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No more nursing

I never expected to nurse my son for two and a half years. Both my daughters lost interest by around 18 months, and I figured he’d follow suit. But 18 months came and went and he was still interested. Very interested. His first three-word sentence was “Nurse other side!”

As time went on, his enthusiasm never waned. Nursing a verbal toddler, which I feared would be creepy, was actually a hoot. And at the end of a busy day, there was nothing better than settling into the rocking chair with him in my arms.

Former Surgeon General Antonia Novella once said “It’s the lucky baby, I feel, who continues to nurse until he is two.” I heard that quote when I was pregnant for the first time, and it has stayed with me ever since. So when Zev turned two, I thought we’d both been pretty lucky. But for the past six months, I’ve been feeling a little less lucky and more ready to be done. Not 100% ready, but maybe 75%.

Finally, last week I decided the time had come to try weaning him. I gave him a week’s notice. I told him that on his half-birthday we’d have a party with balloons and cake — a “No More Nursing Party”. After that, we’d be done.

Each day, we counted down. We talked a lot about how big he is getting, and all the things he and I can do together now that we couldn’t do back when he was a baby. On Saturday morning, I told him it was his last time. He did each side twice, for good measure (“just a little bit more!”). We had our cake and balloons that evening. Then at bedtime, he asked to nurse. I said no, and he cried a little. But then we read a few books, he stretched out on his big-boy bed, and asked me to sing to him. As I watched him fall asleep, I sat there and cried.

I never cry, but there it was.

I was so overwhelmed. He’s gotten so big, and it happened so fast. And I’ve loved breastfeeding so much. This huge part of my life is over now, and even though it wasn’t always convenient and it wasn’t always easy, it was always so rewarding.

Nursing a toddler is a bizarre experience. I wrote about it a while back, but it’s amazing how quickly people shift from being supportive to being skeptical after a breastfeeding baby turns one. A few weeks ago, Mayim Bialik wrote a blog post on about nursing her toddler. Her approach is really different from mine and far more extreme, but I was still shocked by some of the brutally negative comments she got (though she also got many, many supportive ones).

It’s easy to misunderstand extended nursing if you’ve never done it. Yes, the significance of breastfeeding changes as a baby matures and develops language. But it’s not a bad thing.

We had this connection, he and I. It was important and it was ours. On days when my head was elsewhere, my body was always there for him. And it was undoubtedly his favorite time of the day. Someday he’ll be taller than me, and most likely this whole idea will be mortifying. But I don’t ever want to forget how special this was — for both of us.

Sunday morning, he asked to nurse again. I held my ground. A little while later, he looked at me, and I watched him think for a minute. Then he asked me slowly, “Why… why I can’t nurse?” I was instantly gripped with doubt, but I took a deep breath and said “Because you’re getting so big. You don’t need to nurse anymore.” And he smiled and went back to playing with his trains.


  1. Thanks for sharing this!! Great story..

  2. Very inspiring. I nursed for 18 months and loved it. I feel that if you can get past the first 3 months (the hardest), there is no reason to stop after that. It gets easier and easier. I wish I had gone longer. My baby wanted it and it was very hard to wean her, but I was very sick and needed to take medication that was not safe to take during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Now I am nursing baby #2 and I plan to nurse for as long as she wants. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. this is so encouraging for mama’s trying to find their own way amidst everyone telling them the “right” way! Thanks for sharing…

  4. you’ve done it again sheri, made me cry right in the middle of the day…with stacks of work around me…you are a wonderful mother – i just hope you know that…

  5. Thanks so much for sharing your story! My son just turned one and I’m already getting the, “you’re STILL breastfeeding?” comments from family and friends. It’s really reassuring to read of others who are nursing toddlers – makes me feel more confident in my decision to continue to breastfeed instead of forcing him to wean now!

  6. Awwww this made me teary-eyed. My son is almost 21 months and I love our daily nursing session before he goes to bed. I always shy away from telling people that I still nurse him for fear of being considered weird. I don’t know when we will stop – maybe when (if I get pregnant) my belly grows too big that it interferes with nursing him. We’ll see. For now, I’ll keep going for as long as he wants.

