Caleb recently turned 18 months old which means that I have hit 18 months of breastfeeding. It hasn’t been a smooth 18 months and to be honest, if I hadn’t left my traditional 8-5 job back in December, I don’t think I would have made it this far. While some moms do great using a breast pump, I hated it. It made me feel like a cow.
I also hit a rough patch in the first month or so where breastfeeding was painful. I didn’t enjoy it. Caleb always seemed hungry. It just wasn’t working for us. I met with a lactation consultant who checked my latch – everything looked fine – and from that moment on, everything just clicked.
We still breastfeed on demand now and most of the time, to sleep (and at least once during the night), but there are some days where Caleb is fine without having a lot of boob (which he knows not only where the boob is located, but how to say it – even going as far as giving my mom a first hand look last week when he squeezed hers). I usually try to give him food as an option at first, but there are times when only time with mom will do.
Sometimes it’s not about the milk but about the comfort of being in the arms of your mother.
It’s exhausting breastfeeding an 18-month old and what is even more exhausting is having to respond to others about how long I plan to breastfeed. While the AAP believes up to one year is sufficient (1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant), the WHO (World Health Organization) has a different view.
Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.World Health Organization
Decisions about when and for how long to breastfeed are intensely personal choices for every mother. I don’t have a set goal in mind, I just take each day as it comes. Yes, there are some days when I simply don’t feel like having a child latched to me. Those are the days where I try especially hard to get Caleb to eat/drink other things.
But, I keep going. I’m here for my son as long as he needs me.
I just wanted to end this by saying that I wasn’t breastfed as a child and understand that there are many out there that have been unable/chosen not to breastfeed for whatever reason. There’s such a debate between “fed is best” and “breast is best”. What it does is shame moms for their decision and creates an environment where women feel like they are unable to ask for help or advice because of the backlash. We need to support one another and do what is best for our child.