I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed Roo. I always thought that it would be until she turned one. Then I had a preemie and her pediatrician recommended that I continue to breastfeed for at least two more months for the immunity benefit that breast feeding provides.
I never imagined that I would last this long. From what I’ve read, in the US, when one nurses for more than one year it is called extended breast feeding. The WHO encourages breast feeding for at least two years but it is typical for Americans to only do it for the first year and wean shortly after.
In my mothers group, every one of us started out breast feeding. There are 11 of us. Today, nearly everyone has already weaned or begun the weaning process. Other than me, I can only name two other moms who still nurse at least twice a day. I can think of only one other mom who nurses on demand still.
I am not judging. I’m just stating the facts. I honestly thought I would be done. Mentally I actually would like to be done. My understanding is that once I’m done that my sex drive will return. I hope that my boobs will attempt to return to a state of something more normal (but I doubt that). I also hope that I won’t be so exhausted (more in another post).
Apparently, I am not the only one getting a health benefit. Extended nursing has been thought to prevent breast, uterine and ovarian cancers in moms. That’s a fantastic benefit that I will take. Additionally, it continues to help mothers keep their weight down. I’m actually at a weight that I haven’t been in for years. I’m a petite person to begin with and it’s hard to imagine that I would ever weigh this little again but I am. Not surprisingly, pregnancy changed the shape of my body so even though I’m skinny as all get out at the moment, my hips widened and so my body is still a strange shape. My super skinny pants still don’t fit properly even though I weigh less than I have in years.
I actually also still enjoy nursing. The ability to comfort Roo is a delight and lifesaver. She’s screaming?! I pull out a boob! She’s hungry and I don’t have a snack along?! I pull out a boob! She wants to snuggle and feel close?! I pull out a boob. I love the closeness it offers us.
It isn’t often that I offer it to her proactively anymore since she eats three to four solid food meals a day but she still asks to nurse four to five times a day. Sometimes she will ask up to six times a day. That seems like a lot to me.
What I don’t like? I don’t like how distracted she can be. I hate when she latches on and then pulls off five seconds later to look around and then rinses and repeats over and over. I hate how my bras don’t fit properly anymore. My boobs aren’t as big as they were in the beginning so my nursing bras fit poorly. I don’t want to invest in more bras since I’m on the closer end to weaning. I hate how exhausted I am and I think it’s tied to still nursing her on demand. My body is still feeding two. I need to do a better job of feeding me!!
My goal is to make it to 15 months, which is only two months away. I will see what my pediatrician says then and go from there. I’ve read that kids will naturally want to wean between 2 and 5. I might let her lead the way but I would encourage her to wean on the earlier side. I can’t imagine that I would be “that” mom whose 4 year old is still nursing. Again, no judgment. Just how I feel.
Mommies who have/are sound extended breast feeding. Have you introduced cows milk at all? When did you start to wean? Did you wean partially and just nurse at wake up and night or did you still nurse on demand? How long do you think you will still breast feed?
I’m curious to learn about others experiences with extended breast feeding.