Friday, November 5, 2010

Extended Breastfeeding

I realize that I'm not in the majority with my feelings regarding breastfeeding, much less extended breastfeeding.  Heck, I realize that anytime I'm in a group of women who start talking about breastfeeding.  Even with out opening my mouth and telling our breastfeeding stories (really, that's what they are.  They are tales of our breastfeeding highs and lows.) I know that most people are uncomfortable with the thought of breastfeeding past a year.

Take yesterday.  I was in a group of moms, some of them very new moms (meaning with brand new, fresh babies.)  Zeke wasn't interested in eating his crackers or drinking out of his sippy cup.  I glanced at the time and realized it had been a while since he nursed.  Generally, he doesn't like to eat table foods or drink water until after he nurses.  So, I found a seat and nursed him.  There were several "my baby" comments.  Some of them I related to (like, "my son was too busy to nurse in public."  That was SO A when he was a baby.) and some that I struggle to find a common ground with (generally, giving up on breastfeeding after very little to no effort.  I'm not saying its wrong, its just hard for me to understand.)

In conversation, I mentioned that A was a very hard baby to nurse in public, but that he nursed until he was 2.  The looks I received made me try to rationalize it and say things like "but only at home" or "only before bed". 

Why is it that I feel the need to do this?  What makes it so taboo to nurse past 12 months?  What is so special about that 12th month that mother's feel the need to sever a relationship that has many benefits?  I know some people are really just trying to make it to the recommended 12 months, because its a struggle in some manner- allergies, babies who are ready to wean, etc.  I'm not talking about mothers that are in those situations.  I am referring to those who are still enjoying breastfeeding, as is the baby.  It makes me sad that some of these women feel pressured to wean.  With I being 10.5 months old, I can't imagine giving up breastfeeding in 1.5 months just because other people give me dirty looks.

As for me and my baby, I'm feeling blessed that I can overlook the glances and comments and continue doing what is best for us.  I'm feeling blessed that I enjoy breastfeeding.  I'm feeling blessed that Zeke still enjoys/needs some old fashioned milk from his momma.  I'm feeling blessed that its been an easy road for us this time around (oh, the troubles I had with O and A! I mention those troubles only so you don't think I had it easy peasy every time.)  and I can relax and enjoy our transition into extended breastfeeding.

So, I lift my bra cup in salute to another year, (hopefully) of Zeke enjoying the milk bar!


Dawn said...

Everyone has got an opinion on breastfeeding it seems. Each mom does what they feel is best for their little ones & that's what's right for them. But I do understand your difficulty with those woman who refuse to give it a good try & will use a million excuses instead of just saying it wasn't for them. I am so happy it has been easier for you this time around. I'm hoping my next one is!!!

d e v a n said...

Well, you know I'm one of those just struggling to hang on till a year! I am desperately hoping to make it longer, but yeah, the comments! the longest I've made it was 14 months and the comments I got were terrible - my family was the worst!

Gretchen said...

I started to write a post very similar to this one on my blog but didn't get very far. You took the words right outta my mouth! I nursed my daughter for almost 22 months but joked that we started weaning at 1 year. It was crazy that I even began considering weaning at her first birthday as she (and I) were nowhere near ready. I am glad I stuck to my guns and continued on as long as I did. We were both ready at 22 months. Fortunately my husband and my mom were very supportive. Thanks for letting me share. I never comment on blogs but couldn't resist encouraging you here!

Mommy Daisy said...

I have big issues nursing my son. I wanted desperately for it to work perfectly. It did not. There were physical problems. I was only able to do it for 4 months. I truly mourned that loss.

So next time (I'm praying there will be another baby soon), I will do everything in my power to make breastfeeding go perfectly. And when it does, I will definitely nurse as long as possible. I plan to do extended breastfeeding for as long as we can make it happen.

I commend you for being able to do that. It's a wonderful thing!

Stacey said...

I so feel your pain.

Breastfeeding was such a challenge with #1 I set goals of 3 then 6 then 12 months. I made it 14 with him. When #2 came along I wanted to "give" him the same opportunity. Who know how different two kids could be. He turned 18 months a few days ago and we are just now weaning him. He was so much harder to wean but I think I am not as motivated as some and am trying to hold on to my last baby. Good luck, i admire those that nurse their babies.