Today marks thirty nine months of providing my darling Fox with nourishment and comfort via breastfeeding.
Every time I post a monthly update about our breastfeeding journey I think it will be the last and yet somehow, here I am doing another.
Last month my Instagram post was reported by someone for being against community guidelines. That’s right, a mother feeding her child apparently hurt someone’s feelings so they reported it to the Instagram gods and had not one, but two posts taken down.
I, of course, was horrified that in this day and age there are still such narrow minded people around and appealed the decision. After 3 weeks the posts were found to actually not be against community guidelines and returned to my account, take that trolls.
One of the posts has weirdly disappeared, again, so here I am writing our update in a blog because you can’t touch this (oh-oh oh oh-oh-oh), you can’t touch this (oh-oh oh oh-oh-oh).
Anyway, I digress, for many feeding past 12 months may seem like an odd thing to do but it is only really in western society that we place these timelines on our bodies and babies to wean.
Astoundingly, an Australian National Infant Feeding Survey showed that in 2010 only 15.4% of babies were exclusively breastfed to 5 months. Now, I have nothing against mama’s who choose not to breastfeed at all, to mix feed, to express and bottle feed or to end their breastfeeding before 5 months.
In fact, Mia weaned herself at three months when I fell pregnant with Eli then Eli weaned himself at about 16 months when I went back to work.
What I do have an issue with is other people thinking that they are entitled to an opinion on what you as a mother choose to do when it comes to feeding your child. The World Health Organization actually recommends that babies continue to breastfeed for two years or beyond and if I lived in a less developed country I would be in the majority.
I am not going to lie and say it has been easy feeding for this long. I have wanted my body back more times than I can count, more so now that I am pregnant and sharing it with both Fox and his little brother, but I just don’t have the heart to force him to wean.
Yes, it is super sensitive when he latches on and sometimes I try and distract him from feeding but I still feel like we both benefit from the process. Breast milk doesn’t just suddenly stop being nutritious because you pass a certain age and I can’t speak highly enough of the comfort it brings – instant calm and all the sleepy vibes from the release of Oxytocin.
I have gone through phases of wanting to proactively wean him but then he looks up at me with his beautiful big brown eye’s, says “millky pwease mama?” and all of my resolve just melts away.
I carried him for nine months, birthed him and have been so lucky to have this special time just the two of us. I know I will be sad when it ends but also so grateful to my body for being able to give him what he has needed.
Am I planning on tandem feeding? With 6 weeks to go, it is anyone’s guess but I don’t have plans either way. If Fox chooses to stop feeding, great. If he doesn’t, that’s fine. I am fortunate that my sister has paved the way by tandem feeding – first her son and now her daughter so honestly it is just kinda normal to me.
People will comment on it because they just can’t help themselves. My husband will be horrified, especially as he has become more and more vocal about Fox being “too old” to breastfeed because he is a “big boy”. Like last night at 3am when he did the whole “When is Fox going to stop breastfeeding? He is too old for it…it’s weird” thing, again.
He has since apologised for being a cranky old man but as Fox would say “Big boys have boobie too”, it is our society that is wired and in my opinion when his useless male nipples start nourishing our baby? Then we can chat.
I have said it before and I will say it again, yes Breastfeeding is advocated for and encouraged but things like extended breastfeeding and full term breast feeding still have a long way to go before they are considered mainstream in our society.
There is nothing more natural than feeding your child until they self-wean if that feels right to you. So, to all the women out there who are still feeding their toddlers, you do you boo.
I would love to hear from other mama’s who have either stopped due to societies perception of extended breastfeeding or have continued on in rebellion against it. Tell me below x