The process of breastfeeding always amazes me on the wonders and how strong a woman’s body is.
I mean we can actually create and feed a baby! We truly are nurturing and sustainable.
What is Extended Breastfeeding?
Extended Breastfeeding, Long Term Breastfeeding or Prolonged Lactation.
However you want to call it is defined as breastfeeding a toddler past age one and is recommended as long as you and your baby wants to continue.
By this time, your breast may not be as full now. Missed feedings do not give you a hardening, thick veins and about to pop breast unless if missed on a full day.
And admittedly, your breast is not as perky as they used to.
We all know that breastfeeding is good for your baby but what if that baby becomes a toddler and has decided to pinch and pull your nipples? Ouch! right? you may think of stopping but please hold your horses first and let me convince you to push a little longer and do an extended breastfeeding for these reasons…
The Benefits of Extended Breastfeeding
1. Health benefits to your baby.
Nutrition for the baby. From his newborn feedings up until now during his toddler years, the quality and health effects of your breast milk continues to provide your baby the nutrients he needs.
The composition of breast milk changes to adapt to your toddler’s nutritional needs.
Brain Development. Imagine all the vitamins the milk supplies to help those neurons get in their right places and since I am not that consistent in the “Tamang Kain” as I want to be, I rely on my good milk to compensate for that. I am a vegetable eater so Seb’s been getting the liquid version.
Boosting the Immune System. Breastfeeding enhances your toddler’s immune system so he is less prone to colds, allergies and other common ailments.
I observed that Seb rarely gets the sick. For common colds, if he does get it a week tops and he’s okay.
As for fever, he had 4 days on and off and I blame it on his teething (some would disagree that fever is related to teething but I stand firm that it happens based from experience).
Is your under the Teething Phase? help him with this
Baby Teething Survival Guide: Schedule, Symptoms And Remedies
2. Makes Mom Healthier.
Breastfeeding lessens a mother’s risk to breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer and it also makes them less prone to Postpartum Depression.
The feeding sessions are an automatic set aside quiet time for you and your baby unless he’s doing loops and hoops while feeding which are usual moments. This down time is time for rest in some mothers who’s always busy with either keeping up with their kid, household chores and life.
I think this is a big factor too why I am back to my Pre-baby weight aside from chasing after an active toddler. We all know that breastfeeding gives you the appetite of a hippopotamus – after every breast feeding is a food for you too and I eat a lot and I am thankful that those meals burn fast.
Set some “me” time for yourself with this
Simple Self-Care Ways To Be A Happier Mom
3. Instantly calms the baby.
I am sure by now you are familiar with toddler tantrums, the terrible twos and the threenager terms as you’ve searched ways in Google on how to “handle” them.
Based from experience, Use the breast to your advantage. Pop that boob out and boom! A soothed baby 🙂
Why instant? The moment Seb gets fuzzy I just lift my shirt up and he’s running toward the boob – his crying and meltdown forgotten. Whenever he is about to sleep, he will cry a few minutes, feed and he’s off to dream land. I am wondering what I will do comes the day that he is no longer breast feeding. Oh well, for now this works and I am using it to my advantage.
4. Convenience and Portability.
You will never forget this wherever you go and the clean up is easy.
I tried giving Seb breast milk in a bottle when he was around 6 to 8 months as I do freelance work before and gone for a couple of days and the chore of pumping, washing and sterilizing those bottles is not something I look forward to. We are together 24/7 now and so direct feeding is the way to go.
5. Minus your Expenses.
Whenever I passed the milk section on markets, I thank my lucky stars that I am able to breast feed my baby up until now as the prices of formula milk these days are not cheap.
This free milk saves me a lot of money which I can allot on other baby needs such as baby wipes and diapers. I know that when he weans we’ll be buying the formula too but for now let me enjoy those little savings.
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Not every moment of breastfeeding is bliss. From that first 2 weeks of toe curling pain as your newborn sucks and open your milk duct to this day that a very active toddler thinks your nipple is a chew and squeeze toy.
And so make this post realistic. Let me present the Disadvantages too.
The Disadvantages of Extended Breastfeeding
Yes, that is the word that best describes them. Seb for one, cannot stay still. He’s kicking, climbing, pushing and keeps playing. Count those few moments of biting too. Oh the horror of nipple pulling! Remember those days of side lying with just his mouth moving and his cutie little hand on your arm? Say good bye to that.
2. SOMETIMES it gets to you.
When the mood strikes you, this question will surely arise. Am I just a milking prop? because it will feel like that. There will come a moment when it is not relaxing, easy and comforting. Those are the hard moments.
It would not last long I assure you but you will feel that one time or another and please don’t feel bad or guilty that you thought of it. It is natural and everyone’s been there and done that. Its just a phase.
The Criticism on Extended Breastfeeding
Depending on what part of the world you are, there are still some people who is not as open into seeing a woman breastfeeding in public, let alone a toddler who is pretty much “independent” in their own little ways.
I say do what you think is best for your child and ignore those people. Each has their own reasons and it is not our job to please everyone. We all have a life of our own too deal with.
Please never let any criticism or person be a factor on why you would want to wean. Stand up for what is best for you and your baby.
Clearly, the pros outweighs the cons because breast feeding is a blessing. Not everyone can do it and commit for a long time and that is okay. Whatever feeding method you chose for your baby is right as long as he is fed.
How to Maintain your Milk Supply?
The secret to a lasting milk supply? Unli latch.
It is the law of supply and demand.
You may also try the consuming the following:
- Drink lots of water!
- Hot Tea
- Milking Cookies
- Lactation Smoothies
- Moringa Vitamins
When will we wean? I say to let him lead and I will follow as weaning is a child’s decision.
For now, let me enjoy this moments as this will never happen again with him. Let me wear my breastfeeding mommy badge a little longer while I still can and until he wants me to.