Milk Chatter from My Nursling
Pre-baby, I had this notion about breastfeeding that "when they are old enough to ask, they are too old". That lasted exactly as long as it took for DD to learn the sign for
milk at 6 months, which I thought it was adorable and would offer my breast
everytime she signed it, which was all the time.
DD is getting to that age when "weaning" comes to mind every now and then (usually when I feel stressed and have no mommy time). So, after she turned 14months, I decided to switch to the La Leche League - approved "child-led" weaning strategy "Don't offer, Don't Refuse," especially during our nighttime routine. This hasn't slowed her down one bit, and it took her two nights of skipped nursing to figure out she better ask. Usually, she kisses her daddy night-night, and then signs or says "Mill, mill" (Translation: milk, milk)
Now, however (@17 months), things are getting more sophisticated. Hence the following "conversation" with my daughter at bedtime:
Me: How about one more story?
DD: [reaches down my shirt and twiddles my nipple]
DD: (To her Dad) bye-bye
Me: Are you ready for night-night?
DD: No, no. Mill, peese. Mill, mill!
Me: OK [preparing to nurse her on my left]
DD: [taps my right breast instead] Dis sigh, peese.
DD: [comes off breast] Ahhh....[big smile] swish?
Me: Switch? OK...[switch sides and start to sing lullaby]
This led me to think, oh yes, our time has definitely come. But then I got my breastfeeding books back out, got back on to DrSears.com and kellymom.com, and read how extended nursing helps children find comfort in a scary time of transition, and how antibodies are actually more concentrated in toddler milk. In addition, the "natural" weaning age for humans is 4-10 years. Yikes!
And I remembered how nursing actually makes me sit down with my toddler, and give her my undivided attention, if for only 5 or 10 minutes. This is good for me, and so far, good for her.
So, nursing on, we go. Now, when she starts writing poems about the joys of nursing, well then, perhaps we will re-evaluate.