Tag Archives: breastfeeding

The Delights of Extended Breastfeeding

Most of us know that breast is best for baby, and if it works for you, to breastfeed that baby for at least one year. It doesn’t work for everyone, for a variety of reasons, but when you can manage it, breastfeeding is wonderful.

I have to say, extended breastfeeding in some ways is even more fun. More challenging at times, but so much fun!

Toddlers Can Be Playful Breastfeeders

My 15 month old is an absolute wild child when it comes to breastfeeding. She’s all over the place, standing up, sitting down, getting back into that old cradle hold, trying to flip upside down while still latched. It’s practically a comedy routine some days.

She knows what she wants and when she wants it, and can come up to get it.

Sometimes it’s clearly a game to her. She’s not always serious about getting any actual milk out. It’s the attention and the bond, plus making sure her siblings know that Mommy is hers!

Benefits of Extended Breastfeeding

There is a great list of benefits of extended breastfeeding posted on KellyMom that she appears to keep updated. But here are a few of my favorites:

1. Nursing toddlers benefit nutritionally.

I love seeing this one after being warned by my pediatrician to be sure to start giving whole milk in case I didn’t realize that my daughter was weaning. I think I would notice! The whole lack of nursing thing.

I assume the pediatrician’s point would be that a gradual weaning might not be noticed as quickly as it should be. I think I’m pretty aware, overall, of how much my daughter nurses. Having had two older children self wean, I’m also pretty familiar with the routine.

But nutritionally you just can’t beat breastmilk for babies and toddlers. It’s a significant source of fat and protein, as well as other nutrients that toddlers need.

2. Nursing toddlers are sick less often.

How could any mother not love that? Sick toddlers are a lot of work. Anything that helps them get sick less often has to be a good thing!

3. Nursing a toddler is normal.

Yes, normal! Despite the many who want to know when you’re going to get around to weaning that baby, nursing a toddler is a very normal thing to do.

4. Extended nursing makes for smarter children.

Aw geez, this might be a disadvantage! She’s smart enough already!

Kidding, kidding! Although she is doing things already that her older brother and sister weren’t doing so young.

All the fats in breastmilk, particularly the omega-3, help with brain development, which is vital during the first 2 years.

5. It’s good for the mother’s health.

Extended breatfeeding continues the general benefits to the mother of breastfeeding. Easier weight loss, less chance of osteoporosis, less chance of various cancers, it’s pretty good stuff.

Disadvantages of Extended Breastfeeding

None of the disadvantages of extended breastfeeding really bother me. They are pretty minor to me and how I want to live my life. Nonetheless….

1. Social disapproval.

The longer you breastfeed, the more you’re going to be getting the question of when you’re going to wean. Some people get pretty disgusted by extended breastfeeding, as though it’s any of their business. Some even compare it to child abuse, which says more about their frame of mind than it does about breastfeeding.

The disapproval that some breastfeeding mothers feel in public increases if you breastfeed a toddler in public. More people will feel you shouldn’t be doing that in public. Your toddler may well be making it harder to be “discreet” about the whole matter.

2. Not all pediatricians are aware of the benefits of extended breastfeeding.

Actually, this is a disadvantage to having a pediatrician who is unaware of the benefits, not really a disadvantage to extended breastfeeding. No fault of breastfeeding that not all doctors keep up on current research.

But it can be annoying to hear from your child’s doctor that you’re doing it wrong, or that you don’t need to breastfeed anymore.

3. Weaning may be a challenge.

I’ve never found it to be so, but your mileage may vary. My older two self weaned, so there never was a challenge.

But if the time comes when you do decide to wean your child on your schedule rather than his or hers, there may be more of a battle. Toddlers know what they want and they can try to get it. You may have to be a bit stubborner.

4. Your toddler can delete your blog posts while you’re breastfeeding.

Yes, I’ve been nursing my toddler while typing this up. She swung up when I was a bit more than halfway through, hit a few random keys and poof! My post vanished as my browser window went back a few pages.

Thank you WordPress autosave!

As for Me…

Our current plans include breastfeeding until my daughter self weans or until around age 2, at which point I’ll probably be working on encouraging weaning. If she’s like my older two, she’ll choose self weaning in a few more months, and that’s fine.

I’m not especially looking forward to weaning. My last baby, and I love the closeness. I have days where I’m ready to be done with it all, but more days where breastfeeding is such a treat that I dread when I have to give it up.

Just What Is Discreet Breastfeeding?

I’ve been doing breastfeeding a long time. Still breastfeeding baby #3 right now, who turns one year old soon. But the thing that always gets to me is when people talk about the need to be discreet when breastfeeding.

