Extended Breastfeeding

a breastfeeding collageThanks for hopping over from My Thoughts on Things, and welcome to my second post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt Day 5: “Extended Breastfeeding” we have over £700 worth of breastfeeding and baby goodies up for grabs including prizes from More4Mums providing a set of ‘Hot Milk’ Lingerie, a signed hardback limited edition copy of Milky Moments and a £30 voucher from Milk Chic  Full details of the Grand Prize can be found here and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Extended Breastfeeding

I am the very proud mummy of an extended breastfed little boy. We breastfed till he was 18 months old. I just wanted to take the chance to firstly address the very controversial ideas society holds on breastfeeding.

Sadly there is the stigma and label attached to mums who choose to breastfeed for longer. And I think this needs to change. One of the reasons I am happy that I breastfed until Archie was 18 months was  because I was able to experience it for myself. I was able to really understand what it is that some mums love about it and what it may be for the mums who scrunch up their noses at it that makes them feel so uncomfortable about it.

And…. I figured it out. Its breasts, society place an unnatural image on breasts.  An image that a women’s breasts are not for her baby and that they are sexual entities. For me this says something so wrong about our perceptions in society of woman. And that is sad. It shows us and our children that a women’s body is not made to nurture her baby, this is the image that is being thrown onto younger generations and don’t you think that is sad?

I think it is the most obscure way of looking at life. That is the human ego at its most powerful. Where is the realness? The pure and natural love that flows through a mother when she gives birth, the hormones that are so strong, it initiates milk to be produced from her breasts to nourish her baby. To me that is the most beautiful act of human love and care that I have ever come across in my life.

So in full, my views, and my experiences, I find it completely obscure how some people find it odd, or uncomfortable. The only reason you find it uncomfortable is because of your own beliefs that are very much forced onto you by society.

My point here is simple, regardless of society’s views, regardless of how you personally feel about breasts, I think it is our right as women to not only make the choice to breastfeed but to be supported wholeheartedly by others. And I feel it high time other woman stop judging other woman’s decisions and support them instead. We may all be made from the same stuff, but that doesn’t define us. We are all entitled to our own choice in any given situation of life experience. So lets stop judging and give woman the freedom of their own choice to breastfeed until they see fit for themselves and their child.

I also think that becoming a mum makes you vulnerable to the huge amout of choice available to you, you are bombarded with advice from every angle. What you really need is women offering their experiences, I  think the most selfless and kind act we can offer any other human especially a new mum is our time, and to really listen. It costs nothing to listen and to understand. It is paramount that we start to understand that we all want different things from life, and that is just beautiful in itself. Don’t you think it is beautiful that we all want different things from life?

This is why I feel so blessed to have breastfed for as long as I did, because I didn’t allow myself to be judged by others. I so confidently went ahead with my choice to breastfeed my son for as long as possible, there was never a time I sought out advice (in the form of should I still be breastfeeding) or asked anyone for their words of wisdom regarding breastfeeding, because to me I had done it before my confidence was already there. Although Luckily I had some great role models in the form of other woman/mums before me who breastfed for longer than a year so I saw how lovely it was and I saw that I wanted that and to give my baby that too. The consistent security, real touch, love and comfort that came from me, my breasts. It still blows me away how us women can so perfectly grow a baby inside of us and feed it ourselves on the outside, if that doesn’t tell us how amazing we are then I don’t know what ever will.

I see so clearly now, giving birth to my children naturally, and breastfeeding both has empowered me beyond measure. I can do anything. Thats how I feel, and you should feel like that too. Being a parent is empowering, it is life changing, it literally brings you to life and gives you the opportunity to be the best you that you can be. So I really urge everyone to go into anything in life whether its breastfeeding or a new job with open arms, an open heart and an open mind, and experience it all. The realness, the beauty, the skin to skin, softly stroke your new perfect baby, get close. Deeply breathe in their new smell, hold them as much as you can for as long as you can. All this is a glimpse into human perfection. Your little newborn is perfection in every sense of the word in every form, her soft skin, squeaky cry, wrinkly hands, small feet, long eyelashes, wispy hair, take joy in it all. Extended breastfeeding if thats what you would like to call it, does that. It lets you take nothing for granted for longer… for a lifetime. It is beautiful.

So yes because of life, because of it all I believe that women are all entitled to freedom of choice in every sense of the word. Freedom to breastfeed with support and love from others.  Here is my experience, summed up briefly.

I went into this at the beginning (when Archie was born) feeling completely ready to breastfeed, in fact I couldn’t wait. He was a pro-breastfeeder from the day he was born unlike Sophia and latched so well straight away. I was very lucky. My nipples didn’t get half as sore, and breastfeeding him from the start was one of the most easiest parts of the whole experience with him.

My intention was to just breastfeed for as long as I wanted. My first goal was to get to 12 months. But once we got there it became so much easier and comfortable we just kept going. We both loved it and it was so easy.

It was a little difficult from about 9 months -11 months I don’t know why , maybe a combination of teething and a growth spurt for him that meant he was attached to me for most of those two months, which was difficult having a little 3 year old to look after too and lots of sleepless nights with Archie. But we pulled through and it was a breeze from then on.

What I loved the most about extended breastfeeding was how he would pull at my top, put his little tiny hands into my bra and try to pull his boobs out. How he would look at me as he drank, play with the sleeve of my top, put his hands in my mouth or my nose! All of it. Especially when he fell asleep feeding and his eyes would slowly close and he would slowly drift off to sleep boob still in mouth his hands holding me. It is magic you cannot describe unless you experience it yourself. To know you are the only one your baby needs, to know he is yours to nurture and love. There is no other feeling like it. And, for  this feeling exactly is why I wanted so much to experience it myself. The beautiful moments, feelings and journey that is breastfeeding.

