Today I am delighted to host a guest post by Karen Angstadt of Intentional Birth.com. She is looking for other moms’ perspectives on nursing a toddler to use on her VoiceAmerica Network radio show: A Labor of Love. Please read the post and then make sure you take a moment to answer one or more of her specific questions at the bottom of the page. 

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It’s been a few months since we talked about it and I wasn’t really sure what would happen next. I’ve been second-guessing myself: my priorities, my original commitment to child-led weaning- and even my parenting.  

So what’s happening, you ask? I told my little girl that I wanted to stop nursing after her birthday. We talked about it in March and now her birthday is right around the corner. In fact, it’s this week. She’ll be three on Wednesday. 

I haven’t mentioned it in a few weeks because I wasn’t sure I would follow through. I’ve had it easy in terms of bedtime, because nursing her to sleep is still the best job in the house. I’m not sure I want to give that up. (I would like to stop nursing first thing in the morning. My kids were born pre-programmed with internal alarm clocks that ring between 5 and 6 a.m. every day. The request for morning nursing comes early and I’m not a morning person.)  

About a week ago, a friend I hadn’t seen in a while commented about K, how big she’s grown and praised her communication skills. She also let me know that K confided in her that we’re going to stop nursing after her birthday. This was my first external confirmation that she remembers our conversation.  

Breastfeeding has been a long (and rewarding) path for me. It helped solidify my feelings about myself as a mother after a difficult birth experience. It took time, patience, persistence and commitment and in return gave me strength, validation, rest, and peace.  

I struggled with learning to breastfeed the first time around, because it was a lot tougher than I thought, and because I didn’t prepare in advance. I couldn’t figure out why I’d need a class for something so “natural” & boy did I find out in a hurry. My daughter, J, continued to nurse through most of my pregnancy, and only stopped when my breasts were too sore to continue.  

My learning curve the second time around, with K, was much shorter but included cracked and bleeding nipples from her very strong and persistent latch. These healed quickly with my experienced know-how and the help of lanolin and gel pads.  

I never anticipated nursing so long. It never occurred to me in the early days that my babies wouldn’t understand or care what the calendar (or poorly informed pediatricians) said about their needs. So I’m still a little surprised to find myself weaning, via open dialog, a communicative three year old. 

More surprising to me, I wrote about seeking a gentle end for nursing K almost a year ago, in my very first blog post. Now it’s really happening and my feelings are still mixed. I’m ready. At least I think I am. I never expected to breastfeed 2 children for nearly 5 ½ years total. I never expected to nurse a toddler. I have been (happily) surprised by many aspects of mothering.  

To celebrate my daughter’s birthday and in honor of this gentle transition, I’m planning to dedicate an episode of A Labor of Love to nursing a toddler. Here’s where I could really use your help.  

I only know my own experience, and although I’m planning to share the ideas that brought me to this point, I want to be sure I present additional perspectives and views. So I want to hear from the breastfeeding mamas who read and comment here at Breastfeeding Moms Unite.  

I want to hear what you think: Did you nurse your babes into toddlerhood? Why or why not? Did you have a specific time frame in mind, plan to let your child self-wean, or maybe you changed your mind along the way?  

What did you gain by nursing your toddler? What do you want other moms to know, especially new moms who are just beginning? What would you tell your younger self?  

I’ll be reading the comments here, but I won’t use them without your specific permission. You can give permission for me to read your comments during the show within your comment. (I plan to mention your first name and blog name, along with your comment.) 

If you are available for a live show (Mondays at 1pm ET/10 am PT) and would consider sharing your story on the air, email me at Intentional Birth (at) yahoo (dot) com for more information.  

Thanks in advance for your help- and thanks for everything that you each add to the larger breastfeeding community. It’s supportive women like you who have made it possible for me to nurse each of my girls into toddlerhood.

Karen Angstadt is a mother of 2, Wise Woman and Birth Mentor. With over 10 years experience teaching women to uncover, hear and honor their intuition through individual mentoring, in 2008, Karen began sharing her methods with pregnant women to guide them to their inner voice and empowered choices for birth.
Karen is the founder of Intentional Birth.com, host of A Labor of Love radio show on the VoiceAmerica network, author of the ebook, To Thine Own Self Be True, and serves women through individual mentoring, tele-seminars, and home study material.
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37 Responses to “Questions For You About Nursing Your Toddler”

  1. #1 katie Says:

    June 14, 2010 at 3:23 am
  2. #2 katie Says:

    June 14, 2010 at 3:24 am
  3. #3 Jake Aryeh Marcus Says:
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    June 14, 2010 at 12:27 pm
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    June 14, 2010 at 1:45 pm
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