Being a breastfeeding mom in today’s world is absolutely hard at times. Not only do you have to deal with all the hardships that already go hand-in-hand with the act in itself, but you have to hear everyone’s opinions, especially if you go for extended breastfeeding.
When you first start your breastfeeding journey everyone can be so understanding. They may even congratulate you for your decision. But as you continue breastfeeding there are many who think they know better.
There are those who will say “why don’t you just pump and have them drink from a bottle” or “aren’t they a little too old for that??” or my favorite ” isn’t it awkward that your child is that big and you’re still breastfeeding?”
I’ve had my fair share of mean remarks throughout my breastfeeding journey, but guess what? I DON’T CARE. It’s my body, my baby, MY decision.
I never thought I would be one for extended breastfeeding
To be completely honest with you, I was one of those people who thought ‘yeah, I’ll just breastfeed until a year old and then be done with it.’ And then I had my daughter. We reached the six-month point, and then one year, and neither of us was ready to give it up. So guess what? We extended breastfeeding.
Although I did have to limit it due to being pregnant again, we didn’t stop. Wanna know why?? I’ll tell you!
For my daughter, breastfeeding was her comfort. It was her nutrition on days she didn’t feel like eating much. It was a way for her to get some mommy time after a hectic day of running errands and daily chores.
For me, it was being able to still give her that comfort and one-on-one time she needed. I wanted to be able to still give her nutrition she needed. And if she happened to get sick, breastfeeding was what helped lessen the toll it took on her.
We, as mothers, want to be able to provide what our children need. And in the extended breastfeeding situation, I was giving her what she needed. No, I didn’t choose to do extended breastfeeding for my own benefit because believe me, I wanted my body back to myself at times. I did it because I wanted to provide her with what she wanted and needed.
Why does there have to be an age limit?
I really don’t know why so many people have this whole idea of why there needs to be a cut-off age of when a child should be done breastfeeding.
In many countries, there are children who are breastfed until the age of four and it’s perfectly normal. But in many places, there is such a stigma around just breastfeeding an infant in public that it makes mothers almost embarrassed to even admit that they extended breastfeeding past one year.
But trust me, if that’s what you decide it’s not something to be ashamed of at all!! You are providing your baby with such an amazing substance of high nutritional value that can’t be recreated! You are giving them what they need!
According to WHO (World Health Organization) recommendations, they state mothers should exclusively breastfeed infants for the child’s first six months to achieve optimal growth, development, and health. Thereafter, they should be given nutritious complementary foods and continue breastfeeding up to the age of two years or beyond.
See that?? TWO years or beyond!! If they recommend extended breastfeeding up to two years or beyond there is no harm in continuing past a year no matter what anyone has to say.
Ignore the ignorance
There are so many people out there who have such cruel opinions on breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding, yet they don’t even have children! Don’t allow their comments to make you feel ashamed for trying to provide your child with what they need.
I love my breastfeeding journey with my daughter, and even though some people thought different, I didn’t let it get to me. And I am SO glad I didn’t allow their opinions to stop me from doing what I felt was right.
I am currently breastfeeding my seven-month-old son as well and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon unless of course, he decides otherwise.
If you are a breastfeeding mother and you want to continue it past a year, do it! Don’t second-guess yourself. If you feel like you and your baby aren’t ready to give it up, keep going.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with providing your baby with your liquid gold. It has SOO many benefits that that completely out-weigh any opinion anyone else may have. Plus it’s completely natural. Our bodies were meant to nourish our little ones, so why deprive them of it??
Whether you decide to only breastfeed for the first few weeks, few months, or for the first few years of your baby’s life, don’t give it up just because someone doesn’t agree with it. Do what you feel you and your baby need.
I know extended breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, and that’s perfectly fine. But please, please don’t stop because of someone else’s view on it. After all, you are the one in charge of your body, you know what your baby wants, and YOU are the one who gets to decide.
So momma’s, what are your opinions on extended breastfeeding?? I’d love to hear!! 🙂