Courtney from Joy of momma Joyner and I are here for another week of Tuesday’s Taste’s on Second Base. This week we are going to discuss extended breastfeeding: our thoughts as well as our personal goals. We hope you’ll join in either by posting and linking up or by commenting below. We realize that some of these topics (including today’s) can be controversial but we ask that you all respect our opinions as well as anyone else’s. Please do not be rude, we all have differing opinions, let’s just respect that. Thank you!
Let me start out by telling you a bit about my story. My oldest son was breastfed exclusively for 10.5 months. LA, who is now (almost) two, was breastfed for 11.5 months exclusively and another two weeks (not exclusive) as we were transitioning him. I got pregnant with baby Addy when LA was about ten months old and my supply slowly decreased but he was weaning himself anyway. My goal with baby Addy is fourteen months.
Extended breastfeeding recently made major headlines when Time magazine featured a breastfeeding mama and her almost four year old son who is still nursing. The World Health Organization actually recommends breastfeeding for two years or beyond. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Surgeon General both recommend skipping formula and exclusively breastfeeding for six months. In America, 75% of women start out breastfeeding their babies, but at six months old, only 44% are still nursing. Of those 44% still nursing, only 15% are exclusively nursing. Wow, really? I was shocked to learn that so many women don’t nurse exclusively longer. Now mamas, I get that some people can’t physically nurse. I am not bashing anyone who medically cannot nurse their child, I am just saying that I wish more mamas who are able to would nurse exclusively longer.
I know that breastfeeding is best for our babies, but how long is long enough? How long is too long? This is where opinions differ and this is where it can get controversial. You can see from the information above that different agencies recommend different ages in terms of breastfeeding. These are simply recommendations and not necessarily what will work for you and your family. I personally cannot imagine breastfeeding a toddler that walks around, talks, and walks up to me asking to nurse. For me, that is too long. My opinion of it being too long though is just the actual nursing. I do agree with breast milk being given to children longer though, or for an extended period of time. If I can ever make it past the 11-12 month period I may continue pumping for several months. If I could make it to the two year mark, would I? You betcha! If I decide to breastfeed baby Addy or any future children longer than a year (if my body cooperates), I will most likely be pumping and giving them milk from a sippy cup. That’s what works for me in our household. I realize some people feel differently but again, that is what works for this mama.
Tell me about your story or your thoughts on this? Do you agree with extended breastfeeding? To you, how long is too long? Courtney and I invite you to link up with your thoughts – we’ll come by to visit and leave a comment!