Should breastfeeding be extended? My son is 19 months old, and is still heavily dependent on breastfeeding. It is clear that the baby likes and is comfortable with breastfeeding, not just for fullness. For me, breastfeeding is still an easy way to calm a crying baby or put him to sleep.
I worry that the longer I breastfeed, the harder it will be for my baby to wean. This is not a problem I used to worry about when I was in my home country of the Philippines. Usually, Filipino mothers give their pen to the first two years. I know some people have lasted longer than this and no one is talking about it.
For a strict culture like in the Philippines, prolonging breastfeeding, however, avoids scrutiny from the public. In Australia, my new home, it’s not that easy.
Stigma against the prolongation of breastfeeding
While no one directly objected to my still breastfeeding, just by looking at their expressions I knew they were judging me. Dealing with the judgment of others and unwanted counsel is like a battle for even young mothers. It is frustrating when people do not respect your choice and accept that their lifestyle is unlikely to be suitable for everyone.
I am even more fed up with dealing with “slap words” questions from other people:
“Don’t you think you’re spoiling your baby?”
“Don’t you think he’s a bit clingy to his mother?”
“What if the baby’s teeth are deviated?”
“Don’t worry about sagging breasts?”
Although there are some people who do not mean anything, but they are really impatient when asking that.
Deal with the judgment of others
After getting tired of these words, I feel more comfortable ignoring the topic. I avoid being asked, and I avoid breastfeeding my baby in public when traveling with a group of other moms or with others.
If someone asked me directly about breastfeeding, I would honestly talk, but I didn’t bother to delve into it. Most are short yes / no answers. Prolonging breastfeeding isn’t a bad thing to hide, it’s just that I don’t want to gossip about the problem that was supposed to be.
This is probably not the best way to deal with this, but I am comfortable with my choice.
Solving this problem with family and friends on the other hand is difficult. I pay more attention to what they say, and even a harmless joke can strain my brain and doubt myself. A friend recently joked to me that my son can breastfeed until he starts school. And the words stuck in my mind for a very long time. What if the boy doesn’t really want to stop?
Choosing to continue breastfeeding
As I pondered over whether to continue breastfeeding, my most honest answer to this was that I would still do it because it was convenient for me. It was frustrating and exhausting to hear a baby cry out loud. Breastfeeding makes my son happier and calmer. How can I take away what makes my child happy and safe?
Based on the standards set by society, maybe many people will disagree with my way of doing. Some people think that I am harming my son with over-feeding. However, medical studies have proven that my job is beneficial. The nutritional benefits my baby gets from breast milk won’t diminish as they get older, and long-term breastfeeding strengthens her immune system – a benefit that can last even into the future. when you grow up.
Giving the pen also builds a strong bond between me and my child also makes him feel confident and secure enough to explore and challenge new things. My baby has demonstrated many times that he has a spirit of adventure and is able to adapt to his new surroundings quickly. The baby is also a healthy child and rarely gets sick.
Let baby to mother separate naturally
However, I have to remind myself that he won’t be a kid forever. One day the baby will be independent and without me, and any problems with breastfeeding will become negligible as the baby grows. The process of growing up and separating from the mother will happen so naturally that sometimes the parents will not even realize it. So I’m grateful for the opportunity to bond with my baby, and enjoy the rare moments he still needs me 24/7 (even if it makes me tired and mad!) First when the child is older and more distant from the mother.
Reflecting on these things, it occurred to me that the other’s criticisms were actually just wind blowing across my ears. Yes, the reason I prolong breastfeeding sounds selfish, but really I just want my son to have the best start in life.
The task of weaning your baby will probably have to wait until both of us feel ready. I “breathed” in relief if my baby was weaned, but I will definitely remember these sacred moments. However, this is unlikely to happen in the near future either – until now, I will still enjoy and cherish these memorable moments of both mother and child!