Nursing a one year old…

It is in this first sentence that I must warn you, gentle reader, that I will be blogging today about a topic that is either umimportant or fascinating to you depending on whether or not you are a mother.  Quit reading …. here …. if you are uninterested. 

I used to get the question all the time, “so, how long are you going to nurse?”  My pat answer was usually, “at least until a year and then as long as I feel like it.”  The problem is, now that my son is one year old I sometimes don’t feel like it.  I’ve been mulling this over for a few days, do I stop even though he is clearly not ready to stop? 

I am well aware that I have offically entered the stage called “extended breastfeeding”.  Even though most people don’t even realize that we are still breastfeeding because we almost never nurse in public (Eli is too distracted) it does sometimes come up.  The research that I have done clearly states that there are many, many advantages to nursing up to two years of age.  In fact, I can’t even think of one single reason to stop.  It even costs less – actually, it’s free. 

Even though breastfeeding is sometimes inconvenient for me, the alternative is more inconvenient.  It costs more, makes me wash more dirty sippy cups, and my child gets sick more often.  Maybe in my perfect world I wouldn’t be nursing anymore … maybe it’s OK to admit that.  But the fact is that my toddler is only a toddler once, and if I spend one more year breastfeeding it won’t be the end of the world.  Actually, parenting cramps my style a little, but that’s OK, because it’s not all about me. 



11 responses to “Nursing a one year old…

  1. No personal experience with this of course, but I have also read of the benefits. I was shocked to read this week that while the number of those who breastfeed has risen, still about 1/4 of women don’t at all! How sad that they miss out on the benefits.

    I suppose for some it isn’t cool or something and cramps their style, but it seems that what is most important is what is best for you and Eli. And everything else really doesn’t matter and its really none of anyone else’s business if they don’t think its cool or whatever.

    He sure looks healthy in all the pictures and I think you’ve confirmed that the dr has said that he is. And probably healthier, with less allergies in the future, etc.

  2. I think it’s okay to admit that breastfeeding isn’t always the blissful snuggle time that moms fantasize about. Sometimes it IS inconvenient, stressful, awkward, etc. I think it’s okay to admit that parenting in general is sometimes hard and we that we would love to escape it for a little while. Mothering is real work and it really demands sacrifice–sometimes of our own bodies. Thanks for posting your thoughts, Annie. You’re a really good mom.

    My pat answer to the how long question was, “At least a year and then as long as Toby is interested.” We made it to a year and now, barely a month later he’s no longer interested. I’m kind of sad about it actually.

  3. I would also be sad if Eli decided to stop nursing. He shows no sign that he’s ready to stop. He isn’t really even excited about solid foods. I agree, nothing about parenting is convenient for me, but I love it.

  4. Jillian is 13 months and she’s been loosing interest gradually over the last 6 weeks or so. I breastfeed her 4 times a day, but it’s hardly ever for more than 5 minutes at a time. I’ll keep doing it as long as she’s interested, but I have a feeling in one or two months at the most she’ll be weened. I am both happy and sad about this. She’s never been an especially snuggly baby, either.

    My mom was really into breastfeeding (this would be back in the late 70s, early 80s). She nursed me and my siblings until we were old enough to crawl up on her lap and verbally ask to nurse! I think that’s so funny. So, we must have been very close to two and probably only nursing twice a day. Every baby and mom are different…

    You’re also feeding Eli solid foods, right?

    I was just thinking over the last couple of days about how there is absolutely nothing convenient about parenting. I know that isn’t profound.

  5. Allison! I’m so glad you commented. It does seem like most other babies his age are starting to lose interest. I do feed him solid foods, but he never has been very interested. He gets most of his calories other than breastmilk in smoothies (which he drinks through his sippy cup) consisting of yogurt, whole milk, banana and a pureed vegetable. He doesn’t like to be spoon fed, but he will eat things off our plate. He will also eat certain finger foods. It’s really easy for me to compare him to other babies in this regard, because his cousin and my friend’s babies eat so much solids, but I can’t force him to eat at this age, I usually come back to this place of acceptance. I have a feeling it won’t be the last time I have to come to a place of acceptance as a parent – it’s only the beginning.

  6. I believe the quote of the life-time is: Nothing about parenting is convenient. I am going to use that somewhere… maybe make a t-shirt of something.

    It seems like you get flack of you breast feed a toddler or if you stop when your baby is only 7 month old… gasp.

    God created a woman’s body so amazingly. Keep up the good work as long as your body, your time, your child, and your patience will allow. 🙂

  7. Way to go, Annie. I nursed Ethan until he was 16- months and then was prompted to wean him the rest of the way (I was down to twice a day anyway) because of our pending flight to the U.S. (he’s simply too big to nurse on an airplane!!), a really bad case of thrush and the fact that he eats SOOOOO much regular food anyway. But it was a really tough decision for me!! It was SO much more difficult to stop than I ever dreamed it would be. But my goal was to make it to 12 months and I far surpassed that, so I’m content. But it is such a personal decision and I say nurse him as long as you want and as long as he’s interested. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise! It’s totally your decision. 😛

  8. Annie-

    I love your honesty! I admire your thoughtfulness about parenting and your willingness to make sacrifices for Eli & Paul while admitting that being a mom and wife is one TOUGH job.

  9. Annie, do what feels right for you and Eli. I am still nursing Amelia and she’s almost 14 months old. However, she has tapered off to 3 nursings per 24 hours on her own. She likes soy milk and now that she has more teeth, she likes “real” food more. She actually refuses any and all “baby food.” My only issue with this extended nursing period is that when Amelia gets tired (even when she’s not hungry), she’ll tear at my shirt in public and sometimes yell “booboo!” If she wanted to nurse more, I would; every child is different and I’m so tired of what’s “usual” and “averages.” I swear it’s meant to make people paranoid and insecure about falling outside of the box.

  10. Hey, check out the link to fox news article–hope the link works. It says that long term breast feeding can raise a baby’s IQ.,2933,354315,00.html

  11. Thanks for the comments and encouragement everyone!
    Laura, I told Paul the story about Amelia and he cracked up. Then I refered to her the other day and he called her “the boo boo kid”.

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