Entering into the world of extended breastfeeding wasn’t as terrifying as you might imagine.
The little guy gradually started nursing less often, it became more about comfort and less about quantity. Nursing seemed confined to home, perhaps it was boredom feeding, more often than not it was me using my milk to get him to settle for sleep. We were rarely feeding on the run or while out and about because the world is so much more exciting to look at than the same old boobs!
At sixteen months old, breastfeeding a fully fledged toddler with twelve teeth and a few words in his vocabulary seems perfectly normal to both of us. To close friends and family, it isn’t that strange either, maybe just a little bit, but not strange enough for them to question me about my choice.
And then totally out of the blue, in the middle of a busy playgroup, he came running over to me and began tugging at my shirt. Of course without thinking, we started feeding perched on a windowsill. I looked out across the room to watch the other kids splattering shaving creme and glitter up the walls and all of a sudden…there they were…
Two women, crossed arms, staring at me feeding my toddler!
Probably for the first time in my breastfeeding experience, I felt slightly awkward!
It occurred to me that they may find the whole scene slightly awkward…embarrassing…odd?!?
Anyway, not one to be deterred, I gave myself a quick reality check, flashed them a big smile and a giggle and carried on.
A recently published report came to mind, one stating that the confidence of a mother may affect breastfeeding success. The Journal of Advanced Nursing published a report that found that mothers who are more extroverted and less anxious are more likely to breastfeed and to continue to breastfeed than mothers who are introverted or anxious. (Source: Wiley)
So do you feel that a mums personality may go some way towards her breastfeeding success and longevity?
I certainly felt a fleeting pang of embarrassment, but another mum may have been totally mortified and quit breastfeeding then and there.
Generally, I feel inclined to disagree with the findings of the report, that less confident personality traits mean breastfeeding failure is imminent. Myself, the shyest, most private kind of mother, I became totally liberated by the experience of breastfeeding, and make a point of publicly feeding with the hope of inspiring another shy mum to do the same for her child.
I do agree that emotional stability is a more likely contributing factor, health professionals need to tune into all of these underlying personality traits in order to offer the best support and advice.
Let me know about your experience, are you shy, did it affect your confidence to breastfeed, did you lose all inhibitions to do what you felt had to be done? I also did some research into the benefits of breast milk past one year which you can read here.
- Breastfeeding in Public: Logical, Commendable, and Worth Emulating (competitioncrazy.com)
- Breastfeeding IS Normal (supportingbreastfeeding.wordpress.com)
- Breastfeeding Blues (motherhoodblog.wordpress.com)