Being that World Breastfeeding Week (Aug 1-7) is nearly finished and I’ve yet to post about the topic I thought it would be fitting to post an update on our breastfeeding journey.

Nursing a newborn and a toddler
Our first latch and a recent nursing photo

[typography size=”18″ size_format=”px”]I forgot to wean him at 1.  I forgot again at 2.  With 3 months until his third birthday it is quite possible we will forget to wean at his third birthday too. [/typography]

 

 

I never set out to breastfeed this long or wanted to be a poster child for “extended nursing.”  I have often posted about the topic because, even though it is personal in nature it is important to see mothers and toddlers who nurse past 2 because it is normal.  If you are reading this with a newborn in your arms and can’t fathom ever nursing that long I say to you that yes, it is possible.  3 years will sneak up on you faster than you think and that newborn will gradually grow into a toddler in front of your eyes.  They will still be your baby and you still might be nursing them.  Don’t knock it until you try it.

Our typical day begins when my son wakes me up.  Some days I am in his bed because he woke up in the middle of the night.  On a rare occasion he slept all night in his bed and comes to my room.  We will cuddle either on the couch or stay in bed and he will nurse for just 2-3 minutes.  Then it is time for breakfast and time to wake up Fletcher, who is normally still in bed.

I’ve gone past the “don’t ask, don’t refuse” stage and will not nurse him every time he asks.  I allow him to nurse only two or three times per day unless he is ill.  Several months ago he was very sick and didn’t eat for a week.  Still breastfeeding was a lifesaver and I’m not sure what we would have done without it.  At that time he was allowed to nurse whenever he wanted.

The next time he nurses is before his nap.  He looks forward to having his “milk-milk” and it has made nap time drama-free.  Again, he only nurses for a minute or two on each side and then I leave the room for him to fall asleep on his own.  He is not being nursed to sleep and hasn’t been for many months.

Our last nursing session of the day is before bed.   It might last a little longer, four to six minutes, and we get to cuddle while I stroke his hair and tell him about the dreams he can have that night.  That is my favorite part of the day.

It may seem that he is content to have just three times to nurse a day but that isn’t the case.  He tries to nurse more than that, especially if I’m sitting on the couch.  He has brazenly walked up and pulled my shirt up to gain access and he asks for “milk-milk” way more than he gets it.  I’m not a mean mommy, but I’m not nursing a newborn.  At some point I do want to wean him and it starts with baby steps.  No nursing at night, not nursing on demand…. we have limits and boundaries.  A few months ago we didn’t and I was on the verge of cutting him off cold turkey because I was so touched out.

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As for what it feels like to nurse an almost three year old- it is still wonderful for the most part.  I don’t see him as almost 3.  He is my youngest and still my baby.  If I had a newborn to compare him to he might seem more grown up but I don’t.  He didn’t become this size overnight so it has continued to remain normal and comfortable to keep breastfeeding him.  The positions are different- he can’t just fit inside of my arms while I cradle him.  Now he lays next to me in bed and his feet are touching my legs.

There is an end in sight.  He can go a full day without nursing and he has when we are busy or on vacation.  He will opt out of nursing on occasion when he wants to sleep in his brother’s room.  I see opportunities to remove another nursing session soon as we slowly work down to nothing.  He may even wean while I am out for a week long trip for work in October.  I’m confident we won’t be nursing by his fourth birthday but other than that guess I don’t have a weaning date in mind.

For more blog posts on our breastfeeding journey:

Tongue Tied and Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding and Dairy Intolerance

18 Months and 6 days, but who’s counting?

Nursing into Toddlerhood and Beyond

Oops!  I forgot to wean my 2 year old.

Weaning or Potty Training?  Which would come first?

 

22 Responses

  1. I think it is incredible that you have nursed your son this long! I had every intention of nursing until at least 2 years…but it didn’t happen that way.

  2. I love that you share your successful breast feeding journey with us. It gives me hope that, with my next child, I too shall be successful!

    Keep calm and nurse on!

  3. I can honestly say I am so proud of mothers who practice “extended nursing”, even though it is slightly awkward for me. I was taught (by my own mother!!!) that breast feeding was gross. It has taken a lot to get that foolishness out of my mind. I struggled nursing my first and only lasted a few weeks, and that was with supplimenting formula. I was blessed to nurse my second for a little over a year. Lol, I began to feel like a pure milk factory since she wouldn’t even take expressed milk from a bottle, she was strictly about the breast. Now with baby #3 I plan on making at least a solid 2 years our goal. Thanks for the inspiration and proving it is not only possible, but totally NOT gross!!

