5 Things | Extended Breastfeeding

With all the help, advice and un-needed pressure in media to breastfeed, you don't have to look far to find the benefits but there is shockingly little information for mamas when it comes to claiming back your boobies. Without needing to stop due to returning to work and Ivy's fully-fledged milk addiction still apparent, I have been happy to continue breastfeeding her well past her first birthday despite an underlying anxiety towards feeling I am the only one still at it.

Here are some gentle reminders (to myself more than anyone!) as to why we shouldn't feel ashamed and/or guilty for extending breastfeeding:

1. Nutritional Value
By this age, it is proved that baba's don't need boob juice but that doesn't mean it's not good for them. Just like the early days, the milk is designed specifically for them yet this magic milk has altered over time for it to remain relevant in your childs diet.

2. It's OK If You're The Only One
Having never been a part of a large group of new mama's I think I have been lucky enough to skip the constant comparisons and have just gone with our own flow throughout the whole parenting thing and feeding has been no exception. Most of my mama friends struggled to breastfeed so I was a lone feeder from the start but that never put me off so why should I feel crazy different now? It wasn't until I recently discovered that one of my amazingly lovely neighbour's is still feeding her 17mo son that I realised I am obviously NOT the only one and actually over on the contintent it is totally normal to still be breastfeeding at this age.

Due to solids in the diet, these kids are obviously going to need far less milk than tinys which is why it's less likely that you're going to spot an older baba out and about breastfeeding, and with 18 months mega experience these mama's are also pro at quick and discreet feeds - note to self.

3. Comfort
Right from the start, I've allowed Ivy to comfort feed. When she cries, her oxygen levels can decline pretty rapidly and so it was a sure way to get her to calm down and the regular suckling motion always got her SATS back on track. When she's poorly, I am so grateful I've continued as sometimes a hug doesn't cut it when you're feeling shit.

4. Cost
In the costly event of raising small humans, every little helps. This certainly isn't a reason why I have continued to breastfeed but it is a convenient benefit.

5. Stop when it suits you and your baby
I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about stopping for my own sanity but realistically, neither of us are quite ready to stop just yet. There is nothing more distressing than forcing a tired mama or baby that knows no better into something that it just isn't time for and peer/media pressure should be the last thing to trigger a mama's decision to stop. Lots of babies self-ween, but most importantly all of them stop at some point - the right point. I have weened Ivy off day time feeds and I know once we've cracked her terrible sleeping that that's when she will be naturally weened off completely. Not that you should care ;)