He’ll be 3 years old in about one month. He’s so smart and tough. A little boy to the core: loves to play in the dirt, has buckets full of Hot Wheels and loves to rough house with his daddy. He’s independent and opinionated. I made the decision to breastfeed shortly before he was born. I thought I would try to make it to 6 months and if I made it to that first goal we’d try for a year. We had our hard times, but we made it to our goal of 1 year. I loved nursing him and he loved it just as much. Neither one of us were ready to stop that part of our relationship so we kept going.
Fast forward nearly 2 years and yes, we’re still nursing. We don’t breastfeed every day or even every week, but there are moments that he needs that unique comfort. Having a 4 month old that is also breastfed makes it easy for me to get touched out. Having two little ones can wear me down and chisel away at my nerves. I have to admit that sometimes I lose my patience. Sometimes I can’t manage my time well enough to give Colton the time he deserves. Sometimes I yell and have moments of weakness. Sometimes I just want to pause and take a few moments to snuggle my feisty little boy, kiss his forehead and have time that’s just the two of us again.
Tonight was one of those nights. I looked over at him and saw the baby look fading away. He’s looking more and more like a little boy and less like the newborn that I swear I just brought home yesterday. I offered to snuggle him and nurse and he was more than excited to do just that. He was asleep in no time but I couldn’t help but savor those precious moments. I kissed his sweaty forehead, held his chubby hands and thanked God for the quiet time He gave me with my little boy.
I don’t breastfeed my 3 year old for the nutritional benefits (though those are a plus) or to make a statement. I don’t breastfeed him because it’s the only way I know to comfort him or because I refuse to let him grow up. I breastfeed my 3 year old because in those short quiet moments, I have the ability to pause my hectic life and love him, snuggle him and reminisce on our journey. It forces me to slow down and notice the little things: How his hair sweeps over his eyebrows, how the dimples in his hands are disappearing, how he smirks in his sleep and how beautiful he is. These quiet snuggles are less frequent as he grows so incredibly independent. While the benefits of extended breastfeeding are endless, my reasoning for choosing to let Colton decide to wean are somewhat selfish in that I love nursing him just as much as he does and I’m not quite ready to give it up.