Is It Extreme Breastfeeding, Or Is It Just Normal?

And so I say TO HELL WITH BASE JUMPING, pass me a toddler! I want to breastfeed something with gnashing teeth and a growl that would scare a bear.

Is It Extreme Breastfeeding, Or Is It Just Normal?

Extreme Breastfeeding: When you think of extreme sport you probably think of things like base jumping, ice climbing, or maybe swimming with sharks. But I laugh in the face of those because I am a breastfeeding mother of a toddler. I am well known for my Extreme Breastfeeding antics amongst friends and family. 

Until you’ve put your nipple into a moving object, with razor sharp, oscillating blades, you haven’t lived!

Very few babies are breastfed into toddlerhood, many are weaned because they turn one, or because they get their first teeth, and sadly, some never even make it to a few weeks feeding. I only fed my first baby for around 5 months, and that was with formula as well. I was poorly supported and I didn’t have enough information to help me sustain it full term. 

Breastfeeding past infancy is often called Extreme Breastfeeding by media sources who wish to sensationalise something that women have done since we first walked on the earth. Calling it extreme is pretty misleading, it’s actually just kind of normal!

Sometimes it’s called Extended Breastfeeding, however that term is just as misleading. Extending breastfeeding would be to feed longer than the child wanted. Feeding until they naturally wean is just feeding full term. Anyone who has ever had a child will know that it’s pretty much impossible to force them to eat, you really really can’t force a child to breastfeed. Not even if you want to join the ranks of the Extreme Breastfeeding mothers! 

My second baby was born with a tooth, which was pretty much an instant boost to  my extreme sport credentials. He was what I’d deem a seriously antisocial breastfeeder as well. He was big on chomping, pinching, and twisting. Extreme breastfeeding with him was a breeze! 

I got really good at predicting and preventing the chomp. He mostly did it when he was sick (he has asthma so that was pretty often) when he was teething, and when he was finished a feed, and sleepy. I developed an almost psychic ability to predict it and either removed him from the boob early, or I fed with my thumb pressed gently into his cheek so he was unable to chomp down.

The social pressure to wean babies at arbitrary ages (when they get teeth, when they can ask for it, when they help themselves) is strong. I never felt that pressure but I know many women do. I’m incredibly glad that I feed full term though, because full term feeding is – despite being EXTREME SPORT!!! – the lazy mother’s way to soothe a toddler.

Nothing eases the woe of having to take turns on the swing, like a boob. Nothing distracts you from pulling your brother’s hair quite like a boob does. Nothing helps you sleep as quickly as the magic boob! Although I’m embarrassed to say that the idea of feeding a toddler for extreme sport is losing its prowess in this light.

Did I mention that my toddler growls when he feeds? That’s an impressive boost to the extreme sport claim isn’t it! He actually growls, like a fierce animal. I should make an effort to video it next time he does it. However in the absence of any documentation from my monster boobing sessions, this woman has provided irrefutable evidence. Babies are fierce! Only hardcore women breastfeed toddlers – YEAH! (air punches)

All my toddlers that have fed have done crazy acrobatics as well. Keeping your nipple attached to your body while someone does that is undeniably EXTREME!

Around the world many babies are fed full term but in westernised cultures isn’t not common at all.

According to the Australian Breastfeeding Association

“Statistics from The 2006-2007 Longitudinal Study of Australian Children 4 study show that at 12 months, 28% of children were still being breastfed; at 18 months, 9% of children; and at 24 months, 5% were still being breastfed.”

The World Health Organisation recommends two years OR MORE breastfeeding, with the first six months being exclusive, as in ONLY BREASTMILK.

Man bungee jumping under a blue sky
Bungee Jumping, Master Jump
Credit: Vaniobeatriz | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0

We need to desexualise breasts and breastfeeding and help women to breastfeed longer. Obviously not every woman wants to, but if more women had more information, more babies would get more booby. The health benefits to that are there for all of our society, from women and babies, to health institutions. More toddlers would be eased gently through the toddler years, because breastmilk is about so much more than just nutrition, and more mothers would experience less frustration over things like bedtime, and tantrums.

And so I say TO HELL WITH BASE JUMPING, pass me a toddler! I want to breastfeed something with gnashing teeth and a growl that would scare a bear, something that combines somersaults and backflips with breastfeeding, someONE that loves every minute in my arms ….. someONE who will only be this young once. Extreme breastfeeding is clearly the sport for me! 

FOR FURTHER READING 

Extreme Breastfeeding - Toddler feeding at breast
Is it extreme or is it just normal? License: Creative Commons CC0.

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