Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday my Sweet Nursling!

That is me nursing in public without a cover, without showing any breast! It is possible!

My sweet girl! You are two today! You bring so much joy to my life and I love you so much. I am so blessed to be your mommy. 

You have no clue about all the hogwash going around the internet and media right now, but a lot of ignorant people are attacking the way I parent you. Crazy, huh? Anyone that knows you will see what a bright, well adjusted, independent, sweet little girl you are. I love spending as much time with you as possible, but you are perfectly fine if I must leave for whatever reason. I remember when I was pregnant with you one of the things I was most excited about was nursing you. My goal was 2 years, and we have made it! Yay for you and me. Now this doesn't mean I am a better mommy that someone who chooses not to or isn't able to nurse, this is just what has worked for us and I believe it has made our bond strong. Our nursing relationship is the most beautiful thing. You are receiving comfort and nutrition from the very one who birthed you, ME! And it is usually the only time you will sit still long enough to cuddle. You aren't very cuddly! You are so busy! I love that you can communicate with me what you need, and where you want to nurse. I love tickling you and making you giggle and talking to you while you nurse. Nursing a toddler has to be one of the most rewarding things anyone could ever do. When you smile at me and say "thank you" at the end my heart just melts. You are nursing less and less and I am sure that my being pregnant has something to do with it. I know you will wean in your own time (or if my milk dries up from the pregnancy), and I will be sad for that chapter to end, but I will still have many other ways that we will be able to build our bond. I love you so much. Happy Birthday!

And for a re run post from last year called "Why wean, nursing past one" you can read below. And one more thing, let me just say that if I have friends and family who question the how and why of certain parenting choices my husband and I make I hope that you will come to me instead of believing all the misinformation circulating right now.

First, some background:
My mom nursed all of us (myself and 2 brothers) for around 2.5years each. She didn't have anyone telling her to do this, she just did because it felt natural to her to practice extended breastfeeding.  As I grew up and became an adult I thought this was "weird",  although I probably didn't think it was weird until I found out that most people weren't breastfed this long. Also, two of my aunts also breastfed their toddlers, as well as my cousin. My cousin just weaned her 2.5 year old twins. Now, that is awesome! When I got pregnant I planned on nursing, but "not as long as my mom" I would tell people. Well, now that has all changed. I hope to nurse each baby at least as long as my mom nursed us. Here are some things I learned that changed my mind:

1. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed for 6 months, then for at least a year or as long as mutually desirable by mother and baby. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for at least 2 years, as does UNICEF.
2. Breast doesn't stop being best at 1 year. Human milk is still best for a growing toddler. Cow milk was meant for cows, and human milk is meant for humans.  (but yes, I do drink cow's milk) Breastfeeding has nutritional benefits past one year of age, such as 75% of vitamin A requirements, 94% of B12, 60% of vitamin C, and more
3. Breastfed children are sick less often.


  • Antibodies are abundant in human milk throughout lactation" (Nutrition During Lactation 1991; p. 134). In fact, some of the immune factors in breastmilk increase in concentration during the second year and also during the weaning process. (Goldman 1983, Goldman & Goldblum 1983, Institute of Medicine 1991).
  • Per the World Health Organization"a modest increase in breastfeeding rates could prevent up to 10% of all deaths of children under five: Breastfeeding plays an essential and sometimes underestimated role in the treatment and prevention of childhood illness." [emphasis added
4. Breastfed children have fewer allergies. 
5. Extended breastfeeding can help with behavior issues in a toddler because of the bond that breastfeeding provides
6. It does not psychologically harm the child:
        via kelly mom

  •         The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that "Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child... Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother... There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer." (AAP 2005)
  • The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that breastfeeding continue throughout the first year of life and that "As recommended by the WHO, breastfeeding should ideally continue beyond infancy, but this is not the cultural norm in the United States and requires ongoing support and encouragement. It has been estimated that a natural weaning age for humans is between two and seven years. Family physicians should be knowledgeable regarding the ongoing benefits to the child of extended breastfeeding, including continued immune protection, better social adjustment, and having a sustainable food source in times of emergency. The longer women breastfeed, the greater the decrease in their risk of breast cancer." They also note that "If the child is younger than two years of age, the child is at increased risk of illness if weaned." (AAFP 2008)
7. Mothers benefit greatly from extended nursing by significantly reducing the risk of many types of cancers as well as osteoporosis 

If you and your almost 1 year old are still enjoying the breastfeeding relationship, why wean? If you want to continue nursing your toddler there is plenty of research to prove the benefits of it. For some reason it has become the cultural norm to wean at one even if it is not what the mother and child want to do. If people are pressuring you to wean your one year old just show them the research and then do what feels right to you. Don't worry about what your family or friends may say or think, just do what you feel and believe is best for you and your child. In biblical times children were breastfed much longer than today, and there is proof of that in the bible (Hannah and Samuel is one example). The Creator God is the one who designed the amazing properties of breastmilk, and those amazing properties are still there after your baby's one year birthday. If you decide to wean your child at any time make sure it is because that is what  you feel is best, not because someone is pressuring you or that you feel pressured by society in general. Extended breastfeeding will only become more "normal" and accepted as more mothers and babies continue their breastfeeding relationship past one year. 

I love the breastfeeding relationship I have with my baby girl and I am very thankful for a supportive husband. We look forward to continuing our breastfeeding until she decides she is through. And who knows, maybe I will get the privilege of tandem nursing too! I love nursing my baby girl. Our breastfeeding relationship has already changed so much from the time she was a newborn. Now she squirms all over and plays with my face while nursing and practices her nursing acrobatics. She also takes breaks to look up at me and "talk" to me. And nothing can beat that milky grin! 

What about you? How long did you nurse your child(ren)? How long do you plan to nurse? Do you plan on letting them wean themselves or when do you plan to wean them? And why? 

Some links for your researching pleasure:


  1. We just met the 2 year mark also. I didn't have a specific goal, but I'm pretty pleased we got to where we are. I'm planning on letting her wean although I just bought the book "Nursies When the Sun Shines" because it is a lovely book and I wouldn't mind if she nursed a little less at night.

  2. congratulations!! props to you for feeding her so long. my supply was never really that great - i've managed to feed Mason up to this point but i've been noticing he's not getting a lot with his feeds. Happy birthday Brooklyn!! you have a wonderful Mama!

  3. con grates I had to stop at 19 months cause my son was needing a lot less milk I cut back a feeding and my cycle came back, for me the symptoms were so strong that we decided maybe it was time to stop and just about that time my son started to forget about nursing. It worked out fine for us this way! bravo for continuing I am now breastfeeding my second and hope to make it to at least two as well! God bless!

  4. Love this post! We would love it if you would link up to the Breastfeeding Blog Hop sometime. :) ~Jeniffer

  5. Love this post! We made it to 15 months because I couldn't handle her breastfeeding while I'm pregnant. I'm hoping to go a bit longer this time around, though. I planned (and plan) to play it by ear.

    By the way, I think you should link up to the Breastfeeding Blog Hop (we host it at I really enjoy your perspective. :)