Extended breastfeeding in Italy

"Stai ancora alattando?"
“You’re still breastfeeding?”

Strangers, acquaintances, friends and family members ask me this regularly.

Yup. I’m officially nursing a walking-and-talking toddler. Have been for six months now. And with each month that passes the italics on the ancora seem increasingly pronounced, and I feel increasingly judged for it. It reminds me of when Peanut was a newborn and I got all sorts of unsolicited comments and advice.

Like other extended nursers, I didn’t plan on it. I hoped to make it to a year, and then I figured I’d just see how it was going, and it continues to go well. So well in fact that I finally understand the blissed-out mammas they always quote in the pro-breastfeeding literature. I certainly didn’t in the beginning!

Now, I love how effortless it is; how easy it is to comfort him; the magical private little bubble we create; his grin and the twinkle in his eye when I ask if he wants some; his name for it (“baboo”). It’s pure joy, for both of us. And it makes me sad to think that some people would even accuse me of being selfish for continuing.

Are there any other extended breastfeeders out there feeling as defensive as I do? Here are some facts you can offer the next time someone makes you feel judged or weird or worse for nursing your pre-schooler:

  • the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for at least two years
  • the longer babies breastfeed, the higher their IQ
  • the longer women breastfeed, the lower their risk of breast cancer (not to mention a host of other health problems)
  • the natural weaning age for human beings is 2 to 7 years old

For more, check out this extensive list at Kelly Mom, and happy nursing!

Bambino intelligente.

Mamma sana.