Breastfeeding At 17 Months

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This post is about my breastfeeding journey. Please know I support you no matter how you choose to feed your child. This is just something that has been a huge part of my life lately and I need to write it out :)

Lately I’ve noticed a trend among family and friends, and heck — even strangers. When they find out I am still breastfeeding Karina, who is 17 months old, their eyes BUG out.

“You’ve got to get her weaned! Don’t you want your body back?” says a woman very close to me {*cough* my mother}.

Even a mom stranger made a comment one day at the library…”I can’t imagine breastfeeding when a child has teeth!” When I told her I was still nursing, she stopped in her tracks and eventually walked off. Guess I freaked her out. {For the record, I’ve only been bit once and after I screamed out, she hasn’t done it again.}

In some ways, I’ve never felt so judged in motherhood, not that I take it personally. Because like a lot of things in motherhood, unless you’ve been there, you don’t understand. Period.

In fact, I never understood how hard weaning is. And frankly, I don’t want to fight my child about it and deny her the ONE thing that makes her the happiest.

Penelope Cruz just came out saying “breastfeeding is addicting.” Yeah, I do not see it that way at all. I am NOT addicted. But my baby is. And it’s not crack, so how can I get mad at her for wanting something that is natural and is healthy for both of us? Most cultures recommend nursing for the first two years, though I do feel there’s a stigma around extended breastfeeding here in America.

Breastfeeding...17 Months Later

Nursing at the car dealership while buying a minivan. How very mom of me, eh? HA. Also, look at those eyes. Can you now understand why I can’t deny her?!

With Kinley, it was easy…She took a bottle of pumped milk pretty much from day one and just decided to quit nursing cold turkey at 10 months. I had quite a supply built up in the freezer, so she lasted awhile, but I did buy a few cans of formula to get her through the remainder of the year. I never had an ounce of guilt about it…It was just time. She was happy, and I was happy.

But my Karina has been SO different. She has NEVER taken a bottle. Not one. Going away for more than two hours at a time when she was young was incredibly hard for me knowing she was home screaming her head off for the boob. Eventually she got used to it and would just wait until I was home, but it was a long road. As a gal likes to be on the go, it was a healthy dose of the reality and sacrifices of motherhood for me. Thankfully, my husband is incredible and eventually found other ways to keep her occupied while I got out. Thank God she LOVED solids from the very first taste!

Even today, knowing I can’t leave her for more than one night is tough. I’d love to go on a relaxing mini vacay for a couple of nights with the hubby, but it’s just not in the cards. I can’t even plan ahead because right now I see no end in sight.

For now, I’ve employed the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” method. Some mornings she’s fine…She gets up and plays and doesn’t need to nurse until nighttime. Other days, when we’re home and she’s feeling needy {or teething}, she’ll nurse up to 5 times. She brings me her boppy and blankie, and will just stand there and cry until I cave. And I always do. I can’t say no when I know of a surefire method to make her happy again.

There are lots of positives to nursing into toddlerhood, but the big one for me is that it’s the only time during my day I truly get to relax. In fact, I wrote this entire post while nursing her. The only time it has been a challenge is when we were hardcore potty training Kinley. I literally sat on the floor nursing while encouraging Kinley to potty. I won’t sugarcoat it — those days were long and hard — but I survived.

The reality is I am ready to be done {and so is my husband}, but she simply is not. We all want what’s best for our kids, right? And right now, I guess that means I will be nursing her until she’s decided she’s done. I’m holding out hope that it naturally happens in the next few months, but we shall see.

{If you need some nursing encouragement, read my letter: Dear Newly Nursing Mother.}

When did your child(ren) naturally wean?

