"Love is to Live for Each Other"
Nolan is now a little over 2.5 and still nurses. Many people think he has weaned (or should be weaned!) by now. But, he is still going strong and I don't see the end in sight for awhile. But that is fine with me, because I find so much joy in still nursing him.
Our nursing sessions have certainly changed over the years, as one would suspect. While some mothers (or their children) decide to wean early, or not breastfeed at all, I have had the joy of really learning from my son on why he nurses. At one point in my life, I told myself that once they can talk and ask for it, they are too old to nurse. But I have realized that when a younger baby cries or signs to nurse, that is the same as an older child verbally communicating. My child, at different ages and in different ways, IS communicating with me! Looking back, I find it silly that I though that. Why should his chronological age or his way of communicating with me dictate what he is "too old" for? How can I deny him? That is everything to him: warmth, comfort, love. I know there is not much in there anymore, but what he does get is still AMAZING stuff! As a mother, I am comforted by the fact that my breastmilk can serve a purpose more then nutrition. We have used it on scrapes, cuts and pink-eye, and when Nolan is not feeling well, breastmilk boosts his immune system and he is over that little cold in a few days - without drugs. He has never really been sick, never on an antibiotic.
When Nolan was an infant, I could tell from his face that he enjoyed nursing: He would come at me ferociously, latch on with a wide open mouth, then his eyes would roll back and close, and he would have the cutest smile on his face. As he got older, he learned to pull at my shirt and say "ba-ba". And, then he would just flat out say "I want ba-bas". Now, he can have a real conversation with me. He tells me that "Those are mommy's ba-ba's". But if my husband wants a feel, Nolan will jump in quickly defending his treasure and yelling "My ba-ba's, don't touch!".
|Nolan - 2.5 years old|
One night, my husband and I were out to dinner, and we were talking about parenting. I asked him if there was anything that bothered or frustrated him about how we parent. He said the only thing is that when he is watching Nolan alone and if he can not get Nolan to calm down. After he has tried all his tricks, he knows that all Nolan really wants is to nurse. He sometimes wonders if it would be easier if Nolan weaned so he would not be looking to nurse. I understand how that can be frustrating. I really don't think that weaning would solve the problem, though. These occurrence are so far and few between, that the positives of extended breastfeeding outweigh this (one!) negative. I empathized with hubby. I reminded him that although we live in a modern society, with modern needs/wants (such as mama being away from her baby to work), Nolan's genes are the same as the ones from a child 40,000 years ago - which means he has an intense need to be with Mama. In 2012, we think that it is perfectly acceptable, and even necessary, that a child of 1 year be completely independent of Mama. However, in that ancient era of hunter-gatherers, a child would not wean until 2.5 or later and was carried by Mama in a babywrap approx 8,000+ miles over the first few years of its life. These Paleolithic families slept in small tents all together. A child did not leave his Mother's side until he was ready to join in the adult duties of the tribe, which may not be until age 8 or older. (Also see: Paleo Diet or Paleo Lifestyle.) We must remember that our child is hardwired for certain innate needs. When we follow and meet our child's needs, they become stronger, healthier, more independent little people, and ultimately by meeting their needs, our adult needs will also get met. (Also see: Attached Parenting).