And yet, here we are two years later and I love it.
I am a twenty six year old mother who is breastfeeding a two year old. It shouldn't be a big deal but it isn't actually the norm here in Ireland. Other European countries would laugh if they read this blog post because it simply wouldn't be a strange thing to talk about. Well here I am, the girl who did NOT want to breastfeed. The girl who was “weird about nipples” and felt it would “deprive the Daddy of the chance to bond with our baby”. That was me. I'm the same girl except now I'm breastfeeding a two year old.
So how does it feel to be breastfeeding a two year old? The question has been posed to me a few times since my son turned two last week. It's a tough question to answer. “Normal” is usually the word I would use. The same way it felt to feed a one year old. It doesn't really have any great dramatic place in my day. It's not something I consciously think about in any great terms. It's normal, it's natural, it's nice.
People often ask me when I will stop breastfeeding. It can often seem as though we're talking about smoking or drugs. A habit of sorts. Something I should have stopped a long time ago. Amazingly though it really doesn't feel like that for me. It's part of our bed-time routine. Quick feed on one side followed by a quick feed on the other. And he's out. Blissfully asleep and totally comforted. Why on earth would I suddenly put an end to that? If it ain't broken, and all that.
The truth is that breastfeeding is a really happy experience for me. At two years of age my son is a total foodie. He adores his grub. He does not look for breast feeds during the day. Perhaps at times where he is upset or tired but is quickly distracted by his favourite toy or snack. It isn't a big deal. But bed-time? That's our time. I work and he is away from me some days of the week. Evening time is the opportunity to reconnect . A really gentle normal part of our bed-time routine. Yes he is a “big boy now”. My beautiful two year old big boy. But he's my baby. When he is in his baby grow, rubbing his eyes and clinging on to his bed-time soother he is, in my eyes, very much my baby. To feed him before he sleeps feels like an honour. A privilege. In that five minutes I sit back and enjoy the cuddles from my little man. He drifts off peacefully to sleep and he is so incredibly content and secure.
“But he could get that comfort from a bottle”? Of course he could. And he does. He happens to be a huge fan of Cow's Milk and will regularly ask for a “bop bop”. I have no issue with this at all. But if I'm there at bed-time he wants “yay yays” (don't ask, his name for breastfeeding). Why would I encourage him to leave me alone and take the comfort from a bottle instead? It would genuinely feel bizarre. It's as though people assume I am put out, fed up or uncomfortable with the idea. It couldn't be more the opposite. I'm proud, happy and lucky. It is normal.
I was recently asked if my son is “clingy” and how was he socially “you know, because of the breastfeeding”. I had honestly never thought about it before. Anyone who knows us will probably rate my son as being one of the most social children they have ever met. He is totally independent. Fiercely in fact. He adores other children and newborn babies in particular. He is a gentle soul, sensitive and utterly crazy. His energy and ability to dance and sing at the most random of times gives me so much joy. He is forever making us laugh. Clingy? I've never even considered it. Content, happy, secure? For sure.
Will I breastfeed forever? Of course not. The transition from newborn to toddler has been so natural. Feeds have dropped one by one. Food was suddenly exciting. The world was suddenly exciting. There were people, colours and music. But that bed-time feed? The only feed. I'll enjoy it for as long as it sticks around.
I was 100% sure I wouldn't breastfeed. I reluctantly decided to give it a go following some encouragement from a close family member. I was never more grateful to a person because little did I know that it would end up being such an important part of our story. Such an emotional and beautiful thing and something that filled me with such pride and security.
How does it feel to breastfeed a two year old? Well, it feels like breastfeeding a two year old. He's only a day older than he was yesterday.
This is a personal piece of writing. It is not concerned or connected to any individual's choice regarding how they feed their baby. Your baby, your choice.
Check out her own blog at www.loveofliving.blogspot.ie