Extended breastfeeding - what my son would like you to know!
My son at twenty-seven months breastfeeds round the clock, is a happy, healthy, sociable little man, with a lot of love and plenty of passion (read tempers) though he is known throughout our church as the toddler who sits through church with barely a peep (except for very loud "amens") and shakes hands at the door (unless he's having a shy morning). He's been day toilet-trained since before two having been part-time pottied from five months old and is almost nap/sleep toilet-trained too (mostly dry naps and nights). He is very contented to play by himself or alongside his peers, enjoys at home days, trips to the park and church playgroups and he loves our once a month La Leche League group (lots of toys in the middle of the large circle of breastfeeding mamas with children from a couple of days up to around four or five years (though I know of a few older feeders and generally my Bundle is amongst the oldest at two).
I Was somewhat destined to be a hippy mama and so it was no surprise to my family (if a bit of a shock for my in-laws), but my husband has taken each day as it comes and whilst he never could have imagined us with a breastfeeding toddler (and the "weaning" conversation is on the table) he has enjoyed our breastfeeding journey and no one could fail to smile at my son's pure joy and excitement at the prospect of his having milkies. Even in a half-asleep daze he will sign for milkies and then beam as he knows it will soon arrive.
My view of the convenience, comfort-giving-properties and calming nature of milkies though is rather irrelevant for this post as this is about what Bundle would like you to know about breastfeeding. This has been a topic of conversation for us at our LLL meeting as our leader Vic is speaking on it at the upcoming LLL Ireland conference. Bundle will be contributing to the talk. At just over two his language skills are on target and by no means advanced, he is our little parrot of late and also likes to wander about repeating his current favourite words - "three, four" is definitely top of the list at the moment, I tell you this as an introduction to my expectations as I turned the audio app on and attempted to gauge his opinion of breatsfeeding.
Mama: What do you think milkies tastes like?
Bundle: .!@& (translation: we have no idea, we still haven't been able to decode this one but it sounded a lot like a rude word we don't say in our house, though I will add he said it with a big beaming smile)
M: What do you think of milkies?
B: Um (big smile and on-the-spot bounce)
B: Yeah (nodding enthusiastically)
M: Do you like having milkies?
B: Yeeeeahhh (big smile, nodding and bouncing)
M: Would you like to keep having milkies for a little while longer?
B: Yeah (nodding)
M: what would you like to tell other babies and boys and girls about milkies?
B: Um (serious look on face)
B: Yeah (nodding seriously)
M: What age are you?
B: (pause for a big breath) biiiig
M: What age are you?
B: Boy! (triumphant)
M: Oh, of course, you're a big boy!
M: How old are you?
B: Twoooo (proudly)
My friend Stephanie's wee girl Tanzie said "bub-bub tastes like sunshine and rainbows."
Another girl Marie's son M (now six, who fed until he was four) said his little sister (currently one) is lucky because it tastes so yummy.
So ignore those voices of dissent who say your "little" one is too big, that they are x months old and should wean and ask your babe what they think or ask yourself what you think they'd tell you, if only they could. You might be surprised by their coherence (or yours on their behalf).
It might be the biological reasons that start you breastfeeding but I think it's the warm fuzzy ones that keep you going.