STILL nursing–world breastfeeding week

I wanted to do a post for world breastfeeding week…but, as usual, I’m late.

Someone recently said to me, “Is Maxine still nursing?”

Emphasis on “still.”  In case you didn’t get that from the italics.

Maxine is almost four.  And, yes, she STILL nurses.

Some people call it, “extended nursing.”

“Extended beyond what?”  I always want to say but only sometimes do.

Extended beyond what is socially acceptable is what they mean.  Extended beyond what they think is normal and appropriate.  Extended beyond the year that most people seem to think is the magical cutoff for breastfeeding benefits.

Mostly, I just don’t give a shit about what people think about my nursing relationship with Maxine.  It comes naturally to us.  It feels right.  And it is really not anyone’s business but ours.

The question I get most often is, “How long will you breastfeed her?”

My answer is always the same.  Until she decides she is ready to stop.

She isn’t ready and mostly I don’t give it any thought.

And no, I’m not worried that Maxine will breastfeed until she goes away to college.

Maxine has been weaning for years.

Gently.  And slowly.  Like she does everything.

Weaning is not an event for us.  Like poof, we are done!

It is a process.  A long process that ebbs and flows with the natural rhythms of her development.

There have been days where she has not nursed.  And there have been days where she nurses many times over.  Days where she is not feeling well.  Days where she is feeling insecure.  Days where she is feeling like cuddling.  But usually two or three times a day.

This might not be normal in terms of American culture.  But it is a normal and natural mother/child relationship.

So Maxine will continue to wean at her own pace.  I won’t put pressure on her to stop–even if people put pressure on me to stop.

She may be fully weaned tomorrow.  She may continue to wean for years to come.

This is our sacred relationship.  Ours and ours alone.

Our ending will not be be an abrupt event but a languid fading…into a tender whisper…of not anymore.

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “STILL nursing–world breastfeeding week

  1. I so wish this wasn’t a “thing” in our society. So much judgement about a mother’s parenting abilities revolve around whether or not they nurse and for how long. It should be a non-issue. Just like everything else we do for our children, it is an individual thing. I have three kids, all autistic, all completely different from each other. I give them each what they need when they need it regardless of whether it is “age-appropriate” or not (whatever that means.) Good job Mama for giving your little one what she needs. And thank you for sharing. 🙂

  2. I have taken a college-level course in Nutrition, and have been taught that only in countries like America do people insist on weaning toddlers. In third-world countries, it is normal for children breastfeed until they are 5-years-old, when they stop producing the lactase enzyme. Ironically, it is Caucasian Americans who continue to produce that enzyme into adulthood, allowing them to be able to digest cow’s milk long after they are weaned from breastmilk.

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