Bug is fourteen months old and this child is showing NO signs of being anywhere near wanting to wean. Ash only wanted me to breastfeed for six months. I talked her into a year. Now we’re heading towards an agreed eighteen months with a goal of two years hidden deep in my mommy-heart.
In all reality, I don’t really care how long we do it. I’m not out for some kind of medal or notoriety for breastfeeding the longest. I just want to do it for as long as Bug NEEDS me to do it. When she’s ready to be done, I’ll be done. I’ll cry and mourn the loss of that stage of her life, but I’ll (sort of) happily cease breastfeeding as soon as she’s ready, willing and able.
Breastfeeding a toddler isn’t easy! I would even say, at this stage, it’s harder than the very beginning. She’s so active. She moves around a LOT! Apparently, she thinks my nipple can swivel and she wants to see how far she can go before I unlatch her, give her a stern talking to and settle her down. She is a proficient breast feeding gymnast/dancer.
She refuses to be covered. I do my best in public, but she will pull off anything I put over her head and when I try to use my shirt to cover up the majority of my breast, she will SHOVE it away from her face. She’s much less modest than her mom!
She is learning to push her boundaries and breastfeeding is no exception. We’re operating on a “don’t ask, don’t deny” theory. I don’t offer her the breast. I wait for her to ask for it. When she does ask for it, I don’t deny her. Granted, if I’m talking to someone or in the middle of something, I will offer her the cup, but then immediately latch her on if/when she is unsatisfied with the cup or refuses it altogether.
She knows the appropriate way to ask (she will vocalize “more” while signing “please”. I’ve been trying to get her to use the sign for “milk” but she’s stubborn) and she knows she will be denied if she’s inappropriate.
If she is inappropriate in her request, she will be encouraged to ask correctly before I allow her to latch on.
She is not allowed to grab the neck of my shirt and pull it down, demanding “MORE!”
She isn’t allowed to stick her hand down my shirt and grab my breast.
When she’s done nursing, she’s done. She’s not allowed to play with my nipple or play the “latch on, latch off” game. She is learning she needs to respect me and be appropriate as far as nursing is concerned.
But she’s nowhere near being ready to wean. She nurses for a long session in the morning, mid-day and before bed. We have been moving away from shorter sessions during the day, mostly because she is so active she doesn’t stop to ask for it. She does seek it out when she’s tired, hungry or bored. Therefore, I try to prevent her form becoming hungry or bored.
She still wakes up twice a night, on average, to breastfeed for about three minutes. She never even really wakes up. Her eyes never open. Typically, she latches on and nurses without me even realizing it. If she can’t manage to latch on, she will cry out with a pathetic “more” and sit up until I help her.
To be honest, I’d be more than willing to night wean her, but I haven’t taken the time to research the best way to do this. (Suggestions more than welcome!)
But I know she isn’t ready. She hasn’t cut back on her frequency of nursing in quite awhile. She steadily requests to nurse at the same times, each day.
I know she will be ready and this could happen at any time. It may be next week. It may be next month. It may be next year. But it will be when she’s ready to wean.
As for me? The older she gets, the less likely I’ll be to whip it out in public. Out of respect for my wife and out of a desire to avoid any judgmental stares or comments, I will only breastfeed in private. But I will breastfeed as long as she needs.
Fourteen months and counting!
Breastmilk: The gift that keeps on giving!