Before I begin, I just want to say that I understand that not all mama’s are able to nurse their babies. I believe that as long as a baby is fed and loved, then you are doing it right!
When I found out that I was pregnant, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed my baby. So the first thing I did was gather up all the books that I could find to read up on it. We also signed up to attend the breastfeeding class that our hospital offered to help prepare us. This class was actually extremely helpful because the nurse doing the class was so real with us. She told us that it was not going to be easy and that we were going to want to quit. She also told all the men in the class that they needed to support us and encourage us and do whatever possible to make things easier for us.
I left the class thinking that I would be lucky if I could make it the first three months of nursing my son. That was my goal. THREE months! Here I am writing this and we are still nursing, at almost 20 months!
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Before I got pregnant, I didn’t really even know anyone who nursed longer than a year. I just thought that stopping when your baby turned one was the normal thing. But then I came across a lady on Facebook called “The Leaky Boob”. She talked about nursing toddlers and not weaning your baby until they were ready. I talked to a friend of mine and found out that she also did not wean her babies at the age of one. Then I came across a book called The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. You guys, this book is huge! I read this entire book in less than two weeks! (That’s fast for me, especially with having a baby!)
When I grabbed this book, I was struggling in my mind with thinking I had to night wean my son. He was still waking up multiple times a night at 6 months old (gasp! I’m 24 years old and I still wake up at night occasionally, so why would I expect my SIX MONTH OLD to not wake up!)
I told this to a friend when I was asked the question that everyone always asks… “So…is he sleeping through the night yet?”
I told her that yes, he does sleep at night for about 12 hours, but he does still wake up a few times. So in answer to that question that everyone asks, no, he does not “sleep through the night” for 8-12 hours straight.
She looked at me in disbelief and said, “Aren’t you tired?”
All I could do was laugh and say “Yes, I am very tired”. But, I know that this is only a short season of my life.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding also talked about the many benefits of nursing past the age of one. For us, those benefits have been:
- Being able to comfort him while he is teething
- Instantly stopping an oncoming tantrum by nursing (I call that the motherly art of distracting! 😉 )
- Comforting him by nursing when he’s sick or hurt
- He hardly ever does get sick, he only has a few times
- Helping him relax and fall asleep when he’s overtired
- I’m still providing him with all the vitamins he needs through the milk
And many many more benefits!
When we stop to nurse during the day that might be the only time that my busy and curious toddler will actually stop moving. Although, he does love to practice his gymnurstics! 😉 Nursing my toddler is such a precious time for us to slow down and have that bond, and I wouldn’t trade those times for any amount of sleep! Don’t get me wrong, it is hard sometimes, but it is still so worth it!
So, if you see me nursing my toddler and ask me “Are you going to wean him anytime soon?”
My answer is “No, when he is ready, he will stop.”