When I was pregnant with Rose I knew that I wanted to breastfeed her as I did Lewis and Holly. At the time my goal was to exclusively feed her until she was 6 months old when we would start the baby led weaning process.
Rose is now 17 months old and still breastfeeding. I didn't imagine that I would still be feeding her now but here I am. I actually know quite a few people in real life and other blogging mummys that have continued their breastfeeding journey and are now at the point of extended breastfeeding. We've been through the usual feeding dilemmas as well as the rashes that sometimes come with feeding babies. I have a friend who shares lots of amazing info about cmpa milk rash which might be helpful for anyone struggling with that. You can read about Kate's post about CMPA milk rash if you're struggling with that.
It is hard work but very rewarding and Rose and I share such a special bond that I think I will find difficult to give up. Rose is my last baby so I suppose part of me is holding on and enjoying continuing to breastfeed because I'm not quite ready to let it go, but the other part of me is wants to stop but I don't know how to.
That last statement might sound odd but it's not a case of simply not breastfeeding Rose any longer. She is at an age where she wants her 'mummy milk' and will scream the place down if she doesn't get it! Unless she's poorly or hurt herself, I usually only feed her first thing in the morning and last thing at night after her bath but those morning feeds seem to be when she needs it most and she has a long feed cuddled up to me in bed before we begin our day.
I know some people think breastfeeding a toddler is a bit gross or weird even and I really can't get my head around that. I know it's been said before but I wish we lived in a society where it's just normal. I must have been lucky as I've had a very positive experience, both my older children don't bat an eye and Justin is very supportive of me breastfeeding and always has been. I also think he's really grateful that he's never had to do a single night feed! The last time I had to feed Rose in public was a couple of months ago on a train back from London, she was so over tired and wouldn't stop crying and the only thing I could do to settle her was to feed her. I didn't get any funny looks which I was very relieved about but I suppose really I shouldn't have worried what any one thought and it's nobody's business how I decide to feed my baby anyway!
I don't know when is the 'right' age to stop breastfeeding because all babies are so very different and I have friends who's babies have self weaned at around 18 months. I'm hoping that Rose will give it up in her own time so that I don't have to take it away from her but when that will be I don't know. I'd love to hear your experiences on this so please do comment below if you have advice or anything to share.
A few thoughts on breastfeeding a toddler:
- Be careful when you're out in public, they might pull down your top and ask for 'booby' (embarassing!)
- Watch out for cues that they are finished a feed or you might get bitten (this has happened to me once ouch)
- The quickest and easiest way to soothe crying from a fall or tantrum is to whip out the boob
- If your house hold comes down with an illness (recently Lewis and Holly had winter vomiting bug) chances are baby won't get it because you pass on your immunity
- Not having to get up in the morning and have an extra half hour snooze time while they feed
- You will save a lot of money not having to buy formula!
I have nothing against mums who formula feed one iota. I hate the whole breastfeeding versus formula argument. As long as you feed your baby some form of milk and keep them alive that's all I care about! I also don't believe that unless you breastfeed you have that 'special bond' what I mean by that is I love the way I feel when I'm feeding her and the closeness of it. Just wanted to put that out there!