Friday, November 04, 2011


"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."

I breastfed my now 6-year old daughter C until she was 2 years old. I am still breastfeeding my baby B who is now 14 months old.

Whether one is breastfeeding an infant or a toddler, one thing has remained the same--breastfeeding benefits the child and the mother. Having this evidence-based fact in mind, I made a conscious decision to breastfeed for as long as possible.

The issues and concerns that I have in breastfeeding a toddler are the same and yet different from the concerns I've had while breastfeeding an infant. 

Pain. With my baby B, I dealt with sore nipples for the first two weeks due to improper latch. When he started teething at around 6 months, I had to endure the occasional bites until he learned that he is not supposed to "bite" the "goose that lays the golden egg", or in this case, the mom who produces the liquid gold. (Sorry, my Tax Law Review class is about to start. I've been reading a number of cases where the Supreme Court used this idiom.)  

Now that B is more than a year old, he has suddenly transformed into a Manny Pacquiao boxing wannabe and a football striker, rolled into one. My days and nights of reading while breastfeeding have ended. I have to be alert to make sure that B does not get a lucky kick straight to my jaw. Gentle hands and gentle feet, something that I've learned from my daughters' pre-school teachers, has become a favorite reminder to my baby B.

Supply. "Is my baby getting enough?" This is one of the common concerns of breastfeeding moms, especially during the first few weeks of breastfeeding. Fortunately for me, this was not a problem. That was until my daily yield of expressed breastmilk (EBM) went down from 24 ounces to 15 ounces when B was around 9 months old. The decrease, coupled with the fact that B is not as chubby as his formula-fed counterparts, made me question myself if B is getting enough milk and nutrients. 

But my worrying about my milk supply in relation to B's weight gain was short-lived. Why should I needlessly fret when B is an active, healthy toddler who drinks breastmilk and eats complementary solid food, and is regularly seen by his pedia? And instead of using the growth chart in B's free baby book which is most likely based on the growth of formula-fed children, I used the WHO growth chart after learning that this new chart "makes breastfeeding the biological 'norm' and establishes the breastfed infant as the normative growth model."

Besides, a study showed that in the second year (12-23 months) of life, 448 ml (about 15 ounces) of breastmilk provides:
  • 29% of energy requirements
  • 43% of protein requirements
  • 36% of calcium requirements
  • 75% of vitamin A requirements
  • 76% of folate requirements
  • 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
  • 60% of vitamin C requirements

Time. As a full-time working mom who is usually out of the house from 6 am to 8 pm every working day, I need to express milk several times in the office. I need to do this in order to maintain my milk supply and ensure that B will have something to drink while I'm not with him. It's a good thing that Republic Act No. 10028, otherwise known as the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009 (EBPA), grants nursing employees paid lactation breaks of not less than 40 minutes for every 8-hour working period. And as I've written in my previous post, nursing employees who are breastfeeding children up to 36 months of age are entitled to this break. Yes, up to 36 months!

Support. I am fortunate to have supportive family, friends, employer and co-workers who never questioned or commented on, no matter how well meaning the comment may sound, my decision to breastfeed my daughter C until she was 2 years old. I even brought C, who was then 17 months old, to an out-of-town strategic planning session. 

If you don't have a support group, then this is a good time to join one. You'll be surprised at the number of local breastfeeding support groups we have here in the country! 

Breastfeeding in Public. It is possible, however, that you may get unsolicited comments and stares while breastfeeding an older child in public. You may consider these suggestions from

  • If you're bothered by unsolicited comments and stares, you might find it easier to nurse your child at home before heading out to the store or the park. Some moms find it more acceptable to nurse at set times during the day — like in the morning, before naps, or before bed — and teach their toddlers to drink from a cup during meals and snacks.
  • If you don't care what people think or say, then have some snappy responses ready when someone asks you the inevitable question: "Is she still nursing?" Sometimes a simple "yes" is the best conversation stopper. Or, the next time you're nursing in public and someone asks, "Are you ever going to stop breastfeeding?" say, "Yes, in about ten minutes."
Now, I happen to fall under the second category!

What about you? What concerns did you deal with or are dealing with in breastfeeding your child beyond 1 year?

Please do take the time to read the posts of the other blog carnival participants:

J and the Three Boys - No more "de-de"
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



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