In the past, I've talked about the benefits of breastfeeding from physical standpoints as well as emotional standpoints: it's good for mom and baby to breastfeed! But today, I want to strip all that away.
If I were to give advice to a mom (you, maybe?) throwing away all the issues that affect the ability to breastfeed (supply, support from friends and family, job situation, and everything else in between) and give the least scientific recommendation ever, it would be this:
Breastfeed at least until your child can speak sentences.
Yes. Do it. All those weeks of newborn colic, all the engorgement, all the mastitis, the thrush, the biting, and the standing-on-your-head-while-nursing frustration seems to disappear once the child can talk to you about breastfeeding.
One night Margaret woke up wanting to nurse, she rolled over and latched on. In her half-asleep state, a part of her remembered that I like to be asked before she nurses, so she unlatched and in sleepy toddler voice, said, "Breast, please." And then she latched back on.
Not long ago, I was nursing Margaret down for the night. Isaac was already asleep, but he started stirring. Margaret unlatched, looked me in the eye, pushed me away and said, "Go!"
"Go! Isaac needs breast!"
Her concern for him melted my heart. I turned and nursed Isaac through his restlessness and Margaret fell asleep on her own.
I think it's adorable that she cares so much about Isaac that she'll share me like that. And she knows how much nursing means to her- and surely it must mean a lot to Isaac, too!
Yes, sometimes she gets upset when she wants Isaac's turn to be over. And sometimes when I suggest to her that I like to be asked, she'll say, "I ask!" but not tell me what she's asking for.
The other day, I was lying down with her to go to sleep. She was done nursing, but she put her hands around my breast and said, "I'm holding it," and smiled. I don't normally let her use her fingers (because I'm so touched out!) but this time it was adorable. She just wanted to be close to me.
So my opinion, possibly wrong, of how long you should nurse: Can your child speak in sentences? If not, you haven't gotten to the icing on top.
I am so excited for her language skills continue to develop and to talk with her and enjoy life together.
And now, a word from my Margaret, who has a few sentences to say on this subject:
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC: Old enough to ask for it
Karianna @ Caffeinated Catholic Mama: A Song for Mama’s Milk
Judy @ Mommy News Blog: My Favorite Moments
Tamara Reese @ Please Send Parenting Books: Extended Breastfeeding
Jenny @ Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: The Highs and Lows of Nursing a Toddler
Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding
Rebekah @ Momma’s Angel: My Sleep Breakthrough
Suzi @ Attachedattheboob: Why I love nursing a toddler
Claire @ The Adventures of Lactating Girl: My Hopes for Tandem Nursing
Elisa @ blissfulE: counter cultural: extended breastfeeding
Momma Jorje: Extended Breastfeeding, So Far!
Stephanie Precourt from Adventures in Babywearing: “Continued Breastfeeding”: straight from the mouths of babes
The Accidental Natural Mama: Nurse on, Mama
Sarah @ Reproductive Rites: Gratitude for extended breastfeeding
Nikki @ On Becoming Mommy: The Little Things
Dr. Sarah @ Good Enough Mum: Breastfeeding for longer than a year: myths, facts and what the research really shows
Amy @ WIC City: (Extended) Breastfeeding as Mothering
The Artsy Mama: Why Nurse a Toddler?
Christina @ The Milk Mama: The best thing about breastfeeding
TopHat @ the bee in your bonnet: From the Mouths of Babes
Beth @ Bethstedman.com: Extended Breastfeeding: To Wean Or Not To Wean
Callista @ Callista’s Ramblings: Pressure To Stop Breastfeeding
Amanda @ Postilius: Nursing My Toddler Keeps My Baby Close
Sheryl @ Little Snowflakes: Tandem Nursing- The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Zoie @ Touchstone Z: Breastfeeding Flavors
Lauren @ Hobo Mama: Same old, same old: Extended breastfeeding
Tanya @ Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: Six misconceptions about extended breastfeeding
Jona (Breastfeedingtwins.org): Breastfeeding older twins
Motherlove Herbal Company: Five reasons to love nursing a toddler