That’s right, I have been breastfeeding my baby for 13 months! I am now extended breastfeeding my little.
What is extended breastfeeding?
It means breastfeeding past infancy. It’s commonly used in the US to describe mothers who breastfeed babies past the age of 12 months. Although, it’s not a great way to describe breastfeeding past infancy because it’s still breastfeeding. It’s still normal, and in many other countries around the world babies are breastfed even longer.
A little background about how I started breastfeeding:
I had my first baby at 19, and I knew that I wanted to breastfeed him. But I didn’t know much else about it, and it was such a struggle. I wish I had more of the resources available that we have now!
I also didn’t know that extended breastfeeding was a thing.
Luckily, being the bookworm that I was (and still am), I came across Dr. Sears and all of his theories about attachment parenting, co-sleeping, baby wearing, and breastfeeding.
(I’d like to note that I don’t love the term “attachment parent,” I think “responsive parent,” or maybe “parenting with empathy” sounds a little better.)
I really connected with a lot of Dr. Sears’ ideas, as a lot of his parenting ideas were things I was already doing, I just didn’t realize they had a name. But this (and my own natural stubbornness to do what I want) gave me the confidence to breastfeed and to continue breastfeeding until he turned two-years-old even though at my young age that wasn’t a norm.
Of course, I had friends and family constantly ask me “Isn’t he a little old for that?” But I stuck with it. There’s a lot more to it, but I won’t get into that right now.
The point is that I breastfed my first baby until I (and my baby) was ready to stop, not when my friend, or my Great-Aunt-Wilma, or my baby’s narrow-minded pediatrician thought I should stop.
And that is what I did with my second baby, and what I am currently doing with baby number three.
I have made it thirteen months, and no plans of weaning anytime soon.
Yikes. Schedules put my brain into panic/stress mode, with the need to do certain things at a certain time, and within a certain time limit. I know as a SAHM it should be super simple to start a schedule and stick to it, but I just can’t.
But, I can do routines. And my 13-month-old is a big fan of routines.
So, what is my breastfeeding routine?
Our routine is breastfeeding before and after sleep, and sometimes, once or twice through the day (especially if he’s teething, or not feeling well) he’ll want a quick breastfeeding “snack.”
Usually, this means we nurse after morning wake-up, before nap, after nap, at bedtime, and usually two more times during the night (I know some babies are sleeping through the night by this age, but he’s not, and I’m okay with it).
Some days he nurses more than others, and those days can be tough! But I just try to remember that those days are just as tough for him. Maybe he’s teething, or has a stomach ache, or maybe he just didn’t like what I fed him for lunch. At this age he can understand so much, but it’s hard for him to communicate his wants and needs, which must be so frustrating.
Over the next couple of months, my plan is to go with the flow and continue breastfeeding without limits. The health benefits of extended breastfeeding are pretty awesome for both mom and baby (I’ll talk more about this in my next breastfeeding post), and I’m still enjoying it. So, I have no reason to put limits on it, time wise or quantity wise.
Thanks for stopping by to celebrate thirteen months of breastfeeding with me!