Extended Breastfeeding Vegan: Still Nursing

Breastfeeding symbol
Breastfeeding symbol (Photo credit: Topinambour)

The breastfeeding relationship can ebb and flow over the course of a natural duration.  Natural duration, is commonly called extended breastfeeding, but it is not extended when it comes to the history of humanity across cultures.  The natural duration of weaning is between ages 4 and 7. With all the breastfeeding controversy I wanted to share a particular report I read last year.  I think it would be great to add some stories here and my breastfeeding inspiration to paint a vivid picture of the breastfeeding diorama.

One story:

A woman could not breastfeed.  Her nipples were inverted and she did everything she could to try breastfeeding her daughter but it didn’t work.  She used her love and passion for the “womanly art” to write a guide for mothers participating in WIC in her area about breastfeeding.  I hope this woman is a Lactation Consultant or working in the birth/postpartum, maternal/child health field today.  We need more people like her in the field!

Story two:

I did a breastfeeding counselor training while pregnant with my first daughter.  I was inspired by the disaster of Hurricane Katrina and the fact that babies were suffering because they didn’t have clean water for formula.  I thought they could find out which women were lactating and make sure the babies were fed.  Breastfeeding was something I’d never thought of before.  5 years later my two daughters are still breastfed. I know that I was able to keep this up through support and accurate information.   I can understand how easy it is to not breastfeed or to not stick with it if you don’t have qualified support or accurate information, and sometimes it really is impossible.  However breastfeeding is a powerful act and unfortunately I see so many times that people criticize women who breastfeed for an “extended” period of time, by saying they’re doing it for themselves.

I believe this is the farthest from the truth.  I believe that mother’s who continue to breastfeed their children after whatever is thought of as reasonable in their inner circle, do so for the children.  I literally think there are zero women out there who are clinging to their children and forcing them to breastfeed.  I literally think there are zero moms who don’t look forward to having their bodies back.  Yes, it is awesome to snuggle up and watch your children so closely while they nurse…but its not always so pretty.  You may have to go through stages of biting, quick snacks, wrestling, twiddling, non-stop nursing marathons, and so on.   Children learn more about empathy through these stages, when they are patiently corrected and shown the impact they have on mommies.

So without going through the whole list of benefits for the child, the parent and communities, let’s just say that no one is breastfeeding strictly for their own benefit.  It’s a team effort.

UPDATE May 2017:

I stopped breastfeeding my kids about ages 6 and 4.5.  I now have a new baby.  One person I talked to about extended breastfeeding is Sophie Emma Rose.  She dedicated herself to normalizing extended breastfeeding also known as child-led weaning.  Check out her Youtube Channel here.

Consider donating to her son here: https://www.youcaring.com/sophieemmarose-819142

8 thoughts on “Extended Breastfeeding Vegan: Still Nursing

  1. I’m still breastfeeding my 19-month old, with no signs of him losing interest. He has an uncomfortable, sometimes painful, latch (it didn’t get painful until he was about a year old), and so I’m ambivalent about the whole thing, but realize it won’t last much longer and I’m really glad to be able to give him the nutrition and closeness.
    Have you discovered the blogger Science of Mom? She had a good post about breastfeeding recently.

    1. 9 months is a long time to have a painful latch. Do you know what the problem is? If its related to eating, drinking from cups or teeth that could’ve made him change his latch, he just needs to learn how to latch properly again. I have read the Science of Mom a few times, I’ll have to check it out again.

      1. I’m pretty sure it’s either from his teeth (he has all of them except the two-year molars) or because he has un upper frenulum “lip-tie.” I’m pretty sure it’s the latter, though, because my daughter’s teeth didn’t bother me at all. I’m taking him to his first dentist appointment soon and I’m going to ask them to clip the frenulum.

        1. Yeah, I didn’t mention any of the ties and similar issues, because I figured by 19 months you would already know. That can definitely be a problem. Here’s hoping you get that taken care of soon.

          1. It was weird that the problem didn’t start until he was about a year. After treating for thrush, my doctor thinks it’s a nerve problem. Untreatable. But I’m using Earth-Mama-Baby-Angel balm and it’s helping more than anything else has.

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