We have another Mom-Day interview for you! A wonderful mommy from a Facebook group I am a part of volunteered to answer some questions about breastfeeding past the age of 1 year. She has some wonderful words of advice towards the end so be sure to read to end. If there is a specific topic you would like to read more about be sure to let me know and I will do my best to address it in the interviews.
How many children do you have?
A boy – 6, a girl – 4, and another boy 16 months.
What do you appreciate most about your children?
I appreciate so many things about my kids. I think what I love is their uniqueness. My oldest is so incredibly smart and kind and has such a love for learning. My daughter is so silly and talented and has an amazing spirit. My youngest is also hilarious but so loving, even this little.
What is a struggle you have regarding motherhood?
My biggest struggle regarding motherhood is being able to balance everything that life throws at me. I love my kids and would love to spend all day playing with just them. However, I have bills to pay, laundry to do, dishes to clean, and so many other household duties. I also want time to myself, time with my friends, and time to do things that I love…like DIY projects. Finding time to do everything is incredibly hard.
Do you have any hobbies?
Yes. I love to build things. I just finished building a farm table and bench for our dining room. I love to do fix things up around our house as well.
What does extended breastfeeding mean to you?
I honestly don’t think it really means a lot to me. I nursed my kids for as long as they wanted. When I had my first kid, I hoped I could make it to a year. I never planned on only nursing for a specific time period. I fell in love with the bond it provided me and my child with and stopped when they were ready.
When did you decide that you wanted to do extended breastfeeding?
Again, I decided that after having my first kid. When my son was about 15 months old, we decided to try to have another baby. Even then, I knew my son wasn’t ready to stop and I really wasn’t either. I nursed him until he was 22 months old and only stopped because he was ready and I was no longer producing as much milk as he needed. But as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I was 100% ready to nurse 2 kids, despite my doctor telling me not to.
Have you received much criticism for deciding to practice extended breastfeeding?
You know, I did with my first. In college I baby-sat for a family of a well-respected psychologist. We visited them several years later with our son when he was 18 months old and even without asking, they were quick to voice their opinion on my choice and urged me to quit.
Do you breastfeed in public?
Yes, absolutely. I am very proud that I have been able to breastfeed my kids and am so incredibly blessed by it as well. I wouldn’t give it up for anyone and I am not embarrassed at all by it. I also decided to breastfeed in public because none of my kids ever took a bottle. And I also stayed home with all of my kids, so having to pump was never a priority.
What methods do you use to make breastfeeding in public easier? (two shirt method, feeding cover etc.)
This actually took some getting used to and a lot of experimenting w/ my first kiddo. At first I would use a nursing cover, but eventually, my kids decided against them and I have opted for a 2 shirt method. I am in love with nursing tanks and will probably never wear an actual nursing bra.
How have your children requested to nurse over the years?
When they were little, they just cried or fussed a little. I have gotten pretty good a reading their cues. As they got older, I taught them ASL and they would sign for it. My youngest now can answer questions by rocking his whole body (it’s super adorable!).
Did you ever have any hesitations about breastfeeding past 1 year old?
How often do they nurse during the day?
I still nurse my youngest anywhere from 4-10 times a day. I still nurse on demand, even at 16 months.
Has extended breastfeeding led to tandem nursing?
It almost did, but I wasn’t able to keep nursing while pregnant…my body just couldn’t keep up. I think for me it was a combination of extreme nausea and an inability to get enough calories to support both.
How have you handled biting while nursing?
I usually just tell them no biting. If they keep doing it, I will sometimes lightly flick them but that’s rare.
What advice do you have for moms who would like to breastfeed past 1 year?
I would tell them to do what’s best for them and their child. No parenting book or doctor get to make that decision for you. If you want to do it, then go for it. I think that how long you breastfeed is a very personal and maybe a cultural decision, but it is for sure one that only you can make. And for those who want to but aren’t able to, then they should be proud of what they were able to do.
And those who are undecided?
If you are undecided, then don’t make a decision based on someone else’s opinion. Again, it is their decision and it should be made based upon what is right for them and their child and their family. And if they aren’t getting the support they need, then they should know that there is a whole community of moms out there who would support them 100%!! There is no manual for your child or when to stop breastfeeding. Only you can know what is right.