Upon embarking on my first pregnancy, I always knew I would breastfeed once the baby was born. After spending years in the health food business with customers breastfeeding all around me, then having relatives that did it, it just seemed like the natural choice. After having my first child, I started nursing right after giving birth and found that I really enjoyed it. Then the baby turned 4 months and I had been seeing a pediatrician that had told me about starting solid food at that time. So, I did. Then after speaking to a friend with 15 kids, I was told that I really didn’t have to start food then and could continue exclusively breastfeeding the baby. I honestly didn’t realize there was another alternative to what I had been doing. I thought I just had to follow the direction of the pediatrician. Enter the beginning of my aquaintence with the ecological breastfeeding experience. This was the very beginning of this journey for me and it came to its fullness gradually.
Ecological breastfeeding involves breastfeeding on demand. No other liquids or solids for the first six months and no use of pacifiers, or bottles. It includes sleeping with the baby nightly and for naps. It also would mean avoiding anything that would separate mom and baby. At first when my friend suggested going back to exclusive breastfeeding I wasn’t sure the baby would be agreeable after eating baby food for some time, but to my surprise it was as if she never ate anything else but my milk! She was perfectly content to continue on that way, so, on we went. I was traveling alot showing dogs around the midwest so I did still use supplemental bottles of formula for the times I was gone. She began solids around a year.
Then my second daughter arrived. I did the very same thing. Started to nurse minutes after birth and kept right on going with the aid of some supplemental bottles for the times I was showing the dogs. This baby seemed very interested in eating much earlier on than the first, so I went with it and began giving her some finger foods appropriate for what she could handle.
When I got pregnant with the third baby I had made a champion of one of my dogs and was showing another. Somehow something in me had changed from the time I had my second to the time I got pregnant with the third. I was feeling burnt out from dog showing and traveling, and was finding it much more appealing to stay home full time and be with my kids. So, when the third was born thats what I did. As a result of the change I felt, I was ready to undertake a deeper commitment to breastfeeding and completely gave myself up to ecological breastfeeding. When the third was born I did it all. Slept with her at night and naps. Didn’t use any pacifiers or bottles, and never went anywhere without the baby so that she could nurse on demand. I was blissfully happy with this new lifestyle, and was glad I had found out about it.
Since then I’ve gone on to have 5 more children and have kept the same routine. Something I’ve noticed is the difference in how my first couple of kids differed from the others, in that they were more willing to be cared for by other people. The babies that have been ecologically breastfed are more intolerant of others caring for them. They are very attached to me, and want me above anyone. I gotta say, I don’t mind that. I know that aspect of this would drive alot of women crazy, but I really felt quite comfortable with it and try to enjoy it because it passes and they’re 16 before you know it.
About the only gripe I’ve got about it is, the negative attitude I get from others with regard to always having the baby with me. I’ve had people complain to me about the fact that I never leave the baby with my husband. I honestly don’t mind taking the baby with me everywhere I go. Even for short trips, because like I said it won’t be long before its over, so I’m savoring every moment I get with every baby I get. My current baby is 18 months and even though he’s been eating food for 6 months or so, he is still a big nurser and wants me over everyone else, so I still take him everywhere with me. This lifestyle has created such a great bond between me and my babies, I just don’t see the harm in it. I’ll always cherish the years I’ve had of doing this and look forward to doing more of it with a new baby again soon!