Guest Blog by Samantha from "Ayla Collection".
Sam from 'Ayla Collection' is a breastfeeding mumma of two. She's a working mum, and shop owner! She started 'Ayla Collection' as a way to provide stylish clothes for mums, focusing on those that are breastfeeding friendly. Not only is www.aylacollection.com.au an online clothing store, but Sam has started a fantastic blog there too. Sam has always been a huge supporter of my blog, and she's written an amazing piece for me to share from a breastfeeding mum's perspective. Enjoy! xx
As my son rapidly approaches two, I find myself growing increasingly self-conscious of our breastfeeding journey. I am selective with who I share this information with for fear of judgement.
I get it, I used to think that when a baby gets teeth they are too old to breastfed and when they can ask for milk by name they are most definitely past an appropriate breastfeeding age, but now I know there is no blanket rule for when a child should no longer be breastfed.
I have seen many a post about how we shouldn’t judge formula feeding mums and how it’s impossible to know what set of circumstances have surrounded their decision to formula feed. When I read these posts I nod in full agreement. Who am I, who is anyone, to judge a mother for how they feed their baby?
I have also seen many a post about normalising breastfeeding and how it’s a beautiful wonderful journey and once again I nod my head in full agreement.
The problem is though there seems to be this crazy breastfeeding timeline in society that goes something as follows:
Breastfeeding for 1 month – amazing, well done
Breastfeeding for 6 months – rock star status, huge effort
Breastfeeding for 1 year – you’re basically royalty, congratulations
Breastfeeding for 15 months – when are you going to wean?
Breastfeeding for 18 months – ok seriously are you going to feed your kid at school, what’s the deal?
So while you can be encouraged to breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed at the beginning all of a sudden it is no longer acceptable.
My issue with this is, just as it is impossible to know the set of circumstances that have led a mother to formula feed her baby it is impossible to know the set of circumstances that have led a mother to breastfeed her baby past infanthood.
Maybe that child has allergies, that even half a teaspoon of cows milk is enough to leave them writhing in pain and vomiting till they lose consciousness.
Maybe that child has a medical condition forever altering their immunity and that mother is doing what she thinks is best to protect her child for as long as possible.
Maybe that child is struggling with something that is not visible to the naked eye, maybe they are only able to find comfort and peace at the breast.
Maybe that mother longed for a house full of children, maybe she went to every length possible to bring this one little soul into the world and she wants to soak up that bond for as long as possible.
Maybe that mother and child love their breastfeeding journey, a journey that is just for them, a bond that only they will have, a journey that will come to an end, just not quiet yet.
You see nothing is textbook when it comes to parenting, no two parents are alike just as no two children are alike. Motherhood is the greatest gift but the biggest challenge at the same time, and there is no right way to do things.
For us the ‘maybe’ behind our ‘extended’ breastfeeding journey has been Aydin’s allergies. My little guy is allergic to soy and dairy and being a breastfed bub who didn’t have any solids till after 6 months it took us a little while to figure this out, by which point we had really missed the window to introduce an allergy friendly formula. Now whether we would have or not I’m not sure but the fact is we didn’t. Up until the age of 2 dairy milk substitutes such as oat, almond and rice milk are not a complete enough source of nutrients so I made the decision to keep breastfeeding Aydin until he is 2. Have there been moments when I have wanted to stop? Absolutely. Have there been moments where I have felt beyond touched out and desperate for my body to be mine? Hell yes.
Then I am reminded that I won’t have this forever, that soon enough he will be pushing me away, wiping my kisses off his face and letting me know what an embarrassment I am. I am reminded how much comfort this bond brings him as he snuggles into me and his little hand finds it’s familiar spot on my chest. I am reminded how blessed I am to be this gorgeous little humans mother.
I know our feeds are numbered as Aydin rapidly approaches two and we will be weaning. We are both almost ready, but not knowing if I will ever breastfeed another baby, knowing this could be the end of my breastfeeding journey forever is very emotional. I just hope my gorgeous little boy will still want to give me as many cuddles without the milk draw card.
So please lets work on this whole mumma tribe thing, lets really be those mums that support mums whether they are doing things exactly the way you would or not. Lets remember that everyone’s journey is different and the vast majority of mums are always acting in their child’s best interests. Lets be no-judgement mums, embrace our differences, learn from each other and most importantly teach our children to be so strong within themselves that they recognise difference as beauty rather than as a threat.
Behind the blog...
‘The Mummysomniac’ is a lifestyle, motherhood and most recently, pregnancy blog, founded in 2015 by Kirsty McKenzie. She’s a mum of three, blogging about the highs and lows of motherhood, with a straight forward and honest approach, as well as a little bit of humour. Kirsty is passionate about sharing the realities of #MumLife, not the cookie cutter, high gloss version