Well, here we are, nursing. Still.
I have either been pregnant or breast-feeding someone for the past 7 years. I have two kids. I stopped nursing the first one when I was pregnant with the second. It wasn’t easy, it was heart-wrenching, but my milk was drying up and nursing was becoming incredibly painful. We switched to bottles of white grape juice to put her to sleep at night, then eventually, no bottles were needed. So, it worked out. She had just turned 3.
Currently, my second child is 3 years and 2 months old. My plan was to stop nursing her at 3, but here we are, going strong. I’m not upset about it, either, I know it’s coming to an end soon. I know she is my last baby, and this is a connection she is not willing to sever, just yet. We are in patient negotiations, and given time and understanding, we’ll get there.
Now, I know someone is thinking about all the ways to wean a child; someone is thinking that my daughter is too old to nurse, and someone else is thinking that I am crazy. Great! Enjoy your thoughts.
I read a post (from a mom’s Facebook group) the other day where someone revealed how old her nursing child was, and the comments were less than supportive. Let’s just say the helpful and judgmental moms were out in full-force. There were suggestions of cabbage leaves, decongestants, a trip away from baby, and (the ever-so helpful remarks) about how no child should nurse that long. People love to judge. People love to feel superior and offer suggestions. People forget to be kind, sometimes.
Here is what I say to those commenters: not your body, not your child, not your decision. Nursing a child past toddler-hood is not weird. In fact, it’s considered normal in many other countries.
Breastfeeding is a challenging, frustrating, beautiful blessing. Mothers worry about milk supply (I worried,) nipple soreness, latching (football hold,) baby weight (formula supplementation,) milk storage, etc. The list can go on for a very long time. So, before you get frustrated, scared and worried enough to give in and post on a Facebook group, blog or other community page, consult a professional. Call a lactation consultant. Take your questions/freak-outs to someone trained to help. (Because ‘Dayna Down the Street’ knows about her own experience with nursing her kids, but has no idea about your baby. She doesn’t know your life. She does not know how you want to parent.)
Here are some organizations to consult:
We are all making the best decisions for our kids, and motherhood is difficult enough without the judging voice in any of our heads. So, if you are nursing an older baby, aged toddler or child currently singing the ABCs – you are not alone. (No matter what your mother says.)