I’ve always considered myself a pretty decorous breastfeeding mother. While I may refuse to wear a cover, I am always considerate of my surroundings. I am very much pro-breastfeeding but I am also not pushy type. I find pride in our breastfeeding journey and am very gratified in the fact that I have become a “helping hand” to many of my nursing mom friends through our experience. BUT it as recently come to my attention that we have extended passed the “normal breastfeeding time allotment”…
I was lucky enough to not get many demeaning comments while nursing E within the first year. Only one or two, that were fairly easy to deal with. However, now that he is one and we are in “extended breastfeeding” territory, subtle yet obvious snide remarks frequent much more often. “You’re going to have to stop that soon.” “Isn’t he a little old for that?” It amazes me that people feel the need to make these comments. Do they really think that my family is going to make the decision as to how we’re going to nourish our child based on their disapproval??
I find it very interesting that there’s so much pressure in society to breastfeed however once you hit 12 months there is just as much pressure to stop breastfeeding. How does this hard line get drawn? You’re shamed if you don’t breastfeed, you’re shamed if you do breastfeed. You get shamed if you don’t make it to a year, you get shamed if you extend passed a year. Why is there this stigma in society that you must breastfeed and you must do it for exactly 12 months? The mom-shaming that we all face to fit a “cultural norm” is getting out of control.
What exactly is the problem that people have with extended breastfeeding after 12 months, anyway? My child is 16 months old. It’s not like he’s going to kindergarten, or even preschool, in a few months. He can’t form sentences, he can’t tie shoes, he can’t go to the refrigerator and get himself a glass of milk. Shoot, he can’t even drink out of a glass without spilling it all over himself half the time. What is the problem with him getting high-nutrient breastmilk that is accompanied with quiet, bonding moments with his mother? To my husband & I, there isn’t one. & frankly, that’s all that matters.
So, for those of you wanting to know when we’ll stop… I. Don’t. Know.
Ask me today & I may tell you, we’ll allow him to self wean; ask me tomorrow & I may tell you, by his second birthday; ask me yesterday & I may have told you, tomorrow! I can’t tell you how long we’ll continue breastfeeding & that is okay. What it comes down to is this: the most important thing is that I do what is best for my family & right now, that is continuing our breastfeeding journey. Will that always be the case? No. But for now, we have a healthy, happy child who is reaping the benefits from breastfeeding, so that’s what we’re going to do.