The Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy #18

August 13th, 2010 by Dionna | 9 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 Tracy. Tracy is an actress and singer living and working in a law firm in New York City. She gave birth (at 38 ½ weeks, vaginally with no epidural) to her twin girls, Callie & Veronica Coté, in January of 2009, two months shy of her 46th birthday. They are still happily nursing, co-sleeping and learning a lot every day. Here is her breastfeeding guest post:
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tandem nursing in publicOur two fabulous still-nursing daughters, Callie and Veronica, were 18 months old on the 4th of July – a fitting milestone for two such independent creatures.

The early days, when breastfeeding had its lovely moments but was also fraught with so much stress – am I making enough milk to feed my babies?  how many ounces did they get at that feeding?  are they gaining enough weight?  can I really breastfeed twins?  can I really TANDEM breastfeed twins?  are my nipples ever going to stop hurting?  is it seriously time to nurse/pump AGAIN? do i need more oatmeal/barley/fenugreek/water/fill in the blank? – seem like a long time ago now.  Those were the days when by the time one finished, the other would be ready to eat again and life felt more or less like a never-ending nursing session.

These days I find myself thinking more about how if nursing were indeed “never ending”, that would be alright with me.

Of course, it obviously will end someday when the girls are ready, but right now I am so happy (and profoundly grateful) that this part of our relationship has continued into toddlerhood.

It’s very different now, and it’s truly the cherry on the breastfeeding sundae.

For one thing, it’s certainly physically different. No more lifting one (or arranging two) gingerly onto me or onto a pillow and worrying about their latch. These days, they can climb right up and self-serve.

One of them tends to completely bubble over with laughter when she sees me unbutton my shirt. They can also tell me when they want to nurse. “More?,” they’ll ask. (It sounds like “moo-ah?”, but I choose to believe that is not because they are equating me with a cow in any way.) Sometimes they snuggle right into my body and nurse to their heart’s content – a rare oasis of stillness in the waking hours of a toddler (or the parent of a toddler).  Other times, they seem to change position with every swallow.  Full downward dogs are not uncommon.  Nor are legs dangling off the sofa, or bopping along to music, or feet pushed toward my face asking me to remove their playground shoes as they nurse. Occasionally, they will bonk heads by accident – this invariably makes them (and then, of course, me) giggle like crazy and usually leads to a few more purposeful rounds of head-bonking and giggling as well. Sometimes one will stop nursing to kiss or hug her sister.

Not that their days are endless blissful utopias of kisses, hugs, and giggles.

Like any toddlers, especially twin toddlers (and any siblings, especially twin siblings), they have their tantrums. They have their fights. They have their moments of being overtired or more easily frustrated than usual (each in her own way of course).

And what soothes, cures or turns these situations around approximately, oh, 99% of the time?

Nursing.

It’s like a miracle drug. Sometimes I find myself wondering what the heck I’ll do when I don’t have this panacea at my disposal anymore.
I’ll probably need some advice from some of you fabulous non-nursing or post-nursing mamas!

We also still nurse to sleep virtually every night (still on my original EZ-2-Nurse pillow believe it or not – of course they don’t fit on it anymore, but it still works as a place for them to lay their heads with their legs wrapped around my back).

I’ve only missed a handful of their bedtimes in their 18+ months, and to this day, the sight and sound and feel of them falling asleep at my breasts fills me with so much emotion I can barely describe it.

And later on when my husband and I join them (we still co-sleep – in a king-sized bed, thankfully! – but that is a post for another time), they know they have access to the all-night diner if they need it, as well.

They are secure, happy, peaceful, active, busy, curious, opinionated – and independent – little girls.

And none of us would trade this time for anything.

And while I obviously believe passionately in all of the well-documented physical and emotional benefits of breastfeeding well into toddlerhood for children, I never forget for a moment that the one who is luckiest of all to be having this experience is me.

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Breastfeeding past infancy 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 child who is older than one year, 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. (This series was formerly called “The Joys of Breastfeeding a Toddler.” I changed the name to reflect the fact that we are celebrating women who breastfeed past infancy, regardless of the age of the nursling.)

9 Responses to:
"The Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy #18"

  1. MomAgain@40   karentoittoit

    How wonderful to have such a relationship with your daughters.
    If you can do it with two, we can do it with one for sure! :D

  2. the grumbles   thegrumbles

    beautiful!

  3. You rock, mama. You are a rarity in the least, nursing twins at 18 months. What a great example of what is possible!

  4. liz noonan   liznoonan

    there is a lump at my throat right now, you’ve captured this perfectly – we ARE the lucky ones, aren’t we? good job, good mama!!

  5. Maureen

    Thank you for this wonderful testament to what is possible! I am nursing my 6 month old twin boys– right now in fact– and I cannot tell you how much it means to me to see success stories!

  6. Ida Mae   treeswillbend

    what a wonderful post :)

  7. tracy

    Thanks so much, everyone! I’m in awe of all of you mamas every day.
    Best, Tracy

  8. susan

    this is wonderful, Tracy! I’m breastfeeding Lily and it is such a pleasure! I couldn’t have said that 2 months ago but now I want to do this forever. And we coslept the first 3 months until her crib came and still do after breastfeeding in the middle of the night. Thanks for sharing and confirming my feelings on “attachment parenting”.

  9. Samantha

    This is so wonderful and inspiring, thank you. Brought tears to my eyes.

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