Yes, That’s a Toddler On My Breast: Extended Breastfeeding

So much about raising my first child has turned out to be trial-and-error {sucks to be you, son!}. A lot of decisions were made in the heat of battle because I just didn’t know when I was pregnant certain things would ever be a decision. My second child has had the benefit of more thought and we’ve made a lot of different decisions for her. One of those decisions was to practice extended {or normalized} breastfeeding.

5 years ago, I would have called you crazy if you ever said I’d have a toddler who was nursing. Jokes on me, I guess!

Austin Moms Blog | Why I Chose Extended Breastfeeding

The more I have read about breastfeeding, the more I have learned {to my shock} that breastfeeding went out of fashion in the early 1900s and stayed out for a LONG time. I was blessed to have been breastfed by my mother, but my mother-in-law barely nursed my husband because she had very little support – no one she knew had ever done it! So to me, breastfeeding was normal, and there was no question I would breastfeed.

BUT while I had great knowledge about breastfeeding in general, I didn’t know anything about extended breastfeeding and had honestly never even heard of it so I patted myself on the back when my son and I breastfed until 14 months, and I went on about my merry way.

When pregnant with my second, I did a lot of research on the things I didn’t think about with my first. I could smack myself, but I did ZERO reading about vaccines while pregnant with Trent. And while reading about them, I read the importance of breastmilk in the body’s natural ability to strengthen its own immune system and how a baby’s immune system isn’t all the way developed until at least 2. That alone was enough to make me decide to breastfeed until 2. When I read about all the other amazing things that benefit both baby AND mama, I knew it was the way to go.

I won’t list all the benefits for you, but extended breastfeeding {past age 1} provides a significant amount of vitamins, nutrients, energy, and protein to a child. It helps strengthen the immune system. Breastfed toddlers have less incidence of illness and when sick there is a shorter duration of illness. Drew has had ONE sick visit to her pediatrician in her life. ONE. She has never taken an antibiotic. Research also shows that the longer you breastfeed, the higher a child’s IQ. It also reduces the risk of certain cancers for mom and protects against osteoporosis, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and it can help mom lose weight faster! That alone makes it worth it, am I right?

I don’t write this article to make anyone feel bad who didn’t breastfeed, but I also am not going to hide my opinion. I firmly believe that breastmilk is best {and science supports this belief}, but I also believe that breastmilk past 1 is the best of the best!

::What are your thoughts on extended or normalized breastfeeding?::

Thank you, Leilana Rogers, for sharing your image to make today’s blog possible. We appreciate your support!

 

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7 Responses to Yes, That’s a Toddler On My Breast: Extended Breastfeeding

  1. Laura January 24, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

    Awesome article! I totally agree. Hope we can make it to 24 months!!! Hats off to you mama!

  2. Kate January 24, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

    Love this. When I had my first child I remember asking the lactation nurse in the hospital how long it was recommended to breastfeed. She told me 2 years. Fantastic. I nursed my first until 17 months. He kicked up nursing while we were on a vacation and I actually got blisters again, and decided that was good enough for me. I nursed my second until 19 months. I was pregnant at the time and didn’t want to nurse two kiddos at the same time so I wanted to cut it off with enough time that she didn’t remember anymore. Now kiddos number 3 is 2 1/2 years old and showing NO sign of giving it up. I wanted to nurse her until 2 because the was my original recommendation and I wanted to get one of them to that point, but now I feel it is NEVER GOING TO END! We only nurse before or after bed time now. She will occasionally ask for it during the day but is fine when I tell her it’s just for bedtime. And anytime I even suggest that we just snuggle instead of having mama milk at night its lots of tears, and, “no no no, I NEED mama milk, but I just NEED mama milk!” And my guilt kicks and I can’t imagine how I am ever going to take away this thing of comfort she has had from the day she was born. I can be away for several days at a time thinking she’ll forget about it or I’ll dry up at least, but nope, neither happens. So now, I’m determined not to be nursing a 3 year old, but not sure how that’s ever going to happen. It’s been a wonderful journey, but I have literally been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for the last seven and a half years!

  3. Emma January 28, 2015 at 9:43 am #

    So happy to see this article. We’re still going at nearly 3 years with no end in sight and sometimes I feel like we’re the only ones! It feels very normal to us but it can be a pretty lonely club sometimes.

    • Sofia January 29, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

      I nursed for 26months with my oldest. Toward the end just naps n night time. One night he was being a real pain and that was it I was DONE. “Yang yang” (what we call it) left. That is what I said and never turned back. It was gone. He would just come and look at me sad and say no more yang yang? Yang yang left? Yup and my body was mine again. When I got preg with #2 I told him the baby would have yang yang and he was glad to hear it was back but never thought it was for him.

  4. Cheri January 29, 2015 at 8:11 pm #

    I nursed my daughter for 3 years. She would still nurse now, if given the opportunity. From a few studies I have read, breastfed children tend to have higher incidents of asthma. Being a mother of a child with asthma, I did want to mention that as a possibility. (I had asthma a as a child too & was breastfed so hers is more likely genetic.)

    I do have to say my daughter never got sick until she went to daycare. Even though at 18 months, she was nursing 4+ times a day, we still ended up in the ER.

    I loved Breastfeeding. Loved being able to hold my toddler in my arms. It was the only time she was still, while awake.

  5. Meagan April 4, 2015 at 12:51 am #

    actually asthma incidence is decreased in breastfed children. There was a meta-data analysis that showed a significant decrease.

    http://www.nhs.uk/news/2014/05May/Pages/Breastfeeding-cuts-childhood-asthma-risk.aspx

  6. Cindy April 14, 2016 at 10:01 pm #

    That meta-analysis study was of poor quality and did not include a coherent string of research. Bias was also noted in the article (publication AND regional).

    But Yay extended Bfing! going on 17 months here!

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