Disclaimer #1: If you're a man, you probably won't be interested in this. But you should read it if your wife has breastfed. She is doing a good thing.
Disclaimer #2: I do not stand in judgement against anyone who chooses not to breastfeed. It is not for everyone.
Weaning is gradual. It tapers off for a long time. I am currently in the process and just wanted to write a little bit about breastfeeding before it is a part of my past.
These cloth diapers have served as my burp cloths for every baby. I love them. They are perfect. I don't think you can buy them anymore, so I protect them as a precious treasure. Juliet has not needed a burp cloth for many months, but I pulled these out and refolded them one by one, not forgetting the method I use to make them all stack up nice and straight. I do not think I will be able to get rid of these.
I have nursed all my babies from birth until one year old or longer. I cannot remember giving any of them formula. I did not even pump my milk very often. I am not saying this in a prideful way. It is the opposite. I realize how fortunate and blessed I have been that me or my babies have had no major difficulties that would prevent me from breastfeeding.
Someone once asked me why I breastfeed. The only thing I could think of to say was, "Why wouldn't you breastfeed?" There are too many reasons. Convenience, little to no cost, helps with baby's brain development, antibodies in mom's milk, burns calories for post partem weight loss, connection with your baby, perfect recipe of what baby needs... the list goes on and on.
There is much to be said. But mostly, it is just a miracle, the way God designed it.
When I prop myself up in the hospital bed and help my baby nurse for the first times, it causes my uterus to contract and also the baby's body lying right there on my abdomen...all of it works together in an amazing design.
When you breastfeed, the hormone released makes you feel sleepy. I think this is so you take your time, letting the baby linger and get as much as they need.
When you are breastfeeding a new baby, you find yourself doing just that many times throughout your day. I think this provides the rest required while your body is recovering from childbirth.
When you breastfeed, you need your baby just as much as they need you. As a friend once put it, you have some information you need to download. And your baby is a hungry little hard drive. This need to work together creates a bond with your baby only made between a mother and her child.
When you breastfeed, you are providing a safe and secure place for your baby. It is a sacrifice of your time and energy to nurse. It does come with a certain amount of pain and difficulty. But your baby could never doubt your attention, your devotion, or their place in your heart while at your breast. You are setting yourself aside. You have to miss things sometimes. It is a great practice in unselfishness, which prepares you for parenthood in general.
It has been extremely rewarding and I will always have fond memories. The noises they make, the way they reach up and touch your face, the drunken sleepy face of a newbie with milk in the corner of their mouth...it is a blessing to say the least.
I am grateful to have had the experience. I tried to do the math...how many hours of my life I've spent breastfeeding. I couldn't do it. I have lost too many brain cells in the breastmilk. But it's a lot. Thousands. Enough ounces to fill five gallon buckets. It's pretty cool.