What’s my breastfeeding story?
As the months have gone past I’ve become slightly more guarded about my personal breastfeeding journey for some reason. Initially my main aim was to try and make it to six months, in time for when you’re advised to start weaning. I’ve surprised myself with the fact that I’m still breastfeeding Hugo now with him being nearly one and a half. I never intended to do it for this long but there hasn’t been anything that has made us put a stop to it altogether yet and it’s still so evident especially now he’s starting to talk more that he still wants it so much. Also the fact that he’s been sick all weekend the only thing he’s been keeping down is breast milk and after research they say that the nutrients are quickly absorbed from breast milk so even if they were to be sick quite quickly after, they would have absorbed a lot of the nutrients they need. Quite amazing really and made me feel more happy to say that ‘yes I am still breast feeding’!
So it’s official… I’m an extended breastfeeding mother! FYI extended breastfeeding is when you continue to breastfeed your baby outside of their first year.
There have been times where I have more or less stopped for a few weeks but then you can guarantee it that he’s fallen ill around the same time and the only thing Hugo’s wanted is the comfort of breast milk. There are still times now where I feel enough is enough as the older and stronger he gets the more determined he is that he’ll get his mama’s milk. When I stop and take in the moment though I actually still love that bonding time we have where I see Hugo being so content and at peace and that I’m the route of that. But then other thoughts enter my head thinking, he only wants me for my boobs haha. Did / Do you ever get that feeling? I also keep thinking that when I do stop altogether I know I’m going to miss these intimate moments between us and be angry at myself for wanting to to put pressure on myself to give up nursing.
Would I breastfeed in public?
If I’m being honest, I would never breastfeed in public now; one because I only feed Hugo if he randomly wakes in the night and I’m too tired to sort a bottle out for him, bad I know but it’s true – anything for an easy life sometimes. Two – he generally only has his milk feeds last thing at night or first thing in the morning so I really have no need to feed when out in public anymore. Three – I feel like he looks too big to be breastfed or maybe it’s more that I think other people will think he’s too big to be breastfed, in my eyes though he’s still my little baby but in reality I know he looks more the age of a 2 -3 year old. I know this shouldn’t matter but sometimes it’s easy to worry about what others might think. It’s easier said than done to stand bold and confident in what you feel is right even if it’s deemed as going against the grain.
I love that there’s so many people out there trying to normalise breastfeeding especially in public as this was a real issue for me at the start until I built my confidence. It was actually being around other confident breastfeeding mums that helped me get over that nervous feeling and helped retrain my mind that what I was doing was so natural and what I needed to do to look after my baby. Whether your baby is breastfed or bottle fed, at the end of the day when your baby needs feeding you’re going to feed him / her wherever you are so there should be no exceptions between the two.
On another note I just want to say that I am absolutely for bottle feeding too. As a mum you have to do whatever you have to do, some have no choice in the matter and maybe can’t breastfeed due to illness, medication, or it just not working out that way and some just make the decision not to and make the best decision they can make for a happy mum and happy baby. It’s so important as mothers we embrace this and not feel less of ourselves if we can’t as who knows when the next times comes around for me I might not be able to. I will however cherish that I was able to breastfeed Hugo and for this long. It still blows my mind that we have everything within us to help sustain this life that has grown within us and now grows along side us.
When to stop breastfeeding?
I don’t think there’s going to be an exact date to this but if I’m being honest I’ll be very surprised if I’m still breastfeeding in another three months. I think the absolute cut off date for me would be when I’m pregnant again whenever that happens – we’re not trying yet before you ask! In my head I think it’ll probably take about a week to master and it’ll be a case of Ayman attending to all Hugo’s needs in the night and me hiding under the covers so that Hugo can’t spot me; that’s usually what happens… he sees me and comes bounding over for mama’s milk.
Really enjoyed this post Sally – thank you so much for sharing! It's a subject very close to my heart and something that really affected how I felt in the first few weeks when Hallé was born. I always imagined I would breastfeed for 6 months until I returned to work. It didn't really cross my mind that it might not work. For various reasons, Hallé had a lot of trouble feeding and was losing a lot of weight. When we were advised to switch to a bottle I have to admit, I felt like I was failing. Once I began to see the improvements in our baby girl and saw her thriving it became clearer to me that it didn't matter how she was fed and our bond was still as strong as ever. I still think about my journey now and carry a level of guilt. If I'm lucky enough to fall pregnant again I'll certainly be trying but perhaps won't put so much pressure on myself.
Well done for breastfeeding for this long mama – it's so great to read about different people experiences.
Loved reading this. I breastfed my daughter until pregnant with no.2 at around 18 months old. People were so quick to joke about me still feeding when she was 5 etc that I became hesitant to admit I was still feeding her in the evenings despite enjoying the time with her, especially as I was back at work. I worried about how to stop and was advised to just explain to her that mummys milk had gone now and to replace the time until was feeding her with another intimate activity for just the two of us so we made a big thing about storytime and she accepted it from day 1 and I found it easier than I thought too! Now breastfeeding number 2 and will see where that journey takes us, not putting any pressure on myself either way.
Beautifully written Sally
My story was similar with my first and went on for two years with my second x
Love your honesty Sally. Such a beautiful, heart felt post. This will be such a help and support to other mamas xx
Lovely words and a lot like my breastfeeding journey with my now 3 year old first child. I too like Lucy there felt somewhat embarrassed that I would still nurse him to sleep at over a year old but like you say it just felt so right when in my arms.
Great honest read hun xx