To My Nursing Toddler: A Breastfeeding Love Letter

Photo credit: Sally Cavanaugh Films and Photos

To my nursing toddler,

We didn’t have a smooth start to our breastfeeding journey. I honestly had no idea what I was doing in the beginning. I did zero research, and had little to no preparation before you were born. (Your dad and I also didn’t attend one birthing class while I was pregnant with you. You’ll find out soon that I’m somewhat of a procrastinator.) I had only the recommendation from my doctor that it would benefit both of us. There were a lot of late nights that ended with both of us asleep in the nursery rocker. There were nights that I cried both of us to sleep. There were nights where I thought about giving up and switching to formula. But, something kept pulling me back, kept picking me back up, kept us on a path we’re still on. And, can I tell you a secret? A path I don’t want to end.

That ‘something’ that kept pulling me back is actually ‘some things.’ It was the way you would snuggle up close and immediately stop crying while you latched. It was looking down at your long, beautiful eyelashes grazing your squishy baby cheeks. It was the hours of alone time we shared, just rocking in the chair your dad and I picked out while decorating your room when you were still this almost imaginary thing in my belly. It wasn’t all pretty, there were aches, pains, and nights without sleep. There were the nights were I took out my frustration on your dad, who would have done anything to help. When those toothy nubs made their appearance, there was the biting and bleeding – ouch! There was the pumping at work, pumping in the car, pumping when I got home from a long day at work. Oh, how I hated pumping.

Early on, I made it our goal to make it to 6 months. When you were 6 months old, I thought “Okay, we’re doing pretty good, let’s make it to a year. Then we can stop.” When you turned one and still showed no sign of weaning, I actually had a party of my own. Because, something changed over the course of your first year, nursing you turned into something I looked forward to and cherished, instead of a chore or something that kept me up at night. But, that’s also the time when others started commenting and questioning our decision to keep going. “Isn’t he too old for that?” “That’s weird.” “That’s gross.” “Aren’t you worried he’ll be 8 years old and still doing that?” No, actually, I’m not.

Now that we’re nearing your second birthday (cue my mama tears), those questions and weird looks that I get when someone asks, “When did he stop nursing?” and I answer, “He hasn’t yet…” have only become more frequent. And when someone asks, “When are you going to stop?” I still don’t have an answer for them. Never did I think I’d be that breastfeeding mom who wouldn’t want to give up nursing, and I know I’ll have to someday. But, today isn’t that day.

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