Yes, I still breastfeed my toddler
Living in a world where everyone has an opinion and many are willing to speak it, having a baby is a bit scary. How, where, when and for how long you feed your baby are all very important decisions we face when we find out we are expecting.
I have always thought it should all be the moms’ choice - what was right for her and the baby in her arms. Never did I realize how much controversy was around these topics until I got pregnant. After a long, high risk pregnancy, it was finally my turn to find out what all of the hype was about.
Even though my daughter ended up in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) she nursed like a champ.
It seemed I had more than enough milk to feed her from the very beginning. I was so grateful and thankful for that. After reading so many books and articles on how many issues can come with nursing starting with latching and nipple confusion. I was elated when it didn’t seem like we had any issues at all.
I also never seemed to have a personal issue with breastfeeding in public. It truly did not bother me who was around or what they chose to look at. I was feeding my baby. I fought hard for the ability to place this beautiful tiny baby to my breast and nourish her. Looking into her eyes and having her hold my finger with her tiny hand. Nothing else mattered to me.
Thankfully most of the people I was around didn’t seem to have a problem with it either. Rarely was I asked to cover myself or leave the room. It appeared that I was doing everything right. Breastfeeding my daughter was the right choice for me. And many people applauded me for being able to do it. Sticking with it through the pinching and the teething and the biting and weight checks and everything else.
Then this wonderful thing happened. She turned one.
All of a sudden I started getting these looks. My family started to ask that dreaded question: When are you planning to wean her? Now I will admit, somewhat ashamed, I was one of those people that didn’t know why people nursed passed one. As they got older it seemed like the natural thing to do. Wean them and give them solids. But I was wrong.
Breastfeeding is so much more than nourishment. It is comfort. It is compassion. It is love. It is quiet. It is peace. It is that one thing that has the power to make everything better – for mom and for baby. And yes I am still saying baby. I don’t care if the little one is a day old or six years old. They are your baby. As a mom we carried that baby in our body. Our body built them, nourished them - both in and outside of the womb. They will forever be our baby.
Back to the point. I am a strong willed mom who knew my baby was not ready to wean at that magical first birthday. She was still very dependent on it. Sure she ate “real” food. But she needed it. So I fought through all of the questions and found articles to show how good breastmilk is for both of us, even after one. It was easy to point to the facts. That studies show it has impeccable benefits to nurse until the age of two.
But guess what: my baby is about to turn two. And all of the questions, the looks, the snide comments – they are all coming back. Not only from my family but now, more than ever, from strangers. From those people we walk by or sit across the restaurant.
“Have you started to wean yet?”
“Do you even still have milk in there?”
“Why don’t you just give her a banana?”
My answers are simple:
Yes, I now offer her other things before I nurse her. Night nursing is really starting to wear on me and I am preparing to fight the fight to get her to sleep more soundly without my breast.
Yes, I most definitely still have milk in there. Most moms will not dry up until a few weeks after their baby stops nursing.
And I do give her a banana. She loves them actually. But at this moment, she is not hungry for food. She does not need the nourishment of all of the nutrients and the antibodies that I am giving her. At this moment she needs me to take a minute out of the day to sit with her. She needs me to take a minute and do nothing but love her. At this moment she is scared because she does not know you and this is how she knows to feel comfortable in her environment.
Yes my baby is about to turn two years old, but we are not ready to wean. Our breastfeeding journey is not yet complete and I truly do not know when it will be. But for now I am going to continue to share this special bond with my daughter. For now we are happy. So happy soon to be birthday to my beautiful little girl. Please do not be surprised if you happen to see one of those times where she decides she needs a little milk. This is our story and together we will decide when to close this chapter.
Feel free to comment below with how old your nursling is and how your journey is going. If you would like to share your story along with all of the beautiful ladies who already have please send me a message here. I would be happy to document your story both in words and in pictures.
Note: Not all photos from this blog are by Miracle Kisses (as I am in the photos):
Spring flower crown session by www.littlestlovephotography.com; Black and white lifestyle image by www.kirstenlewisphoto.com and laying down breastfeeding photo by www.facebook.com/ninjaplussox