I really believe in child led weaning when it comes to extended breastfeeding however I personally would not like to nurse past 3-years of age. I know that many women do with great success and that’s wonderful and I fully support that. I just know my limitations and 3 years of age is about the age for me.
Our children have both been bigger for their age so I’m used to the looks outside of home when I’m nursing a 2-year old that looks like a 4-year old and I just smile. I’m forever grateful for our pediatrician Dr. William Sears for opening my eyes and educating me about extended breastfeeding and child-led weaning. It has been especially helpful at times when friends and relatives wonder why I’m still nursing and how long will I continue. It’s not always easy to stand your ground especially as a first time mom so it’s important to have the knowledge to deal with criticism etc because you sure need that so that you don’t start to doubt yourself because of all the “advice” that is being given to you by mainstream parents and friends.
Our son weaned himself when he was 2 1/2 years of age. One morning he woke up and never asked to nurse again and I didn’t offer. He obviously was a big boy and was ready to move on. Our daughter has been another story though. She is very actively nursing at 2 years and 5 months. It’s mostly due to the fact that I’ve been a stay at home mom for the past 6 months and she really has been able to nurse during the day whenever she likes to. I really enjoy the fact that we are so close and connected through nursing. Although at times I do get a bit frustrated when I’m trying to do something such as cook dinner and she is demanding to nurse. She is old enough now where she can understand that she has to wait but it’s still very difficult. I don’t like to have her wait but sometimes I just don’t have a choice. I cherish nursing and the fact that it makes a life with a 2-year old so much easier. If she has a tantrum because she wants something that she cannot have or she is just trying to figure out her feelings, it really helps to have nursing available. Once she nurses, she becomes a whole new person and the “terrible two behavior” goes away at least for a while. 🙂 There are times that I wish she was done with nursing only because I feel like I have been nursing forever but then I remember the times after our son was done nursing and I wished I had a baby who nursed. I missed that connection he and I had. The connection became harder and harder to maintain after nursing was over especially with all the daily things going on such as sports, school etc.
In the past couple of weeks our daughter has been skipping nursing during times that she normally would have nursed such as going to sleep at night. She has elected to fall asleep on dad’s lap instead of next to her brother. I see the day coming when she is done and I’m really making a point to enjoy every moment we have with nursing now because that will be it for us once she is done. She has gone 12 hours a few times without nursing so I’ve thought that maybe she is done with nursing but then she has asked for it again. It appears that she has a very different weaning process than our son had and it’s interesting to watch and experience it without interference. It’s amazing how little brains work and what they come up with and self-weaning truly shows how a human being goes through different stages in life. I’ll remember and cherish these years of nursing forever (total of 5 soon for me) and will hope that our daughter will do the same thing with her children.