If you had showed me this TIME Magazine cover, featuring a mother breastfeeding her toddler who is STANDING UP, one year ago, I would have laughed.
"Not me! That won't be me! I will breastfeed until she's around one. 10 months maybe?"
Yet there I was the other day, sitting on the couch in my living room nursing an almost one year old who was...standing up. "Look!" I said to my husband. He thought it was funny and laughed out loud. My daughter, of course, thought nothing of it.
Long before I became pregnant, I knew I would breastfeed. After tons of reading and education in natural parenting, as well as attachment parenting, I also knew I would want to nurse my baby for up to a year. Those first few weeks were brutal. Oversupply issues, a colicky baby, cracked and bleeding nipples, you name it, I dealt with it. Through daily tears of frustration, I told myself I only had to do it for six months. I counted the weeks and dreamt of the day I wouldn't need to wear easy access bras and tops.
Then, somewhere around 10 or 12 weeks after my daughter was born, our nursing relationship became enjoyable. I finally experienced those super emotional letdowns and the high that comes from cuddling so close for several hours a day. I knew there was no stopping in our near future. I told myself to prepare to carry on feeding her this way well into her second year.
My daughter has never taken a bottle or a pacifier, and most solid food still end up on the floor. For nearly one year, I have kept her alive and perfectly content with my boobs. It's amazing and I'm incredibly proud of myself.
How does everyone else around me feel? They are probably wondering when I will close up shop. They can keep wondering, because I kind of hate the word "wean." Or the question, "How long do you plan on nursing?" I don't "plan" on weaning my daughter. She will let me know when she's no longer interested, I presume. Even if this does include some gentle distractions and redirection as time goes on. I can't imagine flat out denying her something that she loves to do so much. She would cry, and that would probably break my heart in two.
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