Extended Breastfeeding: My Story

Seven years ago when I was pregnant with Alex I knew that I would breastfeed.  I had never researched it but I knew it was something that I would do.   I was at a wedding, while very pregnant, when someone mentioned that breastfeeding hurt.  Say What?  I had never hear that there was any discomfort involved in breastfeeding…I just assumed it would be an easy and painless process.

I went home that night and began to read the book ‘The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding’.  I am so glad that I read that book and educated myself about the ins and outs of breastfeeding.  I discovered that breastfeeding can be uncomfortable but there are ways around the discomfort.  I learned that problems can arise but there are also ways to address them.  Once I began to educate myself regarding breastfeeding I knew that I would exclusively breastfeed…for a year.

I gave birth to Alex in a hospital.    I did not insist on breastfeeding him immediately after birth.  Unfortunately, I didn’t know that I could make such a request.  Luckily, when he was finally handed to me he latched on like a champ.

I fed him on demand.  Nurses began to give me a hard time.  They tried to convince me to allow them to take him to the nursery, I refused.  I had read stories of babies being given formula or sugar-water in the nursery.  They told me that I should not be feeding him so much.  I knew that I was doing the right thing so I continued feeding him on demand.

Alex

Alex’s first birthday came and went…we continued to breastfeed.  I received many strange looks when friends and family discovered that I was still breastfeeding once he was a toddler.   People’s negative reactions were hard for me to understand because breastfeeding my child was so natural to me.  People eventually stopped asking.  I assumed that they probably thought that I had finally stopped.  They didn’t ask and I didn’t say anything.

I breastfed Alex on demand for two and a half years.  I never planned to extend breastfeed,  it is just what we did.  I never saw any reason to stop so we just kept going with it.

I weaned him when I was 7 months pregnant with Ava.  Alex was a twiddler and this drove my pregnant self batty.  I was becoming aggravated and knew it was time to stop.  I told him that my milk was all gone, gave him extra cuddles and he was surprisingly fine.  He never napped again but he was okay.

Alex, 2 1/2 years

Alex remembers nursing and sometimes talks to me about  it.  When he was younger he would often nurse his babies, he even tried to nurse his sister when she was crying.  He loves to build things and one time he created a breast pump and was pumping along with me.

Alex ‘pumping’

He is and always will be my sweet boy.

Along came Ava my free-spirited and fiercely independent daughter.

Sweet Ava Rose

She had ‘colic’ and had a rough first few months.  I cut out all dairy, took her to the chiropractor, and threw away the Zyrtec that the pediatrician prescribed.  She had a rough start but we never had any problems when it came to breastfeeding.

I became pregnant with Audrey and was excited about tandem nursing….it never happened.  Ava was two years old and I was 8 months pregnant when she weaned herself.  I was nursing her to sleep for her nap when she looked up at me and declared that she did not like my milk anymore.  I assumed that my milk had changed to colostrum.  I told her that this was fine and she never nursed again.

Ava, 2 years old

When I delivered Audrey I was adamant about nursing her immediately.  They warned me that this may not go well because she was early by 3 weeks 3 days.  She was born perfect.  She latched on and we had no problems.

Audrey

Audrey is a twiddler too and it does not bother me at all.  Audrey is 18 months old and still going strong, I have a feeling that she will breastfeed for the longest of the three.  She is my sunshine.

Audrey, 18 months

I am a happy and proud breastfeeding mama!  My friends and family all know this and if they feel it is odd they certainly don’t express their feelings to me.  I nurse on demand…at the park, at the restaurant, wherever I may be….well, except in a public bathroom!

My nursing story is a happy one.   My kids were never given formula.  None of my kids even drank from a bottle.  I know that I am very lucky to have never encountered any bumps along the breastfeeding road.  I also know that I am very lucky to be at home with all of my children so that I could exclusively breastfeed them.  I am in no way passing judgement, this is simply my story.

I will mention one thing that I find odd…all three of my children have preferred to my right breast.  I have talked to other moms that have had the same thing happen with their kids, I like to call us the lopsided mamas!

Breastfeeding is such an amazing thing and I know deep in my heart that it has made a huge difference in my children…..and myself.  I will truly be sad when my breastfeeding days are done.

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6 thoughts on “Extended Breastfeeding: My Story

  1. My son was a twiddler to and it drove me nuts! I did cease that, but the nursing kept going….and going…and going… I’ll let you know when he has stopped 🙂

    Your post is nice, and important especially to those moms who have not reached the point of “extended breastfeeding” yet. It normalizes it!
    Our Muddy Boots recently posted..My Diagnosis: Attachment ParentingMy Profile

  2. I love your story and how you share it with us. I too LOVE breastfeeding. My daughter self-weaned when she was 2 3/4 ( I was pregnant with my son) but my son is like the energizer bunny when it comes to extended breastfeeding – he just keeps going and going and going! We have the circumstances for it and both enjoy it. He just turned 5!

    All the best growing your babies!

    Christine
    http://www.loving-attachment-parenting.com/breastfeeding-toddler.html

    • Angela says:

      I love your story Christine! Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Good luck with your babies….I look forward to checking in on you now too 🙂

  3. I love this. Thank you for sharing. I am still nursing, but we also supplement (more like my nursing supplements) with homemade formula. I wish we could have avoided the bottle, but I wasn’t practicing the best nutrition in the beginning. Now we are an all-natural, real food eating family!

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