Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (November). For this month, participants share their experiences on extended breastfeeding. This includes tips to moms with young babies, as well as barriers and myths which discourage extended nursing. Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants.

My daughter, N, weaned at 3 years and 5 months. If you read my early days in breastfeeding, I wouldn’t have thought that we would go beyond 2 years of nursing! I’ve previously shared about the challenges and the highs and lows I had in nursing a toddler. For this carnival, let me focus on the myths and barriers against extended breastfeeding faced by moms.

Top barrier faced would be criticism from IGNORANT individuals. And I do say ignorant because most of the people who raise their eyebrows and comment – you’re still breastfeeding her at xxx age?! – don’t even know anything at all about breastfeeding. So how do I reply? I simply answer – yes, it is the easiest way to comfort her. Dr. Sears has a helpful article on how to reply to criticism directed towards extended breastfeeding.

At 12 months old, doctors usually say that you can introduce cow’s milk to your child’s diet. Yes, you certainly can but this is not an all or nothing approach. Moms can choose to continue to breastfeed and introduce cow’s milk (or goat’s milk or carabao milk, etc. etc.) It doesn’t mean that when you’ve introduced other milk to your child, you need to stop breastfeeding. N stopped past 3 but prior to that she has tasted cow, goat, carabao, rice, hemp, almond, soy and hazelnut milk.

Another issue being raised is that you are curtailing the independence of your child by allowing him/her to continue breastfeeding past the first birthday. When N was 3 months, the pediatrician we went to told me that N should stop breastfeeding at 9 months so she will have a realization of her “individual self”. Obviously, I didn’t listen to that pediatrician and as Dr. Jack Newman says:

The child who breastfeeds until he weans himself (usually from 2 to 4 years), is usually more independent, and, perhaps, more importantly, more securein his independence. He has received comfort and security from the breast, until he is ready to make the step himself to stop. And when a child makes that step himself, he knows he has achieved something, he knows he has moved ahead. It is a milestone in his life of which he is proud.

Similarly, that baby is teething or that you are trying to conceive are not reasons to stop breastfeeding your child. Teething babies can be taught not to bite and you can certainly get pregnant even if baby has not yet weaned! Aside from the easy comfort that you can give your child, there are numerous other benefits your child can get from extended breastfeeding.

As Nanay Nona shared, the new breastfeeding motto should be “APAT DAPAT” – that children should breastfeed until 4 years old and beyond! 😉

So moms, are there any other myths or barriers that you have encountered which discourages extended breastfeeding?

Check out our other carnival participants (to be updated throughout the day):
J and the Three Boys – No more “de-de”
My Mommyology – My Extended Breastfeeding Experience
Mommyluscious – Breastfeeding for Two Beyond Two
Truly Rich Mom – On Extended Breastfeeding (a perfectly normal thing to do)
Life of a Babywearing and Breastfeeding Mommy – Still breastfeeding after 2 years
Got To Believe – Breastfeeding Room Story

Homeschooling Mommy – Yes, I’ve Got Milk
SOlovelyN – As long as he wants, I can
Touring Kitty – Extended Breastfeeding is Possible
SassyBiatcheMom’s World – 1.4 and still breastfeeding