Breastfeeding Past One Year

"So here I am, 37 years old, raising twin teens, running a business, taking care of a home, AND BREASTFEEDING A TODDLER! Wait, what? How did this happen? My goal was a year! Shouldn't he have weaned by now?!? Am I doing something wrong?!? The truth is I really haven't done much at all. I had a natural birth and he latched on immediately. We laid next to each other and he nursed. He refused a bottle so he nursed 100% of the time. I blinked and here we are three years later still doing the same thing just not as often. But now it's weird. Not for us but for everyone else. It's not sexual. It's not gross. It's actually a pretty amazing tool. I never realized the stigma attached to nursing a toddler until now. It's bad. And sad. So much that I decided to ask my amazing blogger to help me write about it. Because us moms that are still nursing our toddlers deserve a little encouragement and support. It's ok Mama! You can nurse your baby/toddler/child until he's ready to wean. You are not alone, we feel it too. Ignore the strange looks and comments and keep on nursing! Because even though there are days it feels like it will never end, one day it will. And you will miss it. " -Purusha, an extended-breastfeeder.

 Some magical thing happens to people when they hear you are breastfeeding your toddler.  Hell, it could be your baby’s first birthday, and the comments may start.  The truth is that our society is OBSESSED with boobs, so obsessed that people feel the need to shame mothers for providing the highest quality of nourishment to their little ones.

I say ‘little ones’ as an umbrella term.  You see, breastfeeding is a relationship between a mother and her child.  There are no rules, and all judgements from nay-sayers are unwelcomed and unproductive.  You see, there is an army of us “Extended Breastfeeding” mothers out there.  We are doing the best we can for our children and for ourselves.  So many are breastfeeding behind closed doors, but it is our time to shine!

 Did you know that breastfeeding for 2 years or more significantly lowers the chance of having cancer later in life? Yep.  It’s amazing how our bodies work.  It’s as if we were meant to birth babies AND FEED THEM.  Crazy. I’m not writing to make anyone feel bad for not breastfeeding, or for weaning, or for supplementing, or for whatever else.  I am writing because there are too many moms who think that 12 months of breastfeeding is the end of the journey.  Too many mothers shed tears as they wean their child cold turkey.  Too many mothers regret their decision a few months later when they realize they did not have to stop nursing.

Breastfeeding a Toddler: Why We Do It

My breastfeeding child is teaching other children that breastfeeding is normal.  She is exposing others to nature and the body's ability to provide nourishment
She is old enough to ask for milk with her cookie! Once a toddler can openly communicate her wants and needs, it allows the breastfeeding journey to enter another level of comfort and ease.
I am instilling my child with self-confidence and respect, as a woman's breasts are not sexual objects.
The bond that comes with extended breastfeeding sets a foundation for all future relationships.  Comfort, safety, respect, and unconditional love are all qualities in which lasting relationships can be built upon.
Bedtimes may be exhausting for everyone involved, but breastfeeding ensures extra snuggles and an easier transition to sleep.
Whether a child remembers breastfeeding as a toddler or the memories leave him one day, he will have a bond with his mother for a lifetime.
Breastfeeding throughout toddlerhood can lead to nursing while pregnant and potentially tandem nursing.  This helps transition a toddler into being a sibling.
Breastfeeding a toddler in public can lead to a lot of stares and questions, but in all honesty, an extended nursing mother is confident in her decisions - even if our society is not.  Normalizing full-term breastfeeding shows other mothers that it is a great choice.
  full20 She can get the milk herself now.  That’s right… she can walk right over, hop on my lap, lift my shirt, align herself, and get herself some milk.  There are times when she even leans over me in some strange gymnastics pose and requests a quick drink! How amazing that she can depend on me and know that I will meet her needs.

The absolute best reason to nurse past the one-year mark:

Mommy’s Milk makes everything better.

 full5   It stops tantrums. It heals boo boos. full26   It prevents or shortens illness. It eases bedtime for everyone. It secures a bond. full21   It promotes self-confidence, happiness, love, comfort, and self-assurance. It increases IQ. full24   It lowers cancer risk. full18   It is badass. Go ahead and nurse that toddler. You, mama, are a rock star.   full28[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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