Gratitude for extended breastfeeding

This is a post about gratitude.  I’ll save the outrage (over pressure to quit at 6 or 12 months or when the baby sprouts teeth or starts speaking), the cultural analysis (of just what we’re afraid of when toddlers breastfeed), and the manifestos (in support of nursing moms and children everywhere) for another day.  Today I want to simply dwell in feeling grateful to the two women who taught me to breastfeed my toddler: my mom and my best friend.

They didn’t teach me with formal lessons or advice.  They taught me by modeling.  They taught me by never using words like “extended breastfeeding.”  They taught me by creating microcultures in which breastfeeding a toddler is so normal, that I actually feel awkward and uncomfortable with the term “extended breastfeeding.”  I mean, when exactly do we sign up for the extension?

When so many parenting choices can be agonizing, it’s nice to have some come easily.  So, thank you to my mom and my best friend for making this one easy for me.  I’m sure that if my daughter had any idea that anyone thinks she’s too old for her favorite thing, she’d be thanking you too!

Note: This post is part of the April Carnival of Breastfeeding: Extended Breastfeeding.  Check out the other Carnival posts listed below.  You can also read my entry to October’s Carnival of Breastfeeding in which I wrote about our rocky start to breastfeeding.

Mamapoeki from Authentic Parenting: Extended Breastfeeding
Mama Alvina of Ahava & Amara Life Foundation: Breastfeeding Journey Continues
Elita @ Blacktating: The Last Time That Never Was
Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC: Old enough to ask for it
Karianna @ Caffeinated Catholic Mama: A Song for Mama’s Milk
Judy @ Mommy News Blog:My Favorite Moments
Tamara Reese @ Please Send Parenting Books: Extended Breastfeeding
Jenny @ Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: The Highs and Lows of Nursing a Toddler
Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding
Rebekah @ Momma’s Angel: My Sleep Breakthrough
Suzi @ Attachedattheboob: Why I love nursing a toddler
Claire @ The Adventures of Lactating Girl: My Hopes for Tandem Nursing
Elisa @ blissfulE: counter cultural: extended breastfeeding
Momma Jorje: Extended Breastfeeding, So Far!
Stephanie Precourt from Adventures in Babywearing: “Continued Breastfeeding”: straight from the mouths of babes
The Accidental Natural Mama: Nurse on, Mama
Nikki @ On Becoming Mommy: The Little Things
Dr. Sarah @ Good Enough Mum: Breastfeeding for longer than a year: myths, facts and what the research really shows
Amy @ WIC City: (Extended) Breastfeeding as Mothering
The Artsy Mama: Why Nurse a Toddler?
Christina @ The Milk Mama: The best thing about breastfeeding
TopHot @ the bee in your bonnet: From the Mouths of Babes
Beth @ Extended Breastfeeding: To Wean Or Not To Wean
Callista @ Callista’s Ramblings:  Pressure To Stop Breastfeeding
Amanda @ Postilius: Nursing My Toddler Keeps My Baby Close
Sheryl @ Little Snowflakes: Tandem Nursing- The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Zoie @ Touchstone Z: Breastfeeding Flavors
Lauren @ Hobo Mama: Same old, same old: Extended breastfeeding
Tanya @ Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: Six misconceptions about extended breastfeeding
Jona ( Breastfeeding older twins
Motherlove Herbal Company: Five reasons to love nursing a toddler

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21 Responses to Gratitude for extended breastfeeding

  1. This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you!

  2. What a great way to pass on the encouragement you’ve received!

  3. Pingback: Breastfeeding Older Twins :: Breastfeeding Twins

  4. Sabrina says:

    Hear, Hear, from 5 months post weaning and hopefully 5 months pre starting over!

  5. Pingback: Natural-term breastfeeding « Massachusetts Friends of Midwives Blog

  6. Terry says:

    Beautifully written, Sarah! Hooray for Baby B! We’re also 18 months and counting, and it’s still 95% of what’s keeping Andrew thriving and biggering.🙂

  7. “When exactly do we sign up for the extension?” — I LOVE this! Especially since so many people seem to think that anything past 6 months is somehow EXTENDED, and I might draw the line, if a line was to be drawn, much much later. And so much of that comes from community – if everyone in your circle stops nursing around 6 months, 9 months seems long. You are so lucky to have had such a wonderful circle around yourself!

  8. Pingback: My Hopes For Tandem Nursing « The Adventures of Lactating Girl

  9. Pingback: A Song for Mama’s Milk | Caffeinated Catholic Mama

  10. Pingback: The best thing about breastfeeding – The Milk Mama

  11. Pingback: Breastfeeding Flavors « TouchstoneZ

  12. Erin says:

    Sarah, you are also one of those women–I know there was a time when I hadn’t given much thought to how one feeds a baby and probably even was a little weirded out by breastfeeding, but I can’t remember it. You and Bridget are a model for us!

  13. Abbe says:

    Thanks for this. I do feel like there was a point where breastfeeding my older one hit “extended” but it was past toddlerhood – which I really think of as a more mobile kind of babyhood anyway – and at the point where it was “extended” by me feeling ready to wean when she didn’t. =)

    It’s actually really affirming to me right now to recognize that I’m nursing the little boy past when some people quit (the appearance of two teeth, which he experimented with for a little while) after such a struggle to get him back on track when he was tiny. He needed help with trusting that there was going to be enough milk coming out to satisfy him and for a while it was only in my wildest dreams that he’d be back to nursing happily and growing well without any need of bottles and happy to keep doing it till we’re both ready to wean. And here we are, and that point does not come at 6 weeks, little fussy one, or 6 months with teeth either.

  14. This is a great post for the breastfeeding carnival. I love that you had in real life support from those you love and who love you. You captured that nurturing and passing it along through the generations perfectly in your words.

  15. Rebekah says:

    Oh my…. girl you have my crying all because of this line: I’m sure that if my daughter had any idea that anyone thinks she’s too old for her favorite thing, she’d be thanking you too!

    So sweet… so beautiful… thank you.

  16. Wow,, That is awesome!!

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