I know people think I’m weird. Or crazy. Or both. Or worse – I know some think I’m gross.
It’s OK. I’m not doing this for validation or attention or recognition for being SuperMom or SuperFreak. I didn’t sign up for a 22-month-plus (-plus-plus-plus?) breastfeeding journey. Hell, I didn’t even sign up for one month.
I’ve said before that I never set a breastfeeding goal beyond, “I’m going to try.”
Successful breastfeeding seemed like an impossible achievement considering my hormonal deficiencies. Breastfeeding triplets sounded humanly impossible. Breastfeeding premature triplets? Whoa. Triplet toddlers? ARE YOU SERIOUS?
I’ve known people who breastfed their toddlers, and while I never thought it was gross, I wondered why a mom/toddler team would still be doing that. I’d see that toddler running around being independent and wild and very much so little-adult-ish and walk away scratching my head but ultimately thinking “whatever floats your boat, lady.”
I couldn’t imagine breastfeeding one toddler let alone three. Where do you find the time and energy? Does it come in a pill you buy from Amazon.com?
Insider secret: You find the time and energy while you’re breastfeeding your toddler. A lot of babies (all three of mine included) reach a point when they need somewhere dark and quiet to nurse. That was the first step in our latest chapter.
It took us more than a month for just one of my children to successfully breastfeed (determined by pre- and post-session weights while in NICU), and they were sent home with instructions to only breastfeed once a day because they hadn’t quite gotten the hang of it at nearly three months old. We practiced daily – I tried to give each baby their own practice session, and by May or June (they were born in November with a February due date), I was finally confident that we all were on the same successful page and walked away from feeding them with bottles of pumped breastmilk, leaving those for Daddy or grandparents when they fed babies.
They’re weaning, slowly but surely. Toby no longer wakes in the middle of the night to nurse, something he did until he was about 19 months old. My triplets all want to be breastfed first thing in the morning, but only Toby and Eleanor nurse in the afternoon after their nap. The only comfort nursing that happens takes place during illnesses (which are rare) and occasional (probably 2-3 times a month) difficult night wakings.
Before I breastfed I wondered why toddler mothers still nursed their children. Now I know. I breastfeed my toddlers because they like it. I’m still going because I can’t quit based on some arbitrary number, like 12 months, when it took 6 months for the four of us to learn what we were doing together. They’ve earned the quiet, comforting time with their mama, and I’ve earned the cuddles. Benefits like immunities and nutrition are handy, but they don’t drive me like they once did.
I’m still breastfeeding my triplet toddlers because it makes us happy.