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Thursday, August 20, 2009

David's Special Time

I thought William kept nursing till 6 because of jealousy. Scott was still nursing at 4.
It seemed Scott nursed till 6 because his younger brother David was at the breast.
I would have never imagined David would go till 6. His older brothers have Xbox, Karate, bbguns, bikes, healy's and rock and roll. There is no one there at the breast to rival with. Life has a lot more adventurous activities to offer David than me being housebound with younger siblings, you would think.

Now understand his time at the breast is short, yet it is consistent, still. I hardly think of me being in the breastfeeding part of my life. Yet, I am in a phase hardly ever discussed and often too taboo to discuss even amongst the boldest advocates nor in many comprehensive breastfeeding books.

I still use my nursing bras that are in good shape, but I do not have to think about breast access outside of the house. I am way past ever having to nurse in public. My once constant attention to my nursing and pumping friendly wardrobe is never a consideration anymore. I am past the baby stuff. Yet, on most nights David will want to fall asleep at the breast.

Occasionally he is really angry. Nursing and cuddling will work. And.... as with any child, sometimes nursing and cuddling do not meet his calming needs. Unless he is real upset, I usually don't ever offer. But then again perhaps I know his nonverbal, let's go to sleep signs, so there may be no need for explicit verbal requests in either direction. He doesn't ask to nurse when I am in the middle of things or with people outside the family.

I once needed day-to-day mother-to-mother support and reminders to get me through the tandem nursing daze I was in. I don't find myself consumed to get that support in the same way I once needed it. I don't know exactly when my need lessened. The years just passed. I do find myself passionate about weaning discussions. I feel sad when I get the news that someone has weaned at 9 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, even at 4 years. To me it all seems too young. Even at 4. I think about what I would have missed out on if my son's weaned two years earlier. Certainly I am excited for all mother's who's circumstances allowed them to breastfeed to whatever time was right for them, but I still feel a loss.

I love the analyzing and humorous endorsements my older verbal children can give me about breastfeeding about why breasts are best. Indeed my children seem to be pretty healthy to me. The protection against contagious bugs extend beyond infancy. I love the warm body of a cuddly child who is still willing to be besides me. Despite all the leniency in their diets, they still got the living enzymes, the Raw benefit, of free locally grown (dairy-free) breastmilk for 6 years. (There is nothing else like it humans will ever consume!! Breastmilk can not be replaced!!) At least I know William and Scott got breastmilk. I do wonder if the tap has been dry for David for a few years. Gosh, what does bring my kids to the breast when it seems like all our peers have moved on by this age?

With William and Scott, there was always my next child at the breast when one weaned. I don't exactly even remember the last session of nursing either. It doesn't seem like they just completely left the breast all in one day. They still lovingly touched and affectionately talked to my breasts. They found pleasure in bringing their toys to me "to nurse" as part of the long dragged out weaning process of an older child.

As certain I was that David would not nurse as long as the older boys because there is no younger baby to compete with, I am now thinking he will go past 6 desiring his Special Time.


Sam said...

I really miss the special time with Katie. There is nothing more comforting.

Fun Mama - Deanna said...

I am missing nursing with my daughter too. It's been nearly 3 weeks since she decided out of the blue that she did not want to nurse anymore (except at night when she's asleep and doesn't have to acknowledge it). We haven't found anything to replace it. There aren't extra snuggles. She pushes me away. She hasn't found a new way to fall asleep when she's tired. It's been hard and I blame myself. She's only two and I so hope I didn't unconsciously push her away.

AutumnVine said...

My eldest boy weaned at 3.7y when it was to painful to bf during pregnancy. DS2 still bf at 1.2y and I hope we can keep going for some time. I somehow do not see him extending till 6. I envy you for such a special time. DS1 did not want to tandem even when I offered. He just put his mouth next to my breast and then laughed. I so love them both. Breastfeeding is GREAT.

Permission to Mother said...

Sam, Deanna, Autumn,
Your children are so lucky to have mothers who know how important breastfeeding is. Thanks for posting comments!!

doctorjen said...

My 3 older children all weaned early. The first I weaned on purpose not knowing any better to just ignore all the folks who told me he was too old. He was 15 mos old. The second weaned when I was pregnant with her brother - she was clearly frustrated with the decreased supply and change in taste and eventually refused to nurse. She was 21 mos. My youngest boy weaned by heartbreaking nursing strike that I could not figure out how to resolve. I was really devastated, because by then, I'd learned much and fully intended him to nurse full term. He was only 16 mos.
My baby girl, though, nursed longer than any of them and weaned on her own in the fullness of time. She was much younger than your little guy - but at 3 years and 2 mos, was quite a verbal child, not the toddlers my others were. I especially cherish that I can clearly remember the last time she nursed and I know the exact date. I knew she was our last child and I wanted to remember exactly when she was done. Right around her 3rd birthday, she suddenly started sleeping in her brother's room by choice, instead of with me, and sleeping all night, and not wanting to nurse much. She nursed less and less, and turned me down when I offered "No thank you, mama." She was nursing just a few minutes, or sometimes even less than a minute at the end of the day to go to sleep for the most part, and then started unlatching and asking me to put her in bed instead. Then a day went by without nursing, then a couple, and finally, a whole week, and I was sure she was done. I offered quite a bit that week, because I wanted to be sure it was her idea and not mine, but she refused politely, while still snuggling and loving on me a lot. Then, after a week she asked to nurse before bed, and we climbed in our recliner as we had so many times, and to my surprise she nursed and nursed. She stroked my face, and patted my chest the way she used to as an older baby and toddler, she smiled at me, and finally, she fell asleep in my arms with her beautiful little flushed cheeks, still latched and sucking occasionally. After a long while, I carried her to bed still latched the way I had when she was a baby so many times, and leaned over her bed. As I went to set her down, she unlatched and opened her eyes briefly, and said "Oh, I love you, mama" then curled up and fell asleep instantly. And she never nursed again.
I envy you that you got a full term breastfeeding relationhip with all of your children! I'm glad, though, that at least my last child nursed as long as she wanted.

Permission to Mother said...

That is such a sweeeeet story. Thank you so much for sharing. Tears are in my eyes. I wonder if I will know the last time David breastfeeds.

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