5 Reasons Why I Breastfed My Daughter Until She Was 2

Many moons ago I posted about 5 rookie mistakes I made while breastfeeding, and it has been amazing to me to hear how many women have read that and related, or avoided similar mistakes since then.  As it would turn out, saving my breastfeeding relationship with Cora wasn’t only possible, it was a turning point in our relationship.  When all was said and done, we continued to nurse until the week before her 2nd birthday.  At that point I was feeling it was time to stop, and Cora, although reluctant, has been just fine as well.  I realize there are some women who feel that you should let a child nurse until they decide to stop on their own, but it just wasn’t in the cards for us.  I felt 2 years of my life was plenty to sacrifice my body for our nursing relationship, and we had just found out we were expectant so nursing a toddler was becoming increasingly uncomfortable for me.

Anyways, I still look back on our nursing relationship as a hugely positive thing, and there are still times when I miss it.  We’re only a few months out, so Cora will still ask for “chi-chis” occasionally, but it’s in more of a security blanket type way than anything.  She just views them (and me) as a source of comfort, not a source of food anymore.  I love to use this blog as a way to shake things up, keep y’all on your toes, and open the discussion on things that aren’t normally comfortable for me to discuss in person. So without further adieu, here are 5 reasons why I breastfed my daughter until she was two.

1. Pele and Michael Jordan

Around the time that Cora was 6 or 7 months old, Orlando started to think it was a little weird that we were still breastfeeding.  My mom made it to six months more or less with all of us, so I hadn’t really had experience with anyone close to me breastfeeding for an extended amount of time either.  Maybe it is weird, I thought.  Maybe it will make things awkward in public places if I keep going.  Then I read somewhere that Michael Jordan was breastfed until he was three.  Pele, the famous soccer player, was supposedly breastfed until he was five.  For a professional basketball player and a former college volleyball player, this was like music to our ears.  A chance for Cora to have superhuman athletic ability? Check, please. We’re sold.

2. The Magical Sleep Inducer

We just watched the movie Neighbors the other day, and in one part the parents are lovingly looking at their baby fast asleep when she starts to stir.  They both gasp in horror until she rolls back over and falls back asleep.  Don’t you dare judge those parents.  That is EXACTLY how it is.  When the baby is asleep, all you want is for them to STAY asleep.  Nursing Cora was the one thing I could do to make her automatically hit the snooze button.  It’s not highly recommended to let your baby associate nursing with falling asleep, but by the time Cora was a year old, there was no shaking this part of our routine.  It remained the ONLY way I could get her to go to sleep (besides a trip in the car) for the next year because I was simply too exhausted to employ another method.

3. The one constant

Since we move back and forth between Mexico and the US every six months, and Orlando travels quite frequently on road trips, I felt like breastfeeding was one of the few things that could remain a constant in Cora’s wee little life.  Who was I to take that away from her simply because society determined she was too old?  She was already going to have to make new “friends”, go to a new school, and be away from family for six months out of the year, why not make sure that she at least can count on this one thing? Especially since it just so happened to be one of her FAVORITE things.

4. It was normal for me.

Extended breastfeeding truly is more common than you think.  It’s just another one of those things that people don’t really talk about.  I have plenty of friends who are still breastfeeding their toddlers.  My mother-in-law and sister-in-law confessed to me that they breastfed their babies until they were two and three, too.  I’m in a natural parenting group that I’ve raved about before where women encourage each other to give their babies the best nutrition around for as long as possible.  So even though I still feel awkward telling some people how long Cora and I breastfed, I have enough of a positive influence on the other side of the coin to make me feel proud more often than I feel embarrassed.

5. No one discouraged me.

After Cora was walking and talking, I would occasionally sense that someone was watching her and mentally wondering why I was still nursing her.  Or if we were on a plane and Cora started nursing, the flight attendant would coo and ask how old she was, only to look slightly surprised when I said 23 months. 🙂  But I never had anyone outwardly tell me it was disgusting, or odd, or worse.  No one ever approached me in public and told me to get that weird crap out of here.  I honestly don’t know what I would have done, but I know it would have had a significant impact on my feelings about breastfeeding.  Thank goodness we live in a world where people are starting to have normalized views towards extended breastfeeding, and breastfeeding in general.  It makes it so much easier for those of us who are living outside the previous norm.  If I EVER see a mother breastfeeding in public, no matter how old their child is, I always give them a positive compliment, or at the very least a warm smile, just to let them know they are on a perfectly acceptable path.

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Breastfeeding is hard.  Parenting is hard.  We don’t need to make it harder on ourselves and others by being cruel towards views that we may not agree with or fully understand.  Extended breastfeeding is something that I never in a million years thought I would do, but here I am now with a happy, healthy toddler that I am so glad got the experience of nourishment from her mother for two full years.  I don’t know if Cora will remember our nursing relationship down the road, but maybe, just maybe, we’ll be closer because of it.  I know I’m a stronger mother because of it. And I fully support any other mother who wants the same for the relationship with their children as well.

 

XO,

A

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