So what does breastfeeding beyond a year mean to me?
Well before I gave birth to Cherry it was something that I never dreamt of doing.
I always knew I was going to breastfeed but I did share the view of Mr C (and many others) that doing it when your baby was walking and talking was just ‘weird’.
Cherry took to the boob like a duck to water. The boob fixed everything and there was never any substitute. We tried dummies and bottles thinking that it wasn’t normal for her to want to feed all the time but when she would spit them out like they were poison I quickly realised that actually for her it was normal to feed so often. My boob was more than food, it was her comfort and after being pulled into the world with a big metal pair of salad tossers, maybe she needed that comfort, and I became fine / started to love the fact that I was the only one she wanted.
As we approached her first birthday we were still going strong with the breastfeeding and I couldn’t imagine a time when she would ever stop. I started getting lots of people asking me whether I was ‘STILL breastfeeding’ and Mr C told me that he thought I should stop.
I started questioning whether I should carry on, I didn’t want to do it without his support and I didn’t want people to think we were ‘weird’ but I knew deep down that we weren’t ready to stop. It didn’t feel weird to me, it didn’t feel any different to how it did when she was a newborn. As I usually do with these things, I wrote a blog post about it and the responses I got made me really determined to carry on, the WHO actually recommend doing it for two years anyway and that was what spurred me on to continue regardless of what anyone thought. I started to read Mr C lots of information about extended breastfeeding and how it wasn’t that abnormal, it was just that you didn’t see it much as most people did it indoors.
Around this time Cherry caught her first stomach bug and was really ill. She couldn’t eat and wouldn’t accept anything except my boob. It was at this point Mr C accepted that me still breastfeeding her was actually a good thing.
We carried on then for the next few months and I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t always plain sailing. We had days where if we were at home she would ask for it ALL DAY and I did start to worry that she would NEVER stop but I needn’t have worried because when she was 18 months old, I had been in London for a day and didn’t get back till she was in bed. The next day I had been doing college work all day and before we knew it there had been two days since her last feed. We had stopped without either of us realising it.
So that was my experience of breastfeeding when your baby is no longer a baby. We didn’t even reach the age of two in the end but it was the right time for us to stop.
I know a lot of people have very strong opinions about breastfeeding full stop, let alone doing it when the baby is walking and talking but I do have a point that I would like to make. No-one thinks anything of three year olds still drinking milk out of bottles when really what they are doing is no different to drinking milk out of the boob. You only have to look at bottle advertising and it is full of quotes about it being ‘just like the breast’. Young children like sucking, dummies and bottles have been made as alternatives to the boob, it’s fine if people choose to use them but don’t view the original model as being ‘weird’!
I will tell you something I find weird though, lots of people land on this blog from typing ‘women breastfeeding their men’ and other similar things into Google. THAT IS WEIRD!!
And now I am breastfeeding again, Tiger is three months old and I have been so much more relaxed about everything. I am not even going to question when we will stop because I know at some point we will!
Here are some more of my breastfeeding posts…
I wrote a post about my top breastfeeding tips.
The story of how I stopped breastfeeding Tiger.