I had always been a believer in breastfeeding. I always knew from a young age I would breastfeed my children. When I used to work as a maternal-child health nurse (labor/delivery, post-partum, nursery, pediatrics), I had lots of hands on experience with new nursing moms. I learned tons from my fellow lactation consultants on our floor.
I will be honest though. I hadn't always been a believer in extended nursing. I guess it was because I didn't know much about it. I didn't know what it was like to have my own nursing infant. I had this idea that when infants turn 12 months, they automatically change and appear older, and not babies. I remember saying "I don't think I could nurse that long"....Boy! Was I wrong...
After my major struggles with nursing Mairead in the beginning, I never thought in a million years we would have nursed for close to 2.5 years together. I would never have believed it if you had told me I would be nursing my 2+ year old! It was a great experience, that I looked forward to doing again.
You may now be doing the calculations....wait, she nursed for 2.5 years, and her girls are 19 months apart. Yes, you are right. I nursed them together. Tandem nursed. Something else I never thought I would ever consider doing. It was actually a really great experience, so good, that I am currently nursing Lilah and Clara together. I never actually had the heart to force wean Mairead while I was pregnant with Lilah. She just was not ready, and my heart told me to listen to my baby. And I did.
Lilah is now 27 months and nurses about 1-2 times a day. She doesn't nurse for long, and honestly, I think it is more of a habit or a reconnection than anything else. In the morning, she runs into my bedroom yelling "NOOOOK, Mamma!!! NOOOOOOK, Deeeees (please)!" It's so cute. How can you say no to her? It's so innocent and sweet. She could nurse for a minute, and then I say "Okay, enough" and she's good with it. It's cute. She doesn't nurse every morning, only when she gets into my bed before I get out!
She hasn't asked to nurse before nap in a while, but on occasion she does. She does however never fail to ask before bed time. I will go in, and she will crawl on my lap.
"Noook, dees?" she asks.
I'll say "You don't need milk!" knowing very well she wouldn't have it any other way.
Her response, "I doooo! I do, Mamma!"
Seriously, so sweet! I have learned that when babies turn 12 months they don't change. They still look and act like babies. If they need their mamma for something so innocent and sweet, they can have me. It's such a small part of their lives they are nursing, but yet, so important in all sorts of ways. Mairead still remembers nursing, and it is really awesome for her to have such great memories of that special time with me. She is so amazingly understanding of my nursing relationship with her sisters.
It is the one thing I can for my girls that no one else can do. It is between me and my sweet girls...