I have been breastfeeding for 16 months now. Never, did I think I would go past a year before I had my son. I am not sure when we will stop. Many people think it is wrong after a certain age. Who says that as soon as a baby turns one the milk is no longer good for them. Like our milk supply just turns off the vitamins and immunities that they were receiving before. That just does not happen. Most of us drink cow's milk for all our lives. When my son and I are ready to stop, we will. Usually by the age 18 month-2 1/2 years old, toddlers wean themselves. Some things that I have learned along the way, I would like to share.
Did you know that while breastfeeding most women do not have their menstraul cycle? I did not know that until taking my childbirth preparation classes. I also did not know that as long as you are breastfeeding regularly, most will not get their period back until it is stopped. That doesn't mean you cannot get pregnant. It just means no pads, tampons, or headaches for a while.
Did you know that breastfeeding is not only good for your baby, but for you also? Their is less of a chance of cervical cancer in women who breastfeed. It also helps your uterus contract back to normal size after childbirth. You will feel slight pain during nursing the first few weeks as those contractions occur.
I have noticed many that have had babies and try to breastfeed give up too easily. They say they did not have enough milk supply or it hurt too bad. I read that 98% can breastfeed if they gave it a more of a chance. The reason they don't think they have enough milk is because at the beginning it is mostly the colostrum our breast are giving out. Colostrum is the vitamins and protein babies need and is enough for them before the real milk comes in.
If your body still seems to not make enough milk there are things you can eat or take that can help. Eating regular oatmeal (not instant) can increase your supply. There is an herb called fenugreek that worked wonders for me. A lactation specialist recommended it to me. There is also a tea called mothers milk that has fenugreek in it.
I am not going to say that it is all fun and great. Nursing a baby and now a toddler is hard. It takes time and effort. You can get clogged milk ducts that can turn into mastitis. Mastitis is a breast infection that can cause fever, flu like symtoms, and very sore breasts. In the beginning baby may want to nurse every hour. It may hurt in the beginning. It hurt me everytime my baby would latch on. It feels like a burning and pinching. I found out my baby's mouth was not opened wide enough. So every time I fed him, I had to open his mouth wider with my fingers. When baby becomes a toddler it can be awkward from the weight and squirming around that toddlers do.
Do you know how much money you will save from not spending money on formula? You could take a vacation to an island for a week, including airline tickets, car rental, food, and spending money left over. If you put away all that money for formula for a whole year. You will have to buy breastpads though. The washable ones work for some, especially in toddler breastfeeding, when you don't leak as much.
In the long run the benefits outweigh any troubles. I think you will have a greater bond with your child. They will be a more sensitive, caring, and healthier individual.