Breastfeeding is such a HUGE thing in our culture & it seems like everyone has an opinion on it, men, women, whether they have children or not. I have to admit, living in East Van & travelling in the circles I do, I haven't really ever encountered any negative comments about breastfeeding in public or the age of the child I was nursing. I feel like it's only a matter of time until I get something, however, as Bronte is still adamant that she needs "noms" during the day, whether we're out or at home.
Breastfeeding is also really complicated personally. It does mean I'm tied to my child, responsible for an aspect of her care that no one else in the world can do. Being wanted & needed is nice... to a point. Nursing her down at night or for naps is easy, in a way, but it can also be really annoying to have to be physically attached to her at those times. I threaten to wean her all the time when she keeps scratches me or closes her teeth as she unlatches.
So why do I still do it?
The other side of the coin is that I got this far because I was so invested in breastfeeding from the get go. I don't want to give up on something I fought so hard to make work (all the latch problems & supply issues in the early days). I like the cuddles that I have with her while she nurses. It feels like a magic power to be able to comfort her so quickly & easily after a vaccination or injury.
Then there's the health benefits to both of us: I worry just a bit less about her diet because I know she's getting some nutrition from breastfeeding. I'd guess she still drinks around 12 ounces of my milk a day. In that milk there are also antibodies to whatever viruses that I'm fighting which help her immune system. For me, every month more that I breastfeed means a lower risk of breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease & rheumatoid arthritis.
Emotionally, Bronte still needs to breastfeed. She wouldn't be doing it at least six times a day if she didn't. Of course, it needs to be a balance--some days the scale swings over too far to her side & I get frustrated, needing more space--so I do actively try to distract her or put her off when she wants to nurse & I don't.
The last reason I breastfeed, or at least the reason I do it in public, without any cover, wherever we happen to be, is for other people. I want other moms of breastfeeding toddlers to see me so maybe they'll feel just a little more comfortable next time they do it. I want children to see that breastfeeding is no big deal & this is what breasts are primarily for. I want everybody else to see me breastfeeding a nearly two-&-a-half-year-old child who can walk up & ask in a grammatically perfect sentence, "Mama, can I have some noms, please?" because we need to normalize this.
If you haven't yet, head over to RoleReboot & read the article: Stop Shaming Moms Who Choose To Breastfeed Their Babies Past A Certain Age. I'd love to hear what you think &/or your experiences breastfeeding past a year or two in the comments.
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