I've been asked that very question a few times recently. Those who asked weren't grossed out or offended or anything like that (at least I don't think they were). Instead they seemed genuinely interested, if a bit puzzled. The follow up question is usually, "When are you planning on stopping?" You can find the answers below but first, if you read this blog regularly then you know that first I must ramble on about stuff.
Asking questions is more than ok with me. We live in a culture that arbitrarily judges us for just about every decision we make. Oh and of course there's the sexualization of boobs, too. It's not surprising to me that many people are shocked by seeing a nursing toddler and I don't think people are bad if they find it different. I equate it to my shock and awe of macrobiotic diets. I am genuinely intrigued by how people do it. It seems like such work. As I sit here lazily munching on my sea salt and dill Triscuits, a macro fairy is crying. But to each their own, right? I try to approach questions like the ones above with an understanding that most people are just curious. And that's cool.
I'm not sure that made sense to anyone but me but... moving on.
I've been having a lot of moments lately. You know the ones where your eyes get all wet and you start thinking about all the amazing moments you've already lived and how you never want to forget them? I keep staring at Plum every time she nurses and remembering all the years I have been nursing my babies and how it won't be long before she begins to wind down now that her vampire teeth are starting to actually cut.
I've been crying the love tears, you guys. There is something completely insane about watching your last baby grow into an almost two year old. And I have been beating back my dread that her second birthday is only three months away. Because I think, for me, that will ring the final round bell on this chapter of babyhood in our lives. Three months. That's all we have left. I look at her and I still see my little baby. But I cannot fight time. So when I find myself with moments of quiet, I have been thinking myself into a tizzy remembering the scents and soft giggles of nursing my babies when they were tiny. The sweet gurgle sounds of a tiny babe gulping down a satisfying dinner. The milky grin they flash in the middle of it as if to say "Oh mama, this is delicious!" And then just as I'm near a rush of tears I cannot stop, I am jolted back into this moment because there is a toe up my nose and a giggling toddler that thinks she is just hysterical for putting it there.
And, of course, she is.
So last night as Plum nursed through the pain of cutting of one of her canines (one down three to go!), I started to giggle. Because instead of being sad about her babyhood slipping away, I thought about all the things about nursing her as a toddler that are awesome. Like these things...
1. She's always on the move. Toddlers are active little people and this can make for some very, um, interesting nursing positions. This graphic? It's not wrong...
3. She is always falling down or running into something because she has the coordination of a newborn baby elephant. Her injuries on display with bumps to the head and bruises to the knees. Her heart breaks every single time she falls. Which is approximately 14 times a day. And do you know what takes the awful away? My boobs.
4. She is funny. Plum thinks it is super fun to dress up or read book while nursing. It's not always pretty since she is attached to my body while trying to flip the pages of a book. I often get smacked in the face with a turning page and she thinks that's just awful. "Oh no!", she will say after popping off to see if I'm ok. She'll rub my chin to make it feel better, latch back on and turn a new page. Rinse. Repeat.
6. She has things to do. Remember when you were nursing your newborn and they wanted to eat 23 of the 24 hours in a day? Or when each meal took forever? Yeah, Plum has no kind of time for that noise. She is in and out inside of a few minutes so she can get back to her job of destroying our Christmas tree. She has priorities, man. I can respect that.
Well, I'm off to do some research on how best to help crying children when you can no longer put a boob in their mouth. Because while Mr. Pants is weaned he isn't into mama cuddling the pain the away (No, um...that doesn't kill me inside. Why do you ask?) and I have a feeling that Plum won't either. My feeling is based on the fact that she goes from zero to enraged in no time at all. And there's also her tendency to dramatically moan and fall on purpose only to become incensed when you try to assist her (I can do it MYSELF!!). So yeah, I'm kind of hoping she decides to nurse for a good while longer so that I can get a handle on this before I lose the best tool in my tool box.
What is your favorite thing about nursing a toddler? Will you miss it?