Friday, July 3, 2009

An Extended Breastfeeding Post

Yes, I'm still breastfeeding the twins. They are nearly 18 months old, and I'm still nursing. Extended breastfeeding is gaining more and more acceptance as time goes by, and I actually receive very few negative comments from well-meaning friends, aquaintances, and those in the medical profession. In fact, as I've been taking care of a few minor medical problems over the past two weeks and have had the opportunity to interact with various capable medical doctors, 100 percent of them have applauded my decision to continue breastfeeding this long. Truly, times are changing.

The twins have decreased their nursing sessions to only at night and right before they take their naps. During the middle-of-the night feedings, they often like to linger long after they have had their nutritional needs fulfilled. And sometimes, just sometimes, I need them to stop and try to get back to sleep. So....I've been trying to find a way to communicate to them that the session is completed. I've come up with...ready for this?... "All done." Ground-breaking, I know.

What's interesting is that they have learned, as, in the beginning, I'd unlatched them each time I said "All done", to unlatch themselves when the hear those words. It's actually an amazing thing to witness, that they will willingly finish their breastfeeding session just because I ask them to.

Last night, at about 3:00 in the morning, Joseph woke up for a feeding. After I knew he had had his fill, I said, "All done", and he released, rolled over, leaned his back against my chest and instantly went back to sleep. As I lay in the still of the night with my cheek against his soft hair, and my arm around his warm little body, I was so happy I'd made the decision to continue to breastfeed this long. It's a new experience for me, to be able to interact with my baby about the process and I'm finding it's a wonderful way to continue to bond into the toddler year. I can now understand why the world average for breastfeeding is 4.2 years. Why offer my babies another animal's milk when I can continue to provide nourishment and love in this manner myself, for many months to come? True, I can no longer nurse in public anymore, as the twins insist on playing with my shirt and pulling it as high up on my chest as possible, but for now, we are all going to continue this most intimate of mother/child interactions as long as we both feel comfortable.

Some say, "If a kid is old enough to ask for it, he's too old to breastfeed." I say, what a wonderful way to connect with your child by interacting and communicating about this special bond God has created for mothers and children. I say...bring it on.


If you liked this post and would like to join me here on a regular basis via email or other reader, please...
Subscribe

(You'll be helping to pay for at least one of the nine kid's college tuition.)
OR... bookmark or share this post by clicking the "Add This" button below... Thank you for your visit!

13 comments:

Lisa S said...

Thank you so much for this post! I think you're an amazing and inspirational mom. I've been struggling with whether or not to wean my 15 month old son even though I know he's not quite ready. I nursed my daughter for 22 months and she's now 4. I've been pregnant or nursing since June 2005, with a few months in between but I often wish I could have my body to myself (and my husband)...

NatureGirl said...

Mine all went into their first year and my last one was 2 before she stopped. Keep it up, Lisa too, you will eventually have your body all to yourself and actually miss being pregnant and nursing...someday! ;)

Anonymous said...

Great post! My oldest is 4 and still asks for her milkies at bedtime a couple times a month and I am fine with that, I nursed through my pregnancy and tandem nursed her and my little one who is almost 1. Keep it up, this time with your boys is so precious! As for the negative remarks I just ignore them, my mother seems to be the only one with any negative remarks, she has a very skewed vision of what br**st are actually for :(

Melinda said...

Good for you Jen, Good for you!

Jenna Consolo said...

Breastfeeding IS wonderful. With each of my children I nursed exclusively and for a longer time, my last baby nursing until almost his 2nd birthday. When I quit, it was a sad separation. I'll always treasure that time, and am grateful that I could give that gift of myself as a mother.

Amy said...

Wow. I am amazed by women who nurse twins. I'm not sure I would be able to do that. I breastfed my daughter until she was almost 15 months when she weaned herself. I enjoyed the experience, but those first few months were difficult. She would nurse for an hour every other hour. If I had two babies like her then I would have absolutely no time to do things like shower or make dinner.

Keep on breastfeeding. When the time is right to stop, you and the twins will know.

JUST ME, THE MOM said...

Bravo for you - what adorable babies!

Kristin

Angela said...

Good for you! I nursed my son for 26 months and I nursed my daughter for 25 and I miss that time with them so much. They are now almost 9 and 6....even then I got looks from people when I would nurse my two year old. I miss it very much.

Sarah said...

This is so awesome! I'm a LLL leader & I don't often hear people talk like this. I'm especially impressed to hear you quote the accurate statistic that the worldwide average age of weaning is 4.2 years.

Big congrats to you on doing the biologically NORMAL thing, the thing which you were designed to do: nursing your twins as long as you all are happy doing so.

Tiaras said...

I loved to read this! I nursed my last baby until she was 33 months old (which was 6 months ago). I felt a lot of pressure to STOP nursing my son after his 1st birthday and when he was 14th old, I just stopped b/c of the pressure. I was anew mommy and didn't really stand up for myself. he was not ready to stop and I wasn't either but I was sick of hearing from MIl and hubbie (b/c his mother told him so) that I needed to stop. I was pregnant with our 2nd child at the time and when she was born I nursed her and my son asked to nurse again. Which I happily did! He was happy, I was happy, I was sad that I didn't nurse him the entire time. He only nursed for a couple of months with his baby sister, but it was fine. I nursed my 1st daughter for 16 months, again due to pressure. When my third child was born I literally told everyone to not say one word to me about nursing that I would do it as long as I wanted to. She nursed happily and often until she was about 2.5. I then cut down her feedings b/c she liked to hang out there a lot. I felt that she was missing out on certain aspects due to the fact that she always wanted to latch. I felt bad turning her away so often, but she eventually self weaned at 33 months. She just finished one day and said no more momma and I would ask her is she wanted to eat and she would say no more momma.

CHELZERS said...

I, too, felt the pressure to wean the last of my triplets. We continued until 26 months. When I told my doc he said, "It's time to stop." Crazy, I know, right?
We were also just doing before bed and naps. I've just recently moved her into her own bed in her sisters' room and it has been sad. I miss the cuddling, but it was just getting too hard with the other two, so we had to stop. Keep going as long as they and you feel comfortable! I don't think it's anyone's place to tell you when to stop---or really to tell someone who is feeding formula that they are doing a bad thing. Both are personal decisions. Some made for the right reasons, but still personal. Wow, sorry that was long and opinionated. I haven't talked to you in a while so I've had to catch up!! :) Have a great day! Enjoy conference!

Love's Gumbo said...

I nursed my oldest until 33 months, and my second just a year. It's a good thing. Do as long as you all are happy.

Anonymous said...

I nursed for 7 solid years, first my daughter, then a time of tandem feeding when my son was born, and then he nursed alone.

The most wonderful years of my life. My son is autistic, and yet, the extended nursing has lef tus which such a bond, that I know full well wouldn't have been there otherwise.

Pol