Extended Breastfeeding Is Not Weird

Breastfeeding symbol

Breastfeeding symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three months before my daughter was born THAT Time Magazine cover came out.  You know, the one with the mom breastfeeding the preschooler who was standing on a chair?  That one.

I’ll admit, it was jarring, and I thought it was kind of weird.

I had always planned to *try* to breastfeed. Not really try, just do.  My husband was on board.  When we talked about it I indicated that I would like to breastfeed for about a year.  He insisted that “six months is plenty” but he would not stop me if I wanted to go beyond that.  I thought a year was long enough.

I didn’t anticipate then how hard it was going to be to get breastfeeding started. So many friends would announce the births of their babies ending with “latched on and is breastfeeding like a champ!” right from the delivery room.  It couldn’t be that hard right?

Except it was. I nearly gave up so many times. Once we got started it was easy.  I loved the bonding time and the sense of closeness and accomplishment I got from breastfeeding.

Six months went by.  A year was looming.  The more I thought about weaning, the more stressed out I got.  Maybe another six months?  And another after that?

Here we are, two years and a month after she came into this world and we’re still breastfeeding.

I think we might be done by the time she is three, but I’m not going to push it.  We’re not hurting anyone, the two of us.  We’re doing what mamas and babies have done since the beginning of time.

Extended breastfeeding may seem weird to the outsider.  It did to 6-months-pregnant me.  The image of a woman breastfeeding a preschooler was a shock to my sensibilities because I didn’t get it.  Now I do.  Extended breastfeeding doesn’t seem weird to me because I’m not suddenly breastfeeding.  We’ve been doing this every day for over two years now.  It is a normal part of our day.  That’s why it isn’t weird.

I don’t know how long we’ll keep going.  We’ll just keep going until we stop.



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