Crazy Breast Feeding Ladies
About a year ago when Annabelle was just a few weeks old I had a conversation about breastfeeding. I was sitting in my rocker nursing my newborn baby and was asked how long I was going to breast feed. “If all goes well I hope to do it for a year”. At that time that was my plan and the person I was talking to said something along the lines of “good, I know that some crazy people breastfeed for much longer than that and it’s creepy”. I laughed and agreed and repeated that I’d only do it for a year. Annabelle is now 13 months and I nurse on demand on the weekends and whenever else I’m home and during the week I still pump once a day (down from an exhausting 3 times a day) and nurse her before bedtime. I guess I’m crazy and creepy.
I’ve been getting a lot of slack about breastfeeding lately. Even my mom asked if I was planning on breastfeeding until Annabelle was 18. Well, if there was a benefit for her I just might pump until she’s 18. These are my thoughts on the subject: it’s my body, my baby, my decision. If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. That’s the route I take when I get unwanted comments about breastfeeding. I don’t go around telling moms that choose formula that they’re making a mistake and I expect the same courtesy.
There’s an argument to stop breastfeeding at any age. Doctors will tell you that 3 months is fine and the baby got all they needed and are ok to move on to formula. If you want to stop at 6 months you’ll find people that will tell you that 6 months is plenty of breast milk and it’s ok and most will tell you that 1 year is plenty and they can move on to cow milk. You will find the research to back up what you want to find. I thought I’d breast feed for a year and that was plenty and I’ve heard several times from my pediatrician that it’s ok to stop breastfeeding if I want to. I thought for sure that 1 year must be the best amount, that seems to be the magic number for most people. I heard so many times that there was no need for breast milk past the age of 1 that I did what I usually do and did my research. After all I would love to feel like my body is mine again! I’m also thankful for the support I got from friends when I was prepared to throw in the towel at 1 year.
If you think about it, if breast milk is the perfect food and it’s full of vitamins and all good things why wouldn’t it be beneficial to keep going? Especially when you have a toddler who enjoys throwing her food to the dogs or hiding it under her bottom. I don’t have to worry as much about what’s actually making it into Annabelles belly because I know she’s getting plenty of exactly what she needs from breast milk. I’m not knocking moms who breastfed for 1 year, 6 months or 3 months. Every little bit of breast milk counts and any breast milk is awesome and we all make the best decisions for ourselves and our families. If it’s no longer enjoyable for you and your loved one there’s no point in continuing. So if I want to nurse and pump past 12 months that’s the best decision for me and my family. Will I breast feed for 2 years? I don’t know. I’ll keep doing it as long as my body continues to produce milk and as long as I believe it to be the best choice for me.
If you don’t agree with it and you feel it’s your duty to tell us extended breastfeeders that it’s time to quit please at least do your research. Here’s my research:
The AAP (American Association of Pediatrics) recommends continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant.
WHO (World Health Organization) Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.
La Leche League will even tell you that the longer the baby receives human milk, the greater are the benefits. They even give you tips on how to avoid and respond to criticism about extended breast feeding. Maybe I should have read that earlier so I could have responded to the comments, but I avoid conflict like the plague and would much rather grin and bear it, especially now that I have a blog as an outlet to vent.
On Kelly Mom you can find more research supporting and recommending extended breast feeding.
Whatever choice you make is fine.I’m not by any stretch of the imagination trying to tell you how long to breast feed. The point I’m trying to make here is that we all have different lifestyles and different needs. If you’re going to knock someone for doing something that you don’t agree with, like extended breastfeeding or a nursing mom having an occasional drink, just know the facts.
As moms we get unsolicited advice all the time. It might be about breast feeding, food choices, potty training, discipline or unwanted sleeping solutions. What is some unsolicited advice you’ve gotten that has gotten you all wound up?