Sunday, June 24, 2012

Extended Breastfeeding

I will admit...I used to be one of those people who thought breastfeeding a toddler was very strange. I still think it is odd to bf past age 2, but that's just my opinion and that too could change. Now that I am a breastfeeding mom, I understand extended breastfeeding. It is such an incredible thing to be able to make the perfect food for your growing child with your own body. It is such an amazing, unparalleled bond with your child. It is so convenient to have food for your child with you wherever you may be!! Forgot the snacks at home? Oh well. Here, have some milk. Before my daughter was born, my goal was to exclusively breastfeed for 12 months. Once I had her, I changed it to 6 months because it was pure hell for me for 8 weeks straight! After we got past that rough couple months I could see myself making my original goal. I still had a few days here and there that made me want to quit but I knew it was the very best thing for my daughter and I was determined to keep going. I am very proud to say that we made it through the first year and I am now planning on going til 18 months! :) I actually feel now that I will miss it when it's over. I am so happy that I gave my daughter something that will help her for her entire life. I give the credit to breast milk for her being so healthy. I have had people tell me that I need to start weaning her or ask me, "You're still nursing her?" I am proud to tell them, "Yes I am!" even if they think I shouldn't be. She is MY child and I will do what I think is best for her no matter what others think or pressure me to do.

For those of you who want to breastfeed longer for a year (or for any amount of time, more or less!) and don't have the support of your family and not give up! You can find supportive friends online. You can find supportive resources in your community such as WIC. It makes it more challenging, but you will be so glad you stuck with it. If you need to stop for some reason, don't be hard on yourself. As long as you TRIED, that is better than never giving it a chance.

UPDATE: Zoey is now 15 months old and we are still breastfeeding!  I plan to start weaning her from daytime feedings soon but continue to nurse her before bed and when she wakes up in the morning. 