Andrew turns 2 in a few days (June 8th).
Two years later and I'm still trying to figure out this whole parenting thing. We know what works, we know what doesn't work...for a few days, then it changes again. Andrew is my mommy-confidence-building child. If you've met him, you know he's very laid back and easy going and a bit advanced verbally. I'm not sure how much of this is due to the fact that I'm not big on forcing him to do certain things (like sleep, eat, nap, potty-train...etc) and generally I follow his lead about that, or how much is just his personality. Whatever it is, I'm thankful for it. He makes life pretty easy *most* days. He's a toddler...he definitely has his moments, but they are few and far between.
There have been two subjects on my mind lately.....weaning and cutting his hair. I go back and forth on them both.
The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding till at least 2. Continuing afterwards as long as it is mutually beneficial for both mom and child. I'm not sure if a time comes when breastmilk ISN'T beneficial for a child. Research indicates that biologically humans were designed to wean between 2.5-7 years old, but milk doesn't ever lose it's benefits. And, we know that the longer a mother breastfeeds her chances of having breast or ovarian cancer are lowered by several percentage points for each year.
But the mental state --- y'all, nursing a toddler is HARD. I'm going out on a limb and saying it is harder than nursing a newborn. I have a few theories as to why.
1. Toddlers can do gymnastics while nursing, newborns/infants can't.
2. Lack of support/understanding. I can see it in people's eyes when I tell them that my nearly two year old still nurses. The looks of shock/disgust are pretty obvious. Those I can ignore. Less than 3% of the women in the US breastfeed into toddlerhood (past 18 months). That number drops off even more at two. I can only think of one person I know locally who nursed a child over the age of two. It's just not common in this country. So when your toddler does weird things....there aren't always people to talk to, or ask questions. Or when the gymnastics make you want to scream, there is no to laugh with you. I'm insanely thankful for a few groups on pleonast and FB.
3. Have I mentioned breastfeeding gymnastics yet? My child is amazing at it!
The difficulty hasn't really been why I've considered weaning though. I'm not one of those women who lost weight while nursing. I actually went the other way. Even now after four weeks of running and diet changes and restricting, I've not lost a single ounce. I've gained more weight. So weaning lingers in my mind.....
I go back and forth -- am I being selfish? What about Andrew's needs? All those thoughts. I do know this...we will continue to nurse until 2, and if we do wean...it will be very slow and gradual. Although, I'm not sure how much slower it could get. Andrew right now only nurses at naptime for about 5-7 minutes and then *sometimes* at night for 10-15 minutes. And when he's hurt/sad he wants to nurse for a few minutes and sometimes when he's bored. It's a tough decision...today I'm leaning towards parent-led weaning, tomorrow I'll be back to baby-led.
I am pretty happy we will make it to two years though! :D
As for cutting his hair....yeah, I can french braid it...that's how long it is. I love it, he loves it, daddy doesn't mind...but everyone calls him a girl, even though I so obviously dress him like a boy. It's actually a pet peeve...hair is hair, as long as it's clean...who cares if it's long/short/pink/brown...etc. I do think though he needs a bit of a trim, maybe I can keep it long and just give it a good shape. I hate to cut it though, it's so pretty, blonde and soft. I'm actually kind of jealous of it! ;)
Oh my, motherhood is a whole new ballgame every single day.