Year One

In just over a week, Peanut will be one year old. Wow… that’s crazy.

Of course, being a type A personality—as you all know I am—I love to plan everything and am very goal-oriented. When I was pregnant, I made a goal to breastfeed for one year. I figured I would breastfeed for one year, “have my body back” for at least one year, then give it away to another fetus in my belly, then breastfeed some more. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends at least one year (though the World Health Organization recommends at least two). It seemed very logical to me and I figured that once she was able to drink cows milk that there was no reason to do it anyway.

Boy, was I wrong.

Approaching her first birthday, I very quickly decided that I was no where near ready to stop. I’m very happy to have met another goal, but that doesn’t mean it ends here. I know many IRL friends and family read my blog and I’m sure all of you are starting to think I’m crazy (ha! Like you didn’t already?). When I was pregnant I remember specifically saying “Once they can ask for it, it’s time to stop.” So I know exactly what you’re thinking.

Why would you want to breastfeed a toddler? Let me break it down for you.

1. I have worked my ass off for this. Pardon the language, but there’s really no polite way to say that and still keep the meaning it needs. Breastfeeding in the beginning sucks. I know that everyone wants to pretend that it’s all butterflies and bubbles and it’s so natural of course they’ll just pop out and latch on, but really it’s hard work. I had cracked nipples, we battled thrush for over the first month of her life, and she had reflux so bad (nothing to do with the breastfeeding, just a reflux-y baby) that she ate at least every hour for the first six months. If we’ve worked so hard to get where we are, why would we suddenly stop just because we’ve hit the age limit?

2. I don’t know what I’d do without it. I know, I know, one day I’m going to have to learn how to parent sans boob. Does it have to be right now? No. When I did Peanut’s hair today, I fed her so she’d stay still. When she was really grouchy yesterday, I fed her on the couch for a full half hour (which we haven’t done in some time). Every night when she goes to bed I feed her to sleep. I don’t know how to parent without breastfeeding and I don’t feel the need to learn just yet.

3. I don’t care about your comfort. This post is so delicate and polite, don’t you think? I realize that breastfeeding a toddler gives some people the hee-bee-gee-bees, but I don’t care. I feel that every time that I nurse Peanut in public, I’m giving some more people the experience of seeing breastfeeding in a positive light. Look over there at that mommy and her beautiful little girl. They’re so happy. I want to be a happy mommy with a happy little girl when I’m older. I can affect other little girls in a way they won’t even remember when they become mothers, but showing them breastfeeding positively will help them get that never-ending determination to breastfeed that I had.

4. Oh, the benefits. It is the most well-rounded nutrition that she will ever experience. It continues to give her antibodies that protect her against illness and when she does get sick, it will be for less time and less severe. Breastfeeding longer helps prevent allergies and asthma (something I am personally plagued with). The longer I breastfeed, the higher her IQ is likely to be. I am meeting her emotional needs which  helps her to be well adjusted. Giving her emotional security fosters independence because she feels safe to be independent. Breastfeeding longer will give me a decreased risk of reproductive cancers, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

There are many reasons I will continue breastfeeding Peanut, but the most important one is I love her and it’s what works for us.

andrew koenig


13 thoughts on “Year One

  1. I remember making it to 1 year! That was my goal! Unfortunately I was not as knowledgeable as you are about the benefits of breastfeeding well past the 1 year mark, so I started the weaning process and she was fully weaned by 15 months. I’m still proud I made it to my “goal” but my future goal with my future babies is going to be AT LEAST 2 years! Congratulations on breastfeeding this long and keep it going mama!

  2. I am already coming to the conclusion that I will probably be breastfeeding much, much longer than I ever planned to…and my daughter is only 8 weeks old! It’s such a wonderful thing. Before I had my baby, I was only planning on BF 2-6 weeks because I was uncomfortable with it. Sure is amazing how much my opinions changed once she got here and we got the hang of it. I am not looking forward to the day that I won’t be able to comfort and nourish her by BF.

  3. I loved this post! I can relate to it so well. I’m a young mom/wife as well (20), we have a 16 month old and a 3 week old . I am currently breastfeeding both of them. Continuing to nurse my son past a year and through a pregnancy was an easy choice tho if you would of asked me two years ago if that would ever happen the answer would of been a big “Hell no!”. But I am so happy that I never let an age, situation, social pressure or anything else alter or choose my breastfeeding path. My son and I are in charge of that! You’ll be so happy with this choice and I’m so happy that this is your choice! It’s very rare to see young moms breastfeed let alone breastfeed past 6months or a year. Thank you for making this blog!!!

  4. I nearly cried when my Doctor said K2 is one lucky baby to have the chance to nurse until she is ‘breastful’.

    I am glad I am hearing more and more women are not only choosing this, but are informed about this. I personally will be breastfeeding for 3 years in the middle of this April. K2 is still going strong. I see some weaning, but that is all good, that is what we are both aiming for, but on her time.

    I could relate to your beginning thoughts about weaning when the baby could have cow milk. I was there too, then I thought I make it… Why buy it? Everyone looks at me funny including DH when I say K2 will not have cows milk because we are the only species that continues to drink milk once we are weaned. If she chooses to drink after she does not want breast then I guess I will have to be ok with it, but I will not make that choice for her.

  5. I just found your blog and wanted to say I agree with you 100%. I’ve got a 7 1/2 month old and now don’t know that I’ll be ready to stop when she hits a year old (assuming nothing happens between now and then). I said the EXACT same thing as you did when I was pregnant and get the same responses from family and friends. Good for you for doing what you feel is right for you and your daughter.

  6. Pingback: The Joys of Breastfeeding a Toddler « The Adventures of Lactating Girl

  7. I can also relate to this post! I’m a 25 yr old SAHM to a 14 month old exclusively breastfed baby boy. We didn’t do BLW (unfortunately I caved to pressure from my husband and began giving purees at 6 months) but I have nursed him on-demand and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. So far I haven’t received any comments from family members, and I have a very supportive circle of friends, but I’m sure I’ll get my share of weird looks and rude comments in the months ahead. I just want to say bravo to you and I’ll be following your blog.

  8. Another fantastic post! I felt the exact same way when I felt that my daughter was about to self-wean. But you do end up learning new ways to parent. But it will be helped so much by the relationship and bond you have created during your breastfeeding time.

    By the way, my original goal was 12 months, too. But then I saw absolutely no reason to stop. So I aimed for 24 months. She did have some cow’s milk from about 11 or 12 months, but still had lots of mummy feeds, too. She self-weaned at 19 months possibly due to my pregnancy. This time my goal is 24 months or more, if he wants to. No reason to stop until he’s ready.

    Alex (from Aus)

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  10. “Look over there at that mommy and her beautiful little girl. They’re so happy. I want to be a happy mommy with a happy little girl when I’m older.”


    When I was a little girl, I saw those happy mummies; when I knew I was going to become a mummy, they were still in my mind. Formula was never going to be for us.

    I wish I could breastfeed my beautiful girl beyond 12 months but, if she is to have the chance of a sibling, I need to start another IVF cycle soon. I’m in my early thirties and, while the issues are with my DH, I know time is not on my side. It’s a tough choice, and if DD never gets a sibling, I know I’ll feel sad for not having BF longer.

    If I’m lucky enough to have another (or two!) I’ll definitely be BF my last baby ’til toddler, for all the reasons above : )

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