"When they are old enough to ask for it, they are old enough to not need it" seems to be the mainstream mentality about breastfeeding in our society these days. Even more popular is the trend of ending breastfeeding journeys at 12 months. (Somehow over time, 12 months became the "magical age" that babies needed to be weaned. Not sure when or where that came about yet.) As one of the final posts in our first MINI SERIES: "The Toddlerhood Experience", I want to take a moment to reflect on the topic of EXTENDED BREASTFEEDING, (especially because we are at 15 mo of nursing and still going!)
I want to throw in a PSA real quick here because this is always a touchy subject for me. I never want anyone to feel guilty or be offended. I understand that there can be obstacles that interfere with some breastfeeding journeys. I touch on breastfeeding to spread awareness more then anything. Always remember that giving it your best shot is the best thing you can do for your baby! (And there are always donor options out there if all else fails! <3)
DID YOU KNOW:
- breastmilk provides benefits for children beyond age 2
- breastmilk immune factors are present in greater amounts after the first year (because babies are more exposed to infections after the first year; the milk adjusts to meet individual babies needs through the contact with their saliva and the nipples)
- breastfed children who are self weaned are MORE independent AND more secure in their independence
- breastfeeding will always be a love affirming act, and will strengthen the bond between mother and baby EVERY TIME they nure
- the World Health Organization AND UNICEF recommend babies be breastfeed for two years or MORE
- thanks to the unique omega-3 fatty acids (DHA) that are found in breastmilk, the longer/more frequently a toddler breastfeeds, the more their brain develops! (and the smarter they are likely to be!)
- breastfeeding toddlers can potentially avert crisis and meltdowns!
- breastfeeding helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels later in life; it also helps reduce the likelihood for being overweight/ obese, or developing type-2 diabetes.
- breastfeeding is GREAT for mommies too!! It can reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, AND help you maintain a healthy weight since breastfeeding in general burns calories (but I feel like the amount of food I eat makes up for the calories I burn lol!)
I have always had a breastfeeding goal of 2 years (not sure why or when that came about though lol). I know that number popped up before I knew ALL of the benefits of extended breastfeeding, I DO know that much. So far we have made it to gold! Where are you?
While extended breastfeeding may be "weird" for some, for us it only strengthens our bond, and continues to nourish the girls which is MORE then I can ask for. There are so many times when we are nursing that the girls just look at each other and giggle and play. PLUS its an easy way for me to get an extra few minutes to lay in bed (free cuddles included).And I can still use the boobs as my secret weapon to calm the girls down. I can't tell you how many times it has saved a work/teething day from completely hitting the fan!
Now it's not always a cake walk. They do have a new latch thanks to the chompers they are growing. Also, sometimes in all the excitement they forget the boob isn't detachable. There are time when they get upset with me because that last turn of the head or giggle gave me an "owie," but they are quick to forget and coconut oil is a lifesaver!
One thing I always wondered as the girls were nearing their first birthday was "WHEN are the girls going to nurse after one if their main source of nutrients shifts to food?" FOR US, they don't nurse nearly as often as they did when they were "infants." They like to graze sometimes during playtime, but most of the times we nurse first thing in the morning (these morning snuggles are seriously my favorite part about having lasted so long in the game... and I BARELY made it.) Sometimes if they won't nap or didn't eat much at their last meal, and act hungry shortly after, they get nursed. There are some times when we may go a full 24 hours without nursing. It really all just depends on them.
But who can turn down the request for "boob, boob, boob, boob, boob, boob......" (One of their few words so far) from those sweet girls? The request is 98% of the time accompanied by some tugs of the shirt (and freeing of the boobs if I have a spaghetti strap tank on)....
ya, I kinda love nursing my toddlers.... <3
For a list of all our breastfeeding related posts CLICK HERE!
Catch the full "The Toddlerhood Experience" MINI SERIES HERE!