  4. I love this post! I weaned my daughter at about 13 months when I got pregnant again and I miss it soooo much! Can’t wait to nurse our little boy in December. I was out today and saw a bunch of moms breastfeeding – woohoo! – and absolutely can’t wait to do it again. I think any mom completely understands what you said about your toddler still being your “baby” – for a mom I think their kids are always their babies, no matter how old they get! 🙂

  5. Congratulations! My oldest weaned herself at 34 months, my youngest is a year and going strong. Your nursing pictures are beautiful!

  6. Thank you very much for posting this! My son will be 3 on 9/11 and like you my intentions were not to go this long, but it feels normal. I like the way you mentioned some boundaries, good ideas. Even though this feels natural, I feel I’m alone since no one else understands. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone.

    Thank you for sharing!

  7. Love Love Love this post… Interestingly enough I see my self still breastfeeding when my youngest gets to be that age.. He is 16 months now but there is no end in sight that I can see at this moment and I am so proud to be able to provide him with this nutrition, and love . I think I sometimes feel that I am over compensating bc I am a single mom , but the benefits to both mother and child is phenomenal. He eats but dosen’t eat that much so I actually am glad that he is stilled nursed to keep him healthy , and he is.
    Congrats and Kudos to you and all of us …
    Thanks for sharing ..

  8. Lovely post and such precious images included. I’m currently nursing my 35 month old son. I’m working on limiting things a bit, but he does love his booby time! He still nurses to sleep most nights and naptimes, which is fine by me. He has no desire to be limited, but I need it! Sometimes he makes me crazy! LOL Oh well. He won’t nurse forever and I cherish the time I’ve spent with him.

  9. Thanks for this post! My dd is almost two and still nursing strong. I am pregnant and was thinking about weaning her but with her recent diagnosis of multiple severe food allergies, I am so thankful that I can continue to provide her with extra nourishment on her limited diet- even though it means that I am now on an allergen- free diet as well. I will probably continue at least another year unless she weans herself. Usually we are down to 3ish times per day, but somedays like today, she wants to nurse a lot and not eat much. I go with it and trust that she knows what her body needs, but do set limits if I am feeling touched out. We are weaned at bedtime and most of the night and that has helpes me manage her needs better. The upside to nursing a toddler is the cuteness- she likes to say, “Hello, Milk, How are you today?” And offers milk to the baby in my uterus. 🙂

    1. I nursed a good part of the pregnancy, until the production went down. Had it stayed up, I may have continued, but I guess 29 months was a good time anyway. I hope your daughter can continue for a while, and that she keeps up with the cute comments as well.

  10. I just weaned my 2 year old (+2 months, to be exact) last Tuesday, so all of this is fresh in my mind. This time last week I still expected to nurse him before naptime, before bedtime and in the middle of the night during a nightly wake up. Then, I decided to drop the middle of the night feeding, just to see how he took it. He protested, but not enough to make me feel that he wasn’t capable of just going back to sleep. He did fall back to sleep after about 5 minutes of protesting. The next day he skipped his nap (which he has been doing lately) and when it came to bedtime we did our normal bedtime routine and he didn’t even try to nurse. He just curled up in my arms. I. WAS. STUNNED. The child had never fallen asleep without nursing. The trend has continued this past week with these extremely lovely and relaxing mommy cuddles and after a few yawns, he is out like a light. Who is this child?

    It’s funny the expectations and plans you set out for your child. Certain milestones that you’re still waiting for, others that were skipped altogether and still some that whizzed by you in the blink of an eye. Who knew, that for us, our breastfeeding journey would be one of the big moments that ended in the blink of an eye? Because I would have kept going if I knew stopping would cause him any sort of distress.

    Funny, I don’t take many pictures of my son sleeping, but I did happen to snap a picture of him sleeping, on the night that would be our last evening nursing session. Now I have that image, and the beautiful memories of our breastfeeding journey in my heart, and I hope, they remain in his heart, as well.

  11. Love 🙂 I am jealous my boy self weaned at 15 months. I was bf’d til at least 2 and I remember my brother was also. Good for you!

