Why I'm Still Breastfeeding.

I originally thought about writing this post just after Henry's first birthday but I decided against it as I didn't want to feed into the constant breastfeeding drama that seems to always be circling around social media. However after a very inspiring twitter chat last night with #30plusblogs I decided that offering up my own story and my own opinions isn't feeding into any drama. It's simply one Mum sharing her own reasons for extending breastfeeding.

My one and only goal with feeding Henry was to make it to six months. Beyond that I had no idea what our breastfeeding journey would look like. After trying and failing with both James & Emilie it was a personal goal of mine to exclusively feed Henry until he was ready for solid foods. Those first six months were hard! Three bouts of thrush literally had me in tears. Each time he latched on I wanted to scream, cry and stamp my feet. Sleepless nights, feeling like a cow and having to cut dairy out of my diet due to his allergy, sometimes it was just plain exhausting.

Reaching six months was a milestone that I wanted to shout from the rooftops. We had done it and I couldn't have been prouder of both of us. After that it just felt natural to keep going. If I had decided to stop then he would have needed medicated formula from the doctors which is just a hassle so I didn't see the point when breastfeeding was working so well for us.

Now here we are at 17 months and still going strong. Why haven't I stopped yet though? I've been asked that question numerous times since his birthday and honestly, there are several reasons. One is off course the health benefits. It's comforting to know that during the cold & flu season my milk gives Henry some extra benefits and antibodies if he does get poorly.

It's good to know on a day where he throws his dinner all over the floor that he is still getting some calories from me.

If he's having a bad day with teething or is generally just grumpy and all else fails to cheer him up I can guarantee that some milk will help calm him.

Also lets cut to the chase.. It's a bit of laziness on my part. I have 3 kids to run around after and school runs to wake up for. It's so much easier during the night when he wakes to feed him back to sleep than to sit there fighting with him for what feels like an eternity. At the moment, he wakes, latches on and by the time he's finished eating both of us are asleep again.

It's not all roses and rainbows though. 

There are days where I'm touched out before 1pm. Days where I try to teach Henry some boundaries and let him know that it's not an all you can eat buffet but he has other ideas and wants to eat every 20 minutes.

By this age both James & Emilie would self settle themselves to sleep in their cot. Henry doesn't even know what his cot his for! Unless he falls asleep in the car then he either needs to be fed or rocked to sleep. It's a battle I will have to fight one day I know but for now whilst feeding is working I'm just going with the flow.

I'm currently trying to teach him that it's ok to have water out of a sippy cup. Some days he's all over it and thinks it's great. Other days he looks at me as if to say, 'What? No boob?'

So I'll take the good and the bad. At the moment it's working for us. Whether I'll wean him or he'll wean himself first who knows? I'm literally taking it one day at a time. I am in no way worried that I'll never get him to stop. One day he will settle himself off to sleep. One night he will sleep all the way through and not need me to help him drift back off. The biggest thing I've learnt after three babies is that time literally flies. Each stage is fleeting.

I will never regret savouring this last bit of babyhood.

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