In two days, I will have been nursing Nathan for 18 months. When he was first born, I set lots of short-term goals and one long-term goal for our breastfeeding journey. My first small goal was 6 weeks because that is the time that "they" say that nursing gets a lot easier. Those first six weeks were filled with ups and downs. I had sore nipples and there was definitely a learning curve for both of us. Thankfully, we didn't have any major issues and we made it to six weeks. My next short-term goal was 6 months. 6 months was the time that I could begin solids and I knew that nursing would get easier after that. 6 months came and went and Nathan preferred nursing to solids anyway. My next goal was 1 year. I felt that if I gave my child a year of breastmilk I would be setting him up with the healthiest start possible. And we made it to one year easily.
Through all of that, my long-term goal has been 18 months. Babies and toddlers rarely wean themselves before the age of 18 months. Nursing strikes are common but can usually be resolved with patience and persistence. True gradual self-weaning normally happens between the ages of 18 months and 4 years. I knew that I would not be ok with him weaning before the age of 18 months. So my goal has been a year and a half of nursing. AND WE DID IT!!!!
Thankfully I have really enjoyed our nursing relationship over this time. I have really grown as a person and am much more confident in my mothering abilities. I just feel amazing that I did it. I pushed past the sore nipples, latch issues, teething, all-night nurse-a-thons, nursing through illness and injury, a nursing strike, nursing in public and the dirty looks from not-so-nice people, educating family and friends about why I was nursing this long, etc. The list goes on.
But I am not wonder-woman. I don't deserve a medal or any recognition at all for this. I am a mother. And this is what mothers do. I'm happy today because I could do this. I had the support that I needed from my husband. I had the support I needed from my family. The picture above is the platinum symbol for nursing for 18 months.
And I did it. Because I was so dedicated to this. I put my heart and soul into this and I did it. I can do anything! This feeling of strength and confidence is so amazing.
And for those wondering...My next and last goal is 2 years. If we make it to two years, then awesome! But if he decides to wean himself over the next 6 months, then I will still be proud.
Feel free to leave comments about nursing your little ones...best moments, biggest triumphs. Or if you don't want to post, just think about your nursing relationship today. Even if it lasted a few days, look back on that with fond memories. :)
Happy nursing to all! :)