Why I'm Still Breastfeeding My 2 1/2 Year Oldby Emma Longden
Hi, I’m Emma and I am still breastfeeding my two and a half-year-old... Honestly, sometimes it feels like I am hiding this massive secret from the world, ashamed for it to get out. The truth is, I don’t feel 100% comfortable myself about still feeding my toddler. Benjamin will be three in a few short months. What happens then? Will I still be feeding him when he goes to Nursery? My husband jokes about the Little Britain sketch, now that Benjamin can ask for ‘booba’ himself, but it does concern me that he might refuse to stop.
I never pictured myself feeding a toddler, perhaps because I struggled with breastfeeding my two older children, moving onto formula after three and six months. When it came to feeding Benjamin, who is my youngest and almost definitely the last baby, everything felt so much easier and more natural. Benjamin took to feeding really quickly, and he has always fed for comfort as much as he does for nourishment.
I have attempted to stop feeding four times over the past year or so. Last April, my husband and I went on a belated honeymoon to Mexico, without the children, for ten days. I assumed, during this time, that my milk would dry up and Benjamin wouldn’t be interested in feeding on me by the time we were reunited.
I was mistaken. We slipped back into our feeding pattern, and I figured I would wait until he turned two instead. Around his second birthday, things naturally seemed to stop. Benjamin wasn’t feeding from me, and it came to an end on its own. However, when Benjamin became poorly over Christmas, he decided he wanted to feed from me for comfort again, and somehow I still had milk and he was able to.
Since then, I have tried to wean Benjamin off of the boob again without much success. He doesn’t feed every day any more, and when he does feed, it is generally for a short period of time and then he will happily get back to whatever he was doing. Occasionally he will fall asleep on me during a feed, especially if he has been having a tantrum or has become overtired and is struggling to settle himself.
Although I don’t overly mind breastfeeding him at this age, it is getting to the point where I feel uncomfortable doing so in public or admitting to friends and family that he is still feeding from me. My husband isn’t keen and has tried to get Benjamin to stop feeding, but he is a stubborn little boy, and I think he will only stop when it's on his terms. He has never had a dummy, but he seems to use me as one instead, which is a lot less accepted when out and about, especially when he attempts to pull down my clothes to help himself.
I guess, for now, it’s a matter of encouraging him to wean himself. Breastfeeding a two and a half-year-old isn’t hurting anybody after all. It’s just something that isn’t really talked about much in today’s society.