Breastfeeding my third child has been such a gift. Not for the obvious reasons you may think (the mutual health benefits, etc.), but really it is the only time I get to separate myself from the craziness going on around me and really focus on my son. I’ve had a different nursing experience with each of my kids. With my first, I cried through six weeks of agony, shaking in pain, hoping it would get better, swearing to breathe through it. I covered her little head under a modesty blanket, and always had my “gear” with me. My goal was to let her self-wean, which she did at 22 months. With my second, he came out of a breech birth via Caesarean and latched on immediately. He nursed like a champ the entire time he breastfed – out at the beach, in the front seat of my car, on-the-go, out for the world to see – until he was twelve months and two days old – at which point he stopped cold turkey. That day he also stopped the pacifier and the food pouches he loved. After two months working with lactation consultants to bring him back I had to give up because nothing worked. This experience was so jarring to me, a friend joked I had a third because I needed breastfeeding closure. I won’t confirm or deny that is true… This brings us to my third child, Benjamin. With an elementary-aged daughter and a preschooler son, you can imagine the mayhem in my home. Nursing has given me the reason to separate from it for a few minutes and really focus on him. It’s forced me to have that incredibly special time with just him to bond and snuggle. Because my middle son stopped so abruptly I’ve been able to appreciate each and every nursing session because I know it could be my last. Also because I know Benjamin is MY last, every time he snuggles into me to nurse I can really appreciate it. Ben has now passed his older sister in age of when she stopped nursing. He seems to be going strong, and honestly, I’m happy to continue for as long as he wants because sharing this special opportunity is quite honestly my favorite thing.
Stacey Wallenstein is the Coordinator at the Mid-Island Y JCC Parenting Center and has a parenting blog called The Mint Chip Mama.