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.