It’s just not always that simple.

Keeping oneself covered up is pretty easy in the early days when baby is too small to do much about it. But as babies get older that becomes much harder and sometimes pretty near to impossible.

What Is Discreet Anyhow?

One of the problems I have is that the definition of  “discreet” can vary so much from person to person. Does it mean always draping a covering across baby and your body so that no one can see anything going on? Is just popping out one breast just enough for baby to latch on and keeping the other covered discreet enough?

Who decides these things anyhow?

Essentially, it always seems to come down to other people. What’s discreet enough for some is too much for others to handle or it’s seen as worrying too much about the whole thing.

It’s About Feeding the Baby – Comfortably

For me it comes down to how best to get baby fed in a way that works best for you. Others can judge, but that doesn’t mean they’re worth paying attention to. It can mean being prepared to deal with rudeness, especially from those who mistake breastfeeding for some sort of sexual display. As if!

I’ve been fortunate enough to not get it that bad.

I’ve found that what is discreet enough can change quite a bit from baby to baby as well as with how the baby’s need to move around while breastfeeding changes with his or her development.

That’s particularly true with my current baby. To her, breastfeeding is pretty much an athletic event. She’s all over the place if she’s awake. What most people would call discreet just doesn’t happen so much with her. She can move herself and other things around and she knows it.

Breastfeeding a baby who has climbed over your shoulder is an odd experience. Even if you are leaning way back at the time.

I do tend to resist feeding her in public not out of embarrassment but because she clowns around even more with an audience. Better to be quiet so that she focuses a little more on her food than on flirting with anyone amused by her antics.

That’s what’s comfortable for us at this moment.

Used to be I could feed her anywhere, and did so. My father-in-law has had to get used to the fact that I will do that. So did my mother-in-law, but she got it after the second baby was born. My father-in-law still resists a little.

As a mother, you have to figure out what’s right for you and your baby. It’s not about what’s right for those around you. You may have to decide how to cope with situations made awkward by the reactions of others, but it still comes down to what you’re comfortable with doing.

In the end, breastfeeding means you’re feeding the baby the way babies were meant to be fed. It’s a wonderful ability, not something to be hidden away and treated as something shameful.

8 Ways Being a Green Parent Can Save You Money

Having kids is expensive. You can find all kinds of numbers for it, some covering just the first couple of years, others including the cost to raise to adulthood and even getting into projected college costs. They’re always pretty intimidating estimates when you think about it.

Some costs can’t be avoided. Kids have to eat, after all, and they need clothing and shelter. But you do have control over a lot of this. Considering the environmental impact at the same time can actually help you to save money.

These are some ways to be a green parent that aren’t going to increase the costs:


While there are some costs associated with breastfeeding, overall it’s going to be far, far cheaper than formula feeding. Most breastfeeding moms still need at the very least a manual pump and sometimes an electric one, and that means bottles and so forth will also be needed. Not to mention that the mother is burning more calories, some of which may come from weight gained during the pregnancy, but also comes from any extra food she eats.

But you’ll likely need fewer supplies since you probably won’t be giving so many bottles. You also won’t have empty formula canisters to dispose of. And having baby’s food supply always right there is a real help in those early, sometimes challenging days.

Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapering is a bit expensive to get started, although you can decide how expensive you want to deal with at the start. Just remember that disposables add up over time and would eventually probably cost you more. You can go with plain prefolds and diaper covers, buy all-in-one diapers or pocket diapers, depending on what you want to deal with and what you want to spend.

If you choose cloth diapers it’s important to consider the detergent you’re washing them with. I like to use Country Save detergent as it’s pretty environmentally friendly. I use it with all my laundry, not just the diapers.

If you’re in an area with a water shortage you may need to consider buying environmentally friendly disposables instead. Not as friendly to the wallet or to the environment overall, but in some areas water supply is a big enough issue.

Encourage Simplicity

This can be a tough one, especially as children start feeling peer pressure and watching television. You’ll know when it starts happening, as your child who was content with simpler toys suddenly wants whatever the latest hot item is. Plus whatever was just on the television. And that one too. The demands start coming and keep coming.

When this happens, talk to your child about why you like to keep your lives simpler, with fewer things. Children can be amazingly understanding. It won’t stop all of the begging, but anything that cuts it back a little is a help.

Accept Hand Me Downs

My kids get tons of hand me down outfits, especially my youngest. It’s really amazing how much this saves. Babies in particular don’t really need new outfits, and an outfit can go through a few babies before showing significant wear because they outgrow them so fast.

Toys can also be handed down.

Buy Used

What you can’t get given to you, buy used. Thrift stores and resale shops can be your friends. You’ll spend less on clothes for your family while being good to the environment. You’ll probably even find some really great outfits.


