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18 Years of Breastfeeding: This is What That Looks Like

As my eldest daughter recently turned 18, I marked an equally significant milestone: 18 continuous years of breastfeeding. To clarify, this means not a single day has passed over these 18 years when I haven't nursed one or more of my children. I've always been candid about my breastfeeding journey because I believe it's crucial to raise awareness about the natural responsibility we have as mothers to nourish our children the way nature intended. However, I've often found that many people struggle to fully comprehend what this breastfeeding lifestyle entails, why I've made such a choice, or how I've managed to maintain it. So, let's delve into my personal journey of 18 years of uninterrupted breastfeeding, spread across six children, each nursed for a period spanning between four to eight years.

A Challenging Start

As detailed in the birth story of my eldest daughter, Troia, our initiation into breastfeeding was, to put it mildly, challenging. For the purpose of this article, and because I'm content with how I've previously chronicled this chapter, I'll be copying this portion of the story from that blog post:

Before becoming a mother, I was adamant about breastfeeding. It's the ideology I grew up with: breast is best, and every mother should at least try. But in the hospital, my determination was met with opposition. When they moved us to our room, we were left alone with little support or assistance. It seemed as if they expected me to formula feed, just as they had expected me to opt for an epidural. They continued to bring up my young age, saying I was "too young to breastfeed." I felt as if they were doing everything in their power to discourage me from nursing.

Breastfeeding was harder than I thought. I'd assumed instinct would guide me, but I was struggling, particularly after such a tumultuous birth. The first time my daughter fed, she latched for an hour, slept for an hour, and then woke to feed again for another hour. This pattern of her seeming ravenous was a sign of what was to come in the next 18 years, but we of course didn't know that back then, so I thought from early on that I was doing something wrong or that my milk wasn't good enough. My nipples, not used to such use, quickly became sore and cracked. When I reached out to the staff for help, I was blamed for not following their advice. I never received any help.

After three days of this, my nipples were bleeding and the mere thought of nursing was tear-inducing. One evening, a nurse walked in just as I was about to nurse my daughter. Seeing my tears, she berated me, accusing me of harming my child and being a selfish, inadequate mother. She pushed the idea that I was too young to breastfeed. Feeling defeated, I finally agreed to feed my daughter from a bottle. The act of doing so was one of the most heartbreaking experiences I've had. I bawled my eyes out. That was my breaking moment. I bawled my eyes out. All cropped-up emotions of those past days came out. My ruined birth, the days after, all the mistreatment, the feelings of not doing good enough... it all went through the floodgates. I promised my daughter that she or any of her future siblings would never have to drink another sip of fake food again. If anything, that one bottle is the cause that I eventually would nurse for 18 years non-stop and breastfed each and every one of my children between 4 and 8 years. That one single bottle and the abuse of those nurses put me on the barricades for natural connective birth and postpartum, and natural age weaning. One of the biggest fighters of our movement was born because of this single moment, that single bottle.

The next morning, I sought help from my mother who immediately contacted a friend of hers, a nurse at another hospital. Her friend quickly purchased all the supplies I needed for healing my nipples, including nipple shields to alleviate some of the pain. She visited me, offered valuable advice and guidance on proper latching and healing, and gave me the support I desperately needed. She even confronted the hospital staff about their poor treatment of me. I will never forget the moment her voice filled the hallway while she yelled and screamed at the staff there. Her act of standing up for me was the first time someone treated me with the dignity I craved during those days. Her intervention halted the harsh treatment, and though I was mostly ignored afterwards, at least no one dared mistreat me again. I will forever be grateful for this moment. She will never realize it, but she changed more than just that experience in the hospital. She planted a seed that would grow big one day. She planted the seed that 17 years later made me stand up for myself in every single way when I ended my abusive marriage. That one small seed is still growing today. I can only hope to pay it forward one day.

From then on, breastfeeding became easier. Though there would be more hurdles in the future, I felt ready to face them.

