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My Breastfeeding Journey: Breastfeeding a Toddler

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Thanks for hopping over from Sunshine Scribbles and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt Day 5 Extended Breastfeeding we have over £700 worth of breastfeeding and baby goodies up for grabs including prizes from More4Mums providing a set of ‘Hot Milk’ Lingerie, a signed hardback limited edition copy of Milky Moments and a £30 voucher from MilkChic  Full details of the Grand Prize can be found here and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Past knowing that I wanted to, I didn’t have a roadmap for breastfeeding. I had no clue about timescales and I have had to learn as my daughter has grown.

I decided very early on that I wanted to make it to a year. After the initial months, I was lucky to find breastfeeding easy, so I really didn’t want to have to use formula as it seemed to me a second-best option both nutritionally and financially.

In fact, when small one was tiny, I was sure that I would breastfeed until she was a year and then wean. I understood that there were still benefits to breastmilk, but couldn’t see why you wouldn’t express and give a child breastmilk in a cup.

Live and learn… I’ve never managed to express more than a few ounces and the idea of carrying around bottles and pumps seems incredibly impractical compared to the convenience of breastfeeding. Let’s face it, most mums who continue to breastfeed find their peace with breastfeeding in public, but you won’t find many pumping in front of their partners, let alone in a crowded cafe!

I was very proud to make it to a year, although sometimes it felt like I was the only mum in the world still breastfeeding. At our NCT group’s 1st birthday meet-up there were 2 out of 8 of us left breastfeeding. Actually, that’s pretty good going – in the UK, you are in the minority if you breastfeed past 6 months and I certainly felt that way at times.

The 12 month target had become a huge focus for me and I didn’t really question the idea that we would start weaning at that point. It was logical – small one enjoyed drinking cow’s milk from a cup like a big girl and it seemed the obvious transition to make.

I hadn’t a clue how difficult weaning could be. Small one liked her mummy milk and she certainly wasn’t going to give it up without a fight. Cup milk was all very well for novelty and convenience, but it didn’t compete with the real thing.

Unlike night weaning, which had benefits for both of us, daytime weaning just felt like a pointless fight. I spent hours feeling miserable trying to persuade her she might prefer milk in a cup, or fighting sleep as I tried to persuade her to sleep without a feed. It always ended with us both feeling drained and emotional and me guiltily feeding her. Breastfeeding, as always, healed the rift and left us both feeling snuggled and secure.

I was still off work with a back problem so there was no pressing reason to wean, but I continued to half-heartedly encourage her because I felt it was expected.

We had slowly cut down to 3 feeds a day when she developed a chest infection. I was horrified as she had never really been ill before and I felt awful, blaming myself for reducing her immunity. She wasn’t eating and I spent 2 days sitting on the sofa feeding her whenever she asked.

Suddenly, at 15 months, she was feeding as regularly as she ever had, and I had lost the will to wean. I started reading up on longer term breastfeeding and it struck a chord. While I never offered milk, I stopped trying to distract her or worrying about what I “should” be doing.

cuddle

As the small one has become more communicative, our breastfeeding relationship has changed. She tells me when she wants mummy milk and when cup milk is OK and, over the last few months, she has self-weaned from all but her night-time feed. Breastfeeding has become more special because it’s no longer a necessity – it’s something we make time for because it’s important to both of us. When the small one pulls me away from something and insists she needs milk in daylight hours, what she means is that she needs my attention. Breastfeeding gives her my undivided attention and an opportunity to reconnect even in the busiest day.

These days, she both frustrates and amuses me in equal parts, loudly informing our neighbour, “MUMMY NIGHT MILK” as she pokes my boobs or telling me that “this one is done” when she wants to swap sides.

I do occasionally get a funny look from friends when they realise I am still breastfeeding, but the small one is so self confident and independent that they struggle to argue against it.

Small one will be 2 soon. If I’m honest, I do hope she weans in the next year, if only because I would prefer her to have different coping methods by the time she starts school and I want her to have time to adjust. Having said that, I am only too aware that I might change my mind, and I won’t be pushing her to wean before she’s ready. This time, I will be able to explain to her why it is time to stop and it will be a decision we make together.
For more extended breastfeeding experiences please hop on over Fit for Parenting where you can gain further entries into the grand prize draw. Full terms and conditions can be found on the Keeping Britain Breastfeeding website. UK residents only.

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Nursing in Public: The Financial Edition

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After all the debate last year about women of note featuring (or not featuring) on the UK’s banknotes, I loved finding these images of rather less famous types on international currency.

HUF 1000 1983 reverse

2000 lei 1941 avers

100 zloty 1985

It is especially lovely in our celebrity obsessed culture to celebrate normal people doing normal things. If you’ve seen any other “official” recognition of breastfeeding while you’ve been travelling, please share in the comments!

