random person: "How old is Charlotte now?"
me: "Almost 14 months"
random person: "OH. So, when are you going to stop breastfeeding????"
This is a conversation I, unfortunately, have often. And as I began to answer I get nervous, because I have no idea if this person is pro breastfeeding a child over 12 months or not. I get worried about their reaction, even though it isn't any of their business. Our pediatrician and the World Health Organization (and UNICEF and LLL and AAP) recommends breastfeeding long after the one year mark. Haven't we all heard the saying, "breast is best".....that's because it is. From the moment you become pregnant people are constantly telling you to breastfeed. There is a big market in consultants to help you get that perfect latch once the baby arrives. Why? Because it's challenging. And because people make you feel guilty if you don't breastfeed. How dare you even consider giving your child formula! But all of a sudden at the one year mark the tables turn and it's frowned upon to keep it up. (and by then you have it down to a science!) What gives? Breastfeeding provides so many benefits to both Charlotte and I. Not to mention it contributes to her health, intellectual development, and social development, and not just for the first either!!
So why oh why once Charlotte turned one I was constantly getting the third degree over continuing to breastfeed her. Especially from family. I feel like I need to defend myself all the time. Hello, can I have a lawyer present please??? Or maybe just my pediatrician!! I know, I know, I shouldn't care what other people think or say....and I can pretend that I don't, but we all hate to be silently judged and critiqued.
So to answer that random person, YES I still breastfeed my 13 month old, and (cringe) I don't know when I plan to stop. She loves the boobie and just can't get enough of it. I hear at some point the child will self wean, and if so, that day hasn't happened for us yet. Do I wish we could reduce the breastfeeding? Yes of course. But only because she uses me as a buffet!! Pulling on my shirt and getting upset if I don't oblige. Designated meal times would be so much more acceptable, or at least convenient. And now that she is night weaned I may try and set up some more boundaries so that eventually, when she and I are ready, we can cut down the feedings and eventually drop them all together.
As inconvenient as it can be at times, I am grateful I am able to breastfeed her at all. If I had to go back to work I would have weaned her and switched to formula a while ago. Pumping is HARD work!! Thankfully, because I'm a SAHM, I can continue to feed her on demand as long as we choose.
But until that time comes, stop asking! It won't last forever. And hey, IT'S FREE!!!!!!