Breastfeeding journey, Tandem nursing, Overcoming breastfeeding challenges, Extended breastfeeding, Relactation, Trionursing, Natural remedies for breastfeeding problems, Weaning process

A Lifelong of Research

Though the internet during this time was a far cry from the vast repository of information we know it to be today, and alternative lifestyles weren't widely documented, I embarked on a quest to understand the fierce instinct driving me to fight for our breastfeeding success. Back then, I was a member of a few online motherhood and parenting forums. I was fortunate to connect with individuals sharing similar ideologies, albeit somewhat less intense than what I would eventually embrace. PhpBB forums served as a crucial source of community and information in those days – the digital bridge connecting us all before social media came into existence.

It's important to note here: my Human Design indicates that I am a 5/1 Generator. The '1' in my profile signifies the importance of research to me. Despite my ongoing exploration of Human Design, this aspect holds true – I have always possessed an uncanny ability to hyperfocus on researching any subject that piques my interest. And when I delve into research, I don't cease until I am satisfied that I've learned all there is to know on the subject. From a young age, I have utilized a plethora of information sources to satisfy my thirst for knowledge, developing resourcefulness in identifying valuable research studies. A defined Gate 61 further reinforces this trait, feeding my desire to uncover the 'why' behind everything. Driven by deep curiosity, I strive to unlock life's mysteries. A defined Gate 47 then synthesizes this information, leading me to realizations and solutions.

My Human Design also reveals a Sacral Authority, indicating a highly developed intuition or gut instinct. I recognized this early in life and have always regarded it as one of my most beneficial and reliable traits. This instinct particularly influences my research, where I value my intuition more than any scientific study.

The depth of my research was amplified by a harmonious blend of hyperfocus and intuition. Early in my internet journey, I realized that our society was exposed only to the surface layer of the internet, with a subtle expectation to refrain from probing deeper into the other layers. Yet my drive to learn more easily navigated me through these depths, enabling me to research more comprehensively than most.

This intense research helped me realize the significance of breastfeeding my children beyond the societal norms. As the years passed, my knowledge expanded to the point where mainstream arguments against breastfeeding fell on deaf ears. To me, 'breast is best', and no counterargument will ever sway me otherwise.

My Personal Reasons to Choose Breastfeeding for Four Years and Beyond

Over time, I've consolidated my beliefs about the supremacy of breastfeeding to such an extent that - even as an empath - I maintain an almost zero-tolerance stance towards any counterarguments against this natural practice.

Here are my personal reasons to believe that breast is best and natural age weaning (4-7 years) is normal practice in my family:

- Humans are Mammals:

The idea of this argument is astoundingly simple: humans are animals. Despite our cognitive evolution over centuries, our physical bodies remain animal-like. This single fact nullifies all anti-breastfeeding arguments. We are mammals, and mammals nurse their young. Mothers and babies are naturally designed for this. It's logical that a mammalian baby's brain is hyperfocused on its mother's milk, hormones, and pheromones. There is literally no argument that can effectively challenge this.

- Insights from Brain Scans:

Brain scans provide all the evidence we need. Numerous studies have shown that baby brains exhibit signs of neglect and trauma when breastfeeding is absent. Babies genuinely mourn the lack of their mother's milk and the brain chemistries it triggers. Additionally, these scans reveal information about the natural weaning age of children. Around the age of 4-7 years, when children begin to lose their milk teeth, a beautiful interplay between hormones and brain chemistry occurs. This event initiates a change in brain chemistry that gradually guides the child towards natural weaning. This process can take years to complete and is naturally guided by the brain. The brainwaves of the child and mother align, sparking a natural instinct in the mother to gradually reduce the frequency of breastfeeding. This all correlates with the loss of more teeth and the consequent changes in the shape of the child's mouth, eventually making it impossible for them to nurse from the breast. This is natural weaning explained in detail.

- Mistrust in Formula Companies:

Contrary to popular belief, formula will never equate to breastmilk. It isn't even remotely acceptable. My extensive research into formula companies and their top executives has not only unveiled connections with the Deepstate Cabal (the self-proclaimed elites advocating depopulation), but also ties to various global criminal organizations. These entities are not trustworthy. I refuse to entrust my babies' nourishment to them. Their agendas do not align with public welfare, especially not the well-being of our children who require protection.

