There seems to be an arbitrary time period – around three months – where breastfeeding is commended and accepted.
Once you sail past 12 weeks, heading straight into that 4-month sleep regression where your sanity is pushed to the limit, that is the precise point that the insidious undermining begins with gusto.
This is the time where questions about sleep, size, and schedules, always seem to be answered with the word ‘formula’. By six months if you’re still breastfeeding, people will tell you to encourage ‘independence’ and if your bub is aged one or over – then you’re ‘only doing it for yourself’.
Two years and beyond, and you are some kind of freak.
It’s time to rethink our attitudes: It is wonderful that support at the newborn stage is slowly becoming the new normal, but we should be celebrating every milestone and every hurdle that nursing mothers clear.
Imagine if our friends were running a marathon, and every time they dipped or talked of fatigue or pain, we said – have you considered giving up? What about driving there instead?
What if instead, we looked at breastfeeding in the modern era as a fantastic achievement, a triumph of perseverance and determination? To be praised and lauded, met with admiration and respect, instead of rolling our eyes and delivering unhelpful putdowns in the guise of ‘advice’.
What if we recognised the determination in nursing on even when you are told to cover up, to give up, that your milk is not enough?
What if we recognised that nursing beyond six months brings so many benefits for baby – including immunological support, emotional support, and developmental support? And sticking with it is a triumph of endurance?
What if we just said: Well done. What do you need? How can we help? You can do this.