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Please Can We Normalise Breastfeeding A Toddler?

Please Can We Normalise Breastfeeding A Toddler?

Posted on: Sunday 10 December 2023

a toddler is running away into a forest wearing a tiger striped snowsuit and yellow wellies

I would say I've been pretty lucky with my breastfeeding journey; no real issues getting started, no supply issues and no nasty comments when feeding in public. Breastfeeding has been a really positive experience for me; it's convenient, cheap and easy plus it obviously has heaps of benefits for both my baby (now toddler) and myself. I've always been confident just feeding whenever, wherever without feeling at all self-conscious or like I needed to cover up. 

That is, until my son turned one and I suddenly felt like everyone was judging me. 

The mum guilt is sky high for feeling this way because why should I feel embarrassed for providing my child with nutrition, comfort and antibodies? The thing is, I know it's not actually irrational to feel like people are judging me because I know for a fact that some people will be. It feels like 'breast is best' (an expression I hate anyway because all it does is pit mothers against each other) until all of a sudden it's not and it becomes weird just because your child can walk. The unfortunate truth is, I don't always feel comfortable breastfeeding in public anymore and it makes me quite sad. 

I love the fact that I can provide comfort for my toddler when he is poorly or hurts himself and if he's poorly and off his food I feel reassured that he's at least getting some nutrition from breastmilk. I'm not planning on stopping anytime soon so I suppose I'm just going to have to get over myself aren't I? The one good thing I do think when I am breastfeeding in public is that in doing so I'm hopefully in some way helping to normalise breastfeeding past the age of one and that maybe some of the people throwing glances my way are actually doing so out of appreciation and not just judgement. 

I feel like it's difficult to 'normalise' anything in the parenting world because there are so many different approaches to parenting that probably everyone feels like they are doing it the 'wrong' way in other people's eyes. But normalising something doesn't mean that's the one right way, it just means it's one of many equally respected ways of doing things and that's how I'd like to feel. 

I'm hoping I can regain my confidence with breastfeeding in public and maybe this post is the start. I want to put it out there that it's totally normal to be breastfeeding a toddler, but if you're feeling the same way as me you're definitely not alone. There's something nerve-wracking about admitting a lack of confidence when it comes to something motherhood related, but from now on I'm going to fake it til I make it and stick two fingers up to the haters (not literally, I'm far too polite and non-confrontational for that). 

Amy x


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