While going through a couple of old posts, I had stumbled upon a post from exactly a year ago, where I told that Tehilla is nursing no longer. I can hardly believe it has really been a year - it seems like almost yesterday I still held her to my breast! Anyhow, I thought I'd share this little "graduation anniversary" with all of you - I am so happy with the breastfeeding journeys I took with both my daughters, with all its trials and challenges. Yes, it was sometimes hard, but mostly enjoyable, and we persisted and gently moved into the next phase of our lives.
In many places it is now culturally unacceptable to breastfeed toddlers, so many people miss out on obvious things about this experience; such as, nursing an older baby or a toddler isn't the same as nursing a very young baby. You can tell a 2-year-old "later", and they will understand, unlike a 2-month-old. You don't need to burp a toddler. You don't nurse as often, and you are aware that the breastmilk supplies only part of the child's nutritional needs, as the baby or toddler eats more and more solids. It is usually a gentle, gradual, child-led process which isn't at all like what many might call "weaning". It doesn't involve abruptly "snatching away" the breast in one day, nor ridiculous ideas such as sending the nursing mother away for a week-old "holiday", risking plugged ducts and severe congestion and paid that comes with weaning all at once, nor a crying, confused baby who doesn't know what is going on and is often given a bottle anyway because he isn't really developmentally ready to rely on solids alone.
I never weaned either of my daughters, though when Tehilla was two years old I decided to test whether it would be alright to skip nursing her in the morning (such a busy time) and just feed her breakfast at once. I found out she was happy enough to go straight to breakfast. I'm so happy I never had to have any "weaning battles" like I've heard about from friends, neighbours and family. I never experienced any congestion when my children stopped nursing because it happened so gradually.
And now we are moving on. From diapers and breastmilk we have graduated to read-alouds, letters, numbers, fun discussions, nature walks, and so many of the incredibly fun, challenging parts of parenthood. It's wonderful, it's hard, it's a blessing, it's a frustration, it's a rollercoaster, it's a gentle sway of a lullaby, it's beautiful, it's fragile, it's so, so, so good, for it is life itself.