The Joys of Breastfeeding a Toddler #15

July 2nd, 2010 by Dionna | 15 Comments
Posted in Breastfeeding/Lactivism, Carnival and Special Series, Compassionate Advocacy, Feed with Love and Respect, Guest Posts, Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, natural parenting

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Today I am happy to host a guest post by a fellow mama blogger. Our Sentiments is a breastfeeding, attachment parenting mama of a beautiful 3 year old daughter, and she is passionate about being a volunteer breastfeeding counselor. Here is her breastfeeding guest post:

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Joys 15

I breastfeed a 3-year-old. I say this proudly, because for once my breasts have served a purpose besides hanging out in a bra. Some might think congratulations are in order. Truthfully, I can’t take any credit for it. Yes, they are my breasts, but it was all my daughter.

When I say it was all her, it was all her. I did not know anything, sitting in a hard plastic chair in the NICU looking at this new stranger I loved, just because. That was the most powerful feeling I have ever felt, loving someone – just because.

I picked her up and held her to my breast and she went straight for the nipple, held on to it like a straw. Did I know that was not the way it goes? Nope, I thought the toe curling pain was just part of motherhood. Well, birth was not that painless either, right? My thoughts before my daughter were: “Breastfeeding? Ah, I have the boobs, then I have the baby, no problem!”

After about four days, breastfeeding became a lot more comfortable. This was, of course, when I met the Lactation Counselor. When our Lactation Counselor said to me “good job and good latch” I looked at her ever so weirdly. It was my daughter that corrected her own latch, I did not have a clue as to what I was doing. I wear the breasts and hold the baby, but she does all the work. I was proud that I had a nursing champ who knew how to fix her latch.

After the woman left, I looked down at our nursing daughter and thought, “wow, are you ever one smart cookie.” Then I got that feeling that mothers must get when they see their babies walk across the stage to receive a diploma. I cried; I had never felt that feeling before becoming a mother. My heart grew and all of the pieces settled into place. It was nice. Really, really nice.

That was when things were put into motion, the thought of keeping the birth promises and looking towards the future and saying good-bye to the past. It was a feeling of peace, serenity even. My hopes and dreams for this little being were born that day out of the utmost love.

One of my hopes is for her to know breastfeeding. I want her to know she was breastfeed. I want her to remember all the times at the breast. I want her to see that no matter what is said to her once she is a mother, she will know and feel the truth.

I did not realize how much my daughter’s knowledge of breastfeeding meant to me until I went to my class to become a breastfeeding support volunteer. She was the oldest child, at two, of all the volunteers in class, and I spoke proudly of how long I have nursed her and how important it was for me to help other mothers who are where I had been.

Other mothers in the class has their nursing infants, and when the first infant nursed upon his mother’s breast . . . ah, you should have seen my daughter’s face. She was amazed to see another baby nurse, so much so that she nearly crawled into the mother’s lap to look at the nursing baby. As she touched the baby’s face she looked over to me with this smile of recognition. In that instant she had truly connected with another child.

In that moment she was so happy, and so was I. She learned that I am not the only mother to nurse, nor is she the only child. I realized then that not only do I want her to remember, but I would love for her to grow up with a friend who also nursed. Two children growing up together, both of whom were nursed until ripened. Friends who have seen each other nurse and understand just how loved they felt at their mother’s breast.

I would love to be a fly on the wall when the two reminisce about their nursing relationship with their mothers.

What would they remember?

What would they say?

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Breastfeeding a toddler (or a preschooler!) is full of laughter, joys, and heartbreaking tenderness. I am publishing a series of posts dedicated to the beauty of nursing toddlers in an effort to normalize this healthy and beneficial nursing relationship.

But this isn’t just about me – I want to hear YOUR joys. If you are nursing a toddler (or have in the past), please contact me and tell me about your favorite moments. I will include them in the series and credit you, your site, or post it anonymously if you so desire.

