The Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy #31

February 4th, 2011 by Dionna | 31 Comments
Posted in Breastfeeding/Lactivism, Feed with Love and Respect, Guest Posts, Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy

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Today I am happy to host a guest post by Rebecca. Rebecca is a 20 year old stay at home mama to her little girl Bailey. She enjoys spending her days with her husband and Bailey, sewing, and being outdoors. She hopes to one day find a way to make an impact on teen mothers and help them to breastfeed, since it seems to be even less common among younger moms. You can usually find Rebecca on Twitter: @SpiffyBex . Here is her breastfeeding guest post:
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Rebecca and Bailey, cuddled up

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed my children. I don’t know how, I just did. When I found out I was pregnant at 17 (I am 19 now) it was one of the first things to come out of my mouth to my husband (well, after I announced the big news of course). He agreed entirely and supported me, thankfully.

It was hard in the early days, as it is for everyone, but just being able to snuggle up with my daughter was amazing. To be able to feed her when no one else could allowed me to nurture and strengthen a unique bond. She would just lay there nursing, slowly drifting into sleep so peaceful and calm.

Ever since she was very tiny I would help hold my breast up for her, and she would rub and pat my hand as she drifted off. If I forgot, she would grunt at me until I would place my hand where it should be.

Now, at 16 months, it’s like I am her personal jungle gym. Nursing her has become kind of like a gymnastics class. She’s twisting all around, giggling the best giggles, trying to lay all over me and snuggle up to me in all sorts of weird positions.

I get a lot of questions like “Are you really still nursing her?” and “Shouldn’t she be on Cow’s Milk?,” but I know what we are doing is best for her! Mama’s Milk is what she needs.

I know that for a lot of people, it’s hard to imagine nursing a toddler, but it isn’t like a toddler magically appears at your breast one day. It’s a gradual process of growth that gets our children to that point, and learning how to walk doesn’t mean they need us any less.

My daughter still nurses during the day as well as down for naps and at bedtime. Those moments are the best. Her heavy eyes staring up at me as she dozes off. If I’ve lost track of time and she’s getting sleepy she’ll stick her hand down my shirt with that cute little whimper of hers to let me know that she needs me, and only me will do!

To this day, even at 16 months, she still grunts if I forget to put my hand next to her for her to rub, pat, and hold as she drifts off to sleep.

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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.)

31 Responses to:
"The Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy #31"

  1. becky

    Awesome! I bet many young moms are not interested in “being tied” to a schedule. Helping young moms breastfeed can help them have very healthy infants and save lots of money in the long run!

  2. kaylee xx

    I breastfed my daughter till she was 15 months, would of happily fed longer but she wself weaned :-( maybe due to the fact I was pregnant with no 2 :-) I myself am a young mom, I am now breastfeeding my son and love every minute of it! :-) I think wat u are doing is brill and a lot of young moms could learn a lot from you :-) x x x

  3. Melissa

    This is beautiful!

  4. What a wonderful tale! When I discovered I was pregnant at 16, I thought about the decision and breastfeeding just seemed right to me. My father and step-mother were shocked and not terribly supportive. In fact, my instinctual breastfeeding timing (not waiting for her to cry to offer the breast) was one major thing that lead to my moving out at 17 when she was just a few months old.

    It sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders and great Mommy Instincts!

  5. Liz

    Beautiful story! You brought tears to my eyes :)

  6. Maman A Droit   MamanADroit

    Your baby/toddler is adorable!! (off-topic, I know, but couldn’t resist). I think it’s awesome that you breastfed and are still breastfeeding despite cultural pressure to do otherwise. I’ll never understand why etiquette goes out the window once someone has a baby-suddenly it’s ok to question & criticize everything they do! Good for you for doing what’s best for your daughter anyway.

  7. Amanda Dover

    This makes me smile. GREAT on you for following your instincts! :) God Bless!!!

  8. michelle

    Very wisely said: “I know that for a lot of people, it’s hard to imagine nursing a toddler, but it isn’t like a toddler magically appears at your breast one day. It’s a gradual process of growth that gets our children to that point, and learning how to walk doesn’t mean they need us any less.” Awesome story.

  9. Elsa   ElsaCooks

    My daughter still nurses and she’s 20 months! :) I don’t mind, I think (hopefully) she will stop when she’s ready.

  10. Melissa

    Rebecca you are amazing! Good for you girl. I can’t tell you how many teen moms think it is gross or that formula is just as good. I was so happy to see you write this article for others who may not know if or how to BF or if they are toying with the idea not to. You just tell those individuals that this is your baby and you plan to give her as much of those protective antibodies as you can before she goes to school! BFing longer than a year has just as many benefits for baby as it does in infancy. You deserve a huge pat on the back! Awesome…

    • Rebecca

      Thank you! My goal is to reach out to other young Moms and maybe make a difference, even if it’s just a tiny, barely noticeable difference, that will be good enough for me! If this post reaches just *one* Mom. I’m so thankful for the chance to have this posted on Code Name: Mama! :)

  11. Erin

    YOU are a beautiful momma!

