Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nursing My Toddler Keeps My Baby Close

Welcome to the April Carnival of Breastfeeding hosted by Blacktating and Motherwear!  More than 30 bloggers participated in this month's carnival sharing their thoughts on extended breastfeeding.  After reading my post, check out the links for all of the other participants.

“They grow up so fast.” Every time I hear this platitude I find it hard not to roll my eyes. It's such an easy, empty statement and I simply nod my head in quiet agreement. Raising a child takes so much time, most of which seems to trickle by during infancy and comes to a standstill during a toddler's tantrum. The time I spend nursing and rocking Ezra to sleep at night can sometimes feel like an eternity. But looking back at the last 18 months, I realize my infant has been replaced with a toddler, and Ezra really is growing up so quickly.

At 18 months, Ezra’s toddlerhood bears little resemblance to his infancy. At birth, he had a head full of dark hair. By four months he was a veritable cherub. He rarely cried during the first year. Now, he has long, blond hair and his legs are starting to thin out. He runs and climbs; he’ll soon be jumping. He’s growing into boyhood every day, playing with balls, cars and rocks. He’s exercising his opinions, which means we’re dealing with tantrums. And I wonder, “Where has my baby gone?”

Then my baby resurfaces. I see glimpses of him here and there. This has been one of the unexpected joys of breastfeeding my toddler. As Ezra has become more active, energetic and started talking nonstop (in sentences even!) it’s a quiet time between the two of us. When he’s rarely quiet and still anymore, everything slows down while nursing. We make eye contact. I’ll sing and talk to him and he talks and hums with me. It’s a time for us to share a private moment. He seems to need it as much as I do, the bonding that was important when he was small. He still wants to nestle in my arms and feel the warmth from my chest.

When Ezra’s nursing, I’m reminded clearly of who he was as an infant. It’s something we’ve been doing since a few minutes after his birth, and even though he’s changed so much, we still have the consistency and familiarity of breastfeeding to help me remember. Most importantly, the fact that he’s still nursing reminds me that while he may be growing up, he’s still my baby too.

Links to other blogs participating in the April Carnival of Breastfeeding on Extended Breastfeeding:

Mamapoeki from Authentic Parenting: Extended Breastfeeding?
Mama Alvina of Ahava & Amara Life Foundation: Breastfeeding Journey Continues
Elita @ Blacktating:  The Last Time That Never Was
Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC: Old enough to ask for it
Karianna @ Caffeinated Catholic Mama: A Song for Mama’s Milk
Judy @ Mommy News Blog: My Favorite Moments
Tamara Reese @ Please Send Parenting Books: Extended Breastfeeding
Jenny @ Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: The Highs and Lows of Nursing a Toddler
Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding
Rebekah @ Momma’s Angel: My Sleep Breakthrough
Suzi @ Attachedattheboob: Why I love nursing a toddler
Claire @ The Adventures of Lactating Girl: My Hopes for Tandem Nursing
Stephanie Precourt from Adventures in Babywearing: “Continued Breastfeeding”: straight from the mouths of babes
The Accidental Natural Mama: Nurse on, Mama
Sarah @ Reproductive Rites: Gratitude for extended breastfeeding
Nikki @ On Becoming Mommy: The Little Things
The Artsy Mama: Why Nurse a Toddler?
Christina @ The Milk Mama: The best thing about breastfeeding
TopHat @ the bee in your bonnet: From the Mouths of Babes
Callista @ Callista’s Ramblings:  Pressure To Stop Breastfeeding
Zoie @ Touchstone Z: Breastfeeding Flavors
Tanya @ Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: Six misconceptions about extended breastfeeding
Jona ( Breastfeeding older twins
Motherlove Herbal Company: Five reasons to love nursing a toddler


Kathleen said...

I nursed my second child till 15 months and I can't seem to remember how I handled a toddler. Now that I'm nursing my new 3 week old, I can't seem to remember juggling a much longer and heavier toddler while nursing but I did do it!

Anonymous said...

Priceless moments!

Zoie @ TouchstoneZ said...

This is such a nice piece for the carnival. I resonated with your feelings of seeing glimpses of your baby through the child he has become. They just seem to boomerang between at this age. I think breastfeeding allows them to explore their independence because they can come back for that instant comfort bond.

Sophie שרה Golden said...

Good for you for nursing a toddler. I find that very difficult and tiresome.
Don't you think it's a little selfish to nurse a child for so long, that would make him very depended on mum and might find hard to be free in future?

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