Image by sierraromeo [sarah-ji] via FlickrLast weekend I had a girls night in. We has some cocktails, braided each others hair, and talked up till the night. Since cocktails were involved my girlfriends crashed on my couch.
The next morning they were excited to see Liv, since she was asleep when they came over the previous night. Well after hanging out for a while Liv came over to me and started to lightly bang on my chest, her sign for I want milk. My one girlfriend said "That is so weird she still does that, its not like you are still nursing her?" "well," I sheepishly replied, "we still are." "But she's walking!" my friend replied. Like the milestone for weaning is walking. I was so glad to have my only other close girlfriend over who has a child, who is now much older. She chimed in "I nursed Dylan till almost 2 years." "Oh" my other friend replied. I could tell she was weirded out about me nursing my toddler. And she didn't want to get into it with me.
This I feel is more common from people who have never breastfeed, if they have children or not.
My own grandmother made a comment to me about when I am going to wean. She never nursed one of her 6 children and knew so little about she asked me when Liv was young if I still have to burp her.
It amazes me how little people still know about the benefits of breastfeeding, but also the benefits of extended breastfeeding. The WHO recommend breastfeeding for 2 years. This was what I replied to my friend when we talked about nursing this long. "But yeah, thats for babies in countries with out good food." "No, babies in those countries often nurse even longer. This is the recommendation for all children, and most European guidelines reflect this." "Toddler are notorious poor eaters and breast milk is the best supplementation for them."
Well unfortunately I don't think I convinced my friend one bit, and I really don't think she wanted to here it, even though she wants to nurse her own children when she has them.
I just hope that with the growing "trend" of breastfeeding, and the growth of knowledge in how beneficial it is that there will be a trend of extended breastfeeding and getting out all the information in how helpful it can be. Not just for the child's health, but for tantrums, and bonding. This, in my opinion is when the bonding of breastfeeding is really different from bottle feeding. Most mothers hold their babies close while bottle feeding, but when their child weans to a cup this bonding time is often over. This time of closeness and comfort is still very present in a nursing toddler, and it is the part I greatly enjoy.