My youngest just turned a year old and I have already been asked about when I plan on weaning her. The answer to that is I don’t. I have no plans of weaning Amelia anytime soon. I do not think that just because a child is a year old is any reason to wean.
I have breastfed all four of my kids. When I was pregnant with my oldest I knew I wanted to breastfed but I had no idea how long. I will never forget the first time I breastfed him just minuets after he was born, it was amazing. When I got pregnant when he was six months old I was really worried I would not be able to nurse while pregnant but I did. I nursed him the whole time I was pregnant with his little sister and for three months after she was born. One morning he just told me milk was for baby and never wanted to nurse again, he was eighteen months old.
My second child was a difficult baby, she nursed all the time, never wanted put down and I nursed her to sleep for naps and bedtime until she was over a year old. I got pregnant with my third child while still nursing her but I really wanted to wean her at that point. I did not force it but I gently pushed her towards weaning, it took a couple months but she was also eighteen months when she stopped nursing.
My third child was a very easy going baby but she was very attached to nursing. I got pregnant when she was about 9 months old and I kept nursing her I ended up having a miscarriage at twelve weeks but continued to nurse her through it and the d&c I had because of it. I got pregnant three months after the d&c and I decided it was time to start trying to wean her. I used the same gentle approach I did with her older sister and once again she gave it up around eighteen months old.
Now that Amelia is a year old and I have no plans of getting pregnant for several years if at all I am not sure when I want to wean her. I may go until she is two years. There are so many reasons to keep breastfeeding past the one year mark.
The following three reasons are the ones that stand out the most to me.
1. Breastfeeding toddlers are shown to have less illnesses.
2. Breastfeeding for extended amounts of time has been linked a higher IQ and better test scores in school.
3. Breastfeeding past a year has been shown to improve social development.
I know that it is not always the most accepted thing to breastfed an older infant but people will learn to deal with it if you do decide to breastfeed past the one year mark. I nursed all my kids in public, at church, at friends and anywhere else they needed it. I did not care how old they were and I did not care if someone else did not like it. I had a couple stupid comments from strangers about them being old enough for steak so they were to old for the boob or that I was damaging my son for life by nursing him that long. I just ignored them and went on doing what I was doing. I know that I am doing the best thing I can for my children and no one will ever be able to tell me I am wrong.