I’m feeling pretty good today after a stomach sickness made it’s rounds over the last few days. It was a relatively short sickness for each of us but helping both children through the night alone left me feeling worn thin. The timing couldn’t have been worse with Cam being out of town and then working during my own stomach upset.
This was the first time Lily had been sick since she stopped nursing and it was as trying for her as it was for me. I hated not being able to offer her a perfect source for much needed hydration and nutrition, antibodies and comfort like I have every other time she’s been sick. Since our breastfeeding relationship took it’s natural course, I hadn’t felt upset about it ending, neither was I overjoyed. It just was what it was.
Lily’s nursing eased off somewhere after her sixth birthday but she tried one more time a few months later only to realise she wasn’t getting milk anymore. Realising this, she just seemed to move on from it.
Many people would be shocked to hear she nursed to such an age and I might have been too had I known I’d nurse any child so long. The thing is, I never thought about her age when I was nursing her. I didn’t see her as a six year old. I saw her as Lily and I saw the need she had and comfort she enjoyed in nursing.
Nursing my children has been one of the greatest gifts I could give to them. I know I don’t need to talk about all the benefits of breastfeeding for both the child and mother because they are widely talked about but here are a few links in case they’re needed.
I love how you didn’t think of Lily’s age…I experience the exact same thing with Isaac. He’s just about 3 1/2 and when I look at him I just see my “baby boy” who wants some comfort, some quality time…and I’m so happy to be able to give that to him. It really is such a gift.
It’s amazing to me that this topic has come up at this exact time for me. Somehow the topic of breastfeeding beyond the age of 1 came up in my Legal Research and Writing class. I was appalled to see the reactions of so many people when the topic of “extended nursing” was brought up. The topic became so interesting that my professor has made breastfeeding laws our midterm project. Your links were extemely helpful to me, and I’ll be going to class armed with lovely facts on Tues.
My little girl had a nightmare last night and I too thought of how I wish I was still nursing her. I let her burrow under my pajama shirt… that seemed to help but definitely not the same. How did you cope?
Until you have your own, the idea does sound outrageous to most of us, I think. But once you become a mother, that nursing babe turns into a nursing toddler who turns into a nursing kid and that’s just how it goes — if you are open. I like how you put it — that you didn’t think of her age but as Lily with a need.
Ugh. Sounds like a rough time for you with hubby away. Glad to hear it’s over now!
So true-Ginger is five and half and although she doesn’t nurse everyday now, she still often nurses happily off to sleep or calls me back to bed to snuggle and nurse in the morning when she wakes up.
Nursing certainly makes life easier in so many ways! Hope you are feeling better.
Beautiful pictures Annie! You couldn’t have said it better…it truly is the greatest gift I could ever give the kids!
I think Kate said it perfectly. When you take things day by day it seems arbitrary to just decide that it is only “okay” to nurse until a particular age. I mean, if it is okay at 1 year, why not 1 year and 1 day? And if it is okay at 18 months, why not 18 months and one day? And on and on.
My son weaned at about 3 1/2, but I am convinced he would’ve nursed much longer if my milk hadn’t dried up during my third trimester. I’m not even exactly sure when he weaned because it was such a long slow process and I think he even nursed for quite a while with no actual milk. If he’d hung on a few more weeks I think he might’ve hit colostrum and then I would’ve wound up tandem nursing both of my kiddos. Part of me is a little sad it didn’t work out that way, there are so many wonderful reason to keep nursing. He actually tried a few times after his sister was born, but seemed to have forgotten how to latch so it was more for laughs and giggles than anything.
I have been tandem nursing my one and two year and I hear all the time how my two year old is too old… Blah I bak at this and this is exactly what I needed to read tonite as I nurse my sweet girls to sleep, both fighting the sickies. Thanks you, thank you, thank you for writing this!
Hey Annie, Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family. I’m very behind on reading, but it was a joy for me to catch up on your most recent few posts just now, thanks. Amazing eagle photos ;)
I thought you might be interested in this article, supposedly based on the book “Breastfeeding Older Children” that was in our Saturday paper last weekend. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jan/09/breastfeeding-older-children
The author, Ann Sinnott has commented at the end of the web page, she’s pretty annoyed at the way they covered it and I think she right to be upset. The book itself looks like a really well written, interesting read.
I couldn’t agree with you more about nursing. I don’t think I nudged Esme along, but even still she gave at about 2.5 years. I can’t remember the last feed, it just sort of fizzled out. I wonder if it would have been easier for her to adjust to Magnus being around if she’d carried on. He loves his “side”..no chance of this one stopping any time soon.
Have you seen the state of our country? A bit of snow and it’s on it’s knees… We caught a rare glimpse of the TV news the other day and it was the only thing mentioned “Deep snow, country in turmoil”. Can you imagine that headline in Canada?! I’ve been getting my fix of sledging while I can before it melts and everything’s back to just being crap because that’s the way it is here instead of being crap because of a few inches of frozen rain!
Anyway, sorry for rambling
Love and best wishes for the year ahead
I have been very remiss about reading blogs over the holidays, but I’m hoping to finally start to catch up on all my favorites. Meredith is just getting over a pretty bad cold, and I was so grateful for her to still be nursing. She actually mostly stopped eating, but it was so nice for me to be able to be worry free and know that she was getting the hydration and nutrition she needed from breast milk. I have trouble imagining nursing a 6 year old or a 4 year old, or even a 2 1/2 year old for that matter. You put it best: I don’t really attach an age to her, she’s just who she is and she still loves to nurse and I don’t think she’s going to be stopping any time soon. I’m glad she’s managed to continue nursing through pregnancy and grateful my milk didn’t dry up.
I’ve had a couple of people make comments (mostly just family asking if she was still nursing and then silence when I say that she is), but they mean little to me compared to the benefits she still gets from nursing.