Ariadne lives with her three children, husband and two crazy boxers in Switzerland. She is a certified parenting educator and writer at Authentic Parenting and Positive Parenting Connection. Ariadne is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate.
1. Tell us about your personal breastfeeding experience with your children:
I have three children, Maxi is almost 6 years old, Nicolas is 4 and Bella will be two soon. I breastfed each child until they were each almost two years old. When I was first expecting, I was really determined to make breastfeeding work.
With my first, I had a c-section and Maxi was a bit slow to latch on. I insisted the nurses just let him snuggle with me as he was otherwise fine and within a half hour he had figured it out and never let go after that. The first three weeks were so hard, I felt scared I was going to give up, so I took it one feeding at a time. Sometimes I bit into receiving blankets because it hurt so much, the first 5 seconds seemed like needles were poking into me. Handsome hubby held my hand, brought me water, wiped my tears and was a wonderful source of support. I had to give up all dairy for six months as it seemed to really upset Maxi’s tummy. I missed eating ice cream and cheese, but it was well worth the effort!
I had a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarian) with Nicolas, who latched on on his own after doing the breast crawl. This was one of the most beautiful moments in my life. Nicolas had a voracious appetite and doubled in size so quickly. I learned to nurse while wearing him in a front carrier so that I could play with Max and still meet Nicolas’ needs, and it was the best way to survive the first few weeks of transition from one to two children.
Bella was born at the speed of light, and again I watched her do a breast crawl in awe. She latched on and nursed so happily. I had mastitis and yeast this time, but my midwife had so many wonderful natural remedies, it was great to have extra support. So many friends told me girls wean sooner than boys, but Bella is 22 months now and only just stopped nursing overnight at 19 months. She continues to nurse throughout the day with no signs of stopping any time soon. She is hilarious at the breast and loves to stand up, twist, turn and even hum songs while filling up!
2. What is your view of breastfeeding in public, and why?
Breastfeeding is normal and natural. I have nursed anywhere and everywhere when my babies were hungry. I’m more of the discreet type and learned a neat trick with my first to wear a T-shirt with matching camisole underneath so nobody even notices, or to nurse with a carrier. With most things parenting, my view is, I do what works for me and my family and try to be respectful of others’ choices
I think each mother and baby dyad needs to foster a partnership that works for both sides. For me, sustained breastfeeding is absolutely normal. I have had a great experience and I think my children have as well. Max latched off the last time he nursed and said “all done. Bye milkies.” I know many mothers that felt tied down and unhappy and weaned much sooner and I absolutely respect that. Children benefit from breast milk tremendously but it needs to be working for both sides.
As a family we moved from the USA to Germany and 18 months later from Germany to Switzerland. With all the moves, it gave me a chance to breastfeed surrounded by different cultures. In Germany, people were often surprised to see a toddler nursing. Here in Switzerland, our new pediatrician nearly fell off his chair when he found out Bella was still nursing overnight at 18 months. I have nursed at some really fun places like at a café right by the Leaning Tower of Pisa, while stuck in a traffic jam inside a tunnel in Switzerland and next to Humpty Dumpty in Storyland, NH!
I wish I could have donated more milk. If you had told me pre-pregnancy that my tiny A-cups would produce litres and litres of milk, I would have laughed. Somehow, I was blessed with an enormous supply and, although I was able to donate my frozen stash before moving, I would have happily donated more milk if I had found someone that could have used it.
I confess I am a bit curious to see what life is going to be like when Bella weans off at some point – right now I don’t know if she will be nursing until two or even beyond. Whenever she does wean it will be the end of something that has been a major part of my life so I think it will be a big adjustment. Thank you for reading and thank you to Jamie for the opportunity to participate in Clever Cleavage!