I still remember the first time I was asked when I was going to stop breastfeeding my first child. Nursling 1 was probably only 10 months old at the time, and I was still well and truly confidently feeding her around family and in public. I’m not sure exactly where we were, but as it was my Gran, who was unwell at the time who said something along the lines of: “You’re not still feeding her are you? When are you going to stop?”
Hold on a second! I thought, We haven’t reached the Australian guidelines of 12 months yet, let alone the WHO guidelines of 2 years and beyond. I chalked it up to generational difference, and the fact that my Gran never did mince words.
Then, when I was in hospital with Postpartum Psychosis with nursling 2 when she was only a few months old, again the question came up, but this time it was around psychiatric illness, their associated medicines and what the doctors were willing to give me whilst I was breastfeeding. “Will you stop breastfeeding, as the drug we want to give you is not advised during breastfeeding?” My husband and I fought to protect my girls access to breast milk, and ultimately we had a good outcome. We found a suitable medication and both my girls remained breastfed without any significant need for ongoing observation.
Fast forward to the last few months, and it being winter here, plus me having some challenges with recent medication changes, we’ve been frequenting doctors offices of late. Once again the question has come up: “Are you still breastfeeding? Just the little one or both of them? When do you intend to stop?” (Nursling 1 is 2 years 8 months and nursling 2 is almost 16 months, just in case you were wondering)
I used to think the answer was simple. Way back when I first started breastfeeding nursling 1, before I was pregnant again, or tandem feeding, and medication became a complicating factor. Quite simply, I was going to breastfeed for at least 2 years. Well, that target has come and gone for nursling 1, and I fully intend to do the same for nursling 2, if God be willing and my health cooperates! I have realised that despite all the complications that have come our way, the answer to when will I give up breastfeeding my girls remains simple: In our own time.