The Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy series (formerly "the joys of breastfeeding toddlers") is normally hosted Fridays at Code Name: Mama. We are happy to feature it today on NursingFreedom.org as part of our celebration of World Breastfeeding Week. Today's post was written by Dionna of Code Name: Mama; the video was edited by CodeNamePapa. Here is her breastfeeding guest post:
Mama’s milk has been a large part of my son’s 32 months on this Earth. He has grown from a round-the-clock nursing infant to a frequently nursing toddler, and he’s on his way to being a pretty-darn-often breastfeeding preschooler. The fact that the calendar ticked over to reflect my son’s first or second birthdays; the fact that he grew teeth; the fact that he can “ask for it”; none of these things matter to my child who is still so dependent on me.
To my son, breastfeeding is just part of life. The comfort of my breast has evolved from the immediate pacification it offered when he was a small newborn, to the secure home base that he needed when he discovered his independence. Mama’s milk is our ever present connection. It is a source of love, laughter, and learning.
Breastfeeding: It's Elementary
Yes, it is a source of learning! Breastfeeding has been the foundation of many educational pursuits. From my personal journal, here are a few examples (by subject) of how breastfeeding has nourished my son’s brain as well as our relationship:
- Anatomy (19 months): “One, two, two mama milk! TWO! Two mama milk!!”
- Sociology (20 months): While we were eating at a restaurant one night, a nearby toddler fell out of her chair and landed on the floor. She wailed for at least five minutes, and Kieran became very concerned. As the little girl continued to wail, Kieran’s concern brimmed over. He said urgently, “mama milk! Mama milk!” I asked if he wanted mama’s milk and he pointed at the girl, lifted my shirt, and said, “baby mama milk, baby mama milk!” He wanted to give the hurt toddler some of his own mama’s milk to help her feel better.
- Physical Education (22 months): Dancing across the living room floor, I held and spun Kieran to a random rock & roll tune. Laughing, he implored, “mama milk dance!”
- Geography (26 months): Kieran woke up from his nap, grinned at me, and said “party at mama milk!”
- Psychology (28 months): on our noon drive home from a co-op class, Kieran was incredibly tired and crying inconsolably. I said “I know you’re sleepy honey, we’ll be home soon.” Kieran replied through his tears, “I not sleepy, I just need some mama milk!”
- Law/Negotiation (29 months): Kieran has learned the fine art of negotiation. Whenever it is time to leave somewhere, I start giving him warnings: “two minutes until we have to go!” He usually comes back with “no mama, four minutes!” And then we compromise on three. Breastfeeding is no exception: when Kieran nurses and I am ready to get up and do something else, I’ll give him the standard “two minutes!” warning. To which he inevitably replies, “four! Four minutes of mama milk!”
- Physics (31 months): Kieran put our water bottle lid on my breast & sucked, then asked "why there no mama's milk coming out?!"
|Nursing Kieran at 27 months|
Less than 20% of mothers breastfeed past their child’s first year of life. That means less than one in five mothers will ever hear her child’s sweet voice coo “I love mama’s milk.” Less than one in five mothers will see her child run toward her with arms outstretched and a breathtaking smile of anticipation, intent on a snuggle at mama’s comforting breast.
I know that my son would love me without my breastmilk. I know that he would think that I was a soft place to land, a welcoming place to snuggle, a safe place to turn. But I also know, without a doubt, that mama’s milk has enriched that soft, comforting, sweet bond between us immeasurably.
Breastfeeding is the first building block of life. It is so simple. It is truly elementary.
Breastfeeding past infancy is full of laughter, joys, and heartbreaking tenderness. I am publishing a series of posts dedicated to the beauty of nursing past infancy in an effort to normalize this healthy and beneficial nursing relationship. But this isn’t just about me – I want to hear YOUR joys. If you are nursing a toddler, preschooler, or beyond (or have in the past), please contact me and tell me about your favorite moments. I will include them in the series and credit you, your site, or post it anonymously if you so desire.