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Kelly Preston and "Extended" Breastfeeding | Best for BabesBest for Babes

Kelly Preston and “Extended” Breastfeeding

by Danielle and Bettina | April 19, 2012 5:11 pm

As someone who didn’t want to breastfeed past six months (and feared embarrassment), I can understand where some of the comments (230+ and counting!) are coming from with regards to Kelly Preston’s news that she is nursing 16-month old Benjamin  (see PEOPLE.com–we shared it here last week, when we announced Kelly as a Best for Babes Champion for Moms).

Ben may be wearing jeans, but he’s still a baby!!

What changed my mind about nursing past a few months was the fact that 1) breastfeeding after 6 months was SO easy and convenient, especially while traveling or running errands, and it seemed silly NOT to continue, and 2) my 2-year old daughter was the only one of her peers not to be hospitalized for dehydration during a nasty rotovirus outbreak; breastmilk was the only fluid she could keep down (not pedialyte or water).

While intuitively we sense that breastfeeding  after a year is biologically and evolutionarily advantageous, we need more studies to bear that out (see this comment).  In the meantime, the below was culled from Kellymom.com and other sources:

FACTS about breastfeeding after 1 year:

So, truthfully, there is no such thing as “extended” breastfeeding or “still” breastfeeding much as there is no such thing as “extended” walking or “still” walking.   Breastfeeding, like walking, is part of being human and begins and ends when it is evolutionary and developmentally advantageous.  In the case of breastfeeding, that is birth to somewhere between 2.5 and 7, end of story.   Anything other than that is premature weaning–and we all need to accept and acknowledge that.

Here’s what breastfeeding beyond a year looks like — it’s especially important that we SEE it because what we don’t SEE we often don’t regard as normal.

Of course, some women may choose to wean early for various reasons (I did!), but we owe it to ourselves to acknowledge and OWN those reasons.   Furthermore, nobody should be judged for weaning at any time, but listened to, UNDERSTOOD and accepted.    Through this kind of supportive dialogue, mothers are more likely to breastfeed longer, and start to think about whether, if any, booby traps kept them from achieving their personal breastfeeding goals.   No matter when a mother weans,  every ounce, every day counts!  Cheer moms on first, listen and seek to understand before you educate.  Don’t leave an angry rant on a blog. :-)

 

What made you decide to breastfeed longer than you intended?   What have you done that has worked to encourage other moms to nurse longer than they intended?



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