I don’t know how it is in other countries and cultures, but breastfeeding brings out a lot of emotions in this country, mainly of discomfort. The idea that breasts, the symbol of female sexuality, should provide the ultimate nourishment to babies, the symbol of innocence, just seems, so, well, unnatural. Before I had children, I thought I was OK with nursing babies, but the idea of a toddler nursing was, if not obscene, at least weird — a kid being able to ask to nurse! I vowed to be discreet, not to make anyone else uncomfortable. I still remember my cousin feeding her baby during a wedding reception when I was a kid. While she was talking to my father! I wouldn’t do that in front of any of my uncles.
The other day I was hanging out with my friend and her four-year-old daughter. My son, the aforementioned two-year-old, at some point asked to breastfeed. I’m trying to cut down on nursing him in public, but he’d just spent his first night away from me, so I figured I could make an exception. I helped him up onto my lap, pulled down my shirt, and let my kid do his thing.
My son will be three years old in March and is still breastfeeding. He is VERY persistent, and I’m having trouble weaning him. The advice from family and friends (who think I should have cut him off a long time ago) and from the pediatrician is to make him quit cold turkey. I fear that he might perceive it as abandonment if I forced him to suddenly stop something he loves so much, but I have no other ideas about what to do.
In my naive pre-baby days, I thought toddler-nursing was for hippie weirdos. “If they can ask for it, they’re too old for it!” I would exclaim in my most judgmental tone. This was back in the day when I also thought breastfeeding was simple and came naturally to all moms. Ha!
My daughter will be two-and-a-half in November. She goes to gymnastics, attends preschool classes, and has been diaper-free for months. She also still nurses. She doesn’t nurse much, and she doesn’t nurse long, but every few hours, up to a few times a day, she will ask for “a quick sip.”
Mama C-Ta says of this beautiful portrait of her and her son Julian: “Nursing my 2 year old — I want to capture it before it ends which can happen without a moments notice.”