  12. This post (I swear to GOD!) sounds like it came from my mouth. I was pregnant at sixteen, had my daughter at seventeen, and somehow have been breastfeeding from the beginning until now (and onward). I really had no idea that I was interested in breastfeeding either but when I found out I was pregnant I just knew that that’s how it was going to be. It felt right, and it still does.

    • Rebecca

      After thinking on it a few times, I once knew a woman who breastfed both of her children. I was only about three and I am pretty sure I asked her and she explained it to me. I think that may of had an impact – that ONE experience. So I really believe that something tiny can make an impact on the future. (:

  13. I had to laugh when you said breastfeeding her now is like a gymnastic routine! My 13 month old has recently gotten into that. She seems to find it a game to see how many different ways she can still nurse. One that cracked me up the other day was she stood next to me on the couch and bent over as if to do a flip, and latched on. I couldn’t figure out how she was swallowing upside down, but she was! My oldest nursed until she self-weaned at 20 months, and she never did anything like that. She was more of a routine-type child. Everything had to be the exact way every time she nursed or it threw her off her groove and she wouldn’t nurse.

  14. Beth

    I’m not sure why people get worried when you nurse a toddler. I’m nursing my 14mo son. He’s not going to remember my breasts or nursing from them any more than he will remember potty training. But he will know that I love him, that daddy loves him! We only nurse twice a day. First thing in the morning, he snuggles between my husband and I, he nurses until he goes back to sleep. If I try to give him a pacifier he will tell me “no” and grab at my shirt. Then when I get home from work we snuggle while my husband makes dinner.I talk to my guys about our days, my son will try to stick his feet up my nose, make me laugh, who wouldn’t want these memories?

  15. Melissa

    Good for you! You did a great job of explaining some of that special bond. My daughter is also 16 months old and still nursing. She is my fourth and last child. My third nursed for 27 months. He weaned when I was pregnant with her. I nursed my first 2 for 10 months each. Nursing in infancy is so important, but I think people underestimate the benefits of keeping it up through the toddler stage! Thanks for sharing your story!

  16. I personally know Rebecca and she has done a wonderful job breastfeeding and nurturing her darling little Bailey, I am very proud of her!!!

  17. I love this! My daughter is about the same age and I love our Jungle Gym / Gymnastics nursing. It makes me laugh so hard. which makes her giggle too. We laugh and laugh together. It’s a happy time.
    Thanks for sharing Rebecca!

  18. I'm a full-time mummy   imaftmummy

    Good job Rebecca! Keep it up! I’m at 23 months now and nursing while pregnant as well :)

  19. Krista H

    you go, mama!!

  20. Lacey Jane   LaceyJane

    Hands down- I love the Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy series more than anything. I do not yet have children, but I do plan on letting them self-wean in their own time, and have been preparing myself (already) to put up with negativity surrounding my choice. My husband-to-be is supportive, so I know it will be just fine- but I love reading these very sweet stories, and knowing that I am not insane for wanting to give my children the absolute best, for as long as they need it.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      I’m so glad that you are planning breastfeeding (and past infancy!) – thanks for reading and supporting breastfeeding mamas.

  21. Brynn   babyinbliss

    The “jungle gym” routine has most definitely replaced the quiet, peaceful nursing sessions- now only really reserved for just before bed.

    I am so glad that you are so committed to nursing. It must be hard to have began this journey a little earlier than most you may know. I commend the efforts to have completely jumped on board so fully and with one of the more difficult (but, perhaps, most meaningful) aspects to early child-rearing practices. You must not have know many women actively nursing their little ones when you first began and I know the trials of getting things all up and running quite well. I hope you have found a community (either real-world or online) where you feel both encouraged and supported throughout your bf’ing journey.

    Our personal nursing journey has ended recently between me and my just barely 3-year old son. I still actively nurse his little sister (15 months) and your story is equally encouraging for me to continue on with her, despite the trials that present with two under foot.

  22. Melinda J

    Ahhhhhh!!!! I love that she holds and pats your hand! Your story warms my heart.

  23. Rachael   RachaelNevins

    So lovely! I especially like this bit: “but it isn’t like a toddler magically appears at your breast one day.” I myself couldn’t have imagined nursing a toddler, but here I am, doing it, for just this reason! Best wishes to you and your little one!

  24. What a wonderful story, Rebecca. You and your sweet one warm my heart. My mom had a similar experience having me at 19. She has always told me that she just tried to do her best by making it known how much she loves me. She loved breastfeeding and cuddling up with me and continued to show so much affection as I grew up. I have 3 siblings and now that we are grown up and beginning to have children, breastfeeding and natural parenting is all we have known. My mom (and in some ways my grandmother) started a legacy, just like YOU ARE CREATING, too.

    I wish you the best with Bailey and with inspiring other teen moms. You can do amazing things!

  25. This is my favourite line and one that I will surely keep to use “…it isn’t like a toddler magically appears at your breast one day.”

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