Yes I’m Still Breastfeeding Infant/Toddler Tee T-shirt, originally uploaded by Paper Mama.
Ok, I’m going to get really personal here and vulnerable here, but I believe there are others out there who may feel similarly. Plus, maybe if I get it off my chest and on the screen I could better decide what to do and how to do it. And hey, maybe someone out there will hear me and maybe have some advice. But please, do be kind! I’ve read nasty discussions on this topic on other places and I’d really like to avoid that here.
I still breastfeed the Sprout at almost age 2. The majority of people around me think this is absolutely ridiculous, and he should be over it by now. Less than a handful of people I know genuinely think it’s good to continue and it’s the best for him. Add to this all his issues with food – meaning he really isn’t keen on food in general and absolutely won’t have even a taste of some things – and people always blame the breastfeeding.
The issue I’m struggling with here is really how do I feel about it in the middle of all this? I’m not quite sure. I always knew I wanted to breastfeed, despite all the struggles in the beginning, and all the advice for me to just give up and give formula, I was brave enough to say screw it and go with my gut. It was really hard to this the first 5 weeks, but then it was oh so perfect. However I never really thought for how long I’d want to breastfeed. While I was pregnant, and with all the information I read, I figured around 6 months. I figured that’s what they say you’re supposed to do, right? Then he was born, we struggled, I gathered information and then thought, well, at least a year. Then I read some more and figured he would breastfeed for as long as we were both happy (with the emphasis on his happiness though). Fast forward to now. Until very recently, he would have a feed before nap, before sleeping at night, during the night inconsistently and in the morning. But now Sprout is constantly asking to breastfeed, especially since he learned the word mek (milk). At any random time, sometimes right after he had a feed. On good days, I usually say yes whenever he wants to, at least I do if we’re home. On bad days, I really resent it and we both end up unhappy because he wants to feed and I try to put him off. I especially resent it when we’re out and he wants to feed anywhere in public. Now, I’m trying to figure out if I’m truly not happy with him breastfeeding, or if I feel this way because of what I think others are thinking. This really bothers me. I really shouldn’t care what others think – it should not be a factor. But at the same time, I kind of feel like I want my body back, like I’m ready for this phase to reach an end. Would it actually be better for Sprout? Would he eat/sleep better? Could I then have some more time to myself? There’s just no way of knowing the answer to that. What if I do wean him, and he has a hard time and I feel like I should have continued? Why is it so strange to breastfeed a toddler in our society. It used to be normal. What if the weaning process is traumatic for him? But then again, what if he never really wants to stop breastfeeding on his own (ok, maybe never is unrealistic… I doubt he’d be a breastfeeding teenager…)? There are just so many questions, but I keep thinking, if I’m not happy with him wanting to breastfeed ALL THE TIME, is it maybe really time to stop? Is it more harmful to him if he feels my resentfulness when I feed him? What would be the best way to start weaning.
Then I think, the attachment parenting etc movements, which are very much in line with how I parent, would think I’m just awful for not following the child on this. Are they right? Is this just another form of peer pressure as well? Or would I be an awful parent if I imposed weaning, even partial weaning, on him?
Well, no answers I guess, only questions. Let’s see. I may start weaning him, just keeping a couple of feeds. Maybe try to dissociate breastfeeding with sleeping – although it’s so much easier to breastfeed before putting him to sleep. He’s much calmer that way, but then he expects me to breastfeed every time he wakes up – which is A LOT – and I’m oh so tired from lack of sleep. I don’t know… At the same time it feels like it’s such a natural thing and make him oh so happy.