The Little Fox turned three a few weeks ago, and it was around the time we were recovering from bronchitis, I decided I needed my body back.
My son, while a joy and a wonder, also possesses a fierce determination, a demanding personality, and refuses to accept “no” from anyone in the house. Asking him at 7:30a.m. on Mothers’ Day after ten minutes of nursing if we could try to get a little more sleep, resulted in a small child screaming directly into my ear and crying for a long while. His sister slept in until 9:30. His father slept in until 11.
The only way I could guarantee a low-stress way of avoiding similar events at naptime was to eliminate naps as a requisite daily activity. We’ve switched to quiet time, and while he isn’t quiet during it, my breasts stay in my shirt, and we don’t fight over sleep at midday or bedtime anymore.
In fact, he’s falling asleep fast and beautifully at night, sometimes before he’s finished nursing on both sides. So, there’s some minor engorgement going on, but he gets both sides morning and night, I get relief, and soon my body will get used to the schedule.
Some reading this will wonder why I breastfed him this long, others will wonder why I’m not letting him fully lead the discussion.
To the former, I’ll direct you to the WHO and AAP. Both organizations agree, if mother and child are both comfortable with it, it’s best to feed at least to age two (“and beyond“) and is still beneficial up to age four. To the latter, I’ll emphasize the part about both parties being comfortable and desiring to continue. After all, it’s my body, and I was ready to be done almost a year ago.
My daughter, the Dragon, nursed until 2.5 years. Having her in daycare contributed to the timing, as she wouldn’t take my milk in a bottle, so it lessened our feedings far earlier — soon after her first birthday — and feedings only happened two or three times a day.
Breastfeeding both of my children hasn’t been easy. I’ve fought against PTSD flashbacks from past trauma and associated feelings of being trapped, resentful, and not having a say in my own body. It’s made breastfeeding complicated, but I still wouldn’t have made a different choice for them.
But three years of age is my limit. We need to end this part of our relationship, and while it’s clear he’d like to continue for a long while, weaning him slowly seems to be a good compromise (so far). Here’s hoping, like his sister, weaning will be immediately followed by a sudden desire to conquer potty training.
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