If you’re new to attachment parenting, I strongly recommend reading this quick introduction by API. Here is a quote from this introduction that I love and wanted to share:
“Attachment Parenting is not a one-size-fits-all recipe for raising children, therefore API recommends parents use their own judgment and intuition to create a parenting style that fosters attachment and works for their family. Some practices listed in The Eight Principles are inherently more attachment-promoting than others. The most ideal practices are listed first. Many API support groups start each meeting by saying "Take what works for your family and leave the rest." This sentiment also applies to The Eight Principles.”
My original goal was to nurse Kale until he turned one, but as I became more informed about the benefits of breastfeeding, I quickly upped that to two. Like most expectant new mother's, I assumed that breastfeeding would come natural, and I was shaken during those first few months when we struggled with an assertive let-down and oversupply. One of my most exasperated moments as a mother was admitting that I hated breastfeeding. Luckily, I had incredibly supportive midwives and a wonderful lactation consultant, along with a supportive network of family and friends. After about four months, I'd adjusted to nursing lying down and Kale had adjusted to be drowned with milk (somewhat) and soon enough, I came to love nursing my son.
Nursing a toddler is obviously very different from nursing an infant. For one, toddlers never stop moving - including when they're latched on to your nipple! Toddlers are also more vocal - they can ask to be nursed. For some reason that I'll never understand, the fact that a toddler can ask for breast milk seems to bother a lot of people. It's a good thing that it doesn't bother me, since Kale isn't shy about asking or making announcements about my breasts as if they are his most favourite possession (for example, I picked him up from school one day in a tank top and he saw me and shouted "Mama at school! Mama's ba-boo's at school too!" and ran to hug my breasts).
I rarely nurse Kale in public anymore. Mostly because he only nurses in the morning and before bed. The city I live in is very breastfeeding friendly, and so it's not uncommon to see a mother nursing in public (toddler's included!). I realize how lucky we are to live here, since I know other communities are not as supportive.
On Kale's second birthday, I nursed him in the rocking chair that I've logged so many nursing hours in, and realized that I'd met my goal. Two years. To say I'm proud of this is an understatement. But in our case, the goal is not the end. I'm happy to continue nursing Kale until he's ready to stop and to make weaning as natural as possible. This doesn't mean I don't say no, or put limits on nursing, or gently suggest that the end is near, but rather that I want weaning to work for both of us at a time when we both feel ready. I'm sure that when I write this series in another year, it'll be about our weaning story, but I'm open to whatever path we take.
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