Our Breastfeeding Journey
When I was pregnant with Alina I never gave breastfeeding too much thought. I personally didn’t know anyone other than my mum and mother in law who breastfed their children. A majority of those around me formula fed. I just assumed that it would happen for us and that if it didn’t we’d formula feed too.
27 months later and we’re still breastfeeding! Although we are still going strong it’s not because I am this big breastfeeding advocate who'll feed her until she's 18! It’s simply because I’ve just always gone with the flow with Alina and to be quite honest, I’m not sure when or how I’m going to wean her. Up until this point in time I’ve never given it much thought at all. She’s happy to continue and I’ve been happy to give her what she wants.
The day Alina was born she took to my boob within minutes and it’s been the smoothest and most enjoyable experience. I’ve loved the connection and the time we’ve spent together feeding. In the beginning she would feed 24/7 and as many of you know I’d created the habit of feeding her to sleep and because we demand fed she’d get fed whenever she wanted.
To this day unless she falls asleep in the car or with her dad or a family member, she still boobs to sleep! This would have to be what I greatly struggled with when it came to breastfeeding and still do, the sleep deprivation. Because I have been unable to teach her to self settle. This has caused me great stress and guilt over the past two years because of the expectation that she should be sleeping through/not so dependent on me. The way I look at it now is it’s just how it is for us and eventually it wont be. So again, I just go with the flow.
I’ve developed quite a relaxed parenting approach and I believe it’s due to breastfeeding because I’ve been forced to slow down and just do what my baby needs.
I’ve never experienced any real negativity toward my feeding Alina but I have definitely ‘felt’ other peoples opinions on it. Not long after Alina turned one the questions like ‘When do you think you’ll stop’ or ‘She’s clearly feeding for comfort now and doesn’t ‘need it’ started to roll in. It’s so funny to me that there is so much pressure put upon us to breastfeed from the second we announce we’re pregnant and then after a year you feel just as much expectation to be stopping?! I’ve had family members go over my head when Alina has been asking for the boob and say ‘try giving her water’ or ‘she doesn’t need it’. It makes me feel embarrassed for something that is so natural for ‘us’ that perhaps I should stop. As if there’s something wrong with it because she’s now over two.
I’ve refrained from sharing the images I loved to post of us feeding when she was younger because I think feeding a toddler to some just isn’t cute anymore and people get offended. I’ve had some real shitty comments on photos and it’s made me uncomfortable to post about what is still such a big part of my parenting journey! I’ve been told I’m selfish for still feeding her and having her so dependent on me. It’s comments from complete strangers that for a while there I allowed to affect me because they were attacking what were already very real insecurities for me. I honestly had to take a step back and remind myself what I often remind you guys, is to not worry what anyone thinks when it comes to your parenting! You know what’s best.
Another chapter of our breastfeeding journey has come about as hubby and I have been trying for another baby since late last year. We fell pregnant in November and experienced a miscarriage that completely broke my heart. It was never confirmed but a lot of the opinions were that it was perhaps because I was still breastfeeding Alina, my body wasn’t ready.
We’ve since been trying again since January and although it’s not been long, because it hasn’t happened yet my mind automatically goes to ‘it’s because we’re still feeding’. This is what started me feeling pressure to wean Alina. I so badly want to have another baby and give Alina a sibling but on the other hand Alina is no where near ready to wean and I’d always hoped she’d self wean.
When I say she’s no where near ready it’s got nothing to do with me not being ready, I’d happily stop today if I knew she could. I’ve tried over the past few weeks to see how she goes when I deny her a feed and it’s extremely upsetting and distressing for her that I couldn’t bring myself to do it yet. After all I’d end up looking to put her on a toddler formula or a cows milk and for me that doesn’t make sense if we can still happily feed and there's nothing to prove that I'm not falling pregnant because I'm feeding her.
So, I’ve had to take a step back. Take some deep breathes and remember this is our journey. She is my child, my job is to nurture her and be there for her. At this point in time I’m at such a pivotal point and it all feels so foreign to me because again, I don’t know what I’m doing or the best decision to make but I know in my heart we're not going to stop yet.
I’ve decided to continue feeding Alina whilst trying for another baby and see how we go for the next 6 months. She may wean herself in that time and I may fall pregnant in that time and it will all work out and if it doesn’t then I’ll revisit our options.
I wanted to share our experience because I’ve shared so much of my parenting journey since the very beginning. My blog is my little space where I can be vulnerable and share parts of myself that I know others relate to. Writing is extremely therapeutic for me and I love documenting parts of my life here. I guess I also wanted to share where we’re at as a family too, I know many enjoy to see what we get unto and I often get asked a lot about our breastfeeding experience and also when we’ll be having another baby. So, there you go!
Lots of love,