I decided I needed a refresher and so I got out my three favourite resources (pictured above). They are all produced by the Australian Breastfeeding Association. They are simply in book, booklet and card format. I really want something on hand in those early hours/days when I am trying to get the attachment right.
I know a lot of Montessori information suggests weaning should start at six months (start introducing other foods to baby) and should be finalised by nine months (that is the ending of the breastfeeding relationship). Although I have read that Montessori herself did see some benefits of extending breastfeeding in some cultures.
This is one piece of Montessori information that I found easy to dismiss. For my first son Caspar we introduced foods other than breast milk at six months but didn't stop breastfeeding at nine.
Caspar was breastfed for an 'extended' period of time and that worked for us. There are so many benefits to breastfeeding I never contemplated ending it completely at nine months. And I absolutely don't think that it in any way hampered or negatively influenced his independence. I would argue that it increased his security in his parents, his home and his world resulting in a stronger, more secure and independent toddler.
I believe that breastfeeding is a really, really personal decision. I struggled with attachment and discomfort with Caspar for a long time but wanted to persist. The women at the Albury-Wodonga breastfeeding association were my best friends for the fist six months of Caspar's life. I own them so much - thank you!
I highly recommend anyone intending on breastfeeding for the first time, to make contact with their local groups and participate in some kind of education/information courses before the baby is born. Breastfeeding doesn't come naturally to all women.
I also suggest finding some kind of mentor. My mother didn't breastfeed and many of my friends didn't. The majority of mothers in my mothers group didn't breastfeed either. My cousin Rachel however breastfed three children is a breastfeeding counsellor and midwife and although lived in a different state was a trusted source of information and comfort.
Just in case you need it the Australian Breastfeeding Association helpline is 1800 686 2 686.