If you’d have asked me twenty four months ago, just a few days after babe had been born; if I would still be breastfeeding her now, I’m pretty sure it would be been a firm and load resounding ‘NO’. I was not aware of that it was an option, let alone any of the benefits that it offered – never mind the fact that the World Health Organization recommends BFing up till two years old.
For me this journey has been evolutionary, the finish line has continually moved further and further away as we’ve crept towards an end date that we’d set up in our minds. First it was, just get the hang of it – definitely the early days were the hardest. If you’re going through this now and are thinking ‘wow that’s amazing’ – trust me it’s not. What you are doing around the clock in the early days is the impressive most difficult bit. As time goes on, rather that it being something that is hard work, although totally satisfying knowing you are giving your bay the best start in life, and a great excuse to actually sit down and have a rest; it becomes the lazy option – the easy way to solve a toddler tantrum, a bumped head, a bit of hunger or thurst when there is no food/drink in the handbag, a sleeping drug, a poorly in the night soother….the list goes on.
It’s not been an easy journey, as I alluded to above; the first months were the toughest – all about technique and managing the frequency and tiredness. Then after six months, you start to face the challenges of people asking when you are going to give up. I realized that going back to work didn’t mean an end; it took me a while of being totally beside myself with sadness, to realize that this was an option.
The moving goal post
After I’d gone back to work at six months, I set a new goal of one year. And then the target was to give up before going on a business trip at about 14 months. I was so upset to think still that we would have to give up at this point, as a working mother; this seemed such an important thing for me to offer my child. After many bucket loads of tears and eventual research on the web, it dawned on me, that I wanted babe to make the choice – to self wean. I didn’t want this to come to an end, and there were just too many pros are for carrying on. People with any sense of rationality, wouldn’t stand a cat in hells chance of arguing this with me.
Thankyou to the La Leche Legue
It was a lady at the local La Leche Legue in Oakhampton that really turned it around for me. We would not be hitting this milestone today without her. She made me realize that it is possible, and there are many mothers out there that do continue to feed their babies into toddlerdom, but often they are ‘closet breast feeders’.
I confess, there is no ‘closet’ thing going on with us, we are brazen and bold. If babe won’t settle in the supermarket, I’ll quite happily nurse her in the freezer isle.
So where next? There is no definitive finishing line anymore, that’s up to babe. In fact, did you know that the average age of weaning globally is four years old – even I was surprised by this figure.
Here are my final thoughts…
- Don’t let western perceived norms stop you making the choice that’s right for you and your baby
- Don’t let people who aren’t educated on the topic tell you what to do and what not to do
- If you’re thinking about extended breastfeeding, do the research and be ready to fire the arguments back to people who question your choice
- Contact your local La Leche Legue – this has to be the best thing I did in my whole bfing journey
- For a book, read Norman Jane Bumgarners, ‘Mothering Your Nursing Toddler’
Maybe you’ve got an experience of extended breastfeeding to share? Maybe some more advice?
- Extended Breastfeeding-Toddler Nursing (momblognetwork.com)