You Are Not Still Breastfeeding!

Blog Hop & Grand Prize

Thanks for hopping over from Monkey and Mouse and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt. It’s Day 5: Extended Breastfeeding.
We have over £700 worth of breastfeeding and baby goodies up for grabs including prizes from More4Mums providing a set of ‘Hot Milk’ Lingerie, a signed hardback limited edition copy of Milky Moments and a £30 voucher from Milk Chic
Full details of the Grand Prize can be found here and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

My Giveaways and Discount Code

MAM Baby UK , MulitMam, and BreastVest are celebrating World Breastfeeding Week 2015 with you and I today, and supporting my Keep Britain Scavenger Hunt Day 3 post with the following fab giveaways and discounts:
Breastvest | MAM Breastfeeding and Steriliser Set | MAM Breastfeeding Pads | a MultiMam New Mum Pack and Loyon | 50% discount on a MultiMam New Mum Pack and MultiMam balm with the code ‘aNoviceMum’

The Comments

“You look tired.”
“Yeah, difficult night feeding but I’m alright.”
“You are not still breastfeeding, are you?”

quick smiles and attempts to change the conversation

“Oh, he probably wants to feed now.”
“You are not still breastfeeding, are you?”

“God help you! How long are you going to breastfeed him for?”
“However long he wants.”
“How long will that be for?
“As long as he wants. I’d like to get to 2 years at least.”
“He’s not going to want to stop, he obviously enjoys it too much.
You want him to be still be breastfeeding when he is X years old?”
“If that’s what he wants. I read about someone who breastfeeds their 6 years old.”

I’m sure you can identify the bits that are my words and those that are not. I must say that these are not all exact quotes but they capture the essense of comments I’ve had from some colleagues, friends (including health professionals), and family, about my breastfeeding journey.

My decision to continue breastfeeding my baby as he grew some teeth and became a toddler seems to be problematic to some folks.

Goals

As I educated myself about breastfeeding in my attempt to make it through our difficulties, I formulated my breastfeeding goals. I learnt for example that WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, and up to 2 years AND BEYOND with appropriate solids.

At the start, I just wanted to exclusively breastfeed my baby like I did when we first latched. I worked my socks off to make this happen by around 3 months, with hours and hours of pumped milk top-ups. I then dared to reach for a 2 years goal. The more I said it, the more assured I felt that breastfeeding up to 2 years was what I wanted.

My breastfeeding group was encouraging as usual; the breastfeeding of toddlers is normal with them.

I remember some people saying that I’ll change my mind when my little man’s teeth started to grow. Indeed, the thought of getting bitten was scary. I remember feeling such relief, when I learnt a technique to deal with booby bites from my breastfeeding group. This eased my fear of breastfeeding as my baby’s teeth developed.

Even then, I remember watering down my desire to go on for 2 years, whenever I was questioned. I found myself responding that I might change my mind about my goal when I started breastfeeding with teeth. It made me feel less weird perhaps, about wanting to continue breastfeeding my child for so long.

My Reply

I haven’t really had the opportunity to respond to the comments about why I’m STILL breastfeeding; I dont’ think those who say it really want to know. Their tone tends to feel somewhat dismissive and sometimes mocking. It’s made me feel like a joke, like I’m doing something unusual … something that’s on the fringe.

Well, I’m letting out my thoughts now … responding … maybe even venting … as I find inspiration in the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt … for more of my written voice about breastfeeding, a subject that’s dear to me.

So, to all those who really want to know why I’m STILL breastfeeding, here is my response:

Why is it such a big deal that I want to continue breastfeeding?
Why did I ever feel a need to explain myself over and over and over again about this?
I know the breastfeeding rot I descended to and rose out of, those many months ago.
I know how hard I fought for my milk to be enough for my boy:

the herbal and prescribed meds, the hours of daily pumping, the broken sleep to pump even when my baby slept through the night …

I didn’t do all these to stop just because he’s now a toddler with teeth.

