Extended Breastfeeding – What it looks like for us

Bunny is 15 months old. She nurses five to eight times a day. We (I) have no intention of weaning anytime soon. Before I had Bunny, I thought we would nurse up to a year then stop. I thought, once she is old enough to run around, has more than 4 teeth in her mouth, and can ask for milk, surely she is old enough to not need it! Now that I am her Mom, I do not see why those things matter! I couldn’t imagine waking up on her first birthday and not nursing her anymore. Bunny loves to nurse, and I love it to. Yes, you read the right, I LOVE to nurse my baby. When our nursing relationship ends, I will be the sad one, not Bunny. I love the comfort nursing provides. I love the ease of it. (It was not easy in the beginning!) I love knowing my body is doing exactly what it is made to do. My breasts have a purpose, a real purpose, to feed my sweet child. 

I always wondered what nursing a toddler would look like, so in case you are wondering the same, I will give you a small glimpse into our world.
Bunny wakes up in the morning and the first thing she does is nurse. Bunny sits up in her bed and cries for me, I lay down next to her and she closes her little eyes and nurses. I love this time in the morning. I feel it gives Bunny a chance to wake up slowly. She often closes her eyes for a few more minutes, then stretches and waves “Hi” to me. When she’s done nursing we like to lay in bed and laugh for no reason at all! What a way to wake up! 
Bunny plays all morning, eats breakfast, snacks, and lunch. When it is time for nap, Bunny and I lay down in bed to nurse to sleep. I watch a movie or a t.v. show on my iPad while Bunny nurses to sleep. 
When Bunny wakes up from nap, she likes to nurse. It used to be that Bunny would nurse before getting up from nap, but recently Bunny has wanted to play for 5-10 minutes before she nurses. I think this nursing session might be gone before too long. I cherish it every day, knowing one day it might be the last day she nurses after nap.
After nap Bunny has a snack, and plays some more. Bunny doesn’t often nurse again until bedtime. There are days she wants to nurse again between nap and bedtime, but it is not often, and she does not nurse for long. 
When it is time for bed, Bunny nurses to sleep again. This time I lay quietly with her, with no iPad. I love to watch her fall asleep. She is so peaceful and so calm. She looks like my little baby when she is nursing to sleep. I love how she cuddles up to me and shares that special time with me. 
Bunny wakes up two to three times a night to nurse. She doesn’t nurse for long, but she is definitely nursing. When she is done nursing, she rolls over and is back asleep. In fact, as soon as she is latched on, she is back asleep. 

This may not be what your toddler does, every toddler is different. I love it and wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love that when Bunny wakes up in the middle of the night, all it takes is a little milk for her to go back to sleep. 

Bunny is a VERY active toddler. She rarely ever sits still. Unless she is nursing. I love being able to cuddle and connect with her while we nurse. 

When Bunny learned how to sign milk, my heart melted. Now, Bunny can say milk and she rarely ever signs it. If I had done what I thought I would, stop nursing when my baby could ask for it, I would have stopped when Bunny was 10 months old! 

I am very glad I am able to nurse, and that it comes with no complications now. I have many friends who are not as lucky as I am. I also have many friends who are DONE with nursing when their babies turn a year old. That is a okay! Every baby and mom relationship is different. One is not better than the other. We are all mothers, trying to do our best! 

Luckily I have not received any criticism because I am still breastfeeding Bunny. If you are not as luck, here is some advice from Dr. Sears. 

Do you still nurse your toddler? If so, what does your day look like?

Co Sleeping and Why we do it

Before I had Bunny, and when I was pregnant with her, I was adamant we would NOT co sleep! What is co sleeping? Co sleeping is when you sleep in close proximity to your infant or child. When you sleep in the same bed as your infant or child, it is often called bed sharing instead of co sleeping. I told My Love that would NEVER happen to us! Babies don’t belong in the bed with us! That is our special place, our safe haven from the world where we can talk and laugh and be alone. I would never be the mom that co slept! EVER!

Then Bunny was born. Three weeks early. She was breech, my water broke at 37 weeks exactly, and Bunny was born via a non emergent, non planned c-section. Because she was born early I felt I needed to recreate the womb as much as I possibly could. I held her skin to skin as much as I could. Even at  night. Bunny slept on my or My Love’s chest for the first 6 weeks of her life. My Love and I slept in our bed, so Bunny slept in our bed, on our chests. I did what I said I would never do, co sleep. I couldn’t imagine putting Bunny in her own room, much less her own bed in her own room! When Bunny was about 6 weeks old, she started sleeping on our bed instead of on our chest. We have a king size bed so there was enough space. It was magical for night feedings! When Bunny woke up to nurse, I would change her diaper then lay down and nurse her back to sleep. I would fall asleep with her. I got so much rest! I didn’t have to get up and go into another room, didn’t have to sit up, awake, while she nursed! I could fall asleep with her. It was wonderful!

We peacefully co slept until Bunny was five months old. At around five months, Bunny started moving in her sleep more. Because she was moving so much, we needed her to have her own space. We decided to use a crib side car style. It is an extension of your bed. It worked out wonderfully! We still have the crib next to our bed and everyone gets a decent nights sleep! 

Crib is side car style

There are a few “safety” concerns, soft objects blocking baby’s airway, baby not being able to roll over or move his/her face out of the mattress, mom or dad rolling on baby in the middle of the night. We addressed those by not having a comforter on our bed, only using a light blanket, Bunny wasn’t allowed to sleep on her tummy at night until she learned to roll over by herself, My Love and I never take any medication that impairs our thinking or motor skills or drink alcohol. When you are sleeping with your baby, you are hyper aware of them and their every move. I could feel Bunny breathing all night long. I was NEVER in danger of rolling on her or suffocating her. In fact, when we moved her to the crib that is side car style next to our bed, I did not sleep well for the first few nights. I was so used to feeling her next to me, feeling her breathing, it was odd not to be able to know she was breathing without staring at her in the dark. 

sleepy baby in the middle of the bed during nap time NOT at night
Here are some facts about co sleeping and bed sharing from kellymom. 
Dr. Sears has done extensive research on co sleeping and its benefits. 
Who doesn’t want to wake up to a smiling baby face every morning?!