I hope that every mum is as lucky as me and that you all get to experience these special moments with your little one. So close and so bonding, a foundation for it all. Thank you so much for reading.

Please do go check out Baby on Board for more extended breastfeeding experiences. 

You can hope over to my first breastfeeding experience if you want to. I also did a post about my sister in law breastfeeding my son, and my experience stopping breastfeeding and also why I had to stop.  Full terms and conditions can be found on the Keeping Britain Breastfeeding website. UK residents only.

 
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20 Comments

  1. Siân
    August 6, 2015 / 7:09 am

    I love reading your articles Tanita, they are written with so much honesty.
    Beautiful.

    Its so important for people to be able to read about how its been for others (& by ‘people’ i mean me!)

    Lots of love *

    • August 8, 2015 / 8:42 pm

      Thank you so much Sian! Yes i think so too. I love reminiscing about my breastfeeding days it makes me so happy x

  2. August 6, 2015 / 6:01 pm

    Thanks for this – i am breastfeeding my 4th child and the last one I will have. He is currently 11 months and i had intended to reduce to night and morning feeds at the age of one and then stop. i am not sure really that either of us are reading for that but i’m thinking that I shouldn’t over think it really and let it run it’s natural course. Prior to this I exclusively fed the others for up to 9 months. #Brilliantblogposts
    Mummy Fever recently posted…While you were sleepingMy Profile

    • August 8, 2015 / 8:43 pm

      It s my pleasure. Yes I think you are right to just see how it goes and make no commitments and only act on your feelings you will know when you are both ready.xx

  3. August 6, 2015 / 6:48 pm

    Great post! People kept asking me pretty much from the beginning when I was going to stop breastfeeding, and thinking back to it, it seems like a really odd question. Why did they even care? As a result I turned to my mum who breastfed us until she went back to work around 9-10 months. I had no idea how I’d feel down the line so I used to just say ‘I’ll breastfeed her until she gets teeth’. She got her first teeth at 11 months and coincidentally it was around the time my milk dried up. I wasn’t really going to step breastfeeding when she got her teeth, I really didn’t know when or how I wanted or should stop. I’m thankful it happened naturally, because it meant Emma turned away from me rather than me refusing her what she wanted. Breastfeeding is such a personal thing and sadly people seem to have a lot of opinions about it. Good for you for keeping it up for 18 months! x #brilliantblogposts
    Emma’s Mamma recently posted…Paying it forward – The Liebster AwardMy Profile

    • August 8, 2015 / 8:46 pm

      Yes it is so personal, and that is what makes it so lovely because we all get a unique experience from it. It is wonderful. I learnt so much and gained so much. I feel blessed. Good for you for doing so well with it all. Yes people have lots of opinions, which I think is fine, it is only when they place judgment that can be hurtful. Thank you so much for your lovely comment x

  4. gemma clark
    August 7, 2015 / 9:01 am

    Unfortunately with my first I only fed her for 2 weeks, but am 30 weeks pregnant now with my second and determined to make it work this time. So hopefully that final feed will be a lot later on x

    • August 8, 2015 / 8:48 pm

      Thats okay nothing unfortunate about that. Well done for feeding for two weeks. Remember to do what is best for you and baby, and wishing you all the luck in the world for your second baby and breastfeeding. Congratulations too. x

    • August 8, 2015 / 8:49 pm

      That is fantastic going considering feeding twins wouldn’t be as easy as feeding one baby. That is fantastic x

  5. Rosie
    August 8, 2015 / 10:55 am

    Still going, so no final feed yet.

  6. kim neville
    August 8, 2015 / 11:02 am

    I stopped at 6 months as had to return to work

  7. August 8, 2015 / 2:30 pm

    You write so beautifully Tanita and I loved reading your thoughts on extended breastfeeding. I breastfed both of mine, one till 11 months and one till 15 months and it was so rewarding and magical to me, I actually miss it. Although it seemed hard work at times. x

    • August 8, 2015 / 8:50 pm

      Thanks Katie, Yes you are so right, so very rewarding. x

  8. August 8, 2015 / 7:12 pm

    Magic you can not describe indeed! What beautiful moments with our little ones and watching them grow in it too. I remember the first time my little man’s hand came up to stroke my face … wow. Yeah, special moments, so wonderful to have tons of them.

    Lovely you were able to have lots and lots of them too. 🙂 #PositiveAboutBF
    Adventures of a Novice Mum recently posted…5 Things to Make Breastfeeding at Work, WorkMy Profile

    • August 8, 2015 / 8:51 pm

      Yes! Such beautiful moments. Aw it is lovely the memories, when they are so little and relying so much on us. xx

  9. August 8, 2015 / 7:48 pm

    What a great post, so lovely to read – I love reading about other ladies breastfeeding experiences as I only know one other breastfeeding mum! We are still feeding at 20 months despite increasing pressure from everywhere (except my husband) to stop and so we haven’t had a last feed yet – and I hope it’s at least a few more months before we reach that milestone
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  10. Lizzy Cooper
    August 8, 2015 / 9:33 pm

    I havent had mine yet! 🙂

  11. Maria Hackett
    August 8, 2015 / 10:18 pm

    I hope I will be lucky like you, my babies are due on Christmas day and I cant wait to meet them, hold them, and breastfeed them. im so ready! so exciting!! x

    • August 10, 2015 / 7:37 pm

      Wishing you all the luck in the world Maria x

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