In summary, these are my principal reasons for advocating breastfeeding for at least four years, until natural weaning initiated by the child takes place.

As I've mentioned previously, my research delves far beyond the surface layers of the internet. It may surprise you how many scientific studies never make it to the public domain in these easily accessible layers — these truths often remain concealed. However, if you understand how to navigate the deeper strata of the web, there's an ocean of knowledge awaiting discovery.

Continuing My Journey: Pregnant Again

When my oldest daughter reached six months of age, we discovered that we were expecting our second child. I recall attending one final consultation with the obstetrician we had previously encountered during my first pregnancy. His approach was unchanged — immediately, he embarked on his familiar fear-mongering tactics, adamantly insisting that I stop breastfeeding my older child at once or risk losing the new baby. Our response was to inform him of our opinion of his misguided advice. We then promptly left his office, never to return.

Being pregnant with a second child doesn't necessitate halting breastfeeding of the older sibling. However, there are a few potential issues that need to be addressed, just so we can be aware:

- Breast Milk Supply: The body's milk production can decrease during pregnancy, potentially leaving the older child in need of additional nutrition. This is especially important to monitor if the older child is still largely dependent on breast milk for their nutritional needs.

- Breast Milk Composition Changes: Pregnancy hormones can change the composition and taste of breast milk, which may lead to the older child weaning themselves prematurely.

- Nipple Sensitivity: During pregnancy, hormonal changes may increase sensitivity in the nipples, which could make breastfeeding more painful or uncomfortable.

I consider myself fortunate to be one of those rare ones that maintained a portion of their milk supply throughout each pregnancy. While I did experience a decrease, I was lucky that my milk supply never completely dried up, and I'm deeply grateful for that. Especially during that pregnancy, where my oldest daughter was still very young.

Nursing during pregnancy can bring its own set of challenges, including heightened nipple sensitivity. There were times when breastfeeding was rather painful, especially during periods of low energy and fatigue. Nevertheless, I never viewed these as legitimate reasons to stop breastfeeding. For me, breastfeeding is primarily about the child's needs, not my own. I chose to cope with the discomfort rather than deprive my child of the benefits of breastfeeding.

Transitioning to Tandemfeeding

On the whole, my transition from nursing one child to tandem feeding two went smoothly. Despite the reduction in milk supply during my second pregnancy, my second child, who arrived a month prematurely, was able to breastfeed normally right from the start. Again I experienced engorgement at day 4 which lasted for a few days, but that was not new and I don't see this as a difficulty. Just a normal part of hormonal transitioning from pregnancy to breastfeeding. We were indeed fortunate in this regard.

Breastfeeding journey, Tandem nursing, Overcoming breastfeeding challenges, Extended breastfeeding, Relactation, Trionursing, Natural remedies for breastfeeding problems, Weaning process

The initial challenges with Atlanta arose after a few weeks. She was highly sensitive, leading to a child that could be easily overwhelmed. Overwhelm was only alleviated by nursing. There was simply nothing else that worked. I remember long hours spent walking around with her in a baby carrier day and night, even positioning myself half-upright on a stack of pillows to sleep, so she could stay snug in her baby carrier cocoon while nursing throughout the night. She was over the top highly sensitive. Thus, she nursed a lot... but her little stomach couldn't process all of it. This led to projectile vomiting, a lot of projectile vomiting.

I have to admit, at that point in our breastfeeding journey with two kids, this was the extent of our trials. The start of our journey with Troia was tough, and Atlanta's hypersensitivity added a new layer of complexity to find balance in, but overall we were just fortunate. The transition to tandem feeding was seamless from the start. Troia was more than happy to share the milk with her little sister, and baby Atlanta never had any issues with it either. Everything just fell into place.

Transitioning from Tandem Feeding to Trio Feeding

Our good fortune persisted. When Atlanta was just 10 months old, we accidentally conceived again. As luck would have it, my milk supply not only persisted, but it didn't even slow down this time around. With two children nursing, this was a truly a lucky occurrence.

