Two Tips for Extended Breastfeeding

Two Tips for Extended Breastfeeding

I didn’t have a particular need for my birth to go a specific way, but I wanted to breastfeed. I don’t glorify breastfeeding or put it on a pedestal, but it was important to me to give breastfeeding my best.

There is a lot of information available on breastfeeding a newborn. Lactation consultants are available at most hospitals, but ongoing breastfeeding offers unique challenges. I had a difficult time finding information on breastfeeding past the newborn stage, into what is called extended breastfeeding. The breastfeeding community can be extreme and some “advice” I read wasn’t practical or helpful (cue: it’s possible to breastfeed and not co-sleep)!

I’m sharing two concepts which greatly helped influence a positive extended breastfeeding experience. These two tips are the reason I’m still breastfeeding today!

1. My supply has never been abundant. It’s exactly what Phoenix needs within a given session. I rarely feel engorged, but that’s not so great for pumping. I pump two-to-three times while at work, but my yield is maybe an ounce on each side. When I first returned to work this concerned me until I read an article on Kellymom.com.

“It is typical for a mother who is breastfeeding full-time to be able to pump around 1/2 to 2 ounces total (for both breasts) per pumping session.” 

A lightbulb went off and I decided I would pump to maintain my supply, but I wouldn’t concern myself with the totals. Your baby will always be more efficient. A low pump output does not mean your milk supply is drying up. We supplemented with formula until Phoenix was one year. This gave me peace of mind and a lot of my time back.

Do not let anyone make you feel less than for utilizing formula!

2. Nurse on demand when you are home. I quickly realized nursing on a schedule didn’t work for us or my milk supply. Especially when I went back to work, I offered to nurse all of the time. I believe this to be the key reason why my milk supply is still going strong at thirteen months.

Breastfeeding can feel all-consuming. It takes up a lot of ones day, but I’m so thankful for this time together.

Did you breastfeed? What tips did you find helpful? 

6 thoughts on “Two Tips for Extended Breastfeeding”

  1. I’m very impressed that you’re still breastfeeding! I stopped at 11 months mainly for my sanity and wanting my freedom back. Also Ellie weaned super easily and never seemed to miss it so we both ended up happier when I was done. You’re exactly right though, every baby has their own personality and you have to gauge what’s best for both you and baby!

  2. I exclusively breastfed both of my girls until they were a year old. It does feel life consuming sometimes! I didn’t pump a whole lot because I stayed home with them, so it was just for the occasional date night or doctors appointment when I needed to leave them with someone. I noticed the same thing you did though, that the pump didn’t seem nearly as efficient as the baby. Glad you guys have gotten into your groove!

  3. I didnt breastfeed long with my kids, wish i did but it is so time consuming and hectic when you are working and pumping. Props to mamas that can keep up on it!

  4. As you probably know breastfeeding is a supply and demand situation. More frequent feeds and pumping are good starts, also try and decrease any stress, take some quiet time if possible, drink Healthy nursing tea. It helped me a lot.

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