|This photo was taken shortly after Emilia was born. The beginning of our long beautiful breastfeeding relationship.|
Emilia is now almost 19 months old and still breastfeeding 1-2 times a day, always first thing in the morning and sometimes after her nap. If she's not feeling well or teething she will breastfeed a little more. These are our special moments together, our one on one time, cuddle time, our quiet time.
I was determine to breastfeed Emilia for a whole year but after her first birthday I just knew she wasn't ready to be weaned. Lately she has been wanting to breastfeed less frequently and I know that this chapter is slowly coming to end. It's bittersweet for me but it's definitely time and I am content in knowing that Emilia is almost ready.
I had an interesting conversation today about extended breastfeeding with a good friend of mine who also breastfed her little boy for well over a year. We were talking about how society puts so much pressure on women to breastfeed for six months to one year but as soon as the child turns one the pressure is on to wean as quickly as possible, as though breast milk is bad and suddenly losses it's nutritional value, which I think is just ridiculous.
Many people seem so shocked when they find out i'm still breastfeeding Emilia at almost 19 months and I always get the same reaction ''you're STILL breastfeeding!!?'' In the same tone as ''You STILL have that horrible flu!?'' I have even had someone tell me that Emilia was going to be ''less independent'' because I was still breastfeeding her. Well actually it's quite the opposite, Emilia is very independent, strong willed and confident. This has been one of many annoying comments and I normally don't worry about other peoples opinions and I consider myself confident in my parenting decisions, but I must admit that for some reason these types of reactions did start to get me down. So much so that when Emilia was around 15 months I decided I was going to try and wean her cold turkey. After reading an article online I tried a pretty funny method of putting sticky plasters over my nipples and pretending they were sore. Well to cut a long story short this method actually worked (kind of) and Emilia did not want to breastfeed for a whole day and night. By the morning my breasts were so sore and engorged that they felt like they were going to burst. The whole morning Emilia was really irritable, emotional and just not herself which I knew deep down was because of my attempt to wean her cold turkey. I quickly realised that abruptly stopping breastfeeding was definitely not the right way for us to go about it. I also realised that my sudden decision to wean Emilia didn't come from her being ready, it came from the pressure and shame I was made to feel for breastfeeding longer than what society thinks is 'normal' and 'accepted'
Well right now I am happy and proud to say that I am still breastfeeding my almost 19 month old and we are starting the weaning process because I feel that she is truly ready not because I'm being told by anyone that she should be ready.