Here’s your opportunity to learn more about the parenting styles of each Maturing Mama. No Mama is exactly the same in her parenting skills. This is our opportunity to highlight our differences in parenting in a means to help you find a method that works for you.
How long is too long to breastfeed and why?
I think as long as you can is long enough to breastfeed. Breastfeeding came very easily to me and both of my kids. They latched, I produced enough milk, worked out those clogged ducts quickly, and didn’t have too much nipple pain. And so I breastfed my older daughter until she was 20 months old (and I was 2 months pregnant); and am still breastfeeding my younger daughter who is 17 months old.
I know many moms who struggled with breastfeeding for various reasons, and despite their best efforts it just didn’t work. Breastfeeding is encouraged because it has many health benefits, but the most beneficial of all: being fed. I truly believe “fed is best”. And that’s why I think as long as you can is long enough.
For myself, the length of time I breastfed was entirely different with each child. I gave myself at least the first year, often well into a year and a half to not even think about when we would be done. I adored that time with my little guys! It was often the only time out of the day I would have to stop what I was preoccupied with and be still and quiet and just simply focus on taking care of my baby.
Most of them I ended up nursing about a year and a half. One of them was closer to two years because it was an entirely different situation with him. It’s always so important to be aware of and sensitive to the different needs of each individual child. They are definitely not all cut from the same cloth!
When it came to weaning, I made decisions day by day. I could not make a single plan any farther in advance than that! I would try, and it might work for the day, but the next day that would fly out the window and I had to adjust my expectations. I remember having to remind myself daily not to put too much pressure on myself to do things a certain way or under any set timetable. You have to embrace the uncertainty and be okay with things not going the way you had expected.
I believe nowadays it can be really hard for mamas to decide what is best for their situation, which is 100% unique and entirely their own, because there are so many outside influences. Especially when it comes to breastfeeding. From the lady at the store, to the Facebook troll, to the nosy neighbor, to actual family members, you run into so many opinions every single day. Many of which come in strong and unwelcome.
It is so important to have the strength and confidence to do whatever it is that works best for you and your family. As long as your child is healthy, and loved, and cared for, you are doing a great job!
When I had my first baby I felt awkward about breastfeeding. I felt that my boobs were for my husband. I didn’t feel a connection of my boobs to my baby. The only reason I breastfed to begin with is because my mom often spoke of how unfortunate it was that she didn’t have the opportunity to breastfeed my twin sister and I. (At the time she simply didn’t have enough nourishment for herself and two babies).
When breastfeeding my oldest, unfortunately I went back to work when she was only three months old. I didn’t pay attention to pumping my milk often enough to keep my supply up. So for most of her first year I could only breastfeed at night but during the day I had no milk supply for her. I felt bad about this but also tried to feel proud of the fact that she was independent so quickly. Many of my mom friends had the issue where their babies would refuse to take a bottle and it meant they were constantly attached to their baby.
Now with my second baby, I was very excited to breastfeed because I felt that I missed out on the full experience with my first born. I literally developed the habit of keeping Izabella on my boob all night and I loved it. For some reason the experience of breast feeding was and still is very comforting for me. Especially with having postpartum depression, this is a moment for me to feel the love of my baby and embrace motherhood.
Breastfeeding I believe was a detrimental aspect of keeping me “sane” as a mother when I felt like I was going insane. Moments that I felt I was the worst mother in the world were suddenly turned around by my babies desire to be close to me for nourishment. It made me feel like I needed to keep myself healthy and alive if only to keep my baby healthy and alive.
I’ve been blessed that my baby has had no issue with also taking a bottle of milk. So she is fine to be dependent on a bottle alone. However to be honest, I still need that bonding time. I need to be reminded of how important I am for my baby. So I’m leaving it up to her when she’s ready to stop breastfeeding. But I’m in no hurry to stop her.
So I say don’t forget to think about yourself when deciding if it’s time to wean. Of course don’t force your baby to breastfeed if they’re old enough to stop and want to. But if you as the mom need that bonding time then you go at your own pace.
I almost feel underqualified to talk about breastfeeding as we never successfully managed it. We tried for a couple of days but she seemed to latch for hours on end and I was under the impression that was incorrect. I’ve feel like I’m much more equipped now to try with number 2 though!
Even though I would have loved to have been able to breastfeed, I have unfortunately become a victim of a sexualised society and feel quite uncomfortable when seeing an older infant feeding in that way. I totally get that ‘breast is best’ but I do feel there is a time limit.
With not experiencing that bond myself it’s difficult to put a time frame on but I do feel it would be very strange to be feeding a child around Harleys age (20 months). For me, my breasts are a sexual organ despite feeding being their natural purpose. I really don’t think I could latch a child that’s started growing out of the baby stage, by that I mean crawling around, ready to wean excetra. Not only that, after about 6 months I think I’d be begging any Tom, Dick and Harry to do the night feeds!