Today, as part of a post swap, The Leaky Boob is graced with the presence of Mamapoekie. We hope you enjoy her story. Please share any thoughts, stories of your own or questions you may have in the comments below. It is our hope that our guest posters would give us food for thought and stimulate active conversations. Visit Authentic Parenting to read more of Mamapoekie's thoughts and to read my guest post over there today. Enjoy!
How I Became an Extended Breastfeeder
I am still breastfeeding my 21 month old daughter. Shocking, right? I know I would have been if somebody would have told me the like two years ago.
I always knew I would breastfeed my children. Yet never ever did I think about for how long. I think I always kind of assumed that breastfeeding went up to six months and then just naturally stopped. That’s what media and society has led us to believe anyway.
I had occasionally heard stories of women breastfeeding teething babies and six-year olds… I found that quite quirky, to say the least, even a bit scary maybe.
So there I was in the hospital. I had just given birth to this perfect little creature. Very much in love, a little light headed maybe, in awe of that little person in my arms, when my OB walked in and said I had to breastfeed for at least a year. I had gestational diabetes and breastfeeding that long would seriously diminish my daughter’s chances of developing diabetes herself.
A year seemed like a huge lapse of time, but would I risk that beautiful little girl’s health because I felt queasy? Certainly not.
So I set off with that in mind. One year. I talked to my family and friends about it and everybody found it – as I had – quite long. But if my doctor said so… I had the time anyway, because I was a stay at home mom, so it was worth the shot.
I breastfed through teething, through travelling and moving to another country. I breastfed on planes, in cars, while cueing, with the baby in the sling... I breastfed at night and during the day. I breastfed when she got her teeth (she now has a full set of them), I nursed along snarky comments and ignorance. But I would make it to a year.
Somewhere along that first year I got connected to fellow breastfeeders and learned a great deal about parenting and breastfeeding. The most spectacular thing being that it is in fact recommended to breastfeed up to two years!
Through the nursing relationship, I also learned a lot. I found out that setting an age limit to breastfeeding is quite arbitrary. I also learned quite quickly that breastfeeding isn’t just about feeding your child. It’s about comforting, mothering, loving them to the depths of your core. And that weaning is a developmentally milestone that has to be reached, from both sides. It is about growing up for the child and about letting go for the mother. Now I hope it may last for quite some time, for I know it will break a little piece of my heart when she will be over and done with.
This is my story, please tell me yours. For how long were you planning to breastfeed, how long did you end up doing and what influenced you?
Mamapoekie is a mother and a wife. She was born in Belgiuim and travels the world with her expat family. They are currently living in Ivory Coast. Mamapoekie blogs about attachment parenting, unschooling, natural childbirth, natural living and many other topics at Authentic Parenting. She also has a fanpage on Facebook.