, I would let him have some mashed banana. These special treats only happened between nursings, so that they would not fill him up and make him too full to nurse. This happened over a period of 3 or 4 months.
During this time I made sure he had lots of "tastes" of goodies from our meals, but never very much, because I didn't want to take away from the priority of nursing. This way his taste buds became very accustomed to tastes and flavors of what we ate, without diminishing his feedings.
At 10 months old I began to feed him several times a week, and by12 months old he was eating most meals with us, right from our table. This kid never saw a lick of baby food. And I can say from experience that getting to feed your little one right from your table is much easier then hassling with baby food, whether you are making your own, or stocking up at the store. Plus, he has been my least picky eater because he knew no different than what we eat everyday. This kid will eat everything from fish to Brussels sprouts, beans to pork, you name it, this kids is likely to eat it (on most days).
At 12 months old, Gunnar was still nursing early in the mornings, before both his naps each day, when he went to bed and a few times in the night. As the months past and he grew older, he dropped his morning nap, which dropped a feeding. Soon he was no longer needing to nurse in the morning either. By 16 months old, he was rarely nursing in the day and only nursing about twice a night. These last few weeks he dropped to one nursing at night. Last week I decided that I was ready for a full nights sleep, and I quit nursing him entirely. The first night or two he seemed a bit put out, but since then he has been good. I am happy that I was able to give him such superior nutrition for the past year and a half and I wish I could have done better for my first two kids. I will definitely be proceeding very slowly with food with my next baby since I feel it made all the difference with successful nursing and created an excellent eater. Hope this is helpful to any of you mamas out there!