The Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy #23
Today I am happy to host a guest post by Mary Elizabeth, who is the mother of four small children, 2 boys and 2 girls. She has a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and she taught elementary school for five years before she decided to stay at home full-time. She is passionate about parenting and teaching (and breastfeeding!). You can normally find Mary Elizabeth at one of her two blogs, Ten Thousand Hugs and A Novel Idea. Here is her breastfeeding guest post:
Undeniably, one of the most delightful blessings I have received in my life has been the ability to breastfeed all three of my eldest children into the early stages of toddlerhood. I am currently relishing in the experience of exclusively breastfeeding the newest addition to our family, little Naomi, born this past January. I am looking forward to nursing her for at least two to three more years!
For me, nursing an older baby or toddler is marked with a deepening, unrepeatable front-row seat to their development. As a mother, I have marveled at watching the gentle suckling of each of my newborn babies blossom into their own, unique nursing styles. Much like each of us exhibits our distinctive personality traits during a conversation, breastfeeding sessions afford the toddler a similar opportunity to display his or her temperament. This particular interaction between mother and child is virtually overflowing with psychological and sociological benefits for both persons involved in this beautiful, natural process!
First, the simple act of gazing into a mother’s eyes while nursing provides enormous security and comfort for the child. As a mother, the feelings of warmth and pure joy I experience during each nursing session are simply incomparable to any other emotion I have had. While nursing, I am able to feel the exquisite, natural beauty of providing sustenance to my young.
As the older baby or toddler moves through the nursing session and physical hunger is satisfied, the social aspect of the mealtime truly begins. Perhaps another voice in the room is heard, and the toddler turns away from the breast to investigate the source of the noise. Nestled safely in his or her mother’s arms, the toddler finds the sound’s origin and returns to the breast, able to feel complete and utter comfort with the event.
Our youngest child is now almost eight months old! We both have been reaping complete enjoyment from our nursing experience ever since the moment she entered this world, was handed to me, and attached herself to my breast for the first time. As with my three older children, I cherish these few years I have to nurture her through nature’s perfect bonding experience. May you find the same joy with your children on your own breastfeeding journey!
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.)
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"The Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy #23"
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