Holly McIndoe (37) has been breastfeeding her daughter Cassia for two and a half years.
He said she’s willing to breastfeed the toddler until she’s four or five years old and let her daughter decide when she’s no longer interested.
“It’s not like I have a date in mind when I’m going to stop breastfeeding. I will continue the breastfeeding relationship as long as it’s something Cassia wants to do and as long as I’m comfortable with it,” said Ms. McIndoe.
“To my knowledge, the global average for breastfeeding is three or four years (to start weaning). So I don’t feel like I have to stop when she turns three or three and a half. I’ll just see if I can follow their example.
“It’s super handy to be able to breastfeed a toddler because they have these big emotions and they can never sit still. They’re devastated when a banana breaks in half or whatever. So breastfeeding is a really handy way to just have a quiet moment and de-escalate things and everything feels a little quiet again.
“The reason I know about natural weaning and that it is biologically normal for our species to breastfeed for up to four or five years is through the La Leche League and through my sister who has three children.
“At the moment she is supporting her youngest daughter who is four and a half. I have a few other friends who fed their kids until they were three, four, sometimes even five years old.”
Ms McIndoe and her two sisters are all currently breastfeeding. “It’s really nice that we can share this experience and knowledge with each other. It’s a really beautiful thing for us as sisters to be breastfeeding moms together.”
With World Breastfeeding Week ending tomorrow, it has emerged that Ireland has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world, according to Unicef, with just 49 per cent of infants being exclusively breastfed after leaving hospital.
After Cassia was born, Ms McIndoe received “wonderful” care from the midwives, but the mother felt she was not receiving as much breastfeeding support as she needed.
The hospital gave her a pump that they felt was good for maintaining her care. However, she said she needed “a conversation, not a technical solution.”
La Leche League is pro-breastfeeding and believes in “natural weaning”. This is a process by which children gradually wean themselves from breastfeeding as they become disinterested in it.
“They were just so personable and very wise. They didn’t tell me anything, they didn’t tell me what to do, and they weren’t judgmental. They just help you achieve what you want to do and give you the support to make your own decisions,” she said.
Fiona Fahy (38) and her husband Garvan have two children, Shea (5) and Sadie (3). Mrs. Fahy breastfed Shea for nine months and Sadie until she was just over two years old. The Limerick native, who now lives in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, said “hands on” help is key for new mums.
Ms Fahy always planned to breastfeed her own children due to the “health benefits”.
However, she said she felt pressure to stop breastfeeding Shea before returning to work.
The mother-of-two, who owns sustainable breastfeeding clothing brand Feed Me Mother, said: “We weaned shea from the breast and switched to formula because I thought it would be easier and that’s one of my biggest regrets because I would have liked to have continued to the 12 month mark. It was a lack of information.
“With Sadie, I stopped going to work and breastfed until she was two years and two months old.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/i-will-breastfeed-my-daughter-until-she-is-about-five-she-can-make-a-decision-then-41893369.html “I will breastfeed my daughter until she is about five years old – then she can make a decision.”