Of all the loaded questions people ask mums, one of the things that makes me pretty uncomfortable is this one: When are you going to stop Breastfeeding?
Not everyone means it in a negative way. Most likely, people are just trying to think of boring baby-related chat — or are *WTF!* genuinely interested. But sometimes, just sometimes, what they actually mean is: Why are you still breastfeeding?
And it’s not their fault, really. The UK, where i live, has the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. Dominant misogynist page-3 culture built on an obscenely ironic Victorian-era aversion to skin means in this country, you don’t get your tits out for the tots. They exist purely to be consumed by the lads. (I mean, maybe poor lads were weaned from breastmilk too soon as babies, but that’s another story.)
If breastfeeding — how humans are designed to eat from birth — in general is seen as “disgusting” (feel free to replace with other mean words chosen at random from any breastfeeding-related article’s Facebook comments) with tiny babies, how can we expect society to accept a baby over the age of one getting nourishment from its mother?
Well that’s exactly the reason we have to do it. We must breastfeed to whatever age feels natural to you and your baby, whether that’s 4 weeks — or 4 years. We must celebrate other mums’ journeys, whether they match ours or not. We must be confident and proud of our body’s ability to grow a strong, healthy, happy human in the most natural way we can. And we must normalize breastfeeding from birth AND beyond 1 year.
Here’s another sweet ass reason why.
The awesome nutritional benefits of breastfeeding after 1 year.
After 1 year, 448 mL of breastmilk provides:
- 29% of energy requirements
- 43% of protein requirements
- 36% of calcium requirements
- 75% of vitamin A requirements
- 76% of folate requirements
- 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
- 60% of vitamin C requirements
With picky eaters, sketchy ingredients in modern pre-packaged food and allergies ahoy, having all the bases covered from the many nutritional benefits of breastmilk is a lazy parent’s dream, right?
Plus there’s the feels. All the godamn feels. Feeding a tiny baby is incredible, as you watch their faces fill with love and safety. But feeding an almost-toddler brings its own magic too. I love the way she asks for food, all big twinkly adoring brown eyes. I love the way she plays with my necklace and hair as she keeps an eye on me, keeping an eye on her. I love the way she feeds to sleep while simultaneously practising the skills she learned that day, from chatting and clapping to waving and yep, dancing. On her feet. I love it.
And yeah, it gets bitey sometimes. But we’re working on that.
Leila, mum to 14-month old Milly agrees: “I love the relationship Milly has with my boobs, how her face lights up with absolute glee when she sees them and how she holds and talks to them! Mums milk is always gonna be better for her than any random cows.”
Rachel, mama to Oscar, adds: “Currently 18 months deep and still enjoying my breastfeeding journey (especially the constant eyebrow stroking – it’s a thing!) I love that Oscar can now ask for ‘boob’, and that I can give it to him any time, any place, any where.”
And nobody can argue with that.
Did you breastfeed beyond 1 year? What have your experiences been like? We wana hear from you milky mofos! Drop us a line and contact us or share a proud pic on Instagram using #WokeMamas. Boob-bye.
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