My baby turned two last week and with that major milestone, we ended our breastfeeding journey. Never did I ever think I would nurse a baby for this long!
A little history: I have three children. I nursed my oldest son for just over twelve months (made that 1-year goal!), before he basically self-weaned. My second son did not want to give it up, but after 14 months I was ready to have my body back. At least for a little while because we knew we wanted more children.
This time was different though. She is likely our last baby and maybe that’s why. She was a late walker and felt like a baby a little longer in some ways. Maybe because I know a little better how quickly they grow up. Maybe I wanted to hold onto some alone, quiet time away from big brothers. It’s hard to have on-on-one time with any one of my kids, so continuing to breastfeed guaranteed that just a little bit longer. But, whatever the reason, I wasn’t as anxious to stop nursing as I was the first two times.
My daughter turned 18 months in the middle of cold and flu season and I figured I should keep giving her those awesome breastfeeding antibodies. So we kept nursing. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and I started thinking: I should keep giving her these antibodies, right? It’s not like we’re going anywhere anyway. So we kept nursing.
Well, we’re still not going many places, but as my daughter’s 2nd birthday approached, I set that as our target. 24 months of breastfeeding – wow! 50 months of breastfeeding between all three of my kids – 50 months of nursing bras, rocking chairs, spit up, and snuggles. It’s hard to believe that it’s over. It’s hard to believe that I did it!
In the beginning, when I would think about breastfeeding my babies, I always had in my mind that we would stop before they could ask to nurse (with words, not the adorable baby bird face of newborns). Of course, as my daughter got closer to two years old, she learned more words and could vocalize a lot of her thoughts. She asked to nurse by saying, “Mama, heed me.” She is still having trouble with that “f” sound. Such a profound request out of my little one’s mouth.
“Mama, heed me.” It’s just the perfect summary of toddlerhood, isn’t it? So while our breastfeeding journey has ended, the time of heeding my children is far from over. “Heed Me” is just starting to look a little different now. And that’s okay. That’s the job.
For those of you still on your breastfeeding journey, here is a link to my favorite lactation cookies. I’ve made these countless times over the last 5+ years (and gifted them to many new mama friends). They are delicious even if you aren’t breastfeeding!