By Sofie Eriksson
If you’ve ever started a sentence stating that you’re all for breastfeeding, but then followed this sentiment with several conditions, I would like to argue that you’re everything but “all” for breastfeeding. I’d even say you’re for breastfeeding as long as it fits in with your personal beliefs.
And why is that an issue?
Breastfeeding is still incredibly controversial. Although boobs are actual milk machines biologically created to feed babies, it seems a huge number of people have something negative to say about how, where or even how long breastfeeding continues.
When I was expecting my first child, I had this vision of exclusively breastfeeding for 3-6 months followed by formula. That was the max and why would anyone go on any longer? Was it even nutritional after this point? I really had no clue.
My baby arrived and life threw me a curveball. This little baby girl of mine spent 3 months refusing to latch.
She just wouldn’t. Completely unaffected by the amount of support we had, no one could help her latch. I ended up breastfeeding my little girl via a bottle of expressed milk and determinedly continued past the 6-month mark. As proud as I was, I was also heartbroken and the loss I felt put everything on its end.
During my second pregnancy, I became an all knowing breastfeeding specialist and I decided I was going to make it work. Thanks to hours of research, and an understanding of my inverted nipples, nipple shields and pumps, I spent 6 hard months establishing breastfeeding.
Those 6 months are somewhat of a blur but we did it. Finally we mastered breastfeeding and it felt amazing. My determination mixed with a child who didn’t have a tie equaled a breastfeeding relationship I had desperately wanted with my first. The following 6 months flew by – everyone offered me praise and reassuring words. I felt like a queen for those 6 months.
Breastfeeding didn’t hurt as much and my milk-makers instantly offered my son nutrition, comfort, pain relief and relaxation. Breasts are seriously amazing!
“Ewww, he is too old for that now. He has teeth”
Then my son turned a year old. He wasn’t ready to stop. I wasn’t ready to stop. We had just mastered this thing. But he was 1?
Suddenly, I received snide remarks and disgusted grimaces. Ewww, he is too old for that now. He has teeth and he can chew his own food. And so it continued.
As my son reached his second birthday, I found myself hiding that we were breastfeeding. It started to become our little secret. I was ashamed that I was doing for my son what he needed, what was recommended by all major agencies and what was biologically correct. I only fed in the bedroom and even pretended we had weaned. I was even more ashamed that I was ashamed.