” Weaning for me is best done in stages. My second, third and fourth children all nursed until they were 3 and beyond. All of them I night weaned between the ages of 18 and 22 months.”
Her Bio –
Katherine Havener is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, a Certified Lactation Counselor, and a retired La Leche League Leader. She is also the author of the well-known nightweaning book, “Nursies When the Sun Shines.” Prior to becoming involved in the lactation field, she worked as an ethics attorney. Katherine is passionate about breastfeeding, attachment parenting, and natural family living. She is the proud mother of four girls ranging from toddler to teen, whom she breastfed a total of ten years. She has been happily married to her husband, Reese, for nearly two decades.
Her Background –
Katherine wanted to first be an obstetrician, then wanted work in the theater and then decided to become an attorney. Since she has a huge interest in politics, she became an attorney who specialized in ethics.
Was she breastfed:
She did have a conversation with her mother about breastfeeding. Her mother told her that during the 1970s it was very much discouraged. She was given a pill to dry her up and just fed her formula. We talked about how breastfeeding was not popular during that time period and were often told – “you don’t want to be a cow, do you.”
Her decision to breastfeeding:
Her husband is very well researched and really encouraged her to try it. The midwife in the birthing center she was at, also encouraged her to breastfeed. She now recognizes that she was fortunate because she knew of noone else that was breastfeeding.
She had a very bad hemorrhage after her first baby was born. She was separated from her baby during part of her hospital stay and was quite engorged by the time she left the hospital. She had not pumped and everything was painful. She did have the help and support of her midwife and doula who both helped her with latching the baby on. She remembers feeling very overwhelmed with breastfeeding and her health issues after the birth.
First Few days of breastfeeding:
It was difficult for many reasons, but one of the things that Katherine wants others to know is that not everyone is really “into” breastfeeding. This describes her as she was breastfeeding because of the encouragement of others and she knew it was best for her baby, however, she admits to not having those warm fuzzies about breastfeeding.
She was encouraged to give formula to her baby in the first few days and she continued doing so, along with breastfeeding. She liked the idea of her husband being able to help her with feedings and the ease and convenience was very attractive to her. This was her first baby and she never even thought to pump.
Weaning with her first baby:
She went back to work PT when her baby was 6 weeks old. As the months went by the formula intake increased as she began to pump less. She acknowledges just not understanding how the whole pumping and keeping up supply thing worked. Since she was not really in love with breastfeeding and admits to being okay with being done with breastfeeding by the time her daughter was 6 months old.
Breastfeeding her other babies:
She learned more about breastfeeding in between babies, really learned about the benefits and now made a conscious decision to really work at exclusive breastfeeding. She would be staying at home and felt that she could devote the time needed. Breastfeeding was challenging with her second baby as she had cracked and bleeding nipples which scabbed. Finding help and support with La Leche League was incredibly helpful to her and she feels this is what made the difference to her and enabled her to breastfeed as long as she desired.
We talked about how wonderful La Leche League is and how important the social and emotional help can be from other members. WE have to give moms the support system. Just educating moms is not good enough, we really need to provide avenues for supporting breastfeeding moms. Kathering became a La Leche League Leader and enjoyed her role. Her third baby was the easiest to breastfeed. It was a good experience from the very beginning.
Believes it is best done in stages. She breastfed her other babies until they were between 3 and 3 1/2 years old. She night weaned all of them between 18 and 22 months. Night weaning is the first stage. As they got towards 3 years old, her milk supply just “died.” This helped with the gradual stages of weaning. At this point, they might have been nursing a few times a day. At one point, her breasts her so much and she just didn’t want to breastfeed anymore. So, she prepared her babies and offered other means of closeness and distraction. Each of her babies were obviously ready for this as the process was fairly easy.
We talked about the pressure that some moms feel under about the decision to wean. The gold standard seems to be to wait until your child weans themselves. And yet, some moms are ready before their children are and they should be able to decide when they are done. Breastfeeding is a mutually desirable activity and no mother should keep going if she is unhappy doing so. Weaning can be approached in the same way disciplining a child with any other activity or issue. Katherine says: “It’s okay to say no.”
What motivated Katherine to write her book:
It was her personal experiences that motivated her to write the book. The idea for the book came to her when she was meditating. “Nursies” was the word that she used for boobs with her second baby. The words were different for her other kids. She tells moms to substitute whatever words they used for boobies, in place of nursies.
Katherine has received well over 100 positive reviews of her book. It is so nice to see that her book is being so well received. We discussed the fact that she made a conscious decision when she wrote the book so that it could be relevant for boys or girls as well as families that bedshare.
Pearls of wisdom:
It is important to put the guilt aside and put expectations out of your mind. We all have so many other pressures in our lives. Just focus on what you are doing at the time. Congratulate yourself for being a blessing to your child and for bringing your baby to your breast to nourish your child – for any length of time you do so. Also, a reminder for no mother to every feel guilty or feel they are not being a good mother especially when they are in pain – that is a normal reaction.
Certified as an IBCLC last year. Since she has 4 active kids, she is slowly building her practice, taking clients by word of mouth. She is enjoying being a stay at home mom and plans on working towards building her practice once her youngest begins school.
email: [email protected]
Lori J. Isenstadt, IBCLC
Lori Jill Isenstadt, IBCLC is a huge breastfeeding supporter. She has spent much of her adult life working in the maternal health field. Once she became turned on to birth and became a childbirth educator, there was no stopping her love of working with families during their childbearing years. Lori became a Birth doula and a Postpartum doula and soon became a lactation consultant. She has been helping moms and babies with breastfeeding for over 25 years. Lori founded her private practice, All About Breastfeeding where she meets with moms one on one to help solve their breastfeeding challenges. She is an international speaker, book author and the host of the popular itunes podcast, All About Breastfeeding, the place where the girls hang out. You can reach Lori by email at: [email protected] or contact her via her website: allaboutbreastfeeding.biz/contact
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