I am mother to a nursing toddler; 20 months old to be exact.
Our nursing relationship is something very dear to me, and I can't really imagine parenting without breastfeeding.
It is such a comfort; such a parenting tool at this point in development.
I nurse W on demand, and I plan to until he weans himself, no matter what age that may be.
This doesn't mean that I haven't been met with occasional or frequent issues with nursing "manners"....
Oh, W loves his "mean-ah". He *really* loves it.
He pulls it out of the top of my shirt. (ouch.)
He crawls all over me at night. (hello, plugged duct last week. Never saw that coming...)
And hello, nursing tantrum....
He screams for it. Throws tantrums when I don't oblige right away.
He would be perfectly happy trading in all of his solid food for breastmilk any day. (depending on his mood, he'll nurse much more than he eats. This happens often.)
He pokes...and flicks....and yanks.
He went through a biting stage last summer.
He constantly asks to nurse during playschool and our activities. Sometimes, his timing is not so great.
I don't know where this photo came from, but I LOVE it!
Yet, we still emerge as a happy breastfeeding and co-sleeping dyad.
Breastfeeding is important to me. It is important that W self weans. I firmly believe that W will learn independence through dependence on me.
It is important that we promote breastfeeding as the norm in our otherwise bottle fed society.
Last Spring I worked as a breastfeeding peer counselor at our local WIC clinic. With W in tow at the office, I counseled new mothers on the basics of breastfeeding. What I found was that most of all, women need the support and applause from loved ones to be successful at nursing. Women should be guided to nurse discreetly if this is their concern, but also assured that breastfeeding in public is legal and a strong example.
Me? I'm a brazen public nurser.
That's not to say that I don't take measures to appropriately cover up...but there's really no place I won't nurse my babe.
With that said, I feel like it might be time to set some realistic boundaries for my nursling.
Here are my proposed "guidelines"
1. First and foremost, it is not a hose. Please don't attempt to pull it out of the top of my shirt, grab it in your fist, and bring it to your mouth like a handful of pretzels. It doesn't work like that. Oh, and it hurts.
2. My breasts can't be to your sweet little mouth the second you want them...especially if I have the oven door open, or something else where my two hands are absolutely occupied at the moment. Hang in there. I'll happily be with you as soon as I can...and you know I deliberately aim to move slowly in all that I do.
3. The acrobatic nursing is ok with me....but please refrain from kicking your feet too closely to my face.
4. I'm glad that you love your milk so much, but a warm and nutritious breakfast, lunch, and dinner must be eaten. In short, please no "mean-ah" at the table.
5. Don't worry, love....we will remain a cosleeping family as long as you need us to be. I love your little warm body next to me. I can't imagine not seeing you first thing in the morning.
kneading bread and nursing....it can happen!
Our playschool children remark, "Wow! He's sure thirsty!"
I am learning to balance breastfeeding and moving throughout our day at playschool.
I wager that W nurses nearly every hour-- I've learned to multi task!
W had to get used to sharing my attention with the other children and he is doing quite well.
I think that his return to comfort during this transition has been frequent nursing.
Ah, but really, there's nothing like a quiet moment shared as a nursing couple...
The milk-drunk roll of the eyes...
The sweet and buttery breath...
I'd love to hear your toddler nursing stories.... :)
I'll leave you with photos from our past week of playschool...we are embracing spring, rebirth, and patience for all the good things to surely come...
wet felted robin's eggs
"yucky" onion grass soup (ahem, not to eat, mind you!)
Mama bird cares for her young with patience and love...
Bread Baking and sunshine...