#MomDare: Why I Still Nurse My 2 Year Old. Even Though I Don’t Want To.

In Motherhood, Parenting by Jen32 Comments

#MomDare: Why I Still Nurse My 2 Year Old. Even Though I Don’t Want To.

I am not a parenting expert, and I admit to looking cross-eyed at all the bloggers who profess that they are. Because, unless you have a specialized degree or MD behind your name, your opinions about parenting are just that, opinions. I do think, however, that the best way to learn is by doing. I have 4 children and although I do not have a degree in child psychology, nobody else in this world knows more about what makes each of my children tick than I do.

Now that I am raising baby/toddler #4 I feel like I have found myself wondering if any of my prior knowledge is transferable. Some of it’s not pretty, so let me explain.

My 4th child is about 5 years younger than my 3rd child. We had wanted a 4th child, but there were complications we had to work through. We worked really hard to get that girl here. That baby started, on day one, a certified mama’s girl. She is still that way, and lights up like a Roman Candle when she sees me. It’s sweet and exhausting.

From birth that kid was a champion nurser. My other children self weaned themselves when they were ready. Generally somewhere between 10 and 12 months. Not her. She is almost 2.5 and I am still nursing her….. even though I don’t want to do it anymore. 

To be truthful, I am done with the sore nipples, I am done with being pawed and groped, and generally having to find someplace quiet where I can go and nurse her. Because hell hath no fury like denying that child a nursing session.

Now the fact that I am still breast feeding my toddler can be quite the conversation starter for other moms. Upon seeing us, I get varied comments about the whole thing, such as:

“Wow she is kind of big to still be doing that!”

“Have you tried doing ____ to get her to stop?”

“How long are you going to keep doing that?”

“You know soon that is going to be really weird nursing her in public…”

I don’t get hurt feelings from all of this, it just gets old having to answer questions when really it is not anyone’s business. So thank you to everyone who has ever chimed in on this “situation” and for all of these astute observations and more which I have been given. I am not nursing my 2 year old because I want to, I am nursing her because she needs it.

I am still nursing her because she is little and doesn’t understand why I would deny her something that gives her such comfort and security just because other people might think it is weird. She doesn’t care if you think it is weird. So I guess, neither do I.

Even though I would prefer to not keep nursing her, I do, because it is what is best for her right now. Someday that won’t be the case, but she and I together and with my insight into her particular characteristics will stop when it is right. 

Now I am not advocating nursing children indefinitely and truthfully this isn’t even a post about breast feeding. To leave the discussion there would entirely miss the point I am trying to emphasize. I am writing this in the hopes that parents & specifically moms finally leave each other alone. Why do we have to beat up on other moms? Especially the ones who are just trying to do their best every day and to do what is right for their children?

I am tired of the magazine covers showing pictures of moms breast feeding their 5 year old children. Things like that are dividing us even farther. Moms, stop letting the press do that to us! If you do it, just do it, but stop trying to turn yourself into some kind of a glorified advocate/martyr. Moms should be able to do what is right for their children and adding in the unnecessary element of a public stage to the discussion is really not helpful.

True acceptance can only come when we as moms start accepting each other for what we are, and when we stop placing imaginary fences between us marking our differences. We aren’t all that different, really. We have a child, we want what is best for them, we love, we try, sometimes we fail. We keep going because we love that child so fiercely that there is nothing we wouldn’t do, within the bounds of morality, to help them.

I wish we could get to that point as a society and even as a world. Because motherhood is hard enough without having stones thrown at us, because maybe we do things a little different.

If you see a child in an obvious unsafe environment where they are being hurt, you NEED to step up. But don’t make the mom feel bad who feeds her family only organic food because you think it is silly. Or the mom who doesn’t use organic food. Or the mom who bottle feeds or the mom who safely co-sleeps. Or the mom who carries her 5 year old in a carrier on her back. What does it matter to you how they choose to parent?

It shouldn’t matter. Truthfully I think that our compassion, understanding and empathy towards those who are “different” could do a whole world of good.

I feel sometimes like social media can be such a hard place. Especially for mothers. All too frequently we see fights, cruel words and barbs being thrown out at those or by those who are different from one another. In my small way I would like to see it change. I know I can’t change everything, especially not alone, but that doesn’t mean I should stop trying to make a difference. Even a small one.

So today I am launching the #MomDare. If you feel like you would like to see more empathy, more compassion and more kindness towards mothers and motherhood, I would love if you joined me.

To participate just use the hashtag #MomDare in a FB or twitter post or anywhere you would like on the social media of your choice. Or send it in a text to another mother you would like to support. No one has to even see it. Your actions will be working to strengthen another mother who just might be needing those encouraging words you have to give her.

