Extended Breastfeeding

There is nothing better in the world than having your 2-year-old give you a big hug and say “I love you” right before starting to nurse. The love that you are giving to your child from birth starts to show back once the baby matures and breastfeeding certainly helps with creating that special bond with your child. I remember when I had our first born and thought I was going to breastfeed him for a year because I thought that is what you are suppose to do. Our pediatrician, Dr. William Sears, was kind enough to explain the benefits of extended breastfeeding to me and open my eyes to the idea of child led weaning. It totally made sense to me. I was a working mom at the time as well so nursing after a long day at work really helped me to reconnect with my child and he looked forward to it also.

Our daughter is 2 now and in the so called “terrible twos” phase. Breastfeeding really helps to calm her down if she gets upset and gives her a moment to wind down. This has been really helpful at restaurants and other public places. I use a nursing cover with her when we are out and about. I never used a cover with our son but after discovering a nursing cover and how convenient it is when you are breastfeeding in public, I highly recommend one. It’s not matter of having to hide your breastfeeding, to me it’s more like having my own privacy and our daughter likes it too because it shields her from the outside distractions and gives her a moment of peace as well. Now that she is older she asks for the cover if we are in public places and she wants to nurse. It’s so cute that she associates that with public places and knows that we don’t use one at home unless there are other kids around such as our older son’s friends who might have not been exposed to nursing at home.

I’m forever grateful to Dr. Sears for helping me to realize the benefits of extended breastfeeding. Now I wouldn’t have it any other way. Each child matures at different rates so the time they wean varies. Our son self weaned at 2 ½ years of age, right after he potty trained himself. He was a big boy now and didn’t need/want breastfeeding anymore. It was the most joyful yet sad day of my life because my baby had grown up to be a little man of his own who knew what he wanted. Now at 7 years of age, he is the same way. He is extremely confident and social and caring child. He always wants to make sure people around him are ok. He helps the children at school who might not be considered “popular” so that they don’t get left alone. He is also so kind, caring and affectionate with his little sister and he knows how important breastfeeding is for his little sister. I contribute all this to extended breastfeeding and the strong foundation he got in the early years of life.

I’m interested in seeing how long our daughter will breastfeed. At times she tells us that she is too big to breastfeed but wants it still at the same time. It’s so cute to see her journey growing up and how she is thinking about being a big girl all on her own. Until she self weans, I’m cherishing these moments of nursing. I even cherish the night time nursings because it’s our special time together. Her little arms are wrapped around my body and she is so content. After nursing, she goes right to sleep and I lay down next to her. I feel so content knowing that I’m helping her to grow up day and night and I help her sort through her feelings during these sometimes difficult times of being a 2-year old by breastfeeding.



Author: API Blog

APtly Said, Formerly API Speaks launched in April of 2008 as part of Attachment Parenting International's larger effort to offer interactive content through their newly-redesigned web site: http://www.attachmentparenting.org. All contributors to APtly Said, as with so many of API's staff, are volunteers who donate their time and energy to promote Attachment Parenting world wide.

4 thoughts on “Extended Breastfeeding”

  1. Excellent post. We have one daughter who’s about to turn two, and unfortunately she nearly weaned after a year before learning to walk and regaining interest in the calm nursing down time. It diminished my supply quite a bit. I also had the unfortunate mindset that once a year passed we’d be working toward weaning, but luckily I came across Dr Sears’ info as well. I’m currently 40 weeks pregnant with our second, and our first still nurses. Some days more than others, and definitely for closeness more than nutrition. It is an invaluable asset with a 2 year old!

  2. Thanks for the post! I have a two year old son who still nurses and I must admit, it’s starting to wear on me at times. He certainly shows no interest in weaning. It truly is helpful at times to help him calm and get through those two year old frustrations. I think I’m just more ready than him to move on. It’s helpful and refreshing to read posts like this when I’m feeling “done.” The benefits are worth it. Thanks for sharing!

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