It would appear that, if you choose to breastfeed your baby past 12 months of age, you are almost guaranteed to come across some kind of negativity.
And yet I am still taken aback when an ignorant GP or impolite colleague feels entitled to impart negative opinions on breastfeeding a toddler.
I initially set out to write an article on how to handle this kind of criticism. I researched and compiled numerous suggestions on avoiding judgment when breastfeeding a toddler. There were ideas such as ‘respond to specific concerns’ or ‘quote on authority’. Other advice suggested ‘giving breastfeeding a code name so that your toddler wouldn’t talk about it in public’ or ‘breastfeed before you leave the house to avoid unwanted stares.’
But in the end I was uncomfortable endorsing any of these suggestions because, ultimately, I do not believe it is a mother’s responsibility to hide or to justify her decision to breastfeed her child.
Whether you’ve opened a 24-hour milk bar or bottles are your best friend, this episode is all about the battle of the boob. Holly Wainwright and Christie Hayes unpack it in the Year One podcast for new mums:
The one piece of advice I will give on how to handle judgement about breastfeeding a toddler is this:
Remember why you’re breastfeeding your toddler…
Perhaps you are breastfeeding your toddler because of the proven ongoing health benefits such as enhanced nutrition, cognitive development and protection against infectious and chronic diseases.
Perhaps you do it for emotional reasons, because it makes your toddler feel safe, loved and nurtured.