I was blissfully hopeful (and slightly naive) when I decided to breastfeed my first baby, and especially when I thought about doing nursing long-term. That’s not to say I wasn’t warned that it could be hard, though. In fact, I had a number of mom friends who’d emphasized the difficulties of breastfeeding. Still, I tried to remain optimistic. My logic was, “It has to work well for some people, right? Maybe I’d be one of those people.” Turns out, there are so many things I’m glad I didn’t know about extended breastfeeding, since, as it turns out, I was not one of those people who enjoyed an easy, care-free experience. My early weeks of breastfeeding were full of challenges and stress and tears, I would not have been able to fathom the concept of extended breastfeeding. Hell, I could barely grasp the idea of nursing my son each subsequent day.
I’m trying to remember the first time I ever heard the term “extended breastfeeding,” and I honestly can't recall that moment. It’s possible that it may have even been a recent discovery, but I can’t say for certain. If someone had tried to inform me about, or endorse, the idea of “extended breastfeeding” when I was pregnant or even nursing my newborn, I probably would have simply nodded politely, smile occasionally, and thought to myself, “Wait, there's more than just regular breastfeeding?" Turns out, there’s a few other things I didn’t quite realize, including but certainly not limited to: