Gosh this isn’t the best picture due to having way too short of arms, but my little man has mastered the art of boob-nastics. He loves to half stand in front of me with his body distorted while he drinks his perfect temperature and delicious tasting boob juice. It’s one of the hassles but beautiful benefits of breastfeeding an older baby or child. At this point it’s hard to just cuddle him into my lap when he wants to always be on the go. This way he can play then grab on, pull up my shirt, and latch on. It’s a funny thing that some people find strange but I wouldn’t change for anything.
Doctors recommend that you breastfeed to six months at the least, but preferably at least two years. The reality though, is that a declining amount of mothers are sticking it out that long. Less than 40% of mothers breast feed to even six months. The reasons differ from going back to work, too much of a hassle, feeling awkward, food taking the place of it, and more. What is the effect on the baby though? Studies have found that once breastfeeding stops the immune system is no where near as strong. The rate of ear infections, respiratory infections, and even the common cold goes up substantially. The benefits don’t just stop at six months. Between breastmilk giving you twice as many nutrients than formula and it helping build babies’ immune system it can be given till seven years old when children get their adult teeth and still have benefits.
I believe also that breastfeeding should only be done if both child and adult are comfortable with it. If the mom is stressed because of it, that can harm mommy and baby’s relationship, and that defeats the point of bonding through breastfeeding. For me, I have no issue whipping it out in public and giving my little man a drink. Some people can’t do it in public and if it’s going to stress them out then giving a bottle isn’t the worst thing that can happen. The amount of time you breastfeed needs to be respectful of both people’s wishes. For instance, until my son says that he doesn’t want the boobie anymore, I will give it to him. I didn’t always feel this way. I grew up around a woman who was still feeding her son at five and everyone around her thought that she was weird and wrong to do so. Now with my knowledge of the bond and benefit, I know that thinking that way was wrong of me, not her. No matter what though, if you can breastfeed for even a little while, or even if you tried, be proud. You know that breast is best for baby, you want to do what’s best for them, and you gave it or you are giving it your best shot. Good for you mama.