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Nurturing Without the Breast?

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  • Nurturing Without the Breast?

    I am extended breastfeeding and I love it. I never would have envisioned this but here we are, and it's so natural it's right. My beautiful high needs son is almost 3 with no signs of giving it up. When I refuse because I'm busy or need to give it a break, he puts his hands on my chest and says "Mine!" I considered weening because we are adopting, then finally concluded that he may need it more than ever in that case. Between my husband and myself, we've decided to let him continue as needed.
    Which leads me to my problem. With my first son I've followed my instincts and his leading; I nurse to comfort, to bond, to put him to sleep. I don't know how to raise a child without the breast! I'm completely spoiled to the cure-all, to the ease. I don't know how to fix a bottle, or even if I should be fixing a bottle for a child over 1? What do they eat (I've tried pumping for donations and my body didn't take to it)? How often? If they're picky and refuse to eat solids (as my first son did), do they need supplements? How do you nurse a child to sleep without nursing? How do you comfort them when they're inconsolable?
    My second son should be joining us in a few months, between November and January, and he will be one in September. I've heard of people bf adopted children, I've also heard it was rare in a child this old, so I can't count on it. How is a nurturing extended breastfeeding type relationship fostered without the breast?

  • #2

    I'm a low supply mom and I nurse my almost 17 month old son with the use of an SNS and have since he was about 2 weeks old. I give him formula in the SNS or breastmilk that I pump in the car to and from work. Because of this, nursing has mostly been used for hunger only, though he does comfort nurse at night while we cosleep. During the day he doesn't like the slow flow of my practically empty breasts so we've never used nursing for a cure all. So with us hugs and soothing words work for comforting. Wearing him works for getting him to sleep for naps. For going to bed at night I nurse him to sleep with the SNS, but my husband, mother, and mother-in-law use a bottle to get him to sleep when I'm at work. I don't know how you feel about a binky, but they work great for comforting and getting baby to sleep. I don't mean as a replacement for mom or other caregiver, but as a tool to use along with holding and comforting.

    As far as supplementing, my pediatrician told me when my son turned 1 that he could switch from formula to cow's milk. I personally chose to keep my son on formula until he's two. I figure if I was able to have a full supply of milk I would give my son breastmilk only and not cow's milk until he was at least 2, so therefore I would rather give formula than cow's milk because of the extra nutrients it has. I give him formula for toddlers. He does have cow's milk once in a while though and I give him the whole milk when he does. Whether you give him a bottle or not is up to you. Some people give bottles past age 1 and some people don't.

    Don't worry, you will bond with your new son and because of that he will love you and you will be able to comfort and console him with your presence.


    • #3
      Thank you, Amy. I didn't even know there was a toddler formula. I suppose he can switch to sippy cup later and still have that. Asians are often lactose intolerant, I'm told, so that sounds best anyway. It's probably late for an SNS, I'm not sure. I won't mind him having a binky if that's what he's used to. We'll have to ask when we pick him up.
      I wasn't even sure babies fell asleep while bottle feeding, but I guess it makes sense that they do. I remember so little about it from the babies in my family. I'm probably just a nervous new mommy-to-be. It won't be the same as when I gave birth so it's all new again.


      • #4
        Regarding the toddler formula, here is an interesting (non API) blog link on the subject.
        Certainly disreagard links if it does not have information you would like to use.
        My eldest weaned son dose not consume any milk product at all, or replacement milk such as almond, rice or soy milk.
        Whatever you feel comfortable with ladies, just offering my perspective!


        • #5
          Thanks, but my question is more "what to feed him?", not "what not to feed him?"