"Keep on breastfeeding that baby and you can always tandem feed if you get pregnant. You're doing a good job."
This was my doctor's orders today and I am one happy patient. Hearing from a knowledgeable doctor who is highly recognized as one of the best doctors at our local hospital that I don't need to stop breastfeeding my toddler is like hearing that Santa Claus really is real.
If only everyone in this world could do as she did and say,
rather than ask
"so when do you plan on weaning"
or the horrible,
breastfeeding your baby (said with a disgusted face)."
I almost wish that I had asked my doctor to write down exactly what she said on a prescription pad so I can show everyone that my doctor told me to keep breastfeeding
(followed with a chime of na-na-boo-boo).
There's so much pressure from the outside world for breastfeeding mothers. Whether it is pressure that you shouldn't feed in public or pressure that you should start weaning your child, the pressure and judgment is always there. Sure some people may generally just be curious about when you plan on weaning, but typically that question is asked because people probably think you are breastfeeding too long and that you need to stop. These are generally the same people that likely think mother's milk does no good for a baby past six months or twelve months.
can I just carry a fact sheet around with me so I can show everyone that it does indeed do them good? Na-na-freaking-boo-boo!
Extended breastfeeding isn't for everyone no doubt. Some women are afraid of babies with teeth and some women are just ready to have their body back; and then some women fall victim to pressure from everyone else. As a breastfeeding advocate I've been mad at myself for falling victim to the pressure. Sure the idea of weaning to prepare for another baby does sound ideal in a way, however the amount of pressure that I have put on myself to wean my child has been ridiculous. In all honesty, the pressure probably comes more from the questions about our weaning process.
"Has she weaned yet?" "How is it going?" "How often does she still nurse?"
While sometimes these questions likely are often not judgmental and are just coming from curious, caring minds, I can't help but usually feel like I'm being judged. I've even told myself before that I may lie and say
"she only nurses once a day"
"yes she sleeps all night"
just to get everyone off of my back.
But why lie about it?
I should be proud that I breastfeed my child. I should be a voice for everyone.
No one can understand the process of breastfeeding and weaning if they have never experienced it. Weaning for many mothers isn't just something that can be done overnight or even over the course of a few weeks. It is an emotionally draining process that involves tears and frustration from both baby and mother. And yes, mothers are just as attached to it as the babies are so it's tough on both.
So my advice to you, to you reading this that may or may not really know a heck of a whole lot about breastfeeding, is to not judge. Don't think that you know the facts or that you're a breastfeeding guru who can say when the breastfeeding relationship should end. Don't question the breastfeeding mother and don't make her feel like she's doing something wrong when in fact
she is doing everything so damn right.
Just tell her
At the end of the day, after all of the weeks of engorgement, cracked nipples and exhaustion, that's really all she wants to hear. In fact, all any mama wants to hear is that they are doing a good job.
So mama, I want to tell
that you are doing a good job. If you are not ready to wean that baby, then don't. Be proud to be a voice and don't fall victim to the outside pressure. And mamas, even if you weaned your baby early or if breastfeeding just didn't work out, I assure you that you are also doing a good job. We all are doing the best we can.
For now, I'm taking the pressure off and following my doctor's orders. Weaning will happen when it should and if anything, I can continue to savor these moments.
Nurse On Mamas.
Thanks for reading, Sasha