  7. This was an awesome read. I actually was tearing up. I have nursed all 3 of my kids. My first weaned himself at 15 months. Mys econd i had to stop at around 2 plus years because i was pregannt with number 3 and i was very sick. Now i am nursing number 3 and he is 20 months old and has no intention of stopping. I feel like i may be done but he is no where near finished. i commend you for what you did. I love love love nursing and am not sur eif i am ready to be done. i know i will miss it like crazy. But its hard when no one understnads you. people look at me like i have 3 heads when i tell them i still nurse so for now i try not to discuss it but keep it my private and special time with my little one. thanks for letting peopel know how amazing we all are for nursing so long. and i am crying for you too!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. This post made me smile nostalgically.
    I NEVER thought I’d be the mother to nurse my FOURTH child well past the age of 2.
    But I WAS the mother who always felt that she stopped nursing the other 3 (at ages varying between 5 and 15 months) for all the wrong reasons… overridingly due to pressure from others.
    By the time my fourth came around, I realized that she could very well be my last and I was determined to stop when it was OUR decision.
    Good for you.
    Enjoy the moments.
    They grow up so fast.

  9. Thanks Sheri for this love story, it makes me realize one more time how beautiful is motherhood, I have a 2 1/2 baby girl as well, my first baby and we love our time together for nursing, she holds my hand and kisses me, every night as our bedtime routine follow by “mami mi tetita” means “mommy nurse”; it is our time, it is our way, I dont listen to the comments, they dont know what they are missing; of course there are days you want to be over, but I think again, she wants it, I love it, they grow soo fast and this is our time.

  10. What a sweet story that made me tear up a bit myself. Still nursing my 1 1/2 year old boy. He isn’t talking much yet, but he uses the word “milk” for want. Often he actually wants milk, but other times it can be a guessing game. Such a wonderful bond between a mom and a child. I feel so lucky to have been able to nurse him so long and to have a husband who supports nursing (even it if means having a toddler in bed with us kicking us in the face sometimes).

  11. Aw girl, I’m crying over here. My third baby is also my best nurser. He’s only 9 months but he’s going strong, even part time.

    I loved this post so much. What a special time for both of you. Good job standing your ground and remaining composed. Did you turn around and cry. I would have ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good for you and for Zev.

  12. My baby will be 21 in a few weeks and he and I STILL have a special relationship. It is such a beautiful thing…a mom and son. You have so many fun days ahead with him! Bless you. Your story is beautiful.

  13. i love this story. such a nice way to finish out nursing. we’re still going strong at almost 2 years. i’m getting more and more ready to stop, but i know my son isn’t there yet. i’m hoping to use a similar method in the next 6-12 months. he’s so much more verbal, but we’re not there yet.

  14. Hey Sher,

    Always so nice to read your personal posts. Congrats on your nursing journey. Nitzan (my second) is still nursing at 15+ months, though now seeming to be starting to loose interest a bit…and of course I feel conflicted…. Anyway, you would probably appreciate this little story. A few nights ago, having fallen asleep nursing, Nitzan unclamped his mouth from my nipple, said “NUM” (his version of “yum”) in his sleep, shifted around, and promptly began to snore. Typical male….

    Listen, be in touch if you are planning a visit to this part of the world….

    Much love,

    Nili et al.

  15. This post gave both me and my sister a good laugh – we can both relate to the end of nursing and its mixed feelings. Thanks for sharing

  16. How timely for me to read this. Tomorrow, my 2.5 year old boy will have a “No More Nursing” Party. I’m trying to emphasize the “Because I’m a Big Boy Now.” I gave him the warning that this was coming and looked at me and yelled, “I NURSE!” We’ll see how things go the day after tomorrow, when he asks to nurse. I feel confident I can hold my ground, but I might cry, if he does. However, I feel it is necessary to quit, since I hardly produce any milk anymore, and our nursing sessions last only about 5 minutes once a day (by his choice, not mine). It’s just a habit at this point.

    The time went by fast and it was precious. I don’t regret having nursed this long.

    My niece also nursed until she was 2.5 and I wasn’t so supportive, because I had never been a mother, but now I understand.

  17. Beautiful story!

  18. I am currently breastfeeding my 2.5 year old and I am 98 % ready to stop and my only 2% of doubt comes from his 200% not being ready to stop. Your story is inspirational and beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Hi i came across your story and i have tears in my eyes im going trough this stopping breastfeeding thing right now and i feel horrible but i see that hes getting older now and doesnt need to be breaks my heart also because its our little bonding time a time for just the two of ous. But i cant wait to have more bonding times with him in other ways.. And again your story was AWESOME it made me tear <3

  20. This is my all time favorite part ” We had this connection, he and I. It was important and it was ours. On days when my head was elsewhere, my body was always there for him. And it was undoubtedly his favorite time of the day. Someday heโ€™ll be taller than me, and most likely this whole idea will be mortifying. But I donโ€™t ever want to forget how special this was โ€” for both of us”

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