My son recently turned 19 months old, and I have a confession to make. I’m still breastfeeding. This is the longest I’ve gone with any of my kids, and he shows no sign of losing interest. So he’s not ready to stop, and truthfully, I’m not either. But I’m amazed by how the experience has changed recently. Here are 5 notable things I’ve discovered about nursing a toddler.
1. Crossing the language barrier. His first three-word sentence? “Nurse other side.”
2. Judgment calls. Lots of people who used to ask, encouragingly “how long are you planning to breastfeed?” now ask, a bit scandalized, “how long are you planning to breastfeed?!” This includes my pediatrician.
3. Temper tantrums. There’s nothing like an angry (and dexterous) toddler trying to tear your shirt off because you refused to nurse him in the passport control line at the airport.
4. Agility. I’ve never been shy about nursing in public, but my son does these fancy, upside-down maneuvers that sometimes make it hard to be, um, discreet.
5. Attachment. You suspect it’s true when you’re nursing a newborn – it’s not really YOU your baby loves, it’s your boobs. But a talking toddler confirms it. When I lift my shirt, he cheers. Seriously, cheers. I get a warm reception at the end of the day, but the applause meter doesn’t lie.
I don’t know how long I’m planning to breastfeed. I figured he’d tell me when he was ready to stop. And sure, I kind of thought it would happen before now. But it’s his favorite time(s) of day. And mine too. Except in the passport line.