As I lay in bed with my poorly baby sleeping on my chest scrolling through facebook I see that the majority of my newsfeed is about breastfeeding (and gentle parenting but these seem to go together often). My life seems to be all about breastfeeding. I’m in so many breastfeeding facebook groups and I’ve liked so many breastfeeding support/info pages. As I think I’ve said before I always knew I’d breastfeed, there was no question about it. But I can’t believe how passionate I’ve actually become about it.
Years ago my goal was 6 months. This was because I didn’t know much about breastfeeding and I actually thought that you needed to switch to formula at some point. I obviously got this idea from the media. When I was first pregnant my goal was one year because I knew at this point my baby could have cow’s milk. I still didn’t know all that much about breastfeeding. Partway through my pregnancy my husband declared that he thought I should breastfeed for 18 months because he read an article that said if women breastfed for 18 months it would save the NHS a lot of money because of the health benefits to mother and baby. I was sort of on board but even up to the point Tulip was a couple months old, if someone asked me how long I planned to breastfeed for I’d say “probably at least a year, maybe 18 months, I’ll see how it goes”. 18 months felt like a long time and I wasn’t sure I could do it or even wanted to.
Through all I’ve read since on all my breastfeeding facebook pages and groups I can’t believe I ever felt any differently than natural term weaning was the way for us! I will let Tulip decide when she stops. And if that means she is 7 years old then that’s fine. A little part of me inside still says “oh I hope she doesn’t feed for that long, I’ll be so embarrassed if she wants it while we’re out”. But I need to get past this just as I have got past the “weirdness” of the thought of breastfeeding a 2 or 3 year old. Every thing I read about the benefits of natural term weaning and how it should be normal and how in many cultures it is makes me more determined to do it and normalise it.
I cannot comprehend how there are still debates about if women should be allowed to breastfeed in public or if it’s weird past a certain age. My goal is to help get breastfeeding back to being normal. Just the thing you do when you have a baby without needing to make a choice how you’ll feed your baby. I hope that I can be one small part in making this change in our community.