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At seven months, my son was happily guzzling his nights away at "Mom's Diner." One day I was at a playgroup with him when one of the mothers, her hair perfectly coiffed and fingernails freshly manicured, announced proudly to the group that she had weaned her seven month old baby and was delighted to get her body back. In contrast, there I was: still nursing on demand, sleep deprived, hair messy, and instead of losing weight, gaining it. While as an API leader I now believe that all parents make these choices according to the unique needs of their family, and that one doesn't have to breastfeed to be attached, the feelings this mom aroused in me at the time were not the warm fuzzies.
Fast forward: At eighteen months my son regressed, and for two very scary years we didn't know why he'd lost all speech and eye contact. It took us two years to find a doctor who understood what was going on. My son's condition was the result of an autoimmune disease of the gut. He was put on a gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free diet, and we got our son back onto a normal developmental path. He rapidly caught up with his peers and self-weaned one week before his fifth birthday.
Now, at eleven years of age, my son is indistinguishable from other kids in spite of chronic inflammatory bowel disease and the resulting severe allergies. I feel certain that what helped protect his brain and body from devastating injury were the rich nutrients and immune factors in my breast milk. Had I weaned him, I strongly doubt my son could have made his miraculous recovery from pervasive developmental delays.
No matter what parenting choices you make, following your heart can be daunting. And that's why we are here for you![/b]