Monday, December 13, 2010

The Trials of Breastfeeding an 18 Month Old

Can I be honest?  This is not my favorite age to nurse.  In fact, I loathe it!  I know- that sounds horrible!  But he is just so handsy!  His little fingers are all over the place- in my mouth, up my nose, in my belly button, scratching me, picking at me, poking me.  He drives me crazy!

Squinty, silly face!
And he grazes!  A little here, a little there, ten minutes later a little bit more.  As I am nursing him right before bed I feel like I am being slowly tortured to death.

So, if it's that bad, why in the world do I keep doing it, right?!  Well, too many reasons to stop for, obviously.

-I know all the health reasons for a toddler to still be drinking breastmilk and I cannot deny them.

-I know that it should hopefully help ward off ear infections, which he is already prone to, so whatever I can do to help seems worth it.

-It is still such a useful tool!  It helps him (and therefore me) sleep at night and calm him if he is especially upset or crazy.

-There are those rare shining moments that he contently looks up at me, his eyes light up and he smiles (nipple still in mouth) and it is precious. (although he does usually follow such a look up with a slap to the face- kinda ruins it.  Oh, wait- these are supposed to be my reasons to continue... oops)

-I don't feel that he is old enough yet to understand why he would be cut off.  I weened Roman at 2 years old and he "got" it.  I don't think it would be fair to him to sever the supply just yet.

-There are health benefits to me too!  Any less risk I can have of getting breast or other female-related cancers is good by me!  Especially since I wasn't breastfed.

-I would get totally engorged if I quit right now!  I know that over the next 6 months he will slowly nurse less and less which will lead to less discomfort for both of us on quitting day.

First play in the snow!
I know this is all controversial.  Some people look at me in amazement (and as though I just grew a third eye in the middle of my forehead) when they find out I am still nursing him (keep in mind how big he is!).  Others try to force a smile and offer a simple "Hmmm," or "Oh" when they find out that I will not let him nurse until he is 4 (which he probably would if I let him) or whenever he decided to quit.  I find very few people who land in the middle with me, but that's ok.  Offending people has never been a factor in my deciding to breastfeed or not, it has always been about my babies, myself and my family and it always will be.

So for now- I will forge ahead for Lion Cub.  I will tolerate his antics (and possibly resort to putting him in a straight jacket) and deal with it.  I will even do my best to have a good attitude about the whole thing!  Although, deep down, I will probably be looking forward to the day that we are done.

Be sure to visit my sponsor- Marmee's Bread Market- for recipes and everything else you need to easily make fresh baked goods for your family!