On extented breastfeeding

I’ve been wanting to start guest posts for some time now because there are many interesting, wise, brilliant mommies (and daddies) out there with some wonderful insights that we can all benefit from. Yesterday my friend Gau, one of the most gorgeous, intelligent, articulate and empathetic people i know put up an Instagram post that fired me up and i just had to share it! Here is her post:

This picture was otherwise only meant to be a #latergram post from a recent trip to continue documenting our nursing journey. I normally let some amount of naysaying slide and don’t preach the virtues of extended breastfeeding to an immature audience. Something happened a couple of days ago that made me extra protective of a bond I care so much for. I went to a doctor for a small infection and was prescribed some broad spectrum antibiotics. I forgot to ask earlier so called her up from home to ask if the meds were breastfeeding friendly. Here’s a snippet from our unpleasant conversation:


Me: Doc, I’m breastfeeding and wanted to know if it was safe to take the meds you prescribed.


Doc: (incredulously, because she had met my son earlier in the day) How old is your child?


Me: 2.7 years old


Doc: Then you can stop feeding him now. They say it’s useless to feed a child that old and you should stop now.


Me: I do not agree and even if I did, I can’t stop tonight which is when I need to start the course.


Doc: No but it’s useless and yes the meds are safe.


Me: Thank you and good bye!


Now I know that not all of the anti (extended) breastfeeding brigade goes around giving unsolicited “useless” advice to nursing mothers and not all doctors are morons. But the most basic facts of life have become so mangled and mired in hate or ignorance that right now I feel compelled to put in my two cents across to whoever is listening.
It is perfectly normal and natural to nurse a child until they self-wean (that is around the age of 6 or 7 years when they lose their baby teeth and along with that also their ability to latch). It is recommended to breastfeed a child for a minimum of two years – this has proven benefits for both the mother and the child. Beyond that age, breastmilk does not become useless overnight. A child nurses because it needs milk but not only for that. A mother’s milk is better for the child, even nutritionally, than another animal’s that is meant for its own young one. Human bodies are dynamic – under normal circumstances, a mother will continue to produce milk for as long as her child nurses. As the child grows, it finds emotional stability and security in this nursing bond with the mother. This aspect of the breastfeeding relationship is most underrated and least understood. The same people who encouraged me to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months later told me that breastfeeding after a certain age is “addictive” and I’m spoiling my son. If you hug your child 20 times a day, every day, you’re not spoiling them, are you? You’re also not cultivating bad habits to last a life time. To use the oft repeated yet meaningful line – children don’t spoil, they just grow up.
While I’m proud and thankful to be nursing my child for this long, I wouldn’t say it’s been easy. Another reason to be supportive of extended breastfeeding rather than discourage mothers by saying all the wrong things. Just as in any other relationship, the success of this one depends on the well-being of both the mother and the child. A mother may want out at any point and lead the way to a gentle and peaceful end of the relationship. Abrupt weaning can cause a lot of grief to both the mother and the child. There are support groups to help mothers in their breastfeeding journey – Breastfeeding Support for Indian Mothers is one such group and I’ve had the good fortune of meeting some amazingly strong and committed mothers (even fathers) here.
 
This post is about extended breastfeeding and nursing in public is a natural progression of this extension. πŸ™‚ You can’t feed behind closed doors for three years, you should never have to. But more on that later.

This is the link to her Instagram account:https://www.instagram.com/gauriddg/

I weaned my daughter off prematurely at eight-and-a-half months because of a work related trip to Germany and it still makes my heart ache. Even in that short period, i experienced how unfriendly our society and conditions are for breastfeeding. And this is not just breastfeeding in public which is nightmarish in itself, but also support from near and dear ones at home who are quick to wonder “whether breastmilk is enough” and encourage us to switch to formula before really allowing us to take our time in learning and enjoying this beautiful, natural process.

Power to women like Gau who inspire and educate us with tales like these!

If you have breastfeeding stories of your own, i’d love to hear them.