The pregnancy proceeded without a hitch, and tandem feeding remained steady. I don't even recall experiencing nipple sensitivity during this pregnancy. It felt as if my body was exerting just as much effort into the breastfeeding process as it was into the pregnancy, especially since there were still two children nursing instead of just one.

But everything went smoothly. Pelagia arrived just one day before her due date, so she was delightfully "on time", not premature like her sister. As detailed in her birth story, the act of breastfeeding her sisters actually triggered her birth that evening - a remarkable memory that we will forever cherish.

Pelagia was an incredibly easy baby. The transition to trio feeding was seamless. Some engorgement starting at day 4 again, but not as bad than with her sisters. And since she was such an easy baby who also slept beautifully through the night, I found myself well-rested. This was a game-changer! My body could manage nursing three children because it was sufficiently rested and life was relatively serene at that time. The dynamics of managing three under the age of three developed naturally and easily. Those initial months were nothing short of a breeze.

Experiencing Mastitis for the First Time

Despite the smooth transition to trio feeding, the task of breastfeeding three children evidently took its toll on my body at times. A few months into it, it became evident that my body was not getting the nutrients it needed. I started feeling weak and found it difficult to maintain balance. I had adhered to vegetarianism since I was 11 years old, but I had to make a decision: stick with vegetarianism at the risk of my health failing or revert to consuming meat to bolster breastfeeding my children. I chose the latter. Resuming a meat-based diet seemed to work. It allowed me to get denser nutrients and my body began to recover.

Around the same time, my oldest daughter began nursing less frequently. When you are nursing three children simultaneously, and consequently producing huge amounts of milk each day, this represents a significant change for your milk supply. My body had a hard time adapting to the new demands, which resulted in a massive oversupply and ultimately mastitis because my breasts weren't emptied thoroughly.

Mastitis was awful to deal with. There's nothing you can compare it to; it's a hard condition to manage. It hurts severely and leaves you feeling generally unwell, affecting your entire body. The inflammation triggered a fever and one of my breasts became very engorged and inflamed.

As usual, I didn't resort to seeing a doctor for this. After my experiences with the medical staff during Troia's hospital birth, I kept a safe distance from Western medicine practitioners. I couldn't trust them, so I ignored their existence whenever possible. Instead, I reached out to the midwives who had assisted during the births of our other two daughters, asking them for help. They offered alternative, more natural tips:

Warm Ginger Compresses Before Nursing: Ginger has strong anti-inflammatory properties. For relief, grate some fresh ginger and soak it in warm water. Squeeze out the excess water and apply the warm, moist ginger to the affected area before nursing. This can help soothe the inflammation and pain.

Yoghurt and Cabbage Leaf After Nursing: After nursing, apply some plain yoghurt directly to your breast. The cooling property of the yoghurt can soothe the area and the probiotics may aid in combating the infection. Over the yoghurt, place a fresh cabbage leaf. The sulphur compounds in the cabbage leaves are believed to help reduce inflammation and unblock milk ducts. Replace the leaf when it becomes wilted.

Massage: Gentle massage can help relieve the pain and inflammation.

Nurse frequently: This ensures your breasts are emptied regularly, reducing the risk of milk stasis and bacterial growth.

Potato Slices: Raw potato slices have been utilized for their anti-inflammatory properties. Slice a raw potato and apply the slices directly to the inflamed area. Replace the slices every 2-3 hours or whenever they become dry.

Garlic: Known for its strong antimicrobial properties, garlic can help fight infection when consumed. You can consider eating raw garlic or adding it to your meals, but beware that it might alter the taste of your breastmilk.

Warm Showers and Warm Compresses: The warmth helps to unblock milk ducts and soothe inflammation. It can also stimulate milk flow. You could take a warm shower or apply a warm compress to the affected breast prior to nursing.

Echinacea: Echinacea is an herb that is known for its immune-boosting properties. Some breastfeeding mothers have found relief from mastitis by applying Echinacea cream or gel directly to their breasts. Always ensure the product is breastfeeding-safe before use.

Saltwater Rinse: A saltwater rinse (1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water) applied to the nipples after each feed can help keep the nipples clean and prevent infection.