I am not going to monitor all of this, please do it just because you want to and mostly because we need each other and the kindness and strength we can gather from one another. I would love to see #MomDare fill up the blank spaces where derision and scorn currently dominate social media, at least a small portion of it.

So before I go, hugs to all of my mom friends, and also a request. Sometime in the near future if you see me nursing my toddler, a quick smile would be appreciated. You might not agree with me for doing it, but your smile will speak volumes more than your words ever could.

Viva #MomDare

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Stay Happy! Stay Informed!

Love,

Jen



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Comments

  1. Great post and good for you for sharing your story even against all the judgement. One day you will miss it, so cherish it while you can. I feel like my LO will never get off a pacifier nor be potty trained, so bring on the judgement! ha ha Motherhood is one big judgement, huh? We should only care what our children think about us and even then sometimes they are nuts too… okay a lot of times they are nuts! ha ha
    Michelle recently posted…Just Between Friends Fort Worth Fall Event {Giveaway}My Profile

    1. Author

      The potty training! Mine just sits on the potty and toots.That’s it.The build up to sitting on it is longer than what she does on it. Agreed most of the time they are nuts! You just can’t make up the stuff you learn and experience as a parent, no?
      Jen recently posted…#MomDare: Why I Still Nurse My 2 Year Old.My Profile

  2. Amen!
    I don’t think I’ve given nursing a toddler much thought, to be honest, because mine weaned themselves before the toddler age. When is that? 18 months? I don’t know. Anyway, my whole deal was never wanting to be the one to have to stop them. I can take the growth and eventual rejection better than I think they can. So I was relieved. So I so get you on that point.
    Also, this isn’t supposed to be about breastfeeding anyway! I just noticed it was not something I’ve ever judged, OR, said something to a friend who kept at it for a long time. How rude! I would have said, “Have you ever tried shutting your mouth”? Or.. “It’s going to look weird for you to be rude in public soon.”
    #MomDare, indeed.
    Tamara recently posted…A Missed Whale’s Tale.My Profile

    1. Author

      I never had to stop them before this either, a couple just quit on me before I was ready. I guess the youngest is making up for all of that, huh?

      I have almost said that a few times, there was this mom at the mall in the mom lounge area that I had to smile through an answer. Trying to raise her kindness level to not saying offensive things just wasn’t worth it!

      Thanks Tamara!
      Jen recently posted…#MomDare: Why I Still Nurse My 2 Year Old.My Profile

  3. #MomDare. You go, Jen. I saw this on Pinterest and didn’t even realize it was yours. Then I saw it on Facebook, and I was like, “Oh, yea! This is my blogger friend! I KNOW her!” Ha–sort-of-in a weird internet sort of way I know her…o no, i’m one of those people who think their internet friends are their real friends….HA!! I guess what I’m trying to say is that I loved the title even before I realized it was YOU that wrote it, and then of course, I liked it even more.
    April recently posted…Church Hair and the Susanna Wesley Book ReviewMy Profile

  4. This made me tear up. Why would anyone judge you? Only you know what is best for your child! I think it’s sweet that you have such a great bond with her. Savor it, soon she won’t want it anymore and you will officially be done with the baby phase.
    Kristen recently posted…Meal Plan Monday #17 – Back to PaleoMy Profile

  5. Everybody seems to have an opinion these days and being online can be really difficult. You do what you wish with your kids. They are your kids.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺
    Comedy Plus recently posted…Awww MondaysMy Profile

  6. I really love this idea! Women are sometimes harsher to each other than anyone else, and it shouldn’t be that way. Most moms are doing the best they can and people should understand that. If they aren’t harming their kid, what business is it of anyone else? Definitely agree!
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Joyland by Stephen KingMy Profile

  7. This really is awesome and I’m so glad to be part of this conversation/movement/challenge.

    I’m sorry to hear that you get what I call the “ugly” or “nosy” comments/questions about breastfeeding your daughter. Personally, I love talking about breastfeeding in a supportive way, but the nosy-ness is rather annoying. I’m sure we’ll get some really weird comments/questions if Baby Boy starts to nurse again once this Baby arrives…

    Nonetheless, I agree. In general, the divisiveness is daunting and even a small act like #momdare would be wonderful! :)
    Life Breath Present recently posted…Life Skills with Toddlers: Restaurant BehaviorMy Profile

    1. Author

      Thank you for your sweet comment. Oh boy, I think my daughter would not like to have to share her “mom” time with a new baby! That would be tough. She doesn’t even like when I snuggle her siblings without her being in the middle of it all! Good luck my friend with the upcoming arrival of your newest blessing. I know you will come up with a game plan that works for your family :)
      Jen recently posted…#MomDare: Why I Still Nurse My 2 Year Old.My Profile

  8. I nursed my first until he self weaned at 11 months, but my princess kept nursing to 18 months and I was ok with that. I would not deny either! Good on ya!

