I have a confession to make: I’m still breastfeeding my 23-month-old boy.
Some of you might be wondering what the big deal is. And some of you might be judging me right now.
I’ve found that people have strong opinions about breastfeeding a toddler. In my experience, it seems around 12 months old is the cut-off date for when it’s socially acceptable to breastfeed a child. After that, I’ve noticed that some people can get a little weirded out.
Watch: Breastfeeding around the world. Post continues below.
I definitely felt pressure to stop at 12 months. This came from various sources: my mum, my preconceived idea of when I thought I might stop, and because every mum I know quit breastfeeding at around 12 months or earlier. It felt like an unwritten rule.
I don’t know anyone in my close circle, or even in my wider circle, who has breastfed for this long. My three sister-in-laws breastfed until their babies were around 12 months. And all the mums I know in my mother’s group also stopped breastfeeding around 12 months or earlier.
I’ve hidden the fact I’m still breastfeeding from my family, friends and even strangers.
I was in a beauty salon the other day and needed to disclose that I was breastfeeding. "How old is your baby?", the young beautician asked. Instead of answering "23 months" or "almost two", I found myself saying, "he’s one." I thought it sounded more acceptable.
She said that if she were breastfeeding, she’d stop once the baby started getting teeth as that would freak her out. Then she asked me how much longer I might breastfeed for.
No one has ever said, "Oh you’re still breastfeeding? That’s great." Instead, everyone asks me when I’m going to stop. In the past, my mum has said that breastfeeding is not all it’s cracked up to be. And she’s asked me a few times when I’m going to quit.
The truth is, I don’t know. I didn’t think I’d be breastfeeding this long. My boy enjoys it. I like the closeness too, and that he’s getting extra nutrients. So we’ve kept going.
Now he’s older, I only feed him once a day, before bed in the quiet privacy of his bedroom.