Rest and Hydration: Last, but definitely not least, ensure you are getting plenty of rest and staying well-hydrated. This will support your immune system's fight against the infection and aid in your recovery.

Stubborn as I was, I eventually just sat it out and didn't really do much more than resting and nursing frequently. But that's me...

July 30th, 2009

I had been nursing three children for almost 15 months at this point. My oldest was exactly 4 years, 2 months, and 20 days old. I will never forget that day.

"Mama," she said during the day, "I need to talk to you. Can we go for a walk?" This request was a familiar ritual between us. She had always displayed a maturity beyond her years, which we nurtured and respected. Therefore, when we had something important to discuss, we would go for a walk together in the forest. That's the pattern she emulated on this day. So, hand in hand, we set off for our walk.

"Mom," she started, her eyes brimming with tears, "I think I'm a big girl now. And big girls don't drink mommy milk anymore. I think I'm done with drinking mommy milk." My eyes welled up, mirroring her own. "Of course, sweetheart," I responded, my voice choked up. "If that's how you feel, then we'll find a new evening ritual together."

My heart was breaking, yet she was over 4 years old and incredibly mature for her age. This was her choice, and I would respect that. That evening, she nursed for the very last time.

From triofeeding back to tandemfeeding.

Sometime around June 2012

I suddenly realized, "Wait, Atlanta hasn't nursed with me for about 2 weeks now!"

And that was typically Atlanta. At 5 years and 10 months old, she had weaned herself. It was such a gradual process, with such small incremental steps that it took me a while to notice that she had stopped nursing. The experience was serene and devoid of any negativity. It felt incredibly natural. This was, in my mind, the way weaning was meant to be. This is how it's supposed to be. Nature at its best.

Our breastfeeding journey became once again a solo adventure with only Pelagia drinking.

November 26th, 2012.

We lost a baby. Our baby. Just like that, my belly was empty. There was no life anymore. Our little Aurora* was gone.

The process of grieving began, and it persisted for some time. The hormonal shift after a miscarriage differs significantly from that after a completed pregnancy. This is especially true when the miscarriage occurs further along, as was the case for us at 12 weeks. My body went into a sort of shutdown mode. There was no baby, so in its view, there was no need for milk. My body had to recalibrate and remember that there was still a child nursing.

For the first time since the birth of my oldest child, my milk supply dried up completely for a period. Pelagia, understandably, was distressed by this. Yet she was old enough to grasp the reasons behind this change. I explained to her that if she wanted the milk to return, she would need to keep nursing so my body could learn to relactate.

And that's precisely what happened. She wasn't ready to stop breastfeeding at the age of 4.5 years, so she helped me get my milk back. It took us between two to three weeks, but we eventually succeeded. And so, our breastfeeding journey resumed.

Baby Number Four: A Return to Tandem Nursing

Despite the over six-year gap between our third and fourth child, our breastfeeding journey with Pelagia spanned that divide entirely. By the time Aeneas was born, she was 6 years and 1 month old, still enjoying the benefits of daily breastfeeding.

Again, I kept part of my milk supply during that pregnancy, even though it was such a tough pregnancy. As I detail in Aeneas' birth story, his pregnancy and birth catalyzed numerous healing processes for me. My emotional system was thrown into a whirlwind, leading to various physical disturbances. It's my firm belief that every physical ailment stems from an emotional root, which set the stage for a challenging breastfeeding journey with Aeneas.

Breastfeeding journey, Tandem nursing, Overcoming breastfeeding challenges, Extended breastfeeding, Relactation, Trionursing, Natural remedies for breastfeeding problems, Weaning process

I found myself battling clogged duct after clogged duct. A significant number of these turned into mastitis, making the experience rather dreadful. To cut a long story short, by the time Aeneas was 19 months old, I had wrestled with 25 clogged ducts, six of which escalated into full-blown mastitis.

The turning point came when I invested in a powerful vibrator, employing it to open the ducts as soon as they appeared. The difference was night and day. While other natural remedies were effective, the instant opening up brought by the vibrator was unparalleled. I believe this step also helped tackle one of the emotional triggers underlying my problem (accepting help).