Is it not my bosom, my time, my interrupted sleep, my search for appropriate clothes? …
Who I’m I affecting by breastfeeding my little man for however long?
What’s the problem with me wanting to give my child this much of me as long as he wants it?

This … is part of how I love my child.

I’ve breastfed him one day at a time, sometimes from one feed to the next …
and it’s just added up to be almost 18 months and counting

How do I even stop, anyway?
I remember asking a friend about how she did.
It seems way too much hassle to let all that lovely milk go to waste if my little boy still wants it.

Actually, why should I stop?

Yes, I want to breastfeed to 2 years, and I’d be sad if he self weaned before, for a range of reasons I will explore later.
And don’t even start about how I’m doing it for me.
Really, … doing it for me?
You don’t even know the tenth of it.
But you’ll have to wait another day for my thoughts on this.

And what if I’m doing it for me?
It won’t be the first, for sure.
It’s definitely not the worst thing to do for oneself.
I mean, why did I even get pregnant in the first place?
For you?

The little man obviously still wants it.
Come hear him when he comes to me, saying ‘eat’, ‘eat’.
Come see him, when he turns down cow’s milk and insists on mine.
Come hear his screech when I say, ‘no’.

And you know what?
I’m curious about how long he’ll want to go for, anyway.

As for the impression that he’ll sleep through the night if I wasn’t breastfeeding him.
There is no guarantee, is there?

So, YES, I AM STILL BREASTFEEDING HIM,

AND I’M ALRIGHT WITH THAT!

I better stop now, so many thoughts going through my head, so much I’d like to write about this issue. I’m glad I’ve let these words out though. I know folks who have questioned me are not being malicious, in fact, they probably feel they’re being helpful. I also feel as I feel; quite strongly really.

~
What’s your experience and thoughts about so-called extended breastfeeding?
~


For more tips on how to dress to impress please hop on over to Odd Socks and Lollipops where you can gain further entries into the grand prize draw.
Remember you need to earn 50 points to be eligible, full details can be found on the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Site. UK residents only.

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aNoviceMum

Founder | Writer I Editor I Manager
First-time Mum / Freelance Writer / Thinker / Educator / Business graduate / Improving Photographer / so much more. \\ Recording my mu-m-sings from the South East of England | Sharing lessons from my life's journey to encourage and inspire | Filled with gratitude for my faith, family, and friends.

31 thoughts on “You Are Not Still Breastfeeding!

  1. I breastfed my son for 6 months, I intended to go longer but we went to South Africa for 5 weeks and it was really hot and uncomfortable to feed during the day, so he was only feeding at night. Then when we got back home he wasn’t interested in carrying on with day feeds, and gradually cut down on his night feeds by himself.
    Robyn Logan Clarke recently posted…Debenhams Style a T-shirtMy Profile

  2. im expecting twins and so looking forward to breastfeed them. im very excited to meet my babies and give them the very best xx

  3. Tandem nursing my 2 year old and 1 month old and it’s so much easier with the 2 year old! He asks in the most adorable way, me want bobbies with much fluttering of eyelashes 😀

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  5. I breastfed my little boy until he was 2 years 3 months. I openly fed him everywhere – with me being a short woman and him a tall toddler, we could not have gone unnoticed. But I never once had any negative remark or glance (that I ever saw) from anyone. What we were doing was completely natural and ‘normal’ and not a concern for anyone – maybe people picked up on that and left me alone. I don’t really remember anybody talking to me about breastfeeding ever, which seems quite odd now I think about it.

    • LOL 🙂 So lovely; what a treat. That’s how it should be Joanna. Natural and normal responses to natural and normal acts; sometimes talked about, other times not. I wonder if we pay too much attention to what others think sometimes, and then project our fears on them, and then ‘hear’ / ‘see’ them saying and doing things we interpret as being against us. A lot of people have too much on their plate to mind what someone else is up to. We should definitely feed our children when they need feeding, never mind where. 🙂

  6. Great post! We should not have to justify why we are ‘still’ breastfeeding! We are still feeding, it will be 20 months next week – and I hope to carry on for as long as Boo wants and for her to self wean when is right for her. I hope we make it to at least two years too =)
    I try to ignore comments and I have had the you should give up breastfeeding from everyone (except my husband) even healthcare professionals which is really disappointing!

