We hear so much about breastfeeding, but what about extended breastfeeding? What is it? Is it worth it? Are there any benefits for mom and baby? There are so many tabus around breastfeeding even in 2020 that sometimes it just gets overwhelming.
I am a stay at home mom of a 15-month-old baby girl and I could opt for extended breastfeeding. This is a real life post where I tell you how I truly feel about it.
This is not based on any scientific research of how good or bad is extended breastfeeding, just a list of pros and cons I felt from my personal experience. Our pediatrician told us that is good for her to keep breastfeeding until she is 2 to keep enhancing her immune system, so that’s what I am trying to do.
Benefits to extend breastfeeding for me
- My baby girl never got sick. EVER. No cold, no infection, no allergy, nothing. She only had a 2 day fever when she was 8 months old and her first tooth was pointing. Our pediatrician and a lot of researches attribute this fact to the high nutritional power of breastfeeding combined with a healthy eating routine (no sugar, no oil).
- I know that for some women breastfeeding feels like physical and/or emotional torture, and sometimes it does for me too. But the connection I feel with my daughter, in my experience, compensates for the bad stuff. It is the only thing and moment that is ours and only ours.
- Breastfeeding is cheap (I never spent a penny on formula).
- Perfect temperature – I don’t waste extra time preparing bottles and bumping.
- The most powerful way to calm and soothe my baby. After a meltdown, injury, or vaccination: when she gets the boob, she calms down.
- I think it is so magical that my body provides food and natural medicine for my daughter. I love to know that the cells, hormones and antibodies in my body keep my kid immune system boosted regardless of her age.
Extended breastfeeding problems for me
- I lost so much weight! Yes, I know that in the culture we live in probably a lot of moms will see this as a huge benefit. The problem for me, regardless of what is considered an ideal body, is that I feel so weak and with low energy all the time. The bigger she gets, the more milk she wants and since my body needs to keep working to produce all that milk, I feel my physical energy and disposition very low.
- Hair loss. I am also loosing so much hair!! I know this is normal to happen postpartum, but 14 months after I still lose a lot. From my researches, I assume this is totally related to the energy and nutrients level I mentioned in the previous item. The peak of hair loss for me was when she was 12 months, now is getting better, but it is still a lot.
- Sleepless nights: This is the biggest struggle for me right now. You know the physical and emotional torture I mentioned before? This is how I have been feeling for the past 2 weeks. She wakes up a lot during the night because she wants to breastfeed all-night-long-non-stop.
- Sleepless nights again. She has a million new teeth growing in that little mouth now, and she uses them to bite me and feel some relief from the itchy gum. If I take the boob out of her mouth and try anything else, like milk in a bottle, pacifier, singing a song, it doesn’t work.
Is extended breastfeeding worth it?
For me yes. I really hope the sleepless nights are temporary. I can also say from my experience that the bites are not too painful, just very annoying.
So, in the end, the only true formula for happiness is: Happy and healthy child needs a happy and healthy mom.
If you hate it and don’t feel good breastfeeding for so long, just follow your instincts, get rid of the guild, and just be your best self for your toddler. But if you want it and is just worried about other people’s opinions, don’t be. You are the one who knows what is best for you and your mini.
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