I'm so happy and proud to write this: Joshua has been breastfeeding for six months! Back when I was pregnant, and even before, I always knew I wanted to breastfeed but didn't really have a goal of how long. I just figured I'd nurse my children for as long as was mutually desired, and I assumed that would be measured in years, not months. After doing some research about it, I decided that a nice initial goal would be to exclusively breastfeed for six months, as recommended by the World Health Organization. We made it!
For the first five and a half months, exclusive breastfeeding was easy for us. Joshua really took to nursing and aside from cluster feeding in the evening for the first few months and nursing all day and night during growth spurts, we really didn't have any challenges. I might have felt a little tired of sitting down and nursing him for such a long time, but looking back I remember those times fondly. Now that I'm back at work, I long to just sit and nurse Joshua for hours on end. I enjoy and appreciate our nursing sessions so much more now that they're limited. The whir of the electric pump just can't compare with my snuggly, sleepy baby with a milky smile.
My plan is to continue breastfeeding Joshua for as long as we both enjoy it. I'm not going to set a timeline, but I can guarantee I'll be celebrating again when we reach his first birthday. When it comes to introducing solids, we plan to take it slow and follow baby-led weaning. Since I'm a proponent of whole, local, seasonal foods, I'm planning to skip cereals and purees and allow Joshua to try different foods and experience their textures, flavors and colors on his own developmental timeline. As a biologist, I tend to look at this from an evolutionary perspective, and I agree that this is most likely how we evolved to eat solids. While we haven't started to introduce solids just yet, I have enjoyed the following resources.
Baby Led Weaning by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett
Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck
Solid Foods and the Breastfed Baby and Toddler from KellyMom.com
Is Iron-Supplementation Necessary? from KellyMom.com
Starting Solids from La Leche League
Breastmilk will continue to be Joshua's main source of nutrition throughout his first year, and I will continue to nurse him and express milk for as long as he wants to have bottles. After being separated at work and daycare all day, I'll be happy to nurse Joshua then share healthy solid foods with him. We're going to start offering solids at supper time, as we sit down together for family meals. I have visions of him sampling my homemade applesauce, winter squash, bananas, avocados, sweet potatoes and greens. I imagine him picking up and playing with these soft chunks of food and eventually learning to enjoy eating them along with Mommy's milk.
Did you set breastfeeding goals for yourself? How did you introduce solids?