    • It’s an interesting one really. The folks who made this comment to me most likely didn’t know how it made me feel and I didn’t tell them because I took it with a smile on the chin and tried to move the conversation on. I don’t even know if they’ll understand how I feel; I think they might feel I’m making a big deal out of nothing. O well … I’ve decided that I need to remind myself that I owe no one any justification for my decision to breastfeed until natural term, never mind what anyone says, nicely or meanly 🙂

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    • I don’t think it would Julie; I hadn’t thought about this (impact of breastfeeding as a lasting memory) until I read your comment. I’ve read a few blogs about ‘extended’ breastfed children commenting on being breastfed and it’s so lovely … okay, the ones I’ve read were not of teenage children. I think it’s a sweet memory to have been at one’s mother’s breast and to consider all the sacrifies and love that went into helping one to grow. I’ll probably explore this in a post sometime 🙂 Thanks for getting me thinking.

      • I bring up the point because it was my husband who said he woudlnt want to have that memory. But I’m sure it is different for others. I personally agree that it would be a sweet memory to have, but my mom and I are close and have never been awkward about body stuff.
        Julie recently posted…10 Lessons I Learned in LifeMy Profile

        • Yeah, it’ll be different for everyone. Perhaps ones current relationship with one’s mum will impact how one feels about it thinking back. Thanks so much for dropping by to comment again, really appreciated 🙂

  8. I expressed for 6 weeks with both my two children. Am hoping I will be able to breastfeed our next one due in December 🙂

  9. So lovely and so true. I’m aiming for 2 years too, and beyond that… who knows? Although I have been thinking about cutting down the feeds a bit lately. And the screeching when you say ‘no’ — we get that here too. I think sometimes people feel like you’re under some sort of pressure to keep feeding and they’re trying to make you feel like you don’t have to go on with it, but don’t realise how much extra pressure they’re piling on top of you. Either way, not helpful. #breastfeedingandI
    Alison recently posted…Weekly Meal Plan: 16/08/15 – 22/08/15My Profile

    • Who knows beyond our 2 year goal, hey! 🙂 Nice to know I’m not the only one that gets the screeching and screaming :-).

      I know no malice is meant with the comment but it’s not a nice feeling explaining your positive (which seems perceived as negative) choice again and again. I’d not even thought about the comment as a way of possibly making me feel that I didn’t have to carry on. I wonder if anyone ever feels they have to carry on. I mean, I know my little one wants me to, and I sometimes moan about particular feeds, but I wouldn’t if I didn’t want to.

      Now, you’ve got me thinking about this from another angle. Interesting really. 🙂

  10. Wow I’m totally blown away by how self-less you are – I only managed two months with mine as I found the responsibility was overwhelming – I piled so much pressure on myself and had to take a step back for my emotional well-being. What I find fascinating is that no one said to me “oh so you’re already bottle feeding?” But people find it ok to ask “oh so you’re still breastfeeding?” It is down to personal choice and preference and people should just accept other people’s parenting choices without questioning them. Well done for persevering – it is so hard and I totally understand why you wouldn’t just want to give it up after investing so much into it 🙂
    Becky recently posted…Must We Judge?My Profile

    • Awwww … thanks so much for your lovely and touching comment. I understand the weight of the overwhelming responsibility and securing our emotional well-being is essential for our mothering.

      Really interesting point, you’ve made about the bottle-feeding comment. I might just explore it in a future post. Breastfeeding is definitely a positive parenting choice that ought not to be as baffling as it seems to so many.

      Thanks for understanding too 🙂

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