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Sunday, July 7, 2013

the nursing toddler

The nursing toddler is a funny creature.

"Milky" as she calls it, is a friend to her. She talks to milky on her play phone. Okay Milky. See you later! Buh bye!

And then, her version of the knock knock joke.

Knock knock! She says

Who's there? I say

MILKY!! She says, laughing hilariously, because of course, this is hilarious to her.

And tonight my little Baby Green tucked play silk flowers into my shirt as she reached for "her milky." "Der," she says, "flowers safe and cozy and warm and cozy." "Come on Ah Ah" (monkeys make an AH AH sound when they talk, after all) she says to her Curious George doll, "my bankie, my milky, cozy mama."

Because of course, to the nursing toddler "milky" means "safe and warm and cozy mama".

So, I haven't been shy on this blog about the nursing and the "extended" nursing, as they call it, and etc. Not really. I mean, I am not by any means so "lactivist" type that is going to attend a "nurse in" or anything, again, just not my personality.


Yes, we are very supportive of breastfeeding here.

I try to smile right at moms who are nursing their babies in public. I talk about it in a casual way. Encourage mom's who are struggling. Its what we do to take care of babies and we don't need to be all hush hush about it. You know? Its just natural. Its part of babyhood. It seems like its either something people are "lactivist-y" about or something people don't want to talk about.

Sometimes though, one needs to make a stand and say, "hey y'all its okay to talk about this!"

I am feeling like this lately about the extended nursing thing. The nursing toddler.

All of my babies have nursed until two, two and a half. And each time I got to about four or five months pregnant with the next baby and I was like, okay, dude, I cant do this anymore. DONE.

Yes. Nursing past two.

Yes. Nursing while pregnant.

And, yes. I was the one to say "ENOUGH." But, they were mostly done, and we replaced it with cuddles in the rocking chair and saying over and over that "milk-a-milk (little man)" or "milk-a-side" (little miss) was ALL DONE. I just couldn't do it anymore what with the intense contractions I always would start getting at four or five months pregnant and the up at night with toddlers and etc.

In any case, with little man I was terribly concerned with hiding the fact that he was still nursing at the age of two. It seemed weird. I felt weird. I am sure other people thought it weird.

But, by toddler number three. Eh. NORMAL. It feels normal. She is such a baby. My baby. Not to say it is for everyone but, you know, I figured, well, I wonder if other people out there feel the same and maybe sometimes just saying it out loud is okay. Nursing a toddler is sweet and normal and good. These little tiny people and their crazy antics and dear sweet moments.
And she daringly walks up the stairs, one careful wobbly step, and declares "I biggie baby!!" and she jumps around the house like a little grasshopper and she shakes her head of curls in defiance and twirls in her skirt saying "I Queen Baby!" And yes she is our queen, and we are charmed. And she cuddles into me and I smother her in kisses, cherishing these last precious baby months.

 Safe and sweet and cozy and warm and mama.

Just as it should be.





  1. Thank you for this post. I have a really hard time with this, the "speaking it out loud" part. I was a working mom with baby #1 and we naturally ended things around 13 months without much fuss at all. Then baby #2 it was everything: never took a bottle, much more attached to nursing, very dependent upon nursing for the nighttime routine (aka would not fall asleep without it), etc. We nursed for over three years and I was soooo dunzo, but she still asks occasionally to nurse and I have to explain that we don't do that anymore. In my head, I know that you are right--it's normal. But it felt very foreign to me, and I didn't talk about it much. Most of my friends had different reasons for not extending breastfeeding, so I did feel lonely in some ways. If it comes up, I don't "hide" it necessarily, but I finally came to the realization that I did what THAT child needed, and that doesn't make me a lactivist or a hippie or anything else but--hopefully--a responsible parent.

    1. jayme. I think lots of women feel this way. we do it for our kid, as they seem to need it, but we aren't in your face types and feel kinda weird about it overall. this is still me. as I was visiting family recently and she crawled on my lap every hour it felt like, "mama milky!" (feeling nervous about all the people, loud dogs etc)I realized that really I DONT feel weird about it like I used to and I need to just get over it. she needs it still. little miss still asks too. how come I CANT HAVE MILKY? ha. um. because you aren't a baby? here is some lemonade kid. (guess who just crawled up on my lap. HA HA HA HA.)

  2. Love this! I feel much the same way. It's pretty simple: just feeding our children. I weaned Gabriel when it was time, but part of me wishes we had continued until he was much more verbal, for the delightful commentary you describe, and to see what he would have called it.

    I agree that normalizing breastfeeding (especially older babies) involves talking about it, calmly and casually. I will mention to my (male) academic colleagues that I have to go home and nurse the baby, or I'm low on sleep because of nighttime feedings, etc. and I'm willing to take the (small) risk that it will harm my career in order to keep it part of the conversation.

    1. ha. robin. perfect! you lactivist you ;)

  3. And what about the funnest part about nursing a two year old? I find it is the constant moving and even trying to walk or stand while nursing. ;) Just kidding, though nursing a toddler is a different bear.
    I cannot see ending nursing with my littlest but it does get awkward when she asks in public. I've had "the talk" from another mother about nursing so late, but we love it.

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