I never really thought about when we would stop breastfeeding. We got to six months, all was fine and dandy so we carried on (hey, saves money on formula!) and then we got to twelve months and we’re still going… with no plans to stop just yet. We still feed in public when needed although these times are few and far between now as we’ve dropped down to one or two feeds a day normally. I am also happy knowing that I am lowering my risk of ovarian and breast cancer, and managed to delay the return of my periods until Athena was 11 months old!
- It’s an easy ‘fix’ for an upset or hurt baby and will help them feel reassured and can be used to avoid a tantrum!
- Your milk is still providing valuable immunities (Athena has had just one proper cold in her short lifetime, for example!) and vitamins
- Feeds are much quicker, no hour long marathon sessions any longer
- The risk of revealing more than you’d prefer. A wriggling almost-toddler with full and determined use of her hands means sometimes my top gets yanked at when she wants a feed, or more of me (namely my belly) gets shown in all it’s flabby glory to whoever is looking. I admit things were easier when she was smaller!
- Biting. At the end of each feed if i’m not paying enough attention to notice when she has stopped suckling I get a sharp reminder in the form of her trying to detach my nipple from my boob with her teeth. For the first time since the early days I had a bleeding nipple last week. Some people have said that this happening was the ‘beginning of the end’ for them and their babies started to self wean soon after this started, so we’ll see what happens for us
- Potential criticism. My own mum has asked if i’ll be stopping now cows milk is okay as a drink. I can’t seem to actually get Athena to drink it for a start, and secondly i’d prefer for her to self wean, which may be happening if we go by the above point! SO far nobody else has said anything to me in person, and I don’t pay any attention to people who might be sat around us in cafes/parks etc when we feed so I have no idea if i’ve had any disapproving looks or not really!
So there are my pros and cons of my (admittedly limited) experience of feeding past a year. We will however have had to come to the end of our breastfeeding journey by November as I am going on holiday for 5 days without Athena, but I really hope that it’s a natural conclusion before that point. I expect that being away from me for 3 days when I go back to work next month will help with the natural weaning from the boob, as she’ll get used to me not being there for day time naps, and generally she doesn’t have milk right before bed these days anyway!
Do please add any comments of your experience of ‘extended’ breastfeeding, or about how your little one self weaned, if they did!
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