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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Let the Weaning Questions Begin

My nursling, Josias, is almost 2 years old. I no longer pump at work, so during workdays he does not get breastmilk while at daycare. When we are together mornings, nights and weekends, however, he is an ardent breastfeeder. 

Josias has reached the point of being able to talk about breastfeeding. For instance, though he may have just finished a 45 minute wake-up nursing session in bed, once out of bed, he may begin to scream MILKY!!  If not offered said milk instantaneously, his wails begin to sound as if he hasn't been fed for days. He has also begun to take intermittent breaks while nursing, engaging the "boobies" in conversation. He will frequently say "Hi boobies!" while waving enthusiastically. This morning as he was nursing, Josias smeared a piece of food on my breast. He then noisily unlatched himself, pointed and said, "Booby dirty!" Yes, thank you.

None of this bothers me.  I usually love it and sometimes find it rather amusing. Yet, as Josias has more and more words and we continue to breastfeed in public, something someone once said to me comes to mind: "If he's old enough to ask for it, he's too old." While I think this is utter nonsense, I may not be in the majority. 

Because I breastfeed in public and in front of other people frequently, I have always received questions about breastfeeding, including how long I intend to breastfeed. I never felt the questions were malicious, and I view the inquiries as an opportunity to share information about the benefits and joys of breastfeeding.

I don't have a goal, in terms of years or months, for how long Josias and I will breastfeed. We had a pretty rocky start, which included the need to supplement with formula for the first month. So, when I'm feeling a bit put upon by what sometimes feels like the relentless need for milky, I try to invoke the gratitude I feel for having this intense and special relationship with my son.

My goal is that we will breastfeed until Josias feels he is ready to stop. As Josias gets bigger, I hope that I will continue to feel comfortable breastfeeding in public. I anticipate receiving more questions about how long he will breastfeed, and I also hope that I can stay positive in my responses and use the opportunity to spread the good news about breastfeeding.

Until what age did you breastfeed in public?  How did you handle questions about weaning?

Photo credit: Author