Everything You Need To Know About Breastfeeding After One Year, According To Experts

Ad failed to load

When I began breastfeeding my son, I thought that if I made it to a year, I'd be really proud of myself and ready to stop. However, by the time his birthday came around, neither of us were ready for him to wean. For him, it was a comfort, and, for me, it was a reassurance that I was not only needed, but important. (It's easy to forget that sometimes in the quotidian acts of mothering.) If you're considering prolonged breastfeeding, I have some tips and can tell you everything you need to know about breastfeeding after one year.

There are several studies out there that demonstrate myriad benefits of nursing beyond one year. Everything from higher IQ to increased resistance to certain viruses and bacteria, to emotional benefits like closeness to parents and self confidence, according to La Leche League International. But that doesn't make it a walk in the park. Sometimes, breastfeeding past one year can be a pain. You might notice a decrease in your supply, or weight that you can't seem to get rid of. Also, it's difficult for date nights and travel. However, it's absolutely doable if it's something you're committed to, and something your child needs or wants.

Heck, if your child is anything like mine, getting them off the boob isn't as easy as all that.

Ad failed to load

The first thing you need to know is that you might get "touched out" at some point, noted La Leche League USA. Especially if you have a stage five clinger. Yes, most of the time, cuddling and loving your child, feeding them and hanging out is truly the light of your life, but sometimes? It's not. You also might not want to touch your spouse or have visions of slapping someone who gets too close on the train on your way home from work. It happens and it's normal.

Your child may suddenly just stop breastfeeding, too. While it's uncommon, according to Kelly Mom, for babies to do so before 18 months, self-weaning happens. For my daughter, she was just over it one day when she figured out it took more time away from playing with her brother. It was like she just got up and never came back, even if I offered. On one hand, it was nice to have control over my body again, but on the other hand, it bummed me out. I don't think I was ready. It was a strange place to be in as a mom. With my son, I knew when he stopped that it was time. There was no such preparation the second time around.

Ad failed to load

The older your child gets, the more erratic the nursing becomes, too. Your kid might nurse for a few short bouts during the day, and then for a long time at night or not at all, according to Kelly Mom. My son had a fairly regular routine, but how long he breastfed at any given time shifted so wildly from one day to the next, that it was impossible to gauge how long it would last.

Along with erratic nursing periods, they're also quite vigorous and, let's say — to be diplomatic — inventive, when it comes to positions. This is often hilarious and fun to watch, but it can also be problematic. If they're laying on top of you or across you to nurse, you might occasionally end up with a foot to the gut — or your face. Also, they have teeth. I've been bitten more than once and had to adjust how my son would latch. It was less than stellar.

Ad failed to load

Haters are going to hate. You absolutely will be judged for nursing your 2-year-old in public. There will be snide comments or side-eye. People will not shut up about it. My own mother said to me "I can't believe you're still nursing him, isn't it time to stop?" No, mother, it's not time to stop, and I'll buy wire hangers next time, geez.

But hey, you can just say, "You know, it has been shown that women who breastfeed for longer periods of time are less likely to get breast cancer?" (Not to mention ovarian and uterine cancer, according to Parents.) Sure, that response is petty AF, but it's true, and if they're not minding their own business, you might as well pour some tea for them to stay awhile.

But it's not all tea and roses for your body. Sharon King, a registered nurse and lactation consultant, tells Romper that there can be some complications associated with prolonged breastfeeding that you might not be aware of. First is that while it's extremely uncommon, some women don't get their period or fertility back until they wean. "It's a trick of nature. Some women get it back right away, some women never do as long as they're nursing," says King.

Ad failed to load

Also, according to King, it can be harder to lose weight. "Breastfeeding can make you really hungry, and while it can help you lose weight, it can also help fat stick around, as that's what keeps you producing high-quality milk. A lot of my patients end up falling into a snacking cycle that they find difficult to snap out of, even after their baby weans."

In the end, it's a personal choice and it has consequences. Fortunately, most of them are more benefits than penalties, so drink up, tiny humans.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills