When I was a new mom, everyone was so happy to see me nursing. I was congratulated, told I was making the right choice. People often inquired how it was going, if they could help, offering advice on the best nipple creams and how to nurse while laying in bed.
Then we hit 6 months and Bug began to eat real food. People started asking when I was going to wean him and if I was going to begin pumping to give him a bottle.
Then we hit a year and I began to get the looks, glances, and exasperated sighs whenever my son came over and vocalized he wanted to nurse. If he could ask, if he could walk, if he had all those teeth, why in the world was I continuing to nurse him on demand?
By the time we got to 18 months the jokes about how he would nurse until he’s 10 and the proclaimed worry from “caring” others came forth at the mention of tandem nursing both the newborn and Bug come March.
And here I am, still nursing him as he wants, at 21 months. I’ve gotten used to the numerous comments and questions.
When he’s done.
You should really wean before the new baby comes. Because tandem nursing isn’t a totally real thing that many people have done.
And one of my absolute favorites-“At this point, you’re nursing more for you than for him.”
To which, I ask, so what if I am?
The health benefits of nursing a toddler aside, I challenge you, what if I am nursing for myself now?
What if I truly enjoy nursing my son after 6 weeks of tears, pain, and actual blood? What if I love the bond nursing has given me with my toddler son? What if nursing my 21 month old makes parenting easier on me.
Parenting is a hard road. When Bug is tired, nursing him to sleep is a soundproof way to settle him down enough to lull him to sleep. When he has been hurt, he often finds comfort in me breast feeding him. When he is teething, breast milk is a natural pain reliever that helps soothe the teeth poking through. When he wakes up in the middle of the night, I can snuggle him right in, offer him a drink, and he’s back to sleep in less than 20 minutes.
I can announce all the scientific reasons nursing past a year, past two years, into early childhood is healthy. I can cite a few different articles that highlight why America is one of the only places in the world that nursing a child becomes sexualized and anything more than providing your loved one with nourishment. But what if I don’t want to?
I’m nursing for him.
I’m nursing for health. I’m nursing for his bones and immune system. I’m nursing for the decreased risk in health problems in both him and myself as we grow older.
And I’m nursing for comfort. For a bond. And because it makes parenting and mommying easier most days.