Thanks for hopping over from Adventures of a Novice Mum and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt Day 5 Extended Breastfeeding we have over £700 worth of breastfeeding and baby goodies up for grabs including prizes from More4Mums providing a set of ‘Hot Milk’ Lingerie, a signed hardback limited edition copy of Milky Moments and a £30 voucher from Milk Chic  Full details of the Grand Prize can be found here and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

We are currently nearly 20 months into our breastfeeding journey and although each stage seems to have it’s own challenges I would say that things just see to get easier as time passes.

Extended Breastfeeding - sharing our breastfeeding journey from 1 year onwards

When I was pregnant my original goal was to get to 6 months, and then once Boo arrived my aim was to get through the next feed, the next day… then we realised how much Boo was struggling with her acid reflux and I became determined that I needed to carry on and the goal stretched back out to 6 months.

And then we got to six month and started weaning, and believed all of the promises that her acid would get better… Boo was still suffering and on medication until she was 13 months old, and we have sadly just had to put her back on her acid reflux meds.  She eats nothing really and will drink very little that isn’t breastmilk and up until about 3 weeks ago Boo was breastfeed on demand during the day (we weaned slowly from night feeds at about 11 months).  And 3 weeks ago we were told to wean Boo down to only two breastfeeds a day – first thing in a morning and last thing at night.  I am struggling with this, probably a lot more than Boo is – I wrote an update of our first week recently. We had got this far and I really wanted to let Boo wean herself, but I guess that isn’t to be… I just have to focus on being lucky that we are still going at 20 months even if it’s not exactly how I thought we would be.

Breastfeeding a toddler is great – I find it a lot easier than I found breastfeeding a baby. For a start they can ask, one of Boo’s early words was ‘boobies’ and obviously she can make wishes known with pointing, pulling at my top and the ever so cute ‘pwwwsss boobies’ which translates to ‘please boobies’.  The feeds got quicker, the leaking stopped (I leaked until about the 6 month mark and then I leaked on the ‘wrong’ side whenever we fed until Boo was about a year – I should have bought shares in breastpads!), the few bouts of mastitis I suffered with became a lot less and above all I could see the comfort Boo was getting – not just milk, but the cuddles, the quiet time.  Boo will never sit still she needs to be busy exploring, but those few minutes sat feeding give her a bit of a chance to recharge.

Boo was fed on demand until she was 19 months so she decided when she fed, within reason obviously – I couldn’t feed her whilst we were driving in the car etc. But if we where home or if we were out and about she would be fed if she asked.  It was great because sometimes if she got too frazzled she could come to me and just have those 5 minutes peace, and if she had hurt herself really badly (this has only happened a few time thankfullly) then feeding would calm her down and sooth her like nothing else.  So days were hard – mainly when she was teething as all she would want to do would be feed on and off to help take away the pain.

I have loved breastfeeding Boo through every stage as I can see how much we both get from it – there is nothing quiet like having to sit and have those few minutes.  I think they recharged me as much as they recharged Boo some days!

I guess there are only two negatives about breastfeeding past the one year mark in my opinion. And they are both quite disappointing really. The first is lack of support from some healthcare professionals – past the 6 months mark the pressure of breastfeed quickly because the pressure to give up breastfeeding. I was told by various healthcare professionals to give up so I could take certain medications even though there was a perfect good substitute which was safe to take whilst breastfeeding. One G.P told me I should give up breastfeeding and a Dentist suggested I stop for a week so I could take a course of antibiotics.  This gives me the impression that a lot of healthcare professionals don’t really know as much as they should about breastfeeding – you can’t just stop and start as you choose at any stage! And I hope that their advice hasn’t been followed and meant that someone had to stop breastfeeding before they wanted too.

Obviously I know that there are some cases where it is best for both mum and baby to stop breastfeeding at a variety of ages but in my circumstances there was no need for me to stop breastfeeding Boo and I think healthcare professionals need to be more supportive even after 6 months.

And lastly the opinions of everyone else – family, friends, random strangers all feel the need to either stare, pull a face, ask when you are stopping, suggest you should stop and give you various reasons as to why we shouldn’t ‘still be breastfeeding’… I can ignore this most of the time but every now and again it upsets. I would never ever comment to a parent about how they are parenting their child/children and it amazes me that people think it’s acceptable to get involved in something that is personal to Boo and I.  I am just thankful I have my husbands support and also in a way that Boo hasn’t fed in public for a while now, as when we are out and about she is too busy! I just know that we would get more negativity now at 20 months than we did at 12 months and we got more then at 12 months than we did at 6 months.

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