Note from Naomi: Today’s post is an interview with Rebecca from Taylor Made Ramblings about her experience of continuing to breastfeed beyond the average age of weaning. This 34 year old mummy blogger lives at home with her husband of four years and two year old son. She has been blogging for about 6 months. Make sure you check out her blog over at Taylor Made Ramblings.
How old is your son?
He turned two on the 28th of September! I can’t believe it has been two years already!
What would you consider to be, ‘extended breastfeeding’?
This is a tough one as I struggle with the term ‘extended’, but I suppose if we went by today’s society it would be anything past a year.
If you had to choose one word to describe your experience of extended breastfeeding, what would it be?
Gift. Being able to breastfeed Ernie for this long is truly a gift and a blessing. I am so thankful to be able to do it. I realise how lucky we both are and I cherish every day that Ernie keeps feeding.
Why did you decide to continue breastfeeding beyond the UK average of 6 months?
To be honest, stopping didn’t even cross my mind. So long as Ernie still wanted it, I was happy to continue – we were both very happy with it and it seemed completely natural to continue. It certainly didn’t feel like the end was anywhere in sight at that point, but I was also aware that this could have changed at any moment.
Has extended breastfeeding affected your relationship with your partner?
No more than any of the other pressures having a baby brings! My partner has been so supportive of it all the way through. It was tough for him in the beginning not being able to be involved in the feeding, especially as Ernie refused to take expressed milk from a bottle. But he has been involved in other ways it wasn’t a problem. We are lucky that my husband works shifts so he has been able to play an active role in the day-to-day routine when not on-shift.
Does it hurt when your son feeds now that he has teeth?
No. In two years I have only had one negative experience where Ernie bit me because he was going through a particularly bad teething phase.
Does breastfeeding really help you lose weight?
I found it, did but I was slightly underweight to begin with so I struggled to maintain my weight once I was breastfeeding.
What do you do when you go to work; or your child is with a family member or babysitter and you’re not around?
I only work one full day a week (plus a few odd hours here and there) so I express milk and he drinks it from a cup until I get home. He is old enough now to cope without it but I am not separated from him very often.
Do you have a set routine for breastfeeding (for example only at nap time or bed time) or do you still breastfeed ‘on demand’?
Set routine: when he wakes in the morning, right before his nap, and right before bed (he feeds to sleep for both). I am happy to feed on demand but he doesn’t ask for it at any other time anymore.
Does extended breastfeeding affect your son’s eating habits?
He doesn’t always fancy lunch as he feeds down to his nap around 11am and usually sleeps for an hour and a half to 3 hours so the milk and sleeping curbs his appetite. Breakfast and dinner he eats well so long as I wait long enough after his morning feed for breakfast (it takes at least an hour for him to be hungry).
Do you ever feel self-conscious about the fact you decided to extend breastfeeding when people ask you about it?
Not anymore. I feel proud and blessed. I did occasionally, but now I am just treasuring each day he is still feeding and not worrying about what anyone else thinks.
There is a lot of people who think that it is strange to breastfeed beyond the first year (despite the world wide average being 2.5 years in age). How do you respond to these judgements?
I’d be a hypocrite if I got cross about it. I completely understand as I feel there is a lack of knowledge and understanding within our culture surrounding breastfeeding. I knew nothing about breastfeeding until we began our journey and probably would have though it odd myself (to be honest, it wasn’t something that was on my radar at all until I became a Mum myself). I find it sad and frustrating now and believe it is certainly something we need to work at normalising as a society.
When do you think you will stop breastfeeding?
Only when Ernie decides, whenever that may be. I don’t want to stop (and I don’t think he does at the moment), but I know we are on borrowed time now and I will respect his decision whenever he has had enough.
Would you do it again?
Definitely, but we are not planning to have more than one child so this will probably be my only opportunity, sadly.