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Ashley’s Story: Pumping Past One Year

shutterstock_276890279By Ashley Smith, Deatsville, Alabama

I’m a full-time working mother. My daughter recently turned one year old. She still nurses often when we’re together, and I pump for her when we’re not together. To my surprise, nursing after one year doesn’t seem to strike that many people as strange, but pumping after one year definitely does.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had several women ask me why I haven’t ditched the pump yet. They tell me they couldn’t wait to drop their pump like a bad habit, or they claim that the benefits of breast milk don’t continue after one year of age.

But that’s just not how I see it. So, I present to you my top seven reasons for continuing to pump after 12 months:

1) Breast milk does continue to be a valuable source of disease protection and nutrition for the child after one year old. I want her to continue drinking as much breast milk as she can. Take a look at resources such as www.llli.org/nb/nbextended.html and kellymom.com/ages/older-infant/ebf-benefits/.

image1 (1)2) It is incredibly personally fulfilling to continue providing for my child this way. I don’t believe I’ve ever done anything — other than becoming a mother — that has made me so proud of myself.

3) It eases my “working mother’s guilt” to know that even while I am away from her, I am still doing something so beneficial for her.

4) Continued pumping will help protect my supply and therefore protect our nursing relationship outside my working hours.

5) Pumping now is actually less stressful than pumping prior to 12 months because now, if I don’t pump exactly the number of ounces I was aiming for, it’s no big deal because she isn’t solely dependent on breast milk.

6) I like that I can continue feeling like she’s a baby for at least a while longer. They just grow up too fast. Why rush it if I don’t have to?

7) She genuinely loves mother’s milk!