Many wonder why a mother would choose to breastfeed past infancy. Let’s face it – there are some who wonder why a woman would choose to breastfeed at all. I want to share the following scenario to give a little perspective into how term-breastfeeding fosters trust and amplifies a loving mother/child relationship in many families (including mine).
My toddler is bawling. She runs toward me, and I grab her up in a spider/monkey hug, and she snuggles into my chest and shoulder, sniffling
“What’s wrong, darling girl?” I ask.
“Oh, mommy. I’m SO sad.”
“Why are you sad?”
“I’m angry! My heart hurts. My daddy is too far away. I real miss my daddy. He real real real needs to come home to me!!!!”
(My husband is in the US Coast Guard and is on 60-day deployments.)
I don’t say anything, but just snuggle her close and breathe into her little body.
She pops her head up a bit.
“Oh! May I have Mamas to make my daddy come home?”
(that’s how she asks to nurse)
“Oh, sweet girl, you may have Mamas, but I can’t promise that that will make daddy come home. It doesn’t work like that.”
“But my daddy is too far away in the water!”
“I agree. He is too far away from us. But he is on his way back.”
“But he’s not here! He needs to be here!”
“Hm. Let’s think about this. Daddy is on a big boat – and those big boats, they move very slowly. We have to wait for him.”
“And the little boats go fast!? Zoom!”
. . . as she shoots off running around the room.
“Yes, that’s right. Little boats go fast, but daddy’s big boat, it moves pretty slowly. So we must be patient.”
“OOOOKKKAAAAAAY. But may I have Mamas while I wait? That will make me feel happy! May I feel them, and smell them, and drink them . . . together????”
She points to her bed, smiles, and closes her eyes, as if imagining how nursing would make her feel.
“Yes sweetheart. You may have Mamas whenever you need to.”
“Yay! Mamas, Mamas, Mamas!!!!!!
Her pout turns into a big grin, and rejoices about nursing, clapping her little hands, and then she throws herself on her bed and gives one dramatic sob over daddy being MIA. She sighs.
“I miss my daddy.”
A little bit more dramatic sniffling as she nurses, and then she puts her hand on my heart, smiles and sighs.
Despite the disappointment of mommy being incapable of making daddy magically reappear, everything is OK.
This moment in nursing my child is so special to me. I feel like there’s not a purer or more comforting expression of love than to continue a nursing relationship to term. Obviously, it’s been extremely helpful in the twists and turns of Abbey’s life so far as a military child. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
How do you feel about term-breastfeeding?
Have you had any memorable child nursing moments?