Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nurse On, Mama

*This post was created for The April Carnival of Breastfeeding hosted by Elita of Blacktating and Tanya of Motherwear. Check back for the links to the other carnival participants in a few days!*
Before my daughter was born, I planned on breastfeeding one year. In the weeks after she was born, I was making hourly bargains with myself to keep going for the next minute, forget the next eleven months. I was not prepared for the initial discomfort, but more pressing was the seemingly overwhelming commitment of being available to another human being every minute of every day.

Thanks to a support group, a healthy dose of peer pressure, and the discovery that having a breastfeeding relationship with my child was the best thing since sliced bread, I am still nursing my fifteen month old daughter today with no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Here are the things that I enjoy about nursing a toddler:
• She still loves milk more than just about anything else on the planet. It makes me feel good to be able to give her what she wants. When she wants it. Sometimes in acrobatic twists and upside positions. Plus, when she is sixteen and doesn't want to be quite so attached at the hip, I can recall these days with fondness.

• She simultaneously signs “milk” and gets really excited. Sometimes her little fist is opening and closing so quickly, I’m surprised her hands don’t cramp! It's just plain cute.

• Having milk stops tears and screams in their tracks 99.99% of the time. It’s like the cure-all salve in your medicine cabinet. Only my salve requires no packaging.

• When it’s time to nurse to sleep, I have a guaranteed 30 minutes (or more!) of quiet time in the dark with my daughter to relax with her and unwind. And think about how wonderful she is.

Here are the things that I worry about when it comes to nursing a toddler:
She will want to wean. I know that someday having milk isn’t going to be a part of our lives. It also makes me really sad to think that she might not really even remember this time in her life and how instrumental and important nursing was for both of us. I can only hope that she weans her mama slowly and with lots of gentle love.

Until that day comes, the only thing I can do is nurse on, mama, nurse on.

Mamapoeki from Authentic Parenting: Extended Breastfeeding?
Mama Alvina of Ahava & Amara Life Foundation: Breastfeeding Journey Continues
Elita @ Blacktating: The Last Time That Never Was
Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC: Old enough to ask for it
Karianna @ Caffeinated Catholic Mama: A Song for Mama’s Milk
Judy @ Mommy News Blog: My Favorite Moments
Tamara Reese @ Kveller: Extended Breastfeeding
Jenny @ Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: The Highs and Lows of Nursing a Toddler
Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding
Rebekah @ Momma’s Angel: My Sleep Breakthrough
Suzi @ Attachedattheboob: Why I love nursing a toddler
Claire @ The Adventures of Lactating Girl: My Hopes for Tandem Nursing
Elisa @ blissfulE: counter cultural: extended breastfeeding
Momma Jorje: Extended Breastfeeding, So Far!
Stephanie Precourt from Adventures in Babywearing: “Continued Breastfeeding”: straight from the mouths of babes
The Accidental Natural Mama: Nurse on, Mama
Sarah @ Reproductive Rites: Gratitude for extended breastfeeding
Nikki @ On Becoming Mommy: The Little Things
Dr. Sarah @ Good Enough Mum: Breastfeeding for longer than a year: myths, facts and what the research really shows
Amy @ WIC City: (Extended) Breastfeeding as Mothering
The Artsy Mama: Why Nurse a Toddler?
Christina @ The Milk Mama: The best thing about breastfeeding
TopHot @ the bee in your bonnet: From the Mouths of Babes
Beth @ Extended Breastfeeding: To Wean Or Not To Wean
Callista @ Callista’s Ramblings: Pressure To Stop Breastfeeding
Amanda @ Postilius: Nursing My Toddler Keeps My Baby Close
Sheryl @ Little Snowflakes: Tandem Nursing- The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Zoie @ Touchstone Z: Breastfeeding Flavors
Lauren @ Hobo Mama: Same old, same old: Extended breastfeeding
Tanya @ Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: Six misconceptions about extended breastfeeding
Jona ( Breastfeeding older twins
Motherlove Herbal Company: Five reasons to love nursing a toddler


blissful_e said...

In my experience, weaning gradually is what happens naturally. My oldest nursling (4-years-old) is down to once or twice a week. My 3-year-old probably nurses on average once per day. And my 19-month-old nurses on demand during the day, which sometimes is a LOT. It's all good.