Written by Jodi, who is mother to River.
I’m not ashamed about breastfeeding my baby for longer than you think I should.
Women who choose to breastfeed for what society deems to be ‘too long’ are constantly made to feel ashamed. I’m often asked: “haven’t you stopped breastfeeding yet?” or “oh, you’re still breastfeeding?”
I try hard to not get fired up when asked this. I don’t know why it makes me feel so threatened, other than the obvious. That they are questioning a simple choice that I have chosen to make with my baby. And my baby alone.
But I don’t want to brag about the length of our breastfeeding extravaganza to you either… let’s just say that we have done it for longer than some.
Every mother and child is different. There is no real right or wrong length of time. Some babies simply choose to stop, others need it for longer, some mothers want to stop sooner, others need the connection.
And while this is a sensitive subject for me — as I’m sure it is for many other mothers out there — I am grateful to be raised in a society and time where breastfeeding is celebrated and respected more than it was when I was born. The shame and guilt was so much worse then.
My mother hardly speaks about my birth as it wasn’t a positive experience for her, nor does she speak about the joys and woes of breastfeeding.
I really had to pry to find out her experiences surrounding my first year of life. Post-natal depression was terrible for her, especially because of her negative birth experiences.
So partly due to my mother’s experience, when I found out I was pregnant, I made a choice to feel as positive and open about the things to come as I could.
That empowerment to have some control over my own birth and experiences were so important. And today that applies to breastfeeding.
So far I have been leaving breastfeeding up to instinct as much as possible. And in this way, I feel that this part of our journey together will end when it should.
Society will not shame me into stopping, when neither of us are ready.
I want to look back on this time and feel happy and grateful that we shared it — not reminded of being pressured to stop when others expected it.
It is time we will never get back again. It should be respected, appreciated and looked upon positively.
There is no time to feel ashamed about raising my healthy, happy baby.
There is only time for love.
What are your experiences of “extended” (what a loaded name, right) breastfeeding? We would ❤ to hear from you. Contact us, comment below, or tag #WokeMamas on social media.
Like what you see? Follow us on Instagram & Facebook. Sick of boring baby blogs? Join our awesome AF collective and raise a kinder world. Subscribe rn to get fresh new posts as they’re baked by hitting “follow” below. We love you 4 reals.