Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Gareth is 1 year and 1 week old today.  He eats anything, he enjoys juice from his sippy cups, and we are still nursing.  And have no plans to artificially wean anytime soon.

I'm getting a lot of questions lately about how long I'll nurse, and I understand.  It's certainly an abberation (at least in the Western world) to see a baby nursed past 6 months, let alone past a year.  But as people ask me when I'll stop, I can't help but want to ask them instead: Why would I?

Gareth and I are happy nursing partners.  My love language is primarily touch, so the rewards of breastfeeding are huge for me.  He is an efficient and focused eater, so I never had to endure 45 minute nursing sessions.  And he is in no nutritional danger as breastfeeding is no longer his primary nutritive source.  So again, why should I wearn him now?

Because it is time?  Says who?
Because he needs other food?  He gets it!
Because I'm spoiling him?  How?! By showing him love and tenderness?

Gareth has already weaned himself off of several of our usual nursing times.  I nurse in the morning when he wakes up, I nurse again at 2:30 before his nap, and then I nurse him to sleep at night between 7:30-8:00.  I also still nurse at night because he isn't a very good sleeper, but that's usually only once.  And already he's showing signs of weaning himself from our afternoon session.  And although that's a little sad for me, it's also extraordinary to allow him the freedom to decide, to be flexible when he "relapses" when he's sick and needs to nurse all day, to feel no pressure to move on from our partnership till he's ready.

I know that my work situation is remarkable, that I have the luxury of nursing longer because I don't have to pump (what with his daycare being down the hall from my office), that I've lucked out by avoiding all of the breastfeeding crises (infections, cracking, thrush), that I have a family of women who all nursed their babies for advice.  But that just makes me more determined to keep a hold of this blessing for as long as Gareth wants. 

So my choice is not to wean.  My choice is to continue Gareth and mine's partnership for as long as he wants.  My choice, not anyone elses.

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