We Aren’t Quitting

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Some people may wonder why we are still breastfeeding at 16 months old, but if that question comes from a mother to a similarly aged child I want to ask her why she quit breastfeeding.
The nourishment doesn’t miraculously go away when a baby turns 6 months, 12 months, 28 months, etc. My milk is packed with vitamins, minerals and calories that help him grow. Sure, a cow has milk with great qualities, but that milk was perfected for her calf, just as mine was perfected for my son.
The comfort he gets cannot be replaced by a sippy cup, blanket, pacifier, teddy bear or his thumb. Suggesting such a thing, shows that you know nothing about Atticus and his needs.
He’s still a baby. 16 months or 16 days… He is a baby. He cries to communicate and he nurses for nutrition, comfort and rest.
Do I have days where I am beat, tired and over it? Absolutely. I often times wonder when my cycle will return and when my breasts will be “mine” again. At this juncture they are equal parts Atticus’ and mine. I don’t always enjoy nursing, but I do it out of love. The 10 minute nursing intervals we have during the day allow me 10 minutes to stare at my beautiful son and reflect on his 16 months Earth side. I don’t resent nursing, and if I did, I might be writing a different post.
Our nursing relationship isn’t always euphoric. It can be draining, painful, exhausting and I do it to be selfless. I put his needs before mine, and as a mother, it is important to do that for your child.
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Many mothers within our community of attachment, focus on self-weaning…. Essentially letting the child wean himself. Will we wean when he is ready? I’m not sure. Possibly, maybe, no… Who knows?
I don’t necessarily envision myself nursing a four year old, but unless he’s ready to wean tomorrow, I’m not going to force it. I do plan on casually guiding him towards cups and sippy’s, but he evidently needs my milk and I’m not going to force hormone infused cows milk on him instead.
As he grows, he needs me less and less. I have been told to look at our breastfeeding journey as an accomplishment, and while I am proud that we didn’t give up in those rough early days, I look at it as our peregrinate that was guided with love.

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About the author

Xza
Xza Louise Higgins is the founder of MommyCon, creator of The Mommy Dialogues, and punk rock mom to two year old Atticus in the great city of Chicago, IL. She is incredibly passionate about birth options, human rights, and promoting gentle parenting practices.

No Comments

  1. Erin -  March 31, 2013 - 12:23 pm

    I just read this while nursing my 16 month old little man 🙂 very well put, reflects my sentiments exactly.

    • Xza -  March 31, 2013 - 10:40 pm

      Thank you for your support and for nursing your 16 month old as well!

  2. Heather P. -  March 31, 2013 - 12:27 pm

    🙂 I’m glad I’m not the only one who has had a rough start. Also have the view that it is a selfless thing we NEED to do for our children!

    • Xza -  March 31, 2013 - 10:42 pm

      Oh it was so rough! I should write about that too!

  3. Shelley Payton -  March 31, 2013 - 2:39 pm

    This is a beautiful post! I don’t think I’ve EVER heard anyone say “Boy do I regret nursing my child for so long.” But there are plenty of people who regret NOT nursing very long. I nursed my first child for 3 months, my second for 4 1/2 months. I didn’t enjoy breastfeeding and it was extremely stressful to me, but I held out that long and I’m glad they got at least a few months of that nutrition. I know more now though and I’m doing better. My 3rd is almost 8 months, still nursing her and I love it! I plan to nurse her for a long time past this. 🙂

    • Xza -  March 31, 2013 - 10:41 pm

      Thank you Shelley! Go you for keeping up the great work nursing your youngest! I am so glad you have found a rhythm that works for you and your family.

  4. Pnevmah -  March 31, 2013 - 4:36 pm

    Beautifully written. Thank you Xza.

  5. Shez -  April 2, 2013 - 6:04 am

    Hello, and thanks for that great post. I’m still nursing my 17 month old and that article really put into works how I feel about it.

    I have saved it and gonna keep it on hand for myself and to “quote” to others too. Its amazing how quickly I seem to question myself and my choices as a mom but you just gave me a confidence boost to keep going that I desperately needed. Thank you so much!

  6. kimberly -  April 2, 2013 - 7:23 pm

    WHOO HOO!!! Power to the moms nursing toddlers!! Im sure I will still be nursing Ben at mommy-con and he will be what 22 months then?!!?

  7. Xza -  April 5, 2013 - 7:10 am

    Thank you Shez! Keep up the great work!

  8. Lauren -  April 9, 2013 - 2:57 pm

    This is an excellent post and I thank you for writing it. Those early days/weeks are SO hard. They were especially hard for me. Breastfeeding was all I wanted to do with my babies. I read about it and took classes before they were born. Then after they were born I started struggling with supply both times from the very beginning. I saw lactation consultants, took nursing vacations, pumped, power pumped, increased calories, drank loads of water, drank teas, took Fenugreek and other herbs, ate countless bowls of oatmeal, attended group meetings, nursed on demand, and even took prescriptions. And yet both times, my babies weren’t thriving. I now know I have IGT (insufficient glandular tissue) and it is heartbreaking. I can’t even begin to describe the pain of not being able to do the one thing I thought I was made to do.

    I tell you that so you understand this: breastfeeding is a gift and you should consider yourself BLESSED that you are able to do it. Yes, the early days of breastfeeding are hard. I can’t imagine a situation that was harder than mine with both my children. But if I could have done more, I would have. If you’re struggling, seek help. Seek support from other moms. Visit a La Leche League meeting. Just don’t throw in the towel and do not supplement if not medically required.

    I had to. And it pains me daily, every time I give my baby a bottle.

    The benefits and results of breastfeeding are too powerful to give up on, no matter how difficult. You can do this. And I’m totally jealous. In a good way. 🙂

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