My son didn’t breastfeed until college after all!

If you are an “extended breastfeeder”, a label that is often given to anyone who nurses longer than a year, you will have heard the comments about breastfeeding until your child starts college – right? Well, two weeks back I found out that baby-led weaning is not Mission Impossible, even if it seems that way at times. I am both happy and a little sad to say that for the first time in five years, I am not pregnant or breastfeeding. My son nursed for the first time within minutes after he was born, and showed no signs of wanting to stop until very recently. When he breastfed for the last time a little more than two weeks ago, I had no idea that this would be the end. He is two and a half years old, and he stopped breastfeeding all by himself. We are a family committed to attachment parenting, and for us breastfeeding is both important and so normal that we barely think breastfeeding toddler about it. I encouraged our daughter, who is five now, to wean when she was 18 months old. We went through intrauterine insemination to get pregnant with both our kids, and I needed to stop breastfeeding to take fertility medications. I would have preferred to continue But my husband and I concluded that giving our daughter a sibling close in age was a higher priority than breastfeeding for longer. My daughter weaned without many problems, but when my son was born I immediately knew that I wanted to give him the benefit of breastfeeding for as long as he wanted to. We breastfed exclusively for the first six months, and then introduced some solids. My little boy was much more interested in breast milk than solid foods for a long time. At one year, his main nutrition was still breast milk. At two years, I was proud to say that I followed the World Health Organization’s guidelines to breastfeed for at least two years. The boy showed no signs of slowing down and nursed many times during the day – the breast was his only way of getting to sleep for a long time. Around two months ago, my son’s best friend stopped nursing. I talked to my son about it and he said that he would stop drinking mommy’s milk,which he nicknamed “sweet heart” for some reason, as well at some point in the future. I decided to take a “don’t offer, don’t refuse” approach, but was not sure when he would wean because he asked for milk all the time. When I realized he had not nursed all day, now two weeks back, I asked him if he wanted some milk. He pointed at my breast and said, “My friend does not drink mommy milk any more, and I don’t want any either. It’s nice, but now I am a big boy.” And that was that! Baby-led weaning has been a pretty surprising experience for us. I’m a little sad that my boy truly is not a baby anymore, but happy that he nursed until he decided that he was “all done”. He didn’t breastfeed until college after all! And your child won’t, either! Olivia blogs about fertility, how to get pregnant, and parenting babies at Trying To Conceive. Photo credit

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