What?! You’re *STILL* breastfeeding?!

It would appear so! That’s normally what happens when my child is latched onto my breast.

If, like me, you’ve been asked this on numerous occasions you’ll know how difficult it is to answer politely. You often don’t have the time or the inclination to explain why you and your child have decided to continue breastfeeding past societies norm.

Being asked if you’re still breastfeeding and possibly being the only mother you know who has continued into toddlerhood can be quite isolating and may even make you question if what you’re doing is right, ok, normal, or selfish (Ha! Having to consider breastfeeding friendly outfits every time you leave the house or wearing a nursing bra that falls just the wrong side of uplifting is exactly what I want!).

I’m here to tell you that it is perfectly normal. In fact, not just perfectly normal but what you’re doing is how nature intended it to be. Human babies are *meant* to be breastfed for years rather than months! All the research supports this. Even your babies teeth are suggesting weaning should happen later as milk teeth are not always able to power through adult type foods like adult teeth can. Most babies around the world are breastfed into their second year with some countries extending it past this.

Ok, so W.H.O and NICE suggest exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months (who.int (2016)) (nice.org.uk (2014)) . This is often when mothers decide to wean as they may think that their breast milk doesn’t benefit their baby after this age.

As your toddler explores the big wide world, your breastfeeding relationship will ensure that they feel comforted, grounded and you will provide that special closeness that only you can. Don’t worry that you’re ‘holding them back’ or they’ll become shy, dependant or lack confidence. Children who are allowed to outgrow breastfeeding naturally usually become very confident little munchkins!

The milk you produce continues to provide your toddler with important fats, minerals, vitamins and about 40% of the calories needed between 1 and 2 years! (Hormann, E. (2006).

Your milk protects your toddler against many illness and allergies. Quite often breast milk is the only thing an unwell toddler will want or keep down. Here’s the crazy thing…your milk actually changes to meet the needs of your child as they grow. The milk your toddler gets from your jugs is higher in some protective factors than the milk you produced when they were little babies. You have no say in this! Your jugs just naturally do this! Mind. Blown.

You get some amazing health benefits too!

The risk of breast cancer before the menopause is lower for you if you breastfeed for more than a year and the longer you breastfeed for, the lower your risk of ovarian cancer and osteoporosis is.

So, when you next get asked if you’re *still* breastfeeding you can say “Indeed we are and isn’t it fabulous!” safe in the knowledge that you and your fantastic jugs are doing what is best for you, your toddler and exactly what nature intended. GO YOU!!

If you want more information on some other topics the La Leche League GB has some fantastic information on Still nursing?, Thinking of weaning? , Breastfeeding beyond a year and Pregnant and breastfeeding. Knowledge is power remember!!

 

Reference.

Hormann, E. (2006) ‘Breastfeeding your older baby’. [online]. Available from http://www.lunalactation.com/06novcolor_older.pdf

(Accessed 22nd October 2016)

nice.org.uk (2014) ‘Maternal and child nutrition’. [online]. Available from https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ph11

(Accessed 22nd October 2016)

who.int (2016) ‘Breastfeeding’. [online]. Available from http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/

(Accessed 22nd October 2016)

 

 

 

 

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