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Is breastfeeding past one weird?

I am Charlotte. And I have a confession to make. I breastfeed. And I have done for a year. And I’m not planning on stopping any time soon.

Breastfeeding is such a strange topic of conversation. So much so that I have no photo to add to this post because I’m certain 50% of people who visit my blog, don’t need to see a big veiny breast attached to a guzzling child. But yet, breastfeeding is just a strange one. You don’t do it initially and people have an opinion on it and formula is “the devil” and then you do it for longer than six months and then people start thinking you are getting a little smug with it. Approach a year and people you didn’t even think had an opinion on the subject turn round and go: “So you’re stopping now right?”

Wrong.

I’m not sure what people think happens between the age of 11 months and 30 days and a year, but my son did not magically transform over night and start asking for “Mummy Bitty” (knowledge of Little Britain required). No, he’s the same old little boy. He’s still very much a baby for now and I’m not going to start ruining his life – because, believe me, it would – by stopping.

My breastfeeding journey has not been an easy one. While I was lucky not to have ever suffered with mastitis, I had a baby who rejected the nipple initially, and then, when it was working beautifully, I went back to work. I went back to work when he was nine weeks old. There wasn’t going to be any weaning going on, because he was too young, so instead, I expressed (my guide to expressing at work is here if you need it). And I made it, exclusively breastfeeding, until William turned six months. It just so happened that coincided with Christmas, so I was able to cut down feeds and start weaning him onto solids. And now? One year and five days of breastfeeding. I want to high five my boobs. But it would be quite painful and possibly slightly socially unacceptable.

For some reason, breastfeeding is like Marmite. You love it or you hate it. And recently I’ve had friends, family members, colleagues and perfect strangers inquire as to when I’ll be stopping. Whether curiosity, conversation, or disapproval, sometimes I feel like I’ve got a bad habit or something – like biting my nails. Or like I’m trying to kick cocaine, or one of those other popular recreational drugs that people seem to have a penchant for these days.

I love breastfeeding, and in times of guilt, and times of regret, I feel so proud that, not only did I manage to breastfeed, but I managed it against some pretty high odds.

I don’t manage to continue for too much longer and I don’t imagine I’ll be doing it once the summer is over, but for now, it suits us. I have the support of my baby-daddy and I have a happy one year-old, with teeth and everything.

Now, if in years to come, you see me breastfeeding a 30 year-old with tits that look like they’ve been passed through a pasta maker, then by all means come and smack me with 2 pints of Cravendale, but for now, leave me and my udders alone.

We’re happy. And so’s my boy.

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  • Reply
    James
    17th June 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Don't think it's weird whatsoever Charlotte! I think for as long as, for want of a better phrase, "they're working", then I see no reason why a baby should not be breastfed. I think it's fairly common knowledge that the nutrients etc give the baby an advantage.

    My girlfriend's niece was breastfed, and she is so advanced. Of course, there are so many variables that it cannot be attributed to just being breastfed, but I do think it helps!

  • Reply
    Helen - sittinginthekitchensink
    17th June 2013 at 1:55 pm

    No! Not weird at all! World Health Organisation recommend breastfeeding until 2 I think – so you've got stats AND happiness on your side!
    I take my hat off to you for all your expressing though – that's hard work and you should definitely feel very proud that you've done that for Wilbo. (I fear that sounds really patronising and I don't mean it to be at all!) I too am still breastfeeding and know all too well the comments asking if I'm STILL feeding her, or when I'm going to stop. Some thought I'd stop if she ever bit me. Er, no! I don't really know when I'll stop – I'll leave it up to her to decide!
    So well done mama and (gently) high five those boobs!

  • Reply
    Oh so amelia
    17th June 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Not weird at all, I breastfeed too and Amelia is nearly 14 months πŸ™‚ Go us! It's amazing isnt it πŸ™‚

    xx

  • Reply
    Lady Gluttony
    17th June 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Not weird at all lovely! You've really done so well and should be very proud of yourself. I managed to keep it up until just after six months and I still feel guilty that I stopped then! xx

  • Reply
    Carolin
    17th June 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Nothing that makes you and your child feel happy is weird! I breastfed Amy until she was 20 months old and I didn't find it weird at all. Others did, but that's got to do with their own insecurities and the need to fit in with the norm.

    http://www.mummyalarm.co.uk (remove this, if it's annoying. Just thought I'd leave a link to my blog as mu Google account doesn't lead you anywhere) x

  • Reply
    EilidhPie
    17th June 2013 at 5:53 pm

    My aunt breast fed her two older ones till they were past 1 (maddy is 3, Abby is 2 and little Rosie is 3 months so she's still on the boob – my aunt hasn't had a freaking break! I am in AWE of that woman!) … What was I saying? Oh, yes. Why people consider it weird is beyond me. I think they see babies walking, talking etc and forget they are still only wee babas really.
    You've done such an amazing job, William is thriving, happy and healthy and that is down to your (and Ste, obviously) parental judgement. William is lucky to have such a wonderful mummy. πŸ™‚ xo

  • Reply
    Sharmayne www.mydailythings.com
    17th June 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Not weird!!! My boy turns two in September

  • Reply
    sabrina montagnoli
    17th June 2013 at 6:37 pm

    So many mums breast feed beyond one it's hardly weird. Saying that someone as always will have an opinion about it. So it goes with parenting!! Everyone's breastfeeding journey is different.

  • Reply
    The Handmade Mum
    18th June 2013 at 10:46 am

    And as long as you and your son are happy that's all that matters πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Sian Summers
    18th June 2013 at 6:20 pm

    We managed up to 14 months and it was my son that chose to stop. You're doing what is best for your little one πŸ™‚ Nothing weird about that x

  • Reply
    Hannah Ruth
    18th June 2013 at 6:52 pm

    High five to your boobs! People should never pass negative comment on other parents' feeding choices. You are doing a great job x

  • Reply
    Anna
    18th June 2013 at 8:36 pm

    I'm with you on this. I breastfed my first until he was 23 months, when he self-weaned, and am still feeding no. 2 as he approaches one with no intention to rush him off the boob! It's my GP who thinks I'm crazy to be continuing – expressed at work until 10 months, with the first expressed until 12 months – she thinks it must be "draining". It's NOT draining, it's a time to reconnect, give simple nurturing that makes us both feel good, healthy for both of us, etc etc! I'm the only person I know in real life still b'feeding at this age, so despite comments above it's not that common and IS still considered weird by many!

  • Reply
    Lauren
    19th June 2013 at 8:47 pm

    I've just read your BritMums introduction and instantly liked you, now reading this I think I might love you!
    I breastfed my first son for 18 months, only stopping because I fell pregnant and my milk supply was rubbish.
    My second son is going to be 2 in 2 weeks and is still breastfed. I can't see him stopping for a while. Sometimes I feel like I should make him stop but then I wonder why. We both enjoy it, he clearly still needs it and I think I do too.
    Thank you for writing such a positive post about feeding a child over 1. I don't know anyone in real life who fed even to a year. You've reassured me that I'm doing ok x

  • Reply
    More 4 Mums
    22nd June 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Well done for Breastfeeding so far, just continue as long as it feels right for you and your baby.

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