I saw a post recently in a Facebook group about reaching breastfeeding goals. It was a quiz letting you vote on which goal you had reached. It was interesting to see all the different replies, and where everyone was in terms of reaching their goals.
It had goals and milestones of 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 18 months, 21 months, and even weaning listed. It made me realize that I have been breastfeeding my son almost 21 months, wow!
It also made me realize how important it is to set goals in our breastfeeding journey; from the first days, weeks, and months and even when we are further along.
Breastfeeding is not easy in the early days. We are usually learning something totally new and we may be struggling under the physical demands of something we are not used to at all. My first experience with breastfeeding was rough and I think under normal circumstances I would have quit. Something I had heard while pregnant reminded me to take it one day at a time and set small goals.
I think it’s important to set a small goal of even making it through the day when first getting started. Then you can increase to a week or two weeks. A good early goal is to make it six to eight weeks breastfeeding. Six to eight weeks is usually the roughest period and when many breastfeeding issues may be diagnosed and corrected. It starts to get easier after that time frame, if you can make it through the payoff will be huge!
When I was struggling to get through the first two weeks breastfeeding I kept telling myself to make it to six weeks. Once I did my new goal was 3 months. Then six months, and then of course a year. Once I hit a year I wanted to keep going as long as my daughter still wanted to nurse. She ended up weaning around 16 months because I was pregnant again.
With my son I was much more confident in my nursing abilities and I didn’t set short term goals. I knew I wanted to go a year, and once I reached that point my new goal was to go longer than I did with my daughter. Once I reached 16 months I was pretty happy. I now knew what it was like to truly breastfeed a toddler.
So as we come upon 21 months breastfeeding this is turning into a whole new experience for me. I see that breastfeeding a toddler this age is different than even a 16 month old. I wonder how long we will go and continue to set goals/milestones for us. At this point I would like to make it to two since that is how long the WHO recommends breastfeeding. After that.. who knows. I would like to let my son wean on his terms.
So remember, setting goals can really help you stick with it even on those days when going another day seems impossible. I once heard a quote about breastfeeding, that you should not ever quit on your hardest day. I wish I knew who to credit for it so if you happen to know please tell me in the comments.
What is your goal? How long would you like to breastfeed and how far have you come?