If you are already breastfeeding, or pregnant and considering breastfeeding your child to be, the subject of weaning may have already come up. The pressure is on as people begin to ask “So, how long do you plan to breastfeed?” You quickly find yourself trying to come up with a concrete answer.
The beauty of breastfeeding, however, is that time never has to be a constraining factor. Moms and nurslings can and do nurse until the child has grown out of the need to nurse, well past the age of two! When you reach a point in your breastfeeding relationship in which you may question weaning, consider the list below to help make an informed decision that best suits your family.
Here are five reasons why natural-term breastfeeding might be right for you:
1. You care about the environment, animals, and overall health. Being eco-friendly, healthy living, and showing love for furry friends interests you. Maybe you are super savvy when it comes to saving the planet, or maybe you aspire to adopt a healthy eating plan by the time baby starts solids. Either way, mother’s milk never loses benefits in the environmental department. Natural-term weaning is sustainable, unlike dairy farming.
2. It is relatively easy compared to nursing a newborn. By the time your baby is one year old, you have already overcome so many obstacles that happen in the early weeks and months. Latching and positioning have become a breeze, your life has finally adapted to the demands of nursing (errands? No problem!), and baby’s growing ability to communicate is making it easier than ever. Why should a child’s ability to ask for it determine readiness to wean?
3. The mental image of your little one as a teenager driving off with friends is frightening. You know there will come a time when your baby will be all grown up and instead of nursing to sleep in your arms, he or she would rather be at a sleepover with friends. With the confidence that your nursling most definitely will not be drinking bottles of pumped breastmilk in college, you can rest assured that they in fact will eventually wean on their own!
4. Breastfeeding calms Your baby and you down. Maybe you secretly enjoy escaping to a other room to nurse to get away from the crowd and steal away some cherished alone time. Or, maybe you find yourself snoozing away after a nursing session. The fuzzy feeling brought on by hormones involved in bonding and breastfeeding will continue to work its therapeutic magic.
5. Selfish selfish selfish. Yup, maybe you are just one selfish woman who enjoys burning calories in her sleep during a night feed. You love clocking out at work for pump breaks and facebooking for your unpaid 15 minutes three times a day. You finally discovered the art of self-love as your body serves incredible purpose. Let the haters hate, you are too selfish to care how others view your decision to breastfeed a walking, talking human.
While there are many more benefits to child-led weaning, these are great starting points to explore if you, family, or friends have doubts. Ultimately, if it is in your family’s best interest to introduce weaning before age two, there are gentle ways to go about it. Remember that it is always up to the child and mother to make this decision. Comment below to add to the list!
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