I always thought it would just be “weird” to nurse a child who could walk and talk. Our first two boys didn’t walk till close to their first birthdays, and each of them had quit nursing at around 11 months, so I didn’t have to examine my thinking on the topic too closely. The end of the nursing relationship, which occurred in both cases more or less by mutual consent, was, to be honest, a great relief to me with Boy1. With Boy2 it was something that I neither pushed hard for,* nor regretted when it was over.
So even after nursing two babies for a combined total of 23 months, and being firmly convinced of the myriad benefits of breastfeeding for mother and babe, etc., etc., I still didn’t really understand how people could nurse toddlers. Toddlers. They walk! They talk! They’re unmistakably morphing into something more closely resembling an actual person!
For whatever reason, some people get personally offended by moms who nurse past a year. I was never among those ranks, but as I uttered with perfect sincerity, “It’s fine if it works for them,” my eyebrow would be at just, you know, that angle.
Ahem. Then there’s Boy3. He passed the year mark two months ago. He ain’t a-talkin’, but he’s sure a-walkin’. A-runnin’, even. And his personal opinion, which just so happens to be quite important to him personally, is that there need be nothing mutual about the consensus to close the dairy. The status quo is just fine, thanks for asking, and he’ll be sure to notify me if things change.
To return to my original puzzlement: How on earth do moms end up nursing their toddlers--these small, disproportionately opinionated people who stump so purposefully about the house, these babies so huge that their legs drape ridiculously over the side of the nursing chair as they recline in perfect ease with their tubby bellies rounding up to the sky?
Turns out that this is how it happens: You bring forth, likely with great personal inconvenience, effort and pain, a newborn. With the help of God, your husband, and a lactational consultant, you may be able to nurse this newborn, often at further great personal inconvenience, effort, and pain. That newborn continues to nurse, and to grow. More nursing, more growing. Hit repeat. Then one day the baby turns one and starts walking and you’re still nursing. Huh. Just like that.
I’m still not convinced that it’s impossible to be weirded out by one’s own lifestyle, but ending the day by rocking with my BabyBoy who’s too busy to sit still for more than 3 seconds at any other point in the day. . . well, not so weird, after all. . .
*Full disclosure compels me to admit that there was a baby-free trip on the horizon in that case.