Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Another Benefit of Breastfeeding

This is another one of those times when I am so grateful for breastfeeding.

A little history: When Elijah was a baby, he only nursed for a few weeks, and I wanted to do things differently with Isaac. So when I was pregnant, I decided I would breastfeed for at least the first year of his life. And I did. Breastfeeding is an excellent source of nutrition and antibodies even past the first year, though, and when he reached his first birthday, it seemed silly for me to quit breastfeeding just because he had hit an arbitrary age. I decided I would let him wean naturally on his own. He loves to eat what the rest of us eat, and he's been eating more and more food lately and nursing less and less.

At least, that was the case until the stomach bug hit last week. His tummy was hurting, and he had other obvious symptoms of a stomach bug. (I'll spare you the details. You're welcome.) And, of course, with all that going on, it's really no surprise that he wasn't too excited about the prospect of eating. He also didn't want to drink much from a cup (we give him water and limited amounts of juice and whole milk in a sippy cup).

But he was interested in nursing, thank goodness, and he nursed a lot during the time he was sick. Although he was pushing away food and drink, he was still able to get the nutrition and hydration he needed. I wondered what I would have done if he hadn't still been nursing. I know you can give kids Pedialyte to drink in situations like that, but what if he had refused it like he was refusing water, juice, and whole milk? I'm just so glad he was still nursing and was able to get what he needed in a way that felt natural and comforting to him.

Thankfully, he seems to be feeling quite a bit better now. He's not completely back to normal, but close. :-)

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