Written by Beth
When I was pregnant, Anna asked how long I thought I would want to nurse our baby. I said maybe a year, but after that it would just be too weird. A kid coming up and asking to suck on my boob. Weird! I said I would pump and she could drink from a bottle but that’d be all. Well, here we are at 14 months, I haven’t pumped in months, and we are nursing nearly as often as a newborn. She’s still my baby and needs the milk I make just as much if not more now.
When Ellie turned 1, I thought nursing her at 1 looks exactly like nursing her at 11 months and 364 days old when she was still a “baby.” In my head I had somehow seen a helpless, tiny newborn needing my comfort and milk and the next day a toddler, who in my head resembled a four year old, jumping on me with light-up shoes and demanding I whip my boob out! I have come to realize I was being a tad dramatic. Our breastfeeding relationship is quite different than when she was an infant but it is still so special. She sits on my lap, looks into my eyes, (doesn’t attack me!) and I know that she is receiving the best thing I could possibly be providing her. She is learning words, crawling up and down stairs, practicing counting, jabbering, using a spoon, and already running but those things only help her so much. The breastmilk she is receiving helps her entire insides and outsides. My usual response to her eating dirt, floor food, or anything else suspicious is “that’s why we breastfeed” and the older she gets, the more crucial this benefit becomes!
Nursing a one year old is the norm in so many other parts of the world that it is so unfair that many women in America stop breastfeeding long before they, or the babies, want to because of societal pressures. Ads on tv, jokes on sitcoms, parenting magazines, family members, and of course the older, wiser generation of woman often tell breastfeeding moms that it’s ok to stop/formula or cow’s milk provides everything she needs/isn’t she a little old to be doing that? I say step off! First I grew this baby, then I birthed this baby, and now I have been providing her with the perfect nutrition since she was born. I know what my baby needs and she needs me, my milk, and maybe nap! E and I are going strong at almost 14 months old and I proudly nurse her whenever we go to help other moms stand up for what they know is right!
Viva la nursing past a year!