My youngest is 19 months old and still breastfeeds. I know writing the word “still” might seem both absurd and shocking depending on who you ask. This is what is working right now, so for me, this is normal. Like with most things related to my second child, I have much firmer, I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude regarding the parenting of my children.
My oldest was weaned very gradually, starting from the time he was about a year old until he was off my breast by 20 months. It was a gentle process that utilized the support of those closest to me. And, while, my son was/is a high needs child, having no other children to care for at the time meant I could focus my energy on assuring his needs were met beyond our nursing relationship.
My youngest son has different needs. In many ways, he is less demanding than my oldest. He was never the type of round-the-clock feeder. He also easily adapted to his role as the second child and the divided attention that is part of the deal.
And yet, I still nurse him.
I still nurse him because, I am often exhaused from caring for my two boys, and I want the path of least resistance. If my youngest is tired and cranky, nursing is often the quickest and easiest way to calm him down. And at night, after a long day, if this is what gets him to sleep fastest, that’s what I’m going to do.
I still nurse him because, often it is the only chance we have for real connection. I get caught up in caring for his older brother, writing or doing household chores. I know that no matter how busy I am, those brief moments of breastfeeding are our time to bond.
I still nurse him because, subconsciously there is the understanding he might be my last child. No, I do not wish him to be a baby forever. I am actually a very hands off parent. That doesn’t mean, I can’t acknowledge the difficulty of ending one of the most powerful relationships a mother can have with her child.
As with my oldest, my plan was to breastfeed my youngest for one year, and just see how it goes beyond that point. Twenty months proved to be the right amount of time for my firstborn. This will not hold true for my youngest. Maybe he will wean at twenty-one months, or twenty-four or beyond. I may get fed up and decide to cut him off tomorrow.
Until then, I will endure the acrobatics, nursing negotiations, random marathon sessions and everything else that comes with breastfeeding a toddler. I will continue to seek support from my family to help me ease my child toward independence.
And when the time comes for us to end our breastfeeding relationship, I know it will be what’s best for our family.
Our little one is almost 3 and we’re still going strong breastfeeding. I figure breastfeeding will stop naturally by weaning or our schedule will get altered by school eventually. I’m leaving it up to our kiddo at this point. I laughed so hard at your “nursing negotiations” as that is exactly what it feels like somedays being a 24/7 breastaurant while juggling all of life’s responsibilities. Would not trade it for anything though!
Wow go you! Glad you found what works for you.
I nursed my first until she was 30 months because it worked for us. She was my only child at the time and it was easy to keep doing what we had been doing for so long. It was our special bonding time for just me and her. People didn’t like it, I was always asked if I’d weaned her yet, or “Are you STILL nursing her?” But she was my child and I did what was right for us. She weaned herself when I was about 3 months pregnant and it was bitter sweet. I miss that connection with her, but now I’m starting a new breastfeeding journey with my 2nd child. As with my first, I will nurse him for as long as he needs it, no matter what others may think.
Thank you for sharing your story. Every nursing relationship is different and I wish you lots of joy as you embark on this journey with your second child.