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Comments

  1. I think you’re a rockstar & an inspiration. :)

    • Aww, you know your support means the world to me. Thanks for being understanding all those times I was on a tight schedule! You’re the bestest <3

  2. BEAUTIFUL!!! Rock on breastfeeding, mama! Thank you so much for sharing this!!! I 100% agree that there is a stigma in the US about extended breastfeeding. If you’re baby is a year old, you better get that kid off the boob! (haha)

    I wish I was still able to nurse Alaina. She’ll be 9 months old on Christmas Eve, and I think about taking the long tiring road of relactating almost daily. It was just too much with Julia and Justin running the house, so I tried exclusively pumping. That lasted until she was about 7 months old. She’s been on formula ever since then. I want to cry every time I think about it…I’ve never had a supply issue with any of them, so it’s not like I struggled in that aspect. With Julia, I got pregnant (planned) when she was 7 months old, and it was just too painful. With Justin, I was helping my sister at the end of March (near the end of her surro-twin pregnancy), and it just got too hard to pump, take care of J&J, plus take care of myself and my sister, so I weaned him. I don’t think he was ready at all and it broke my heart…I just couldn’t do it. With Alaina…Two toddlers + a newborn = disastrous feedings. It was really terrible and every time I would sit down to nurse her, BOTH of them would act up. It made me feel like a crummy mom because all I would do is snap at them. They didn’t deserve it, and neither did Alaina. Sometimes I really wish I had tried harder…

    *sigh* Sorry for my tangent…lol
    Stacy B. recently posted..12 Days of Happy!My Profile

    • Mrs. Weber says:

      Oh mama, don’t feel an OUNCE of guilt! We all do what we feel we have to do to keep peace in the home, and this just happens to be what is best for me and my kiddo. I give you major props for trying to pump. Personally, I think that takes WAY more work! Do what you gotta do and don’t feel badly :D You are an awesome mom and that’s evident with the smiles on your cute kids’ faces!

  3. Lauren, I get this too! With Rosa I BF her almost to two. It was hard to continue with the glares and comments from strangers, but when it is family it makes it even harder.

    WTG… if you ever need support you know where to find it. Carlyn and I are still going strong. Thank you for sharing!
    Amber (Metro Detroit Mommy) recently posted..Saving Mr. BanksMy Profile

    • Mrs. Weber says:

      Awww, yay Amber! It’s so good to not be alone in this. I am thankful to have friends who have been through this and can sympathize but the comments definitely can catch me off-guard. Thanks for your support, sistah!

  4. Still nursing my 17 month old too. I would definitely like to be done but the only way that would happen is to make Tobin CIO and I would never do that. I get plenty of negative comments from friends and family, don’t know why others think it is their business.

    • Mrs. Weber says:

      Darn straight, girlfriend! It’s such a personal thing, really. But I do wish people would understand it’s not about us mamas…It’s about doing what’s going to keep our kids happiest…and for that, I will do just about anything! I feel you on CIO, too. It just never has felt right for me either.

  5. I honestly think that you’re AWESOME for continuing to do this and it’s inspiring to someone who is about the begin the adventure of breastfeeding & motherhood. I think people are too quick to judge and just need to stick their noses out of others business. I mean, honestly, why would they care? It’s natural, healthy and nurturing on so many levels.
    Amber at Love, Laugh, Live Well recently posted..Bumpdate: 36 weeks!My Profile

    • Mrs. Weber says:

      Oh my goodness, yay for you! Excited you’ll be joining the mama club! Nursing is obviously a very personal thing, but you will quickly learn that you will do what it takes to keep you and baby happy…Doesn’t matter how you choose to feed him/her :D

  6. I know I’m late to the game here by a month but my Emery turned 2 in December and she gave up nursing sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving. At that point she only needed it when she woke or was falling asleep but I was so excited to be able to nurse that long. I was only able to nurse Reese for 4 months because I went back to work when he was 6 weeks old. Having the inability to pump when I needed really caused my supply to go down. Being a stay at home mom the second time around really helped our nursing experience. We have rarely been away from each other in her two years of life but knowing that my body was doing what it was made to do and that she was being taken care of was all that mattered. I had a conversation today with someone about this and she practically called me crazy for nursing 23{ish} months. She only nursed 9 weeks with each of her children and seemed completely shocked that anyone would go so long. You rock, Momma! Go as long as you both need to!

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