I have a confession: I still nurse my 19 month old toddler and yes I plan to continue until she self weans.
It seems like it’s a dirty secret that I should be ashamed of and only whisper about in a darkened alley way. I feel judged as if it makes me less than a mother because I continue to let her nurse. How dare I to continue to treat her as an infant, isn’t she supposed to be like driving a care or getting a job now? Around here in this small town it is seen as a sin against nature or I’m some kind of deviant abusive woman for allowing my toddler to suckle. I don’t even dare bring up the topic in polite conversation for fear of the looks of disapproval and automatic withdraw from my company. If the topic happens to be broached I feel myself trying to justify my choice or down play the frequency, as if only nursing at night makes it better. The truth of the matter is, I feel the need to justify or conceal my choice to breast feed my toddler. That is the real truth I should feel shame over. Why should I care what the judgmental opinionated people care?
Why should I be ashamed of trying to provide what I feel is best for my child?
Is this not the child I carried inside of me for 43 weeks (yes, 43) while attending twice a week fetal stress tests? Is this not the child I woke up and nursed every 2 hours for 11 months till she learned to sleep 4 hours at a time?Is this not the child I have rejoiced over every success and milestone ever since she was born?
This is my child. My heart. My life. I would never do anything to hurt her or to prohibit her growth. I have done the research. I know the benefits of extended nursing. I will do what I feel is best for her. I will not let someone else tell me what is best for my own children.
Living in a small town is sometimes like living in a house of mirrors where everyone’s thoughts are a mirror of someone else’s. There is the same doctors, same teachers, and same out of date literature that they have all been subjected to. So it is this over shared out of date knowledge that I fight against today. From people at work all the way to family members. There is just little to no encouragement for a nursing mother of a toddler as in the popular opinion on their 1st birthday they are supposed to be cold turkey weaned happy and drinking pinto bean juice out of a sippy cup.
So with that being said, I will give my support to those who are also in the position I am in.You Go Momma!!
For one thing, I don’t want to discourage anyone from doing whatever they feel is best. Wean if you want to, formula feed if you want to, do what is best for you and your family. A happy mother makes a happy baby. While a fed baby makes a content baby which in turn makes a happy mother.
From my point of viewThe realities of nursing a toddler:
First and foremost, Toddlers have teeth and a lot of them. Sometimes (ok truth is it’s more often than not for us) they bite. Does it hurt? Well take one of the most sensitive parts of your body and then using a pair of pliers….. well you get the picture. YES it hurts! Get over it, it is going to hurt but the pain doesn’t last long and the benefits your giving your child will last a lifetime.
Toddlers are little pent up balls of energy beings who tend to get distracted. If she doesn’t want to nurse, I don’t make her. She is growing fine and from the amount of pull ups we go through, I know she is peeing well. She eats tons of solids and drinks other drinks. She is not completely dependent upon her mommy milk, she just doesn’t want to let it go. It is more out of comfort than nutrition at this stage of our nursing relationship.
There is something I like to call Toddler Nursing Yoga. This phenomenon is quite the spectacle and takes months of preparing for the level of skill I have seen. She will latch on while laying down and then maneuver herself over my shoulder and head in such a way that eventually she ends up standing on her head without ever letting go.
Another fact is she will figure out something to play with while nursing because it is physically impossible for her to just lay there and nurse. She maybe nursing on one side, but she will be pinching, scratching, or slapping the other out of boredom.
So with the pain, discouragement, and fear of teeth, is it worth it?
Did you nurse and for how long?
This Post was written by Becka M.
I’m just a multi-passionate Christian mom of three, who sews, crochets, crafts, and creates printable and educational materials. I love working in photography, digital art, graphics, and all things crafting. The LORD is my guide as I blog about my life.