  12. Congratulations!

    I struggled to breastfeed my first. I only wanted to breastfeed and thought it was natural so of course we could do it. Turns out, we couldn’t. He had a lot of issues and ultimately couldn’t latch onto me. I wasn’t aware of what was going on with him though, so with my second (13 months after my first), I started out feeling defeated and supplementing with formula. Needless to say nursing didn’t last long with him either. I think our last feeding was at 3 months and even then it was down to just 2 times a day.

    When I found out I was pregnant with my third, I was a few years older, and felt more confident in my ability as a mom. I did a LOT of research on breastfeeding. I was completely prepared this time. My goal was 6 months. A year was my, AWESOME, pat my self on the back point. And anything after that was just fine with me.

    Well, she decided to self wean herself by 13 months. She just started giving up feedings and before I knew it, there were no more! I sat there stunned. Where did my baby go? I was so prepared for this to be an as long as she wants thing…just didn’t think she’d only want a year of it! ha ha!

    Breastfeeding (and motherhood in general) are such an adventure. Most of the time I feel like I’ve got a blindfold on. Never know what’s going to happen next! 🙂

  13. This blog post really resonated with me. I am still nursing my 2 year old (or 31 months) as well as my 14 month old. My 2 year old is much like your son, asks for “num-num’s” all day, everyday. I don’t give it to her. She might fuss a bit and always wonder why baby still gets it whenever she wants but I explain that baby’s belly needs num-num’s to grow, Mia’s doesn’t. It’s hard when she’s in a bit of a mood, to deny her. Almost as if I know if I just give in, I can keep the peace in our house, lol. As she approaches 3 though, I’m certain that we will be winding down and I’m perfectly okay with that.

    When you said, “touched out” I nearly laughed out loud. I have the same problem some days! My 2 year old is still every bit a Mama’s girl and has to sit with me and rub my arm to fall asleep. Between the constant nursing and the rubbing, I honestly felt like if one more person touched me – I was going to jump out of my skin. Cue, it’s time to wean down. We have a similar nursing schedule but I will admit, since she still sleeps with me, we do sometimes have a night feeding in there. Again, mostly for my sanity and sleep, it’s not worth denying and waking the house with screams. Once my husband returns from his deployment, our bedtime routine will change and I’m hoping having him take part in it will soothe her without nursing. Fingers crossed, haha.

    It’s odd how many people find extended nursing so taboo. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been asked when I’m going to stop, it’s ridiculous. Not that it’s their business but Lord if they don’t act like it is! Great post though, it’s good to know we aren’t the only ones ready to wean but happy to let it take it’s time!

  14. I’m having my first child after almost 16 years. OMG my baby will be 16 in August! I was not able to breastfeed with my first because we were both very sick when she was delivered and I was in and out of the hospital. Then with my second I was only able to breastfeed for three months. With this one I am a little bit older and the thought that I might not be able to breastfeed scares me. I would love to be able to breastfeed for at the very least a year. Everything is new to me again, I just hope that breastfeeding is an old hat that sits comfortably.

    1. My sister is also having a baby soon and her only other child is 16. Good luck!
      Please excuse typos and brevity. Sent from my iPhone

  15. I’m a first time mother with a little 5 month old. I hope to get to at least age 2. You are an inspiration 🙂 We had a lot of problems to begin with because he was a little preemie, and it is only in the last 6 weeks or so that it has become easy and comfortable. Now I want to make that last!

  16. I’m happy to see posts like this that make “extended” breastfeeding seem more acceptable. My son will be 3 in just 7 weeks and he is still happily breastfed. ♡

  17. I’m still breast feeding my third child, my two and a half year old son. I never considered extended breast feeding with my two older girls. My daughters weened themselves at just before a year. With my son many things are different and I couldn’t be more at peace with his love for nursing. It’s beautiful time spent with a child I’m blessed to be a mother to.

  18. I didn’t wean my daughter until she was almost two and a half. My son weaned around age 2. I weaned both of them because it was hard for me to nurse during those early days of pregnancy when my breasts were so sore! I’m not sure how long I would’ve nursed if I hadn’t have decided to have another child. I think it’s different for everyone. I agree that no one expects what they wind up doing. hahaha

    1. I know you commented a few months ago but i have a question. I’m nursing a 2.5 year old and I’m thinking of trying to conceive sometime in the next year. I’m a afraid my toddler will be jealous of a new baby that gets to nurse. Did you have any problems like that with your toddler when your newborn arrived?

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