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16 Comments Add yours

  1. Anupama sheregar says:

    I am in total support of extended breastfeeding and is still happily doing the same..ma son is now 2.3 yrs old and need bed time bond which i cherish undoubtedly… just because of unnecessary advices comments and justifications i have stopped sharing this in public because its my personal choice…nobody can influence me on this…my son is my first priority and i wish to see him self wean peacefully not abruptly with sleepless nights and cries..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rumi's mommy says:

      That’s great Anupama, thank you so much for writing in!😊

      Like

  2. AstuteIndian says:

    Nature has mad women so they can breastfeed for 1st 5 years. So why some people are against it. It’s natural process. Breasts purpose is to feed baby and nothing else. Breastfeeding is not a crime so why we are not allowed in public. I breastfed both my son’s till 2.5 yrs wanted to do longer but couldn’t because of work commitments but both were ready to wean of themselves.

    Like

    1. Rumi's mommy says:

      Its great you chose baby led weaning!πŸ‘

      Like

  3. Sayalee Pendharkar says:

    You write so well Alisha and so does your friend. I loved this blog and went back to memory lanes of my breastfeeding days. I stopped breastfeeding at 18months as my child used to use my breast as a nipple and wake up up to 8-15times at night. I was constantly told by her doctors to wean off. It was forced weaning and it was hard to both of us. After my milk she refused any other milk or formula for months. I still feel I should have done it at least till she was 3. PS: After weaning, her cardiologist asked me to restart breastfeeding as she tought it was best for her. Unfortunately my toddler was very strong headed and refused it. So I think baby should have the right to stop it and it should be their choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sayalee Pendharkar says:

      Pacifier*

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rumi's mommy says:

        Thank you so much Sayalee!😊😍

        Like

  4. Pari says:

    Agree! My kid is 2.2 and is in no mood to wean.. and neither am I .. Frankly speaking I’m lazy enough to bother myself with all the hassle mom led weaning brings, plus it’s so damn convenient I wonder why would anyone ever want to switch to any other milk for their own offspring unless of course they are physically unable to do so… so thank you for this post .. glad to know there are mothers like me too 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rumi's mommy says:

      Thanks for writing Pari, good to hear from you!😊

      Like

  5. Minal Sharma says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for this wonderful sharing. I am currently breast feeding my 2.5 year old daughter and trust me it’s the most amazing thing. My mom said she fed me till I was 3.5 years old and she said I hardly fell sick as my immunity was strong. I plan to do the same with my daughter as the bonding, the care and the experience is just another level. We both love it! So I plan continue it till she weans off or till I can sustain.

    Like

    1. Rumi's mommy says:

      Wow thank you so much for sharing this Minal!😊

      Like

  6. A says:

    Wow… I wish I could have weaned for at least 1 yr but I amongst unfortunate mother were milk was completely insufficient.. My story is completely opposite.. From day 1 I was having issues nurses, doctors,health visitors in UK, massage bai, my mum all tried very hard for my breastfeeding only 1 spoon not more than that, over that breast abuses, I self courageously decided at least 1 spoon is coming.. I had no other option I had to give unwillingly formula milk.. Some days milk use to cme some days never then after 9 th month no milk.. Do enjoy the bonding as long as possible…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rumi's mommy says:

      Thank you for writing and sharing this A!

      Like

  7. Hemangi says:

    Yes. I am still nursing my 2.5 year old son and I don’t have any plans to wean him I truly believe in Self – weaning. It becomes difficult at night but I still enjoy it. The bond we share together can’t be expressed in words.

    Like

    1. Rumi's mommy says:

      Yes, thanks a lot for sharing this Hemangi!😊

      Like

  8. vordelothiel says:

    I’m still nursing my son who JUST turned three. It’s a love-hate relationship with extended breastfeeding for me. I adore my little guy. He’s the only one out of my three boys who I could nurse. I love our bond and snuggles, but I’m about ready for the end. It will be bittersweet.

    Liked by 1 person

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