Monday, August 1, 2011

Why I Choose Extended Breastfeeding

Everleigh is now almost 14 months old, and still nursing. It's our special time to bond after a long day apart, to comfort after a tumble, to slow down from all the silliness and look each other in the eyes. I love breastfeeding her, and while it's occasionally inconvenient, I am so glad I stuck with.

Now that Everleigh's past the age of one, I'm starting to get the "when are you going to wean?" question, along with the raised eyebrows and the "you're STILL nursing?" looks.

You know what? I AM still nursing. Because there are proven health benefits for mom and baby. Because Everleigh still wants to. Because I still want to. Because it's frankly not anyone's business.

I think it's interesting that people get really iffy about nursing past 12 months, when the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatric both support nursing past 12 months or as long as it is desirable to the mother and child. The WHO actually recommends until the age of 3.

How come we're so comfortable giving our babies a tall glass of cow's milk. Milk that literally was pumped out of a female cow's tit. Everyone's cool with that, like it's not the least bit weird. And then when it comes to nursing, suddenly everyone's got the willies?

I really can't say how long I'll keep nursing Ev. I've tentatively thought until the age of 2 or whenever she decides she is ready to stop. I agree that I don't want her coming home from kindergarten and wanting to nurse, but nursing AND weaning are natural processes and you have to have confidence in letting those processes do their thing. Hopefully when the time comes to wean, she will know and I will follow her lead.


Jenny Burnett said...

My girls both self weaned. One at about 26 months and the other somewhere around 27 or 28. By the time they stopped they were nursing very infrequently. Once a day for a while and then not even that at the end. They were both great at communicating and we talked about it when they stopped. I now have two strong healthy girls, that have a great realationship with their parents!

amira said...

Good for you mama! I'd actually be impressed if I saw anyone breastfeed a toddler (everyone I know stopped around 12 months). Personally, I was so relieved when Aiman self weaned at 10 MONTHS (so weird), but he had a bad latch that got only a little better so it was painful to nurse and I hated pumping, but preferred it to nursing. Things are easier with Manaal, so I'll take her lead on when to wean.

My mom breastfeed me until I was around 3 years old and the only reason she stopped was because my sister was born!

Again, good for you and Ev :)