New nursing territory
With all of my kids, I wanted to nurse until they were about 18 months. To my disappointment, my three boys all self-weaned and were through with nursing by, at the latest, almost-13-months. Even for the son that nursed into his 12th month, there was a tapering-off that began before he turned one year old.
Audrey, however, turned one on April 6, and is still going strong. She nurses at least 4x/day, sometimes five or six. This is in addition to three full meals a day, plus at least one hearty snack. (Breakfast is usually a baby-fruit mixed with rice cereal. Lunch is usually a baby-veggie mixed with rice cereal. Dinner is usually a blendered version of that night’s family dinner, or one from the night before.)
I think breastmilk is just her liquid of choice. She will play with a bottle or sippy cup that has water or juice in it, but she never seriously drinks of either. On our recent trip, I did discover that she likes rice milk, and that tided her over a few times when nursing was impractical. However, rice milk has virtually no nutrition, and is fairly expensive, so I’m not chomping at the bit to get her seriously interested in regular rice milk consumption.
She has demonstrated an intolerance for dairy (with gas/cramping/diarrhea when I consume dairy, and in body-wide eczema that she broke out in, after I fed her some plain yogurt), so it’s not like switching to cow-milk would be the next transition. At this point, I don’t even know if she could tolerate goat milk, though that’s probably what I’ll try next.
Even though she nurses quite often, and eats 3+ meals a day, she’s still not-quite 20 lbs, and in the 15th percentile for weight. It seems to me, that for one reason or another, she just needs the nutrition that only I can provide.
There are times where I didn’t know what I would do if she weren’t still so attached to nursing. Like on our return flight from Illinois, it was nighttime, and the day had been long, and Audrey was wanting to sleep, but finding that difficult on the plane. So, I nursed her off and on for the whole 2.5+ hours, both as a sleep-aid and for comfort. When the plane touched down, a man a couple of rows up remarked, “I was a little concerned to see a baby right behind me, but I never heard a peep from her! You’re lucky to have such a well-behaved baby!” I just smiled as I thought, “It wasn’t luck, mister! It was the milk!”
But, I’m starting to get comments like, “Isn’t she one, now?” And, from my mom, “Well, she’s a bigger girl now, so she can go longer w/o nursing.” And, “Oh! You’re still nursing??” Comments like that don’t bother me a ton (just a teensy bit), but it does serve to remind me that I’m in unexplored waters, this nursing-past-one-year experience.
I must admit, in my imaginations of nursing past the first birthday, I thought that the baby would probably eat & drink “normal” food during the day, but still nurse, say, first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. I didn’t really envision a nurse-the-day-long baby.
I have had one word of encourgement, from my Aunt Sue. She was happy I was still nursing, and made the comment, “I could never understand why mothers think that since the baby has turned one that they just automatically need to switch to milk.”
Any other thoughts or encouragement would be welcome. 😉