I always knew that I was going to breastfeed. I was completely determined, which was a good thing because it's not always easy, but it's definitely worth it. When I was a baby, my mom breastfed me, and I self-weaned at 10 months. So, I figured that I would probably be breastfeeding my own daughter about that long...so that was my goal.
As it goes with parenting, though, best laid plans go awry, and goal posts are constantly being moved. This is how I found it with breastfeeding: the 10 month mark came and went and my gal was showing no signs of slowing down. Since I found breastfeeding to not only be quite convenient, but also bonding, I felt no reason to slow down, either.
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Let's talk facts
The worldwide average for weaning is 4 years old. I know lots of moms who breastfed as long. So there is nothing wrong with breastfeeding until you and/or your baby is ready to stop. It's a personal decision. But breastmilk continually changes to give your growing tike the nutrients and immunities they need. Don't EVER let someone tell you that "if they can ask for it, they are too old." First of all, it's no one's business, and secondly, it's just plain false. Breastfeeding is the gift that keeps on giving. I've continued to lose weight and feel amazing, and I know I am nourishing my daughter.
I also find it to be the best (most effective) comfort for upset feelings, boo-boos, nap time, and bedtime. While my daughter doesn't breastfeed as much during the day at this point, she does enjoy touching base with me throughout the day and leaning in for some quick milk. And, despite still breastfeeding like a champion, she's also quite a terrific eater. She eats three solid meals a day, and sometimes a snack.
Let's talk teeth & tweaking
Ugh. The biting. It happens. It's not quite as bad as it sounds (surprisingly), but requires swift intervention. The thing that I have found the most helpful is when she bites (which, I'm sorry to say can sometimes be on purpose), is that I put her down and say "I guess you're not hungry." And it upsets her, and so she stops. I have also found the biting thing waxes and wanes. I'll have a couple weeks where she gives me trouble with it, and then she stops for a couple months.
Another annoyance can be nipple tweaking. OUCH! I am slowly breaking my daughter of this habit. I was interested to learn that the tweaking thing actually serves a purpose; it stimulates letdown in the breast they are eating out of. Ah, nature, sometimes you are a devil! Haha. Of course, it's not comfortable, so I don't encourage the behavior. You can help break it by holding your baby's hand, or offering them a blanket to twist instead.
I was surprised to learn that my toddler JOKES with me while breastfeeding which is sooooo funny. She'll take my nipple and say "nom nom nom" like she's eating food. It's hilarious! These little moments between us are so sweet, and I know that someday they will gone. With her getting older, there is no telling when she'll be ready, so I just enjoy the little things while I can!
It eases worry
There are times when my daughter doesn't want to eat table food because maybe she's sick or teething or whatever. When this happens, I find that breastfeeding eases my worry because I know that her nutritional needs are being met--what a relief!
She's a pro and so am I
At this point, we are both breastfeeding pros. I remember in the beginning, I had to think about what to wear for easy access, or I would cautiously look around in public. Now? I hardly think about what I wear, or how to nurse in public. We are both good on the go, at home, and just about anywhere in between! We've hit a sweet spot.
So what has your experience been like breastfeeding your older baby? Please feel free to share in the comments section below!