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Friday, November 4, 2011

Barriers/Myths vs. Extended Breastfeeding

Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (November). For this month, participants share their experiences on extended breastfeeding. This includes tips to moms with young babies, as well as barriers and myths which discourage extended nursing. Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants.

My daughter, N, weaned at 3 years and 5 months. If you read my early days in breastfeeding, I wouldn't have thought that we would go beyond 2 years of nursing! I've previously shared about the challenges and the highs and lows I had in nursing a toddler. For this carnival, let me focus on the myths and barriers against extended breastfeeding faced by moms.

Top barrier faced would be criticism from IGNORANT individuals. And I do say ignorant because most of the people who raise their eyebrows and comment - you're still breastfeeding her at xxx age?! - don't even know anything at all about breastfeeding. So how do I reply? I simply answer - yes, it is the easiest way to comfort her. Dr. Sears has a helpful article on how to reply to criticism directed towards extended breastfeeding.

At 12 months old, doctors usually say that you can introduce cow's milk to your child's diet. Yes, you certainly can but this is not an all or nothing approach. Moms can choose to continue to breastfeed and introduce cow's milk (or goat's milk or carabao milk, etc. etc.) It doesn't mean that when you've introduced other milk to your child, you need to stop breastfeeding. N stopped past 3 but prior to that she has tasted cow, goat, carabao, rice, hemp, almond, soy and hazelnut milk.

Another issue being raised is that you are curtailing the independence of your child by allowing him/her to continue breastfeeding past the first birthday. When N was 3 months, the pediatrician we went to told me that N should stop breastfeeding at 9 months so she will have a realization of her "individual self". Obviously, I didn't listen to that pediatrician and as Dr. Jack Newman says:
The child who breastfeeds until he weans himself (usually from 2 to 4 years), is usually more independent, and, perhaps, more importantly, more securein his independence. He has received comfort and security from the breast, until he is ready to make the step himself to stop. And when a child makes that step himself, he knows he has achieved something, he knows he has moved ahead. It is a milestone in his life of which he is proud.
Similarly, that baby is teething or that you are trying to conceive are not reasons to stop breastfeeding your child. Teething babies can be taught not to bite and you can certainly get pregnant even if baby has not yet weaned! Aside from the easy comfort that you can give your child, there are numerous other benefits your child can get from extended breastfeeding.

As Nanay Nona shared, the new breastfeeding motto should be "APAT DAPAT" - that children should breastfeed until 4 years old and beyond! ;)

So moms, are there any other myths or barriers that you have encountered which discourages extended breastfeeding?

Check out our other carnival participants (to be updated throughout the day):
J and the Three Boys - No more "de-de"
My Mommyology - My Extended Breastfeeding Experience
Mommyluscious - Breastfeeding for Two Beyond Two
Truly Rich Mom - On Extended Breastfeeding (a perfectly normal thing to do)
Life of a Babywearing and Breastfeeding Mommy - Still breastfeeding after 2 years
Got To Believe - Breastfeeding Room Story
Homeschooling Mommy - Yes, I've Got Milk


Katrina Antonio-Demetrio said...

love your post jenny. i would have love to continue breastfeeding J1 when i was pregnant with J2 - and eventually tandem nurse. but the complication in my pregnancy - subchorionic hemorrhage bigger than the fetus inside me developed during my first trimester - i was not able to do my dream. nonetheless, im happy that my J1 was able to wean and accept what was happening. he has grown to be very independent. thanks to breastfeeding!

applesanddumplings said...

love your post jenny! all of that, i've encountered. i hope i get to nurse Y til she's 4. :)

Mariel of The Learning Basket said...

I breastfed my daughter until she was 2 years and 3 months. We stopped when I got pregnant and it really hurt every time she nursed. I did not know that we could have still continued, and it didn't cross my mind to research about it! :(

martinedeluna said...

I'm still breastfeeding Vito at 2 years old, come Nov 8. At times it is tiring, but I am glad that I am still able to give him milk and nurture him this way; why would I stop when my body is obviously not letting up? :) I am so encouraged by the research, too, that extended breastfed babies are more secure in themselves; that's a big plus. Thanks for this, Jenny!

leslie said...

Thankfully my son just tried biting Me once then never again.

mymommyology said...

Very informative!  :)

Laya Isabelle Garcellano Flore said...

hi jenny! i'm not stopping either until olly's ready to do it herself either. it really broke my heart when oona could not share in the intimacy as much as we both would have wanted to. even at 4 yo, she still asks if she could suckle sometimes but her two broken front teeth cause me pain and her seeing me in pain makes her feel terrible. so we're both sad! however, i'm now thinking if getting a nipple shield of some sort might help since she so obviously wants to bond pa that way. reading your post really encourages me to exhaust all possibilities and assures me i'm on the right path :)

Mom of 2 said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Jenny!

I am still breastfeeding our little Lily. I cannot imagine weaning her just yet! :)

julieannevelasquez said...

I super like this post, and I am now looking forward to breastfeed my turning 1 little boy more and more. After reading this post, I am encouraged to breastfeed and breastfeed because I want to give what's BEST for my boy. Thanks for this very informative post. :)

AnneM said...

Your pedia said that?? Do you still go to her/him? Anyway I would have loved to breastfeed my kid longer than the short 5 months I did! Unfortunately my body didn't cooperate with me. Oh and recently read (and wrote) about this article on a study by WHO stating that breastfeeding rates here in the Phils is lower because of milk formula ads. Here it is in case anyone is interested:  Thanks for your post.

Jenny said...

don't feel too bad mariel! i also weaned N because it got painful when i was already pregnant. by then i think she was also ready since it didn't take us long for her to be completely weaned. 

Maddie said...

I think, as long as you are comfortable with it, continue to breastfeed as long as you need.  I just weaned my 3 year old (admittedly because of the stigma of breastfeeding a 3 year old).  But what helped me to keep on and what helped to keep him healthy was that I practiced good nutrition.  Keep following a good nutritious breastfeeding diet the entire time and  there shouldn't be any issues.

Mec Camitan Arevalo said...

wait, wait, wait... haha, napaisip ako sa apat, dapat :D

apat dapat para tapat? ganun? :)  but since baka bunso ko na nga si Yamee... i might just really play this one by earand let it drag and drag and drag till he weans himself :)

Jamie_jjvm said...

I completely agree. Same thing about attachment parenting. My in-laws used to criticize me that my daughter would grow up "shy" or "clingy" because I carry her and stay close to her whenever she wants.  They don't understand that the world can be  scary place for a baby used to the security of the womb. They didn't understand that my daughter would reach out and explore on her own when she's ready, not before. Now that she's almost 2, they're amazed at how independent and self-reliant she is. She loves to explore and try out new things because she's secure in the knowledge that her parents are there, not because she's used to being by herself.

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