“Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (November). For this month, participants share their experiences on extended breastfeeding. This includes tips to moms with young babies, as well as barriers and myths which discourage extended nursing. Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants.”
“Now, really, she still breastfeeds at 14 months? Isn’t she too old for that?”
“She must be biting you a lot with all her teeth coming out!”
“How can you sing and travel with baby in tow?”
“You should stop already, there’s formula anyway.”
“She must be beside Mommy all the time because Mommy is her food. Poor Mommy. That’s why she can’t work.”
These are just some of the many statements, questions, comments we’ve been getting lately. And I always address them with a smile.
Wow, 14 months. 14 months! To me, breastfeeding my daughter without giving her formula is the biggest achievement I have done, more than winning the Grand Prix, more than finishing a degree with honors. I just feel proud, even prouder now that I have reached the one-year mark.
And no, we’re not stopping soon. Why?
1. Because she doesn’t need formula. And we can’t afford formula. Really, we can’t. I know my husband works really hard to provide for our needs but who would want to spend on expensive formula milk when you can provide your own?
I take what the priest said in the homily during the Feast of Our Lady of La Leche Mass I attended: Kaya tayo asal hayop kasi gatas ng hayop iniinom natin (The reason why we act as animals is because we drink animal milk). That was a tough thought. Now I want to breastfeed Aria even longer, for as long as she likes!
2. Because it’s so much easier! Pop the boob out and you’re good to go. Portable (you bring just yourself and the baby–no bottles, warm water, milk containers), economical (no need to buy expensive stuff–a shawl, tube or tank top underneath a loose shirt and you’re good to go), space saver (who needs a big diaper/baby bag?).
3. Because the family can sleep longer. My husband benefits from this more, and he will be forever grateful that he didn’t learn preparing formula. Even middle of the night waking is a breeze. I just let her nurse and she goes back to dreamland. We’re co-sleeping and no fear of SIDS.
4. Because I don’t want smelly poop. Yes, I just love a breastfed baby’s poop scent, even now that she’s heavy on solids!
5. Because I don’t want to introduce a pacifier, nor a bottle teat. I’d rather nurse her when she cries for reasons aside from hunger (sleepy, bored, hurt, sick). I know she can really be talkative and loud and screams a lot at times but I still will choose that over a baby with a pacifier in her mouth.
Note: we introduced Medela Calma but unfortunately, after a couple of months and now that she’s got eight teeth, she just chews the teat. We’re cup and straw feeding now!
6. Because we don’t want to get sick. Save two or three times of having colds during the first year, both my daughter and I haven’t gotten seriously sick. And we are assured of a smarter baby and reduced cancer-risk mommy!
7. Because it’s the only exclusive thing we do together! I know I’m being selfish, but my husband, or my mom, or my sister, can play with her all day but when it comes to quenching her thirst for milk, it’s only me.
8. Because, surely, when she weans (not anytime soon, please!) I’ll truly treasure every nursing moment we had — the sleepless nights, hours of carrying to avoid reflux, two hour marathon nursings, five seconds quick thirst-quenching nursing, biting episodes, crazy nursing positions and calisthenics my baby had discovered, the sudden pulling off my shirt even in front of a priest and demanding ‘dedede’ until she gets it, the nursing to soothe aching gums, booboos, separation and stranger anxieties, and nursing to sleep. The list is endless!
I know my friends and maybe other non-breastfeeding readers, too will get dismayed, envied, or ashamed (I hope not!) that breastfeeding just didn’t work out.
The keyword: TRUST.
Trust your body that it can make milk, even if at times you don’t feel or see it.
Trust your family that they’ll support you (or if not, I, on behalf of the many breastfeeding moms, counselors, breastfeeding-friendly doctors will!).
Trust in the Lord that He prepared your body for this challenge, which is really just a kick-off from pregnancy. There is a lot more to come!
Other stories of moms who went past the first year mark:
J and the Three Boys – No more “de-de”
My Mommyology – My Extended Breastfeeding Experience
Mommyluscious – Breastfeeding for Two Beyond Two
Truly Rich Mom – On Extended Breastfeeding (a perfectly normal thing to do)
Life of a Babywearing and Breastfeeding Mommy – Still breastfeeding after 2 years
Got To Believe – Breastfeeding Room Story