  9. I BF my toddler until he was a little over 2.5. I did it for the same reasons you did. I feel like people shame moms for bottle feeding and not breastfeeding their babies but when the child gets to be 1.5 years old, it’s suddenly weird if you are still breastfeeding. You’re right, a smile goes a long way.
    Melissa Matters recently posted…How to Break your Kids’ Bad HabitsMy Profile

  10. Wow. I may not have nursed much beyond a year (because both my kids and I were ready), but I wouldn’t dare think to ask someone one of those questions. You know what I love most about this, though? You are totally honest. I can’t imagine nursing that long. But who’s to say I won’t nurse this next baby that long if it’s what he really needs – even if I don’t like it. THANK YOU for admitting how you feel and not being ‘holier than thou’. So refreshing. And good job taking care of your baby girl. May she always be a Mama’s girl!
    Leslie recently posted…What’s Going OnMy Profile

  11. Such a great post Jen. On the breastfeeding note: I never would even think wow that mom may not want to do that any more but boy she loves her kid. People always just assume the worst or the selfish and stupid. Which is why your Momdare is awesome. Why do we do that. We are so quick to belittle and judge others and it is so far from the way God made us.

    Thanks for opening up and challenging us.

    1. Author

      Thank you Beth! I know before becoming a parent I mistakenly thought I knew it all and then, well… It is better not to judge too quickly, because really we just don’t know what a person is going through. Thank you for your sweet comments.
      Jen recently posted…What Your Child’s Teacher Wants You To KnowMy Profile

  12. Great post! Your posts always make me think and I like that. I love that you framed your point with something personal. I absolutely agree with the notion that every child’s needs are different. I have been on the receiving end of a lot of judgments too. However, can I just admit to being the reverse judgmentalist? When I see those magazine covers with women glorifying themselves and being faux martyrs, I feel like they are the ones judging everyone else’s choices. Part of me feels like “well, she started it!”. I know that is probably immature. However, I feel like their actions are paving the way for people to think that being openly judgmental is ok, and I am not ok with that.

    1. Author

      Thank you Rachel! I think your admission and feelings are probably the same as mine, I have voiced the same thoughts on seeing those magazine covers. Those types of things are just dividing us as mothers and women, and making for more hostility. It’s dumb and needs to stop. Do what feels right and if it does, you shouldn’t need the approval of a large audience in order to continue doing it.
      Jen recently posted…What Your Child’s Teacher Wants You To KnowMy Profile

  13. This is amazing! It’s like you saw inside my mind and you were able to write what has been swimming around in my head for months now. I was never able to get it out clearly in writing but you totally did. Parenting is tough and can be isolating, and we should support each other in this, not undercut or judge. I’m totally taking the #MomDare Challenge :-) Thank you for this!
    Janine Halloran recently posted…Fun Activities With Recycled Materials!My Profile

  14. Hi Jen, I can never get my head around why people feel the need to comment (in a negative way) on the doings of others (as long as the doings of others is not affecting people in a negative way). People never seem to be so forthcoming with positive comments or friendly smiles.

    There is always a reason as to why someone does something. I was criticized (certain family members included), when my son was small, as there were things he couldn’t do for himself, it was even said that the reason he couldn’t do certain things was because I molly coddled him! Those criticisms hurt and I can’t say that at that time I didn’t start to doubt myself, as I did. When Gregs was finally diagnosed with the myopathy, those criticisms were forgotten by everyone, but me.

    The sooner people begin to accept and tolerate the differences in the way people do or approach things, the better. So what if someone chooses to do something in a different way or in a way that suits them (and isn’t hurting/ upsetting anyone else)? It is no oneelses place to judge. We all have to live with the choices we make, so who better to make them than ourselves.

    I loved feeding my two. The warmness of their little bodies, the snuffly sounds and the contentment when feeding is priceless….Sending you a smile that will hopefully counteract the next judgmental frown you see!

    xx

    1. Author

      “The sooner people begin to accept and tolerate the differences in the way people do or approach things, the better.” You are so right and wise. Just because you disagree with someone does not mean you need to be disagreeable.

      Thank you for your sweet comment, smiles, and support!
      Jen recently posted…Don’t Make These Five Blogging MistakesMy Profile

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