A lot of people are surprised that I’m still nursing at 18 months despite there’s no magic number of months you’re supposed to adhere to. My doctor and others recommend two years but for some reason anything over a year elicits some kind of reaction from others.
My original goal in breastfeeding was to make it to a year. That first year was extremely difficult and I didn’t see how I’d be able to do it. I was counting down the months. I guess I thought at 12 months we would all just know how to stop. I’d get some sort of medal and Karson and Lucy would say thank you and relinquish their hold over my body.
Apparently they had other ideas in mind. Even though they eat full meals, at 18 months they still act as if they would perish and melt without the almighty boob.
But the truth is, it has gotten so much easier and continuing to nurse now seems easier than the alternative of cutting them off. Unlike the early awkward days, we don’t need all the pillows and they pull right up to the station. It doesn’t take 20-30 minutes, and they don’t need to nurse every hour and a half. But it still seems just as important as ever.
Toddlers are still learning the ways of the world and often have a hard time getting a good footing on the ground, especially during transitions. Sometimes they’ll wake up from a nap tired, confused and cranky. They’ll roll around on the floor in seeming misery. When you know the only thing that will put an end to the screaming and give you and them some peace and comfort is some close cuddles and nursing, that’s what you’re going to give them.
A few weeks ago I spent a week away from Karson and Lucy. I was expecting the distance would greatly reduce or maybe even stop our nursing. I started the week out pumping several times a day but by midweek, my supply had tanked drastically, lessening the need.
Upon my return however, they didn’t seem to mind and kept nursing but perhaps not quite as often. Some days we can get away with just some heavy cluster feeding in the morning and evening, especially if they’re preoccupied throughout the day. Other days, it seems Lucy wants to nurse all throughout the day and if Lucy is, Karson wants to also.
Breastfeeding is an amazing wonder of the body. I’m not giving in to them or spoiling them. I’m creating milk for exactly their needs. I’m providing comfort and helping them feel secure.
It will be very bittersweet when they’re done for good. I love the closeness of it all as well as the rare moments of peace and quiet. I tell myself I’ll be ready but I’m sure a few tears will be shed. Until then we’ll just keep doing what feels right.