However, even with all the challenges, I was determined to continue. After all, 25 clogged ducts are simply not a reason to stop breastfeeding.

Adding to these challenges, Aeneas struggled with an extensive array of food sensitivities, identified by an EAV test as 18 different types. For the first two years of his life, I adhered to a strict diet to prevent these sensitivities from being passed through my milk. For those who have read his birth story and are aware of the physical toll taken on me during his pregnancy, you'll understand how challenging this part of the journey was - dealing with this strict diet on top of recurrent clogged ducts and mastitis.

Pelagia's 8th Birthday

Pelagia was unique among my children; she did not choose to stop nursing of her own accord. In the end, that decision fell to me. Admittedly, that last year, she only drank once a day and often even skipped a couple of days, but she still drank. As a mother deeply connected with her children, the natural fail safes that come into play when a child does not stop nursing when they're supposed to are profoundly unsettling.

Let's first explore the ways nature signals a child to cease nursing:

Dental transition: When a child’s milk teeth give way to permanent teeth, the structure of their oral cavity changes. This new configuration is not conducive to breastfeeding.

Brain chemistry: Studies involving brain scans have shown that around the same age when teeth begin to fall out and new ones sprout, there's a shift in brain chemistry. Simultaneously, the mother’s brain chemistry alters as well. This dual transition often leads to natural weaning.

However, if these measures don't deter a child from nursing, a mother can be seized by a powerful, primal instinct to push the child away. This behavior mirrors what we observe in other mammals. It's very much a reality for humans too. I speak from personal experience when I say that I grappled with an overwhelming urge to distance myself from my child. And when I say 'overwhelming,' I mean a raw, archaic instinct unlike anything you’ve ever felt before. For a mother who shares a strong bond with her child, this sentiment is shocking and deeply disconcerting. It's a feeling you'd rather not face.

Yet, even as I resisted this urge for months, I finally reached the point where I had to put an end to our breastfeeding journey. As Pelagia's 8th birthday approached, my system rang out a clear, resounding 'stop.'

And thus, our tandem nursing journey transitioned back to solo nursing.

Breastfeeding journey, Tandem nursing, Overcoming breastfeeding challenges, Extended breastfeeding, Relactation, Trionursing, Natural remedies for breastfeeding problems, Weaning process

Myrddin Joins the Family: Tandem Nursing Again

At the start of 2018, I was pregnant again. This time around, one of my breasts ceased producing milk, but the other continued. Aeneas was nearing 4.5 years old when Myrddin joined our crew. He was still nursing, and so, we embarked on another tandem nursing adventure.

The first three weeks went flawlessly. There was the usual engorgement, but Myrddin was a superb little drinker. I experienced no pain, no nipple sensitivity - everything was just perfect. He did drink quite a lot, but he was a large baby and quickly put on weight, so his hearty appetite wasn't surprising.

When he was just three weeks old, he contracted the RSV virus. I attempted to heal him naturally for a few days, but there are times when even I recognize the limits of natural remedies. His tender age meant that most natural healing techniques weren't suitable for him. A baby of a few months old, I might have given turmeric - a well-known natural remedy for this virus. But at just three weeks old, and premature to boot, his fragile body was left with little choice.

So, we turned to the hospital. There, they administered the very antibiotics I normally vehemently resist. These antibiotics wreaked havoc on his small body, resulting in severe lactose intolerance. For the first time, I had a baby who was unable to digest my milk. My unique milk, tailored to his needs. I'd never felt such despair in my breastfeeding journey as I did at that moment - realizing that my milk was not good enough for my own baby, because his inner body was so devastated that he couldn't digest it properly.

Breastfeeding journey, Tandem nursing, Overcoming breastfeeding challenges, Extended breastfeeding, Relactation, Trionursing, Natural remedies for breastfeeding problems, Weaning process

Yet 'not good enough' doesn't mean alternatives were better. With the help of the most pro-breastfeeding pediatrician in our country, we devised a personalized plan for him. Her EAV test identified his other food sensitivities, meaning I had to embark on yet another strict diet. In addition to the diet, we supplemented him with lactase, the enzyme that breaks down the lactose in my milk, but that he didn't produce anymore because of those nasty antibiotics. We chose a natural, organic variety and added a robust probiotic to aid his gut system's recovery. Three months later, he was already improving, and by the time he was six months old, we stopped administering the lactase.