Whether it’s a tiny kitchen herb garden or a big garden in the back yard, grow some food. Not only do you then get control over what goes into growing the food with fertilizers and such (go organic!), you’re teaching your children about where food really comes from.

Be careful, as gardening can get expensive if you let it. Don’t overdo it on supplies and seeds. If you know another family that gardens, consider going together on some things. Seed packages can be split up if you aren’t going to use the whole thing, for example. Tools can be shared, although you need rules about broken or damaged ones.

Cook from Scratch

Well, maybe not everything. But as much as works for your family cook from scratch rather than buying convenience foods. This will save on packaging and can cost less. It also allows you to have more control over what goes into your food, so you can avoid the excessive amounts of sugar and salt that go into so many convenience and prepared foods.

It can also be fun, trying out new recipes and teaching children to cook as they get old enough.

Set the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Example

Always remember that Reduce is the first rule for a reason. Try to live it. Then reuse what you can, and send off for recycling whatever is possible in your area when you’re done with it. Many areas accept a wide range of recyclables, but in other areas you’ll really have to work to get much recycling at all done.

But reuse can be so much fun for children! Teach them to make crafts from things that would otherwise be thrown out. It will save you money on craft supplies and encourage them to think of ways things can be reused.

I’ll Stick with Breastfeeding, Thanks!

I have to admit, I’m very fortunate. Breastfeeding is once again going quite smoothly for me. It’s one of those areas where I’ve not had serious problems. It’s a bit of effort to get started, occasionally painful, physically exhausting at times, but really not bad at all.

I know I’m quite fortunate.

Selene is one of those babies who just took a look in the hospital and just latched right on. No hesitation from that girl! She didn’t master the right latch immediately, but did well enough to quickly get milk.

Our one problem these days is that I produce well enough that she can be a lazy nurser at times. We should all have such problems, right?

I have to be pretty firm with her about that, though, as when she gets lazy she can leave me in pain. Poor latch at those times, and just enough stimulation to really get that milk production flowing.

She’s also one of those kids who falls asleep halfway through a feeding, then wakes up a half hour later wanting more. Sweet rascal is a pretty deep sleeper after a feed, and so far I can’t wake her up to finish the job with any consistency, at least not if I’m being gentle with her.

I’m just starting pumping these days so that she can learn to take a bottle. No formula needed in this house. But I do like to be able to run errands with NO children along. Nearest thing I get to a break most of the time. Showing off the baby is fun, but there comes a time when you just want to get things done by yourself and not have random strangers talking to you, even about a favorite topic.

The convenience and money saved is nice too. I know what formula costs, and must say I am very glad to not need to be paying for that! Pumping supplies cost a little, but especially since I have the pump from my other babies, pumping breastmilk isn’t much of an expense at all.

Overall, I love the connection created by breastfeeding. There’s a reason why I put up with the long nights, occasional pain, and chronic exhaustion. How can I not enjoy having those little eyes staring into mine as she gets started each time?

But some don’t feel so good about breastfeeding, particularly Hanna Rosin in her article “The Case Against Breastfeeding”. She sees it as not so feminist and not as beneficial as most people in the medical industry say.

Honestly, I think the problem is more about division of labor than breastfeeding. I’ve always thought formula feeding would be more inconvenient. All the preparation and cleanup involved. Maybe I’m too lazy to formula feed.

I certainly don’t consider breastfeeding to be a problem for a feminist. It’s a genuine difference between men and women. And if you’re really determined and your body cooperates, you can work while breastfeeding.

I do so at home. Two of my sisters did it while working outside the home, for about a year with each of their kids.

Even though I’m at home, I want workplaces to make more accommodations for women who are breastfeeding. It’s not that complex. A place that isn’t a bathroom set aside for pumping is ideal, if not possible for all businesses. A reasonable attitude toward the time it takes a mother to pump is also quite helpful.

That’s the part of breastfeeding that is relevant to feminism. The more comfortable it is for a mother to provide breast milk for her baby while at work, the easier it becomes for her to choose to work after starting a family.

The United States is well behind other countries in both maternity and paternity leave. Too many jobs are quite simply not family friendly at all.

No, being more family friendly won’t cause all women to breastfeed. It just doesn’t work out for everyone, for a variety of reasons. But giving up shouldn’t be about your work.

I know some will say that I’m biased, as working from home does make breastfeeding easier than trying to do it from outside the home. That’s true enough. But given all the benefits to both mother and child of breastfeeding, I’m firmly on the side of making it more possible. One less reason for women to give up careers they love. One less reason for employers to lose great employees.