Let's talk about normal-term breastfeeding. (Call it extended breastfeeding if you will, but I prefer full-term or normal-term.)
Right now, you are either shuddering or fist-pumping.
Breastfeeding has always been a very important part of my relationship with my kids. Before Lilah was even conceived, I knew I desperately wanted to breastfeed. I just didn't know how long I would want or be able to do it. I tended to agree with that modern adage that if they can ask for it, it's kinda creepy.
Wait. What? That makes absolutely NO sense to me now.
Once I had Lilah, I realized they are always asking for it. It's simply an evolution. From making sucky faces to crying to nuzzling into my chest to those first rudimentary attempts at making the sign for "milk" (which both of my kids used long before they could say the word) to lifting up my shirt to saying "milk." And in Lilah's case, all the way up to 26 months, just before she weaned, when she could say, "Milk please, Mommy." All of this is normal.
There is no clear line where they go from "asking for it" to really asking for it. Besides, even if there was, why would it make sense to cut them off just when I'm finally really sure what they want? Is that considered normal?
Please understand, I support other moms in whatever length of breastfeeding works for them and their children, whether that be never, a few days, a few months, or a few years. I'm just saying that I, personally, have changed my tune completely because my child asking for breast milk just doesn't seem like a legitimate reason to stop giving it to them.
Henry is almost 20 months, with a mouthful of teeth, an exploding vocabulary, two- and three-word phrases, and a huge repertoire of songs.
He can definitely ask for it. And he exercises that right several times a day. Most of the time, I am happy to oblige.
Sometimes, it's an inconvenience. The gymnurstics, kicks to the face, and occasional biting can be annoying or even downright painful. But there are other parts that make it so worthwhile. His delighted giggle when I say, "Milk? Sure!" and start to lift my shirt. The cure-all for owies, grumpies, and everything in between. The best way to wake up. The way he tilts his head to one side and says, "side?" when he wants to switch. His emphatic "buh-bye!" as he pulls down my shirt to show he is all done. These are just a few of the many things that make nursing a toddler feel absolutely natural to me.
Right now, we are both enjoying this aspect of our relationship. And I plan to continue as long as we both continue to enjoy it.
Whether that makes you shudder or fist-pump, I really don't mind. Because this is just so... normal.
I'm linking up with some other Vancouver Mom bloggers who are passionate about normal-term breastfeeding. Drop in on Mama in the City, Hillary with two Ls, Spokesmama, and One Crazy Kid for more normal-term breastfeeding stories. If you're a fist-pumper, link up! Or share your thoughts on full-term/normal-term breastfeeding in the comments.