Extended breastfeeding: Getting my tits out for the lad

When T was born I was determined to breastfeed him until 6 months because I knew that was what the guidelines said and as a first time parent, guidelines were The Law. The first few weeks were really tough. Cluster feeding, oversupply and sore nipples meant that I dreaded each feed (“Are you sure he’s hungry? Maybe he’s just wet/tired/despairing at the decline of the polar ice caps?”) and I felt like a crap mum.

But at 6 weeks everything suddenly improved, although the oversupply problems continued until about 4 months, and before I knew it we were fast approaching my 6 month goal and I realised I didn’t feel ready to stop. When I discovered that I would have to buy formula until he was 1 if I stopped breastfeeding that was all the convincing I needed to carry on until his birthday as I am much too tight to spend money on something I could give him for free.

As we planned his birthday celebrations, I knew he had more jabs coming up too. I’d learnt that whipping out my boob was the easiest way to comfort him, so I would carry on until he’d had his jabs.

Well, he’s had his jabs and won’t need any more until he’s 3. So what now? I don’t know anyone else who breastfed past 1. All my “Mummy friends” (*cringe*) have stopped breastfeeding their babies of the same age. I previously thought anyone who breastfed their toddler must be a bit weird. Breastfeeding a child who can ask for it is creepy, right? But now I am that mum. And I love it.

I love that I can comfort him when he falls over and bangs his head (a daily occurrence). I love our bedtime booby snuggles and the fact that I have the ultimate weapon on standby when he won’t go back to sleep. I love how close it’s made us and that apparently the health benefits of breastfeeding continue into toddlerhood.

But now I’m an “extended breastfeeder” how am I going to cope with the new challenges this presents? A walking talking toddler who wants to suckle on my Sex Breasts? T is a booby monster and will now walk over and start trying to lift my boob out my top. I find it really quite funny, but will other people start finding it creepy, like I would have a couple of years ago? What about when he learns a word for milk? Then he’ll be able to ask for a go on my funbags. And that’s all kinds of wrong, isn’t it?

Except he’s been asking for milk since the day he was born; babies cry for milk long before they learn to speak. You wouldn’t deny a cuddle or a kiss to a child who was asking for comfort. So why would I want to deprive my precious boy of the one thing that will comfort him above all others?

It’s thought that the ideal biological age of weaning is somewhere between 3 and 5 years. However, in a society that has sexualised breasts it is unusual to find children still breastfeeding at this age. We get such mixed messages: breast is best but only when it is completely necessary, once the baby is old enough to eat, breasts revert to organs of a purely sexual nature and to continue beyond this stage is viewed as odd. However, in tribal communities where a human breast may be seen in public as just another body part, breastfeeding is stopped much nearer the natural age of weaning.

I’ve not had any negative reactions yet. When I mention it people are surprised that I’m still breastfeeding but no one has implied it’s time I stopped. However, T very rarely breastfeeds in public any more, so unless I choose to mention it, no one would know.

For now I’ll carry on breastfeeding my boy, dealing with new challenges as they arise. I’m taking it one day at a time, not knowing when our breastfeeding journey will end. At the moment I can’t imagine breastfeeding a child in school uniform, but who knows what the future holds. All I know for certain is that in the future I will look back fondly on the days when I used to get my tits out for the lad.Breastfeeding T

 

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