How long should I breastfeed my child?

First Bottle, MM branded.jpg

By: Amber Clouthier

I’m going to say something a little bit controversial…

I’m incredibly neutral when it comes to breastfeeding.

Oh I know that in this day and age it’s a bit scandalous to say but now that I’ve said it out loud, well figuratively anyway, I feel a little bit relieved. I never doubted for a minute that I would breastfeed my baby when he was born. I’d read all the literature, taken some child development classes and it had been hammered into my head from as long as I could remember that “breast was best.”

But, as my giant 9 pound 10 ounce baby lay squalling on my chest in those first few minutes of his life my maternal instincts didn’t seem to kick in quite as quickly as I thought they would. All I could think about was how huge he was and when the nurse suggested I try to feed him after he was cleaned and calmed it hit me for the first time. “You want me to do what with my what?”

Of course its a natural thing, but…

Of course, breastfeeding is a beautiful natural thing. They don’t tell you that you might feel incredibly awkward at first and that it takes a lot of practice to get good at it. They might tell you that it will be a “little uncomfortable” but for me with my little super sucker it was downright painful at first.

They also don’t tell you that you might not want to spend your first few days learning this while doing Christmas at your in-laws but that’s a whole other story.

Can I breastfeed my child?

But the other thing they don’t really prepare women for is the fact that they might not be able to breastfeed at all. I was lucky enough to have just enough milk but never an oversupply. I was also lucky enough to only suffer one bad case of mastitis.

I’ve heard the stories of many women who want to breastfeed desperately but are plagued with a very low milk supply or infection after infection. Some of these women persevere but for some it just never works out. It almost makes me feel guilty for being so indifferent about the whole thing.

Honestly, for me, while I was more than happy to pass along the reported health benefits to my son it was never something I overly enjoyed. Sure it was convenient (sometimes) and very economical and I did enjoy the cuddle time but for myself at least there were other activities I much preferred doing with my son.

After a full year of breastfeeding, we…

So after a full year of breastfeeding we called an end to it and that was that. My son had grown restless and spent just as much time kicking me in the face as he did actually eating and while we had persevered together through the biting phase sometimes the urge to chomp was too great when a new tooth was coming. For me, a year was enough and I hope my son felt the same.

Formula..the devil’s drink?

I’m going to say one final thing that’s also going to be a little controversial. Formula isn’t the devil’s drink. The shaming of parents that choose to use it for whatever reason really needs to come to an end. We’ve all seen it have we not? For some, it was never their choice to begin with and for others, well, the choice is theirs to make, just as it’s a breastfeeding mother’s choice when to wean.

At the end of the day, as long as the baby is fed and loved, isn’t that what’s important?

We want to hear from you, mama. What has been your experience with breastfeeding? We want to know!

Amber is a new mom to a boy born in December 2012. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband who is a self proclaimed geek and she knows more about Dungeons and Dragons than she would like to admit. In her spare moments she used to love to bake, read and take long baths. Now she is happy to get a five minute shower and take a nap. Please don’t take her too seriously because she sure doesn’t. 


  1. 1

    I really wanted to breastfeed my son and we worked hard at it for what feels like an eternity.
    In the beginning we got donor milk to help him grow because my milk hadn’t come in yet and he had lost 14% of his birth weight. We continued that for a few weeks while also breast feeding as much as possible and pumping every 3 hours, which by the way made me pretty crazy! Then we came to a point where we thought we could do exclusively breast feeding and pumping, but then he lost weight again and we had to supplement with formula. At first I hated it and didn’t want it to go on for too long. Now I have come to terms with it and we both breastfeed and supplement with formula (3-5 120ml bottles per day). This turned out to work well, because that means I can take a break while dad feeds the bottle 🙂
    Happy ending with some trials along the way.
    Our son is 4 1/2 months now and doing really well.

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