By: Tanya Pimental
Every day it becomes more and more apparent that my baby is all too quickly turning into a toddler. In my brain she just turned one, but in reality she is already 15 months old and we are still nursing. I know that many folks find this out of the ordinary and yet we have no real plans in place to wean. As a mom, I take great pride in my ability to have nursed my three kids, all for over a year. There are certainly many things that made that possible such as working from home, an efficient pump, babies that took bottles with no issue, and a great support system.
When I had my first and explored the options of feeding my baby, I knew that I wanted to at least try breastfeeding. I had no expectations that I would be able to or would want to do it for very long. After the first few days my inner determination set it and I decided I was going to make it work despite the pain and difficulties establishing a good latch. My new goal of six months came and went. She learned to sign milk and knew when to ask for it, even in less-than-ideal locations such as restaurants. Fast forward to 22 months and my pregnancy with my middle man, and we weaned pretty easily and felt great about having accomplished so much for us both.
Some may be asking what the benefit is for prolonged breastfeeding. There evidence supporting the benefits such as reduced childhood obesity, aids in the overall health of your child providing unique antibodies to fight illness, and even higher levels of cognitive development. For us, the key benefits above and beyond those have been a strong connection and sense of security, free food, and its potential to limit the risk of cancer for me- all things I consider to be pretty awesome bonuses.
The second time around we weaned earlier at 15 months. Those who know our middle man know that he would rather be bouncing off furniture, playing a sport, or pretending to be a super hero than sit for too long. He was a pincher and a squirmer which made our nursing sessions less than enjoyable and short at best. Surprisingly, he barely asked to nurse in the coming weeks and we never looked back.
So here we are with our third who is now getting bigger everyday and showing no signs of wanting to wean. She still nurses 4-5 times a day but mainly in the morning and at bedtime. We have tried to introduce her to milk but so far she is not interested in it at all. Offering a cup of milk at meals is not working out just yet and we end up dumping it so we will try offering it as a snack instead and hope she starts to like it more. Many folks think that I must want my body back and that it must be odd to nurse a baby who can ask for “momma milk.” But it’s really just part of our lifestyle and it’s quite easy. I’m in no rush to have them be all grown up and completely independent. For now, this continues and I can’t think of a single reason for it not to.
Those of you thinking about nursing a new baby or those considering weaning, I find Kelly Mom to be an amazing resource for the Breastfeeding Mom, full of great information about nursing past infancy. There is no real normal in this parenting world and we each do our very best for our families. Breastfeeding has been what worked for us and I take pride in having made it a part of who I am as a parent.