"Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (November). For this month, participants share their experiences on extended breastfeeding. This includes tips to moms with young babies, as well as barriers and myths which discourage extended nursing. Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants."
Studies show that for mothers and babies to enjoy breastfeeding benefits like reduced cancer risks for both, they have to be breastfeeding for at least two years.
There was no question in my mind that I would go the full two years... at least. I only stopped after two years and four months with my first because I really believed breastfeeding was keeping me from getting pregnant so I weaned him. True enough, after a month of weaning, I got pregnant again. But I digress.
My son was already signing, running, singing, dancing, performing a multitude of other antics... and still breastfeeding from me. The hardest part of it was that he became so long for my lap. But after the first year, it was really almost a breeze.
I did not require breastfeeding bras anymore, nor breastfeeding-friendly tops... because I could just feed him in the car on the way and not bring my girls out anymore during an event. I did not have to hurry home or pump milk for him because he could already drink fresh milk if he so wished while I am away. He did not need to nurse as often anymore, so I also felt my body was my own again (maybe... 70% of the time?). And in the few occasions when he asked for milk in public, I had no problems cradling him in my arms and giving him that comfort.
What's more, it was still the easiest way to shut him up if I needed peace and quiet.
And best of all, breastfeeding continued to provide the sweetest moments of our days... hugging each other that way, smiling at each other with faces that close. The challenges of having a toddler were always offset by those moments of calm and gentleness.
Now... my second boy is turning one year old next week. I plan to breastfeed him till he's maybe 3 because now, I am invoking the contraceptive effect in me (note: breastfeeding as a family planning method is only really effective in the first 6 months, if exclusive breasfeeding and menses have not yet returned). Plus, if he's my last child... I think I'd really want to prolong this kind of intimacy. Somehow, I think babyhood truly ends when they stop depending on their mothers for some sort of physical need.
My advice to other breastfeeding moms who cannot imagine lasting as long... just take it one day at a time. Wean when both of you aren't benefitting from the relationship anymore. Smile when strangers cast you a questioning look when you're breastfeeding a child that, just a minute ago was running faster than they're walking... after all, in your arms lay one of the most beautiful creations in this world, and he is entitled to his mother's love.
Please visit the rest of the entries for this month's carnival
J and the Three Boys - No more "de-de"
My Mommyology - My Extended Breastfeeding Experience
Mommyluscious - Breastfeeding for Two Beyond Two
Truly Rich Mom - On Extended Breastfeeding (a perfectly normal thing to do)
Life of a Babywearing and Breastfeeding Mommy - Still breastfeeding after 2 years
Got To Believe - Breastfeeding Room Story
Apples and Dumplings - My Constant Challenge with Extending Breastfeeding
Mommy Kuwentos - Challenges and Rewards of Extended Breastfeeding
The Odyssey of Dinna - Nurturing Rafael: Extended Breastfeeding, Stretching Some More Lovin'
Legally Mom - Breastfeeding Beyond 1 Year: Barriers and Issues
Homeschooling Mommy - Yes, I've Got Milk
SOlovelyN - As long as he wants, I can
Touring Kitty - Extended Breastfeeding is Possible
SassyBiatcheMom's World - 1.4 and still breastfeeding
Mec as Mom - Shooting for the Benefits, Extending the Love
Chronicles of a Nursing Mom - Barriers/Myths vs. Extended Breastfeeding