Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Extended Breastfeeding

of course you can nurse your babyImage by katiek2 via Flickr

So in 2 days Liv will be 1 and since we are still breastfeeding and going strong very shortly we will be extended breastfeeding.
I hate using this term on any child under 2.
The World Health Organization recommends that breastfeeding continue till atleast 2 years.
Many other cultures see nursing till 2 years as the norm and its not extended, thats just what nursing is.
I really hate the stigma put on mothers who breastfeed past one year. There are so many health benefits for the mother and the baby that I wish this was the norm. I hope one day peopl will realize and it will be come more popular to breastfeed a toddler.

Extended breastfeeding really is a term that should be used for older toddlers, age 3 and up. This is when I feel that nursing has become extended beyond the norm in many cultures. Say that though it doesnt mean that its wrong to still breast feed past 3.
For mother and children who keep breastfeeding over the 2 year mark they have an even great stigma and are often looked at as weird, sometimes even disturbed. Woman nursing this long often do not discuss their extending nursing. But for a woman nursing a young toddler who might be still nursing very often it is hard to hide the fact that you are still nursing.
When I nurse Liv people often ask when I am going to wean and mention the women on youtube nursing their 7 year olds, like anyone who breastfeeds past 1 year will never wean.

If you want to breastfeed past a year, and I highly recommend that you do, there are resource out there. La Leche League Internation is a great place to find woman doing the same thing you are.
There are many mom out there who are still breastfeeding, even though they may not all be open about still doing it.
Some moms are tantum breastfeeding, still breastfeeding their older child while nursing a newborn. So don't let pregnancy scare you into weaning if you do not think you are ready to wean.

Most important, always remember that you are doing what is best for you and your baby. You know you baby best, and you will know when weaning is right, which for most little ones is not even close to the year mark, but more close to 3.
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