Let's Talk About Extended Breastfeeding!
Let’s talk about extended breastfeeding!
This is a subject I feel that isn’t spoken about enough, whenever I’m searching for extended breastfeeding articles and websites to read up on, I almost draw a blank and find little to nothing.
We all want to normalize breastfeeding, it’s the most natural thing in the world. But why are we not talking about extended breastfeeding too?!
Extended breastfeeding is when you continue to breastfeed your baby beyond their first year.
It is recommended by WHO and UNICEF that for the first six months of their lives, children should be exclusively breastfed. After that, they can begin to eat actual foods while still continuing to be breastfed for up to the next two years, as well as beyond!
But despite this, many women are made to feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding a toddler or preschooler in public--even though your child would then be getting most of their nutrition from solid food. Breastmilk still provides immunity from some illnesses after one year of age, as well as nutrients and vitamins.
Just like the early days in breastfeeding, extended breastfeeding can also have its challenges.
Hearing nasty comments about you nursing an older child or the criticism people sometimes feel the need to share may knock your confidence in nursing an older child. This may result in you becoming embarrassed when your child asks for a snack/drink while out in public. But you should never feel ashamed, it’s completely natural!
Your child may start to rely on your breast when they’re just bored, or as a way to get your attention, but toddlers are easy to distract so this shouldn’t ever be a major set back. The issues you face during your extended breastfeeding years will be nothing compared to the early days--once you’ve cracked the early stage, you're set to go!
I’m currently two years in, my youngest turned two in December and we’re currently still nursing. I have no intention of putting a stop to our journey, weaning him off, or anything like that, I’m happy to wait it out and continue until he self-weans. I plan to have another baby soon, my other half and I have just started trying for our next baby, and if my youngest doesn’t wean beforehand, I’ll be happy to continue to let him nurse anytime as well as feeding the new baby.
Thank you all so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this and you found it helpful! I’m a full trained breastfeeding supporter, so I’m always happy for anyone to message me or comment, to help out in any way I can, provide advice and information or just be a support when things are a bit tough!