Nursing a toddler


First of all I never, not in a million years, thought I’d ever have a reason to say that. I’m nursing a toddler.

My goals for breastfeeding early on in my pregnancy were simple. I’ll try to make it to a year, then I’ll be sure to want my body back. I was well aware of how hard breastfeeding could be, and that obstacles could lie in our way, but I thought one year was pretty generous. After all, before getting pregnant my thoughts on breastfeeding were closer to those of a teenage boy: you want me to do what from where?

I had seen my sister nurse her daughter until two and a half. I admired her for it–and I didn’t think I ever could do it. Certainly I wouldn’t still be nursing a child who could ask for it by name?  I just never thought that would be me.

Yet here I sit, typing this post into my phone while my son nurses to sleep, just as we have done almost every single night since he was born. Sixteen months to the day later, and we’re still going strong. And yes, he asked to “nurr” before bed. I’ve surprised myself yet again.

I’m glad we’re not done breastfeeding. Even past my one-year goal, I don’t feel the need to “have my body back” yet. It helps that our nursing sessions have gotten shorter, easier and less frequent than, say, this time last year. Yes, it’s bonding time for the two of us, but it’s also become a seamless part of our daily lives. It’s special and also routine. It’s a nice way for both of us to ease into our morning and ease into our evening. I can’t say I’m ready to give that up yet.

That, and I’m slightly terrified about learning to parent without breastfeeding. Lenny is great about self soothing, so breastfeeding is not always the go-to for soothing tantrums or tears. It is, however, the best way for me to get him to sleep every night, and the best medicine when he’s sick or teething. For the teething alone I’m willing to stick this out a little longer.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll be breastfeeding a toddler. I obviously thought I had it figured out before, and I continue to prove myself wrong with each day we continue to breastfeed. I do know that I’ll try to enjoy every minute while nursing my toddler, however much longer that will be.

4 comments on “Nursing a toddler”

  1. Yup! I will admit to HATING breastfeeding when I had my first. I didn’t just feel neutral about it– it hurt and was horrible. To be honest, I stuck with it solely because I’d just quit my full-time job and it saved me a bunch of money on formula! I just tried to get through the next 24 hours, and certainly never envisioned going beyond even 6 months– but ended up nursing until 16 months with both kids for the reasons you mentioned (sleep, health benefits, etc). So funny what we think motherhood will be like versus what it is REALLY like! 🙂

  2. There are so many things I said I would never do before becoming a mom that I totally do now! Great post.

  3. “I obviously thought I had it figured out before…” Best parenting line ever! So true, I keep humbling myself with how often “I think I thought” I knew something :).

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