continue breastfeeding?

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I can’t believe that Penelope will be 4 soon. Where has the time gone? I mean, it’s been a well lived and full 4 years, I have done my darnedest to be present and live each moment to the fullest with her. Experiencing loss sure makes you appreciate every second with the one you’ve got. Yet, time still seems to just slip through my hands.

As I quickly approach the time when we are going to get serious about trying to get pregnant again, I am thinking about the end of Penelope’s babyhood. Really that ended almost a year ago, as postpartum is three years, but I feel like when/if I get pregnant again, that is when her babyhood will truly end. It will be time for me to shift gears and focus less on her and more on myself and growing a healthy baby. It is going to be a hard balancing act since she still co-sleeps with me half the night and still nurses to sleep and upon waking in the morning.

Penelope had started sleeping through the night and in her own room at age 2, but since we moved earlier this year she now wakes up all hours of the night like she was a 12 month old again. I thought we were done with our co-sleeping days, but now she thinks my room is her bedroom again. She is still not used to our new house, and I am hopeful that soon she will get back to her routine, but because we let her know that she was always welcome in our bed anytime she needed it, we have stuck to our word. We are not doing any sleep training tactics or working on getting her back into her bed. I know she will go back when she is ready.

On the other hand, I am not sure Penelope will let me know when she is ready to be done with nursing. I always assumed I would let her make the decision but now I am not so sure. Before we moved, I was feeling very done with nursing. I was ready to have my body back and I wanted to have a couple of months of not having to give or lend out my body in anyway to a small child. And with my history of miscarriage, I don’t think I will want to nurse during pregnancy just to be on the safe side.

But I also love the idea of nursing her through my pregnancy and then being able to actually give her my milk when it comes back in when baby arrives. I love the idea of giving her a cup full of healthy liquid gold. If she weans or I wean her before the next baby arrives, I plan on pumping for her to give her a cup of breastmilk once the new baby comes.

I don’t know what the future will hold. I always intended on letting her self wean, but now at almost 4, I am very nervous and uncomfortable about the idea nursing a 5 year old, or a 6 year old. Even though intellectually I know the world’s average age for weaning is around 5 years old, it’s just still so socially unacceptable here. Where would I draw the line? Would she ever the draw the line herself? Or because of her SPD and personality, is she is the kind of kid that would never wean unless given some pressure and gentle nudging. I fully support women who do child led weaning and when I see other women nurse an older child it doesn’t make me uncomfortable, I just worry what other people will think of me. I am such a weirdo as it is, you would think I would be used to standing out, but truth is I want to be liked and not judged just like everyone else. And I worry about what people would think of her, now that she is in real school. I’m cool with being the wierdo, but I don’t want her to feel like a wierdo. But then I also don’t want to make a decision out of fear or worry of what other people will think of us. Because if someone doesn’t like me because I am still nursing, then they are not someone I want to be around anyway. But it is still a tough a call!

All I know is that right now I am over my need to have my body back, I enjoy nursing her to sleep and when she wakes up. I enjoy seeing her sweet face first thing in the morning. It’s been a rough summer with lots of changes and it is the one thing that has stayed constant, safe and comforting. I am grateful I am comforting to her in this way.

And as much as I would like to not be woken up at 11pm or 2am or 5am to the sound of Penelope’s feet pitter pattering on the tile as she makes her way across the house, and then crawling in my bed and asking for some nunnies, I am relishing in the feeling of her cold feet when she curls up next to me. The sound of her heavy breath as she nurses and falls back to sleep. The feeling of her body warming up next to mine, her feet slowly warming as she lays nexts to me and drinks in the comfort of our heart to heart energetic connection that is so easily accessed by nursing. The comfort that only I can give her. I know that just like she will go back to her own bed when gets back to feeling safe and secure in our new home, she will get to a point where she doesn’t need nursing for safety and security and we will find other ways to maintain our loving energetic exchange. So I am just gonna enjoy these last few moments before I become a widow to her babyhood, and head back to the motherhood journey starting line all over again.

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