I have been a nursing mother for 4 and a half years now. My son is a wonderful chunky outgoing little boy who loves his “boob drink”. It has been fun asking him what he prefers “daddy or boob drink”? Of course no matter what I put up against the milky stuff, the milky stuff always triumphs. He loves it and is definitely telling me that he has no intention of giving it up anytime soon.
My son’s natural weaning process has been quite slow. When my son was a year or so old, I often read about babies already sleeping through the night/not nursing by the time they were 11/2 – 2. I was curious as to when I could expect my wriggly little monster to give me a full nights sleep without requesting the “boob drink”. Of course though, despite reading about others experiences, mine was certainly different and my son didn’t give up the night feeding by the time he was 2. It took a lot longer. In fact I think it has only been in the last year (so potentially when he was 31/2) that he no longer feeds during the night. He still likes to have a morning feed in bed though (we chose to cosleep rather than use a cot bed.
There have also been times during the day where he has driven me nuts with his incessant feeding too. Just constantly back and forth to me, interrupting me and just being annoying with the top pulling. I recently bought a new top that DOESN’T have buttons down the front or a zip. My son insisted it be put in the bin because he couldn’t easily get to his favourite things. Yes, he is a very cheeky monkey.
Besides these times when I have felt like the nursing was too much, the past 4 years have been mostly enjoyable. As I spend part of my day tidying the house, I sometimes think that being a mother can be a thankless job, but in those times my son is cuddling up to me and nursing I feel utterly loved. My son looks up at me with his bright blue eyes and I know he is very thankful and happy to be getting his favourite thing. There is nothing so wonderful as to being so close to another human being either. The closeness I feel to my son is ridiculous but when he nurses I know that no one else shares this with him and he doesn’t share it with anyone else. It’s ours.
I remember one time I got very ill when my son was around 2. It was a first for me and my own fault. I had felt a little under the weather but decided to do some speed work for my running training. Well that sent me over the edge and I got the flu. For some reason, my son nursing cracked my nipples and he wouldn’t use a nipple guard. I just grimaced through the pain, being reminded of what it was like the first few weeks when he was a newborn. It wasn’t nice. One evening, while ill, I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to nurse him to sleep. I told him I was very ill and I couldn’t nurse him. Instead of making a fuss, which I was expecting, he graciously gave me a cuddle and went to sleep without it. It was the first time he had went to sleep without nursing. It made me cry and feel guilty. I felt extremely sad but was in awe of how wonderful he had been to me, by just leaving me be because he knew I was unwell. It made me realise why the weaning process is a slow one and not just for the baby. To just cut off nursing abruptly is quite a shock to the emotional system. It was for me because it felt like I had had something taken away that night. The next day my son was full of spirits ready for more milk guzzling. I truly appreciated and loved every single nursing time after that because I had lost it that one night.
I could have never have imagined myself nursing my son at 4, but here I am today doing that. There is nothing weird about it to me, to my son or to my partner. It’s just really wonderful. Of course there have been times I have found it difficult or annoying, but I can honestly say that for 95% of the time it’s just been wonderful.
About the Author
Marie is a stay at home mother to a 4 year old boy. She enjoys spending time with her family and adding content to her site www.babycotbeds.org.