Who cares? Well, it turns out I do. Just a little bit.
As my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter gets older, I’m finding myself wondering whether I should stop nursing her. If it was left up to her, she would keep going. Possibly for years.
I love nursing her. My husband (a very smart clinical psychologist) says that breastfeeding moms get a nice little boost of oxytocin when they nurse, which makes us feel pretty good. And when someone suggests that we stop, our momma bear instinct kicks in and we attack. Sounds about right.
But I reluctantly confess that I used to be one of those people who shook my head at moms nursing toddlers. It just seemed weird. So I would always say that, once my kid was walking and talking, then the nursing would stop.
Of course, I have changed my opinion about that since having kids. Especially since I worked so hard to nurse them. I struggled with low supply, over supply, mastitis, cracked nipples, thrush and more. Now I’m finally in a nice comfortable, pain-free place and I don’t want to quit.
I love watching my daughter nurse. I love that it provides comfort to her. And that it brings us closer together. But I still worry about what other people think. So I nurse her at home or in the car or in the safety of my group of homeschooling friends who would never judge me for that. I feel like that shy new mom I used to be who always covered up while nursing my newborn, except now I’m doing it because I’m . . . embarrassed?
I won’t get into the arguments for and against extended breastfeeding. I think it’s a personal decision and, as far as I’m aware, not much research has been done on it. I do know it’s standard practice in many countries and for some reason Americans get squeamish about it. What concerns me the most is whether it is right for me and my family. And whether I can handle any judgment about it.
I’m going to continue breastfeeding at least for now. If for no other reason than because it may encourage other moms not to feel ashamed or embarrassed. And because I love my daughter. What are your thoughts about nursing toddlers or preschool? How long did you breastfeed your children?