This today is a more personal post to share you my feelings about our “extended” breastfeeding, our feelings about weaning and how we flowed with 2+ years of breastfeeding.
Extended, Prolonged, Long, Beyond Two Years Breastfeeding (or Whatever You Wanna Name It)
First, I want to “open the melon” (literal translation from Spanish) that perhaps the term Extended Breastfeeding, which, although it is the most common in the field of health professionals, is currently being debated.
Why? Well, human beings, naturally and ancestral, started weaning at some point between the ages of four and seven. That is why today many voices are raised that say that giving the tit two, three or four years should not be considered “extended” or “prolonged”.
So that we understand each other and know what we are talking about, I will use those terms interchangeably. Go ahead to say that, in my case, at no time do they have any pejorative charge. But a load of love, of much love.
First Months of Breastfeeding: Support and Help
I have already told in the blog in detail (in an even more personal post, if possible, that you can read here) how hard were our beginnings with breastfeeding. The immediate beginnings included the ICU, fruitless extractions, relactadores …
But there is nothing like having clear ideas, knowing what you want, and having the support you need. In my case, my son’s father was the key. He insisted once and a thousand times that “everything that was happening to us was what the books said was normal” and forced me to go for help when I needed it.
I spent a lot of time in breastfeeding groups, such as Lactancia con Gracia or parenting groups such as Mamayoga. Ágata, the founder of the latter, also guided me with her experience as a lactation consultant.
From 3 Months a Year: Multicolor Pools and Baby Led Weaning
I think I can say that after 3 months our breastfeeding was more than established: affirming each day and wind in the stern. Gael grew happy and began to make the croquette, gained weight and centimeters without stop and laugh for anything.
We had some small bump. For example, Gael began to make green poop between the third and fifth month, and I had to spend some time without taking milk for fear of having APLV (cow’s milk protein allergy). But after a while, his system matured and I was able to return to my normal diet.
A little before six months he began to be very curious about what we ate at the table. We started to let him rewind fruit and it was the discovery for him. Today, it is still what you eat best every day. The months passed quickly and we were introducing everything with the technique of baby led weaning.
We also had small breastfeeding crises. Because he was sick, because teeth came out… for a thousand reasons and none. In this period we realized, more than ever, that the tit is more than food.
From 1 to 2 Years: Just Friends
Without hurry but without pause, we have seen how our son was decreasing takes. First, the time we were separated in the morning. Little by little, in the afternoon, playing with dad, going errands…
And we have planted ourselves today, with two years and two months, seeing how the tit is no longer, at all, Gael’s food. But it is still his BFF. To this day, Gael does not take any shots during the day, and does continue at night (or to take a nap if we are together).
Perhaps the most complicated part of this phase has been approaching two years and continuing to deal with nights of high demand, very tired, angry trying to convince him that the tit (and mom) were tired… We have had moments in which, as a family , we have wondered if it was time for weaning.
To Infinity and Beyond?
Especially, when I have been lower in mood or strength, we think of weaning. A few months ago my menstrual cycle returned to my life and on a physical level my body has suffered a bit.
Menstruating tells me that I am ready for other stages. To see my son grow up, to think if I want him to have brothers or sisters… But that does not mean that I am ready for weaning, nor do we see Gael ready.
Within his incredible development and his day-to-day growing rapidly, he is going slow with a few things, and we will continue with the tit until we see that we are not pressing him.
Today we are comfortable. Gael falls asleep with his tit and calms him at night. But of the times he asks at night, he would say that half of them already managed to calm him singing, telling a story, talking to him … He even stays calm and goes back to sleep with his father! Some nights, I promise you, I don’t even notice haha 😉
And during the day, it works great for “not offering, not denying.” But of course, the night is another story, right?
I don’t know when this extended breastfeeding will end. I know it has been a challenge, we have had bumps and complex moments, but it has also been a family success and something we are proud to have done.
And you, how long have you breastfed? What have you felt doing it?