I am the walking queen.

I have walked so much in the past 24 hours that I’ve worn a blister on the sole of my right foot. Last night, I dragged Tim to Union Station, which is much smaller than I remembered. I was thinking we’d have two levels of cool, hip walking pleasure. Wasn’t I saddened to find that Union Station, once the bastion of cool little clothing boutiques (not that I could shop there now anyway), is now simply filled with pitiful T-shirt shops and over-priced chain restaurants. And it was decidedly not cool in there. So we were off to the Galleria, where we traversed its many halls of retail fun. We even got a cute hat and sunglasses (on sale) for the boy at Baby Gap!

All this walking, though, has provoked nary a contraction, however. Grr!

Anyway, back to today’s topic: breastfeeding! Since today is the first day of World Breastfeeding Week, I am giving myself extra points for my supreme timeliness. Yay, Beth!

I must admit, I cannot wait until my baby is born and we can start breastfeeding. For those of you who have never done it, or are ill-equipped to do it (e.g., men), that may sound strange. But think about it: I’ve been carrying around this baby inside of me for the past 39 weeks. I’ve never been closer to anyone in my life, save for my own mother when she carried me around for 40 weeks. So once he’s born, one way we will stay closely-connected is through our breastfeeding relationship. I’ve seen one of my friends have the best time breastfeeding her son (now over a year). I’ve gone to a couple of La Leche League meetings and heard the mothers there talk about their breastfeeding trials and triumphs. I’ve seen their beautiful, chubby children.

Now, I’m not even going to go into the health benefits of breastfeeding over formula, because for me the point is moot. All you have to do is look to the American Academy of Pediatrics or the World Health Organization for the facts. I’m not condemning anyone who chooses formula over breastfeeding. I think mothers should do what’s right for them. But for me, I am incredibly blessed to be able to work from my home. I am incredibly blessed to have a supportive husband who is completely behind me on this. I am incredibly blessed to have friends and people I can call if/when I run into problems breastfeeding. This is the right choice for me, and I will gleefully toss any and all formula samples and literature foisted upon me into the trash from now until kingdom come.

I try to be realistic about it. I know that getting started will be hard, since breastfeeding is a learned art. But I am willing to put up with any amount of discomfort to do this, because I know that it will pass. I can’t tell you the number of times I have gotten up before dawn in the past months and sat in my glider in the nursery, just dreaming about having the baby in my arms, nursing away. In reality, I’ll probably be trying not to fall asleep after the eighth millionth feeding of the day in that glider, but it’s so fun to dream right now!

Sure, you’re saying, great! Breastfeeding is wonderful! But here’s where it gets sticky for some people: I’m going to breastfeed this child until he’s ready to stop.

Whoa, you say. How long is that? Well, it’s hard to say. Pediatricians recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed until they’re six months old. Then you can start feeding them solid foods gradually, along with breastfeeding for at least a year. So, really, the weaning process starts when you start introducing solid foods. But for some kids, they continue to breastfeed until they’re two and up, and this is OK with the doctors. Keep in mind that once your child is two, you’re breastfeeding probably twice a day, but some people still find it a little creepy. Of course, some babies are ready to stop at a year. It all depends on you and your child. So that’s what I’m prepared to do–let him decide when it’s time to stop.

Now don’t freak out and think that I’m going to be one of those moms with the breastfeeding kindergartner. That won’t happen. In fact, all this discussion is putting the cart way before the horse. I don’t mean to sound defensive, but this is something I feel very strongly about, and something that I feel very priviledged to be able to do for my son and myself. Second to actually growing and birthing a new life, being his sole source of food for the first six months of his life is pretty neat too!

Tomorrow’s topic: Why I’m going to have this baby naturally with the help of a doula (unless it hurts really, really badly).