Our breastfeeding journey carried on. As a drinker, Myrddin was phenomenal. He never posed any problems and drank like a pro. But the knowledge that my baby couldn't digest my milk - despite the cause being beyond my control - shattered my heart.

The Start of Fenrir's Pregnancy: From Two to One

In the latter half of 2021, I found out I was pregnant with Fenrir. At this juncture, both boys were still nursing. Aeneas was just over 7 years old, and Myrddin was close to his third birthday.

However, Aeneas was already gradually winding down his nursing. He was down to feeding once a day and started skipping more and more days. By the time he reached 7.5 years old, he ceased nursing altogether. I could speculate that this was due to the pregnancy, but I believe that even if I hadn't been pregnant, he would have naturally transitioned out of breastfeeding at this point.

His journey mirrored Atlanta's in many ways – a gentle, gradual cessation. I couldn't have asked for a more natural progression.

Breastfeeding journey, Tandem nursing, Overcoming breastfeeding challenges, Extended breastfeeding, Relactation, Trionursing, Natural remedies for breastfeeding problems, Weaning process

Returning to Tandem Nursing... Along with a Round of Clogged Ducts and Mastitis

Fenrir's birth initiated yet another tandem nursing journey. Myrddin was exactly three and a half years old to the day when his baby brother arrived, and it wasn't yet his time to choose to stop breastfeeding (according to my motto: until four years old, I choose; after that, it's their choice).

Intriguingly, Fenrir is the only one of my children who did not induce engorgement in those initial days - a first for me. I now realize how much more pleasant and easy life after birth can be when you're not dealing with engorgement and the accompanied fever.

Fenrir arrived amidst tumultuous circumstances. His father had become abusive towards me, escalating to the point where he physically threatened me near the end of my pregnancy. The immense stress that this caused triggered yet another bout of clogged ducts and mastitis, beginning as early as the fifth day postpartum. With all my previous experiences with mastitis in mind, this instance was undoubtedly the worst. My body went from normal to a full-blown fever in mere moments. I was shaking so violently that the entire caravan trembled with me. My breast became inflamed in seconds, a shockingly sudden development. Recovery took more than three days.

Over the next two months, I experienced repeated episodes of clogged ducts and mastitis. It wasn't until the children's father left us, moving back to Belgium over 1900 km away, that I found relief. His departure and the elimination of the stress he induced acted as a saving grace. No more clogged ducts. No more mastitis. It was definitive proof that these afflictions were predominantly emotional reactions.

Breastfeeding journey, Tandem nursing, Overcoming breastfeeding challenges, Extended breastfeeding, Relactation, Trionursing, Natural remedies for breastfeeding problems, Weaning process

Present Day Scenario

At the time of writing, both Myrddin and Fenrir are still nursing. Myrddin is now 4 years and 9 months old, and Fenrir is 15 months old.

Since those earlier challenges, we've encountered no further problems; our tandem nursing journey continues joyfully. Myrddin typically nurses twice daily - once upon waking and once before bedtime. Fenrir, being my most affectionate and attached child, still nurses almost on an hourly basis. It seems he needs my closeness and milk nearly as much as he needs oxygen!

Being a strong advocate for breastfeeding for at least 4 years, I foresee our nursing journey continuing for at least another 3 years. I am eager to see how these coming years will unfold.

Next year, on April 14th, 2024, I will have reached a significant milestone: I will have spent as much of my life breastfeeding as not. On that day, my oldest daughter will be exactly the age I was when she was born - the day I first began my breastfeeding journey. To celebrate this remarkable achievement, I'm planning to throw myself a party! I deserve that!

Breastfeeding journey, Tandem nursing, Overcoming breastfeeding challenges, Extended breastfeeding, Relactation, Trionursing, Natural remedies for breastfeeding problems, Weaning process

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