Now that I have two littles...

We have been through so many changes lately and are still in transitions at the moment. So, it wasn't a surprise when little one #1 asked me to nurse all of a sudden the other day. She had asked for it a few times during the day and I refused each time. I didn't give it any thought, I just automatically said "no" every time. Immediately upon each request, people's warnings began ringing in my ears:

"She won't ever let it go again."

"She'll think she can control you."

"You can't give kids everything they ask for."

"She's too old to nurse."

At night, she asked for it again but with a gentleness that I hadn't seen from her in a while since she entered her boisterous toddlerhood. She also seemed like she really needed it so, apprehensively, I cuddled in the covers with her and nursed her for the first time in 5 months.

I cried like a baby.

I missed our alone moments so much. I missed feeling I could do things with her without having my eye on my other baby. I missed doing things with her without the feeling that we have to hurry because little one #2 may have to nurse/sleep/check-in with momma. Our 3 person family grew to 4 and with that came changes to my relationship with her. And although I know things will slow down with little one #2 and they will entertain each other and both become more independent as time goes by, our dynamic changed permanently. I really missed it while we were nursing. She looked up at me with adorably tired doe eyes and began to squeeze my elbow skin like she always used to when she was a baby. I was in heaven having her so close because her current stage in life doesn't see many moments of stillness with momma.

I felt really happy to have felt how much she needed closeness with me because not only did I have such a yummy moment with her but I felt like I was still in tune with her and could still recognize her needs. Since she became a toddler I have felt somewhat of a disconnection and haven't known how to "get it back."  But I see I am still listening, I am still aware and I am still ready to give her what she needs to grow confidently and securely.


Ecological Breastfeeding.

Mothers who follow these seven breastfeeding standards and remain in amenorrhea during the first six months postpartum will have a 99% infertility rate: 1. Do exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. This means that your baby does not take any other liquids or solids. The only nourishment your baby receives is your milk from your breasts.

2. Pacify your baby at your breasts. This means that you pacify your baby at the breast for comfort or to meet his other emotional needs. This comfort nursing usually involves nursing the baby to sleep.

3. Don't use bottles and pacifiers. These items take the place of what should be occurring at the breast during the first six months of life. It is possible to take care of a baby without a pacifier. One should not be opposed to that rare situation where the pacifier calms a baby after all options have been tried. But it can soon become a habit.

One mother who experienced an early return of menstruation meant to use the pacifier only once or twice for her extremely fussy baby. She soon found she was giving her baby the pacifier regularly. Caring for the baby ourselves is what natural parenting is all about. And the extra sucking that should be taking place at the breast instead of on a pacifier is what helps the mother remain in amenorrhea.

4. Sleep with your baby for night feedings. This means the family bed. You learn to sleep while you nurse your baby during the night. It has been demonstrated through research that a baby who stays at his mother's side during the night nurses three times more nightly than the baby who sleeps nearby or away from his mother during the night.

5. Sleep with your baby for a daily nap-feeding. This means you go to sleep for a short time and you nurse your baby during your nap. It does not mean that you lay there waiting for the baby to fall asleep so you can get up and get things done. That is not a nap. Rest is essential when nursing and can be very important in maintaining infertility for the nursing mother. Most schools for preschool and kindergarten children have a rest period. We should be able to do this also in our homes.

6. Nurse frequently day and night and avoid schedules. This means the absence of any schedule, even the two-hour schedule. I recently counseled a mother who used a two-hour schedule and still had to use a bottle for two feedings because she did not have an ample milk supply with this schedule. To have an ample milk supply, all you have to do is nurse frequently as baby desires and nurse during the night and those daily naps.

7. Avoid any practice that restricts nursing or separates you from your baby. This means that you do not leave your baby; you learn to take your baby with you. In addition, you avoid using certain equipment excessively which may become a substitute for your parenting. The occasional and brief use of certain baby equipment is okay. But again parents may rely more and more on these gadgets so they do not have to spend time parenting their babies or small children. Babies have the right to be cared for by their parents, especially their mothers. By being physically close to the mother, the baby is stimulated to nurse more often.

The beauty of ecological breastfeeding is that the mother learns how to give of herself to her baby. I know some mothers who follow the ecological breastfeeding program and have a high need baby. These moms wish their babies weren't so high need. But they realize that eventually their babies or little ones will outgrow this need to be extra close to mother. They realize this care is best for their child, and they enjoy the special close relationship.

For couples who desire 18 to 30 months between the births of their children, ecological breastfeeding should be sufficient.