Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Celebrating Extended Breastfeeding

© PositiveaboutBF
I'm delighted to be part of this year's 'Celebrating Breastfeeding Christmas Extravaganza'! Organised by Sian from Quite Frankly She Said and Laura from Life with Baby Kicks, with many other amazing bloggers joining in, these collection of posts are part of the 'Positive About Breastfeeding' movement and give you the chance to read about our breastfeeding stories and be in with a chance of winning prizes worth over £300. I'm really happy to be part of this collective since I have been breastfeeding my toddler for two and a half years, to this day in fact! 

There are many blog posts and articles on breastfeeding little babies but not so many on extended breastfeeding. According to the 2010 NHS Infant Feeding Survey, although the initial breastfeeding rate was 83% at birth, at three months the numbers dropped to 17%, at four months 12% and exclusive breastfeeding at six months was just 1%! Extended breastfeeding, being defined as breastfeeding a baby over the age of one, is, therefore, well under 1% despite the World Health Organization recommending that babies are breastfeed up until at least two years. Now, this isn't a post stating that everyone should breastfeed. In an ideal world that would be nice but I've seen friends who couldn't because of medical problems or those that tried very hard to the point where they became very stressed with it all and several other reasons. Everyone should have a choice about what they do, what is right for them and their baby without feeling pressure or guilt.

© PositiveaboutBF
For me, I exclusively breastfed till six months and have been breastfeeding up until now. Gosh, two and a half years is a long time and I feel very proud of myself. I didn't plan to breastfeed for this length of time and it hasn't always been easy. When my little boy was just a few days ago we had to go back into hospital because he had severe jaundice, wasn't feeding well and had dropped more than 10% of his body weight. I was hooked up to the big hospital expressing machines (probably where my dislike of expressing came from after that experience) and had to express and feed around the clock. It was exhausting but thankfully he put on weight very quickly. Since then I've always had an abundance of milk and my son has always been a big feeder. Other problems I've had have been full-on biting with teeth and a mild case of mastitis with excruciating let-down reflex! I can laugh about these things now but at the time I was in agony. Chatting with an advisor from the Breastfeeding Network helped immensely! For most of the first year with a baby I never left him longer than a few hours because I needed to be back to feed him. Although I feed just once a day now (the night feed was dropped early on), I rarely drink alcohol and if I do it's basically one glass. 

So why have I continued? I wanted to write about these things as breastfeeding can be a challenge but for me they were all part of having a baby. I've been very persistent and that's where my toddler must get it from! As well as all of the health benefits breastfeeding brings, such as, protecting your baby from infections and diseases now and in the long term, it reduces a mother's chance of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, as well as osteoporosis, uses several hundred calories a day, it's free in cost and most of all I and my little boy love it. I knew from an early age that my little boy would never self-wean as he's always loved his milk! I don't know anyone on a personal level that breastfeeds their toddler however a quick search on social media will show that there are many women all over the world breastfeeding past the year mark. In some countries the average weaning age is 4.2 years! I don't plan to breastfeed for that long but for now it's still an amazing bond, the benefits continue, I still have a good milk supply, my toddler is showing no signs of stopping, it's completely natural and I'd rather he had my milk than more milk from a cow. So let's celebrate the amazing world of breastfeeding! We are giving away over £300 worth of prizes.

The Sponsors and Prizes

A copy of Mummy Makes Milk, the new picture book by Helen McGonigal and Hilda Kripp-Partridge which explains breastfeeding through enchanting text and beautiful illustrations.

A nursing dress of your choice from More4Mums who specialise in fabulous, affordable nursing wear for pregnancy and beyond!

An ARDO Calypso Double Plus breastpump, the quietest breast pump on the market and winner of the Mumsnet Best Award for the last 3 years.

Loveyush Snood infinity scarf. This versatile scarf can also be used as a breastfeeding cover and even as a cardigan!

A set of three gorgeous dribble bibs from Milk and Mummy, an online boutique selling maternity and nursing wear as well as other mummy must-haves!

A beautiful, portable breastfeeding pillow from Thrupenny Bits. When your breastfeeding journey comes to an end these fab pillows convert into a gorgeous bag!

A duo top set from breastvest which turn any top into a breastfeeding top so you don't need to worry about exposing your tummy while feeding and can keep wearing your favourite clothes!

A box of 14 lactation cookies from Mothers Love Cookies, a fabulous home bakery selling delicious cookies, brownies and flapjacks for nursing mothers.

The Bloggers taking part in the Celebrating Breastfeeding Christmas Extravaganza are: 

Quite Frankly She Said

Life with Baby Kicks
Three Sons Later
Hi Baby Blog
Family Fever
My Mummy's World
Another Bun
Mum in a Nutshell
Adventures of a Novice Mum
Live Oxfordshire
A Working Mum's Blog
Milk and Mummy
My Thoughts on Things
Mummies Waiting
Keep Up with the Jones Family
Our Seaside Baby
My little L
Can I Breastfeed In It?
Thrupenny Bits
Musings From A Northern Village
Mum Without Wheels

If you want to see what they have written please check out their posts. As we all have different code words you can also enter the competition via any/all of the blogs above to earn extra points! My code word for the competition is PRESENTS. Please use this in the Raffelcopter giveaway below! Good luck! :) 

With special thanks to our sponsors for providing the amazing prizes: ARDO, LoveyUsh, Milk & Mummy, Lorna Drew, Mummy Makes Milk,Thrupenny Bits, breastvest and More4Mums.
Click here for T&Cs.

Please note: I have NOT been compensated for the above post. Apart from the prize information, all words and opinions are entirely my own :)

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  1. I think it is a wonderful thing to do to breastfeed, and good on you for keeping up with it for so long. I know there are huge benefits but unfortunately for different reasons each time I bottle fed both of my children after the first couple of days. xx Julia @ Rainbeaubelle

  2. Well done for feeding so long! How have you found your partner and family reacting to you feeding so long? I think that's often a big barrier for women. They are made to feel like they are doing something lecherous and wrong...
    I fed my boy until 11 months. My milk supply dried up. Luckily he didn't seem to mind too much, which was quite a relief for me.
    Initially I planned to feed till 6 months, but I've found it so easy that I have happily fed longer. I hated preparing bottles, I found it stressful, so breastfeeding was the easier choice for me.

  3. You've been on quite a journey and it's amazing that you have overcome so many obstacles to get this far! Also love that you got help from the BfN, that's who I volunteer for x

  4. 2.5 years ... wow ... well done. Breastfeeding usually has its hiccups but it's so fab when things eventually work out, despite the toddler gymnurstics as Laura at 'My Thoughts on Things' calls it. Congrats on your journey and I hope it goes for as long as you both want it. My little one loves his milk and I've been warned that he would self-wean. Well, I'm excited about where the ride will take us, though I have my moments. Boob on, fellow mum. :-)
    #CelebratingBreastfeeding (Glad to finally be getting around to reading and commenting)


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