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8 Floral Dresses under £25

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Special occasion breastfeeding dresses don’t always need to break the bank. If you keep an eye on sale items (also watch our #lc2b tweets on Twitter!), there are lots of options. Here are a few to start you off:

Isla Button Through Cotton Strappy Sun Dress Love Label Floral Wrap Dress
Isla Button Through
Cotton Strappy Sun Dress, £20
Love Label Floral Wrap Dress, £25
Print Floral Wrap Front Dress Pink Floral Button Front Dress
Print Floral Wrap Front Dress, £20 Pink Floral Button Front Dress, £24.99
Joe Browns Flirty Floral Dress Fearne Cotton Floral Vintage Dress
Joe Browns Flirty Floral Dress, £25 Fearne Cotton Floral Vintage Dress, £24.50
Next Tea Dress Floral button front dress
Next Tea Dress, £13.99 Floral button front dress, £15

For all of these, either layer over a nursing vest or add a cardigan buttoned “cape-style” over the top for extra confidence feeding in public.

If you’re looking for bargains, it’s always worth a quick look at the Ebay Fashion Outlet – lots of new items with the safety of a brand behind them and fixed prices, but at a fraction of the price.

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Batwing Dresses for Breastfeeding

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I wrote about the convenience of batwing tops for breastfeeding last week. Here are some rather lovely batwing dresses that should also work well for nursing mums.

Most of these are perfect for the summery weather we’re having at the moment as you won’t need any additional layers, and the joy of a dress is that you don’t have to tax your brain further by trying to coordinate an outfit.

I have included a couple of knit dresses in the selection… after all, the weather can’t really stay this way all summer??

Lazy Lu Day Maxi Dress, Blue Multi Miss Sixty Batwing Dress
Lazy Lu Day Maxi Dress, Blue Multi
£52 until 5th June (20% off)
Miss Sixty Batwing Dress
Was £115 Now £79
Coleen Square Kimono Dress Anmol Batwing Striped Kaftan
Coleen Square Kimono Dress
£49
Anmol Batwing Striped Kaftan
Was £26.99 Now £12
Sargent Knit Batwing Dress Jersey Maxi Dress
Sargent Knit Batwing Dress
Was £110 Now £45
Jersey Maxi Dress
£39
Indah Leah Wing and Band Tunic, Blue Mirage Indah Leah Wing and Band Tunic, Blue Mirage
Indah Leah Wing and Band Tunic, Blue Mirage
Was £65.58 Now £42.66 – £46.48
Indah Leah Wing and Band Tunic, Chocolate Mirage
Was £65.58 Now £42.66 – £46.48

Find more fashion for sleeve breastfeeding

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Cool Tops for Hot Days

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Tetra Pak - Girl in sun hat with Tetra Classic package, 1960sIn the last unexpected sunshine, lovely Alpha Parent asked me to find her some cool clothes to stop her sweltering in the heat. “Of course!” I said. “At once!”, I promised… Apologies. This time, with a whole series of summery posts over the next week or so, I’m keeping my promise.

For my money, the best summer solution is the batwing. If you haven’t yet tried breastfeeding through the sleeve of a wide-sleeved top, you’re missing out. You don’t have to pull your top down or up, you don’t have to wear an extra layer underneath to cover your boobs, or your tummy, or any other wayward bit of skin you’d rather not share. You just pull the sleeve aside (which drags the extra sleevage at the back around to cover your side), and feed away – perfect! Check the breastfeeding in public page for a video of sleeve feeding.

Unfortunately, proper batwings aren’t always easy to find. Crazy designers add cuffs, or  modesty panels, or use fabric with no give. Worst of all, some even add inner sleeves with “batwing effect panels”… the cruel, deceptive, breastfeeding mum-baiting fools!

Here is a veritable feast of batwings for you to try. I’ve done my best to weed out all of the above issues, but if you spot one, please let me know. A lot of them are in the sale, so get them while you can!

Forever 21 dropped armhole knit top, pink So Fabulous Crochet Batwing Top, Green So Fabulous Batwing Embellished Top, Black
Forever 21 dropped armhole knit top, Pink So Fabulous Crochet Batwing Top, Green So Fabulous Batwing Embellished Top, Black
Diesel Spot Print Batwing Shirt Viridis Luxe Bamboo Cashmere Draped Top Heine Striped V-Neck Belted Tunic
Diesel Spot Print Batwing Shirt Viridis Luxe Bamboo Cashmere Draped Top Heine Striped V-Neck Belted Tunic
Firetrap Spirit Top Koko Tribal Print Top Velvet ARABEL Top
Firetrap Spirit Top Koko Tribal Print Top Velvet ARABEL Top
Oatmeal Floral Crane Batwing Top Hale Bob Top | Jersey Batwing Top So Fabulous Batwing Embellished Top, Blue
Oatmeal Floral Crane Batwing Top Hale Bob Top | Jersey Batwing Top So Fabulous Batwing Embellished Top, Blue

If you are doing a bit of batwing hunting on your own, look for:

  • Wide armholes and sleeves that stay the same width or get wider.
  • Stretch fabric (not entirely necessary but helpful)
  • No modesty panels (or ones you can cut)
  • No cuffs or narrowing at the wrist (again, you could cut these off, but that risks a messy finish if you’re not confident at sewing.
  • Hot Tip: Check out cheap clothing stores. They rarely waste money on deceptive styling. If it looks like a batwing, it probably is!

There are lots more clothes for sleeve feeding in my listings. Apologies that they are not completely up to date. I’m in the middle of a major site update (again!) and I’m trying not double up the work. Hopefully all working properly soon!

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