As my daughter grows, so do the looks I receive when I am nursing her in public. She’s now 13 months old and still actively nursing on demand. It’s her source of comfort as well as mine. We have severe allergies in my family, and I want to keep protecting her as long as I can. 13 months isn’t even considered extended breastfeeding in most societies.
It becomes more and more challenging on a regular basis to nurse her in pubic when I do on occasion have to explain the health benefits to perfect strangers. And it’s not just in public. When people find out that I’m still bed sharing and nursing on demand at night, they want to know when I’m going to let her cry it out. Or just train her. To that I answer the same thing. It doesn’t last long. Before I know it my baby is going to be a big girl and not nursing at all and sleeping in her own bed. At that point I’ll have looked back and realized that it was so short lived anyway. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and then continued breastfeeding with complimentary foods until 2 years of age. They are a large organization that looks into the short and long term benefits as well as detriments that may affect us all around the world.
So for now I work very hard to explain to people in the most polite way I can about the choices I am making as a parent and as an individual. Nursing, formula feeding, bed sharing, co-sleeping or any other sleeping for that matter is all personal choice. Let’s work together to respect each other’s choices.