Saturday, June 26, 2010

You're STILL breastfeeding?

That is the question many moms get asked when they nurse their baby past the age 1, and sadly, sometimes after 6 months of age.  There are so many opinions out there about when a mother should quit breastfeeding.  Several I've heard have been "when the baby has teeth", or "when she can ask for it", or even ages, 4 months, 6 months, a year.

"You're still breastfeeding?"

As an extended-breastfeeding mom, I have encountered this question multiple times, its a fact of life when you don't follow the norm of weaning your child early in their infancy.  Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend breastfeeding until the age of 2 (TWO!) or BEYOND as long as it is mutually desired by the mother and child.  2 years of age.  Not 6 months, not 1 year. Not when they have teeth (some babies get teeth at 3-4 months, before their intestines are mature enough for anything but breast milk). Not when they can ask for it.  (Aren't they asking for it when they are newborns and cry because they are hungry?) Two years, or longer.

Unfortunately society makes mothers who follow this recommendation and continue to nurse and nurture their toddler ashamed of it, embarrassed about it.  It can be hard enough for mothers to nurse their newborns and infants in public, even harder once the baby isn't little anymore and people view it as inappropriate to still be breastfeeding.  Even though I am confident about breastfeeding in public, even though I am confident in my decision to continue breastfeeding my toddler, I get nervous when she asks to nurse when we are out. (She asks by either patting my chest or saying "nurse" which in her cute baby voice is more like "nuss") I wonder what people think and sometimes feel self conscious. Recently on Facebook I saw several comments from people about a news segment on breastfeeding.  One of them was " breastfeed a baby past a year?! WTH is wrong with these people?!" (WTH meaning "what the hell".)  Comments like those are what make mothers ashamed of doing what is best for their baby. Comments like those are what can make an experienced, confident mother like myself feel self conscious about her decision to breast feed her 16 month old daughter.

Despite doubting myself sometimes I will still continue to do it.  Why? I want to normalize extended breastfeeding.  I hope that other moms of toddlers who still nurse see me nursing my toddler in public and realize its not something that should be hidden away in shame.  I want people who haven't been exposed to breastfeeding, or extended breastfeeding to see me and realize that its not unnatural and its not gross, and that normal people do it too, that there is nothing "wrong" with people who breastfeed their children past the age of 1. 

So yes.  I am still breastfeeding.  Thank you for asking.


Thank you for posting this. I have an almost 6 month old and when she got her first two teeth (she was 3.5 months!) people reacted with disbelief that I was still breastfeeding her. I couldn't believe it. My daughter still needed my milk and I wasn't going to switch to formula and abandon our bfing relationship. Nor was I going to pump and give her bottles when I can get it much easier from the source (not to mention I don't pump as much as she gets when she's eating).

No one has said anything recently, thankfully. But I've been working on a good comebacks when she starts teething again. And since I plan on doing "extended" breastfeeding.
I found your blog, while on the CD babycenter site. I am currently breastfeeding my 10 month old. I plan on going for as long as I can. However, I do feel a little embarrassed. I get looks now when I nurse in public, but I can't even imagine the looks I'll get when she is older. I am confident in my decision when talking to my hubby. But, when talking to other people they think I'm crazy. I wish people would be more open minded and stop judging, when I (and other breastfeeding mamas) am trying to do what is best for my baby.
Thank you for your comment birthingmama! Its always nice to get feedback and know that I'm helping somebody. :)

dhartstock, Thanks for checking out my blog, I hope you enjoy it! Good job and making it to 10 months and you're making an awesome choice to continue! I know its easier said than done but try not to be embarrassed, like you said, you are doing what is best for your little baby! The people giving you looks and judging you are the ones who should be embarrassed!

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...