So, one thing that comes up occasionally in this blog, but never much and certainly never without trepidation on my part, is breastfeeding. I’m tired of avoiding it. It’s important to me on a personal level. I realize that my choice is both an uncommon one and only possible because of my unique circumstances. I don’t feel any resentment or disappointment or whatever feelings the so-called Mommy Wars say that I, as a nursing mom, should feel towards those who don’t nurse (or didn’t nurse this long) for whatever reason.

Last year in my state, only 25.8% of women were still breastfeeding at one year postpartum [1]. There’s almost no data on how many women are still breastfeeding at subsequent intervals, but as near as I can tell, by 18 months the number drops to under 10% [2]. I’m one of that 10%, and will probably be one of the 0.5% (or whatever) that is still nursing at two years. I’ve already started to get hassle and be questioned about when I am weaning and other such nonsense. So I try to stay pretty in the closet when it comes to the fact that I’m still nursing. But you know what? This is my blog about my experiences with my daughter, and I’m missing out on recording some of the most valuable, heartwarming experiences of my days (and nights). I don’t care if other people have switched to formula/cow milk/plant milks by now. I haven’t, and I’m glad. (Hopefully I don’t also sound overly defensive.) I’m also still pumping, because I have an office where I can work and pump, and because I like providing milk for my daughter to help her continue to get the benefits of breastmilk, and because it’s the easiest way to keep my supply where I need/want it. And also because she’ll refuse all other milks and only drink water, but I don’t know if that’s a very big deal. I plan to do “natural weaning” aka “extended breastfeeding” aka “just how/whenever J and I feel like weaning.” I still nurse her to sleep most nights, and I still get up in the middle of the night to nurse.

So, on to what prompted me to want to write a blog post about breastfeeding anyway:

The other day I was nursing her after I picked her up from daycare (we both enjoy reconnecting after a day apart!) and she was pretty tired. Her eyes started drifting closed. That’s not something I get to see very often anymore, because now I put her down in a darkened room. I didn’t realize how much I missed watching her eyelids droop as she gradually loses the fight to keep watching this exciting world. The sense of peace, trust, and utter contentment that was emanating from her is one that I don’t think most adults get to experience anymore.

And some other memories/impressions I’ve avoided writing about:

I love the way she giggles excitedly when we get home and I can let her nurse until she’s done, rather than until she’s close enough to done that she won’t scream the whole way home from daycare.

I love the sound of her breathing, and her little sighs as I pick her up at night and settle her into my lap to nurse. I can feel her whole warm, soft little body relax into mine as she drifts back to sleep. Many nights, these nursing sessions only last 30-60 seconds. Just enough for her to know that I’m still there, still ready to meet her needs for warmth, comfort, and security.

My pump is acting up. I’ve emailed Hygeia and asked them for advice on it. I’m so glad I bought a pump that is designed to last longer than a year. I never thought about how long I’d be breastfeeding before I had J. I didn’t buy this pump because it is supposed to last longer than the one year that Medela pumps are guaranteed for. I bought it because it’s a closed system and therefore it would be easier to fight recurring thrush/mastitis issues, and I could also pass it on when I am done with it, if needed. I wasn’t a lactivist when I bought it, but as I’ve grown into the label I’ve become very glad that I bought a pump that is WHO code compliant [3]. I hope I can get it figured out soon.

There. Now it’s all out on the table. Now hopefully I will be able to talk more openly about breastfeeding my amazing little toddler without fearing judgement for breastfeeding or condescension for my parenting choices. Because you know, all the people that read this blog are just SO judgmental.