15 Responses to:
"The Joys of Breastfeeding a Toddler #15"

  1. mz

    I love this: “nurse until ripened.” That’s just it, isn’t it! Lovely photo as well :)

    • Our Sentiments   oursentiments

      Thank you very much, it was a hard time to get that picture just right. Nursing toddlers don’t usually want to stay still long enough to get a good shot.

  2. the Grumbles   thegrumbles

    this is so lovely, i love that phrase, “nursed until ripened.” this is one of the things i hope i can teach my son, that maybe he might remember breastfeeding and it’s comfort, and know that it’s the most normal way to feed babies. familiarity breeds comfort and vice versa.

  3. Lauren @ Hobo Mama   Hobo_Mama

    Simply beautiful! Your writing is so lyrical, and I love how positive you are here about nursing a 3-year-old. Often I feel defensive and shy about it, but you’re presenting it as just perfectly natural. I love how you’re looking forward to the future when they’ll have this lovely memory of the time spent snuggled so close to mama. I wish my son could be your daughter’s nursing buddy!

    • Our Sentiments   oursentiments

      The future does scare me, especially when I know she is getting older and she might wean soon. It’s something that I struggle with, but then I think it’s not really weaning, it morphing into something else. Just like the need for a diaper morphs to the potty, the womb morphs to the breast. It’s the only thing I can come up with that does not leave a falling feeling in my heart.

      • Lauren @ Hobo Mama   Hobo_Mama

        Thank you — that’s a perfect way to think of it! You’re right that we wouldn’t be ending our relationship by weaning, just continuing it into a different path.

  4. Kristin   sunfrog

    What a gorgeous photo! I also love the phrase “nursed until ripened” — what a lovely concept.

  5. Kjirsten

    Initially I thought I would just breastfeed the first twelve months but now my daughter is eleven months and I am going to let her wean herself when she is ready… Hoping it is much later rather than sooner! I love our special moments throughout the day where she rests in my arms and I get to whisper to her how special she is and how much I love her. I love breastfeeding!

  6. Our Sentiments   oursentiments

    The Grumbles and Kristen: I also love the phrase.

    Thank you everyone for your comments!

  7. Kjirsten

    Oh I like how you said in your comment that it is not weaning but morphing into something else. That is really true! Because an attached baby (not saying BF is the only way to have an attached baby ie attachment parenting but it definitely helps!!) is attached forever and is never “weaned” from relationship with mother but it just grows and develops. My mother BF me until I was 2 and she really is my very closest friend. I always knew growing up she was was and would always be there when I needed her to be a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear. Obviously, BF and “attachment parenting” are much more than just an outward act because you can breastfeed with a closed heart and bottle feed with an open heart and the baby bottle fed would be more “attached”. However, I personally feel that breastfeeding is an invitation to learn as a mother to live in the moment and to really live with an open heart. It forces you to stop and rest and gaze and ponder and love the little one you have been entrusted with. Anyways, that was a tangent but the word “morphing” instead of weaning got to me. : )

  8. katepickle   katepickle

    what a beautiful beautiful post….

  9. Ashley Poland   ashleympoland

    This is a lovely post! I’m still nursing our almost 16-month-old, and I’ve concluded that we’re just going to keep at it until he decides he’s done with it.

    I found that other than making sure that he always has some nourishment, even when he won’t eat, it has a very sedate effect — we can relax together, and he’ll doze off, and no matter how crazy he was making me feel, suddenly we’re calm and together and the negative feelings are gone.

    (Which is not to say that there haven’t been nights where I was simply tired. of. nursing. this fussy child, but those are farther and fewer than the nice, calm interludes.)

  10. Erin W. / Beatnik Momma   babybeatnik

    I love this post. You did such a great job with it! I always enjoy your writing, but I LOVE this! It’s really, REALLY good!

    It was nice talking with you last night too – I didn’t know you were participating in this carnival, so I’m glad I checked it out!

  11. MomAgain@40   karentoittoit

    It is a beautiful photo – it says it all! About the rekationship and the love…

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