By: Davina Wright
So, five years! Nursing triplets! Who knew right? Not me, that’s for sure. My older two kids both self-weaned around 13-14 months, so my rather lofty goal with the trio was 2 years. But here we are, still going.
I have often heard ‘oh you’re just doing it for you now, it’s not about the children’, but in all honesty I would be happy if they weaned now. I am big on letting the child decide when they are ready to wean but at the same time I’m like ‘dudes, there are 3 of you, and you’re 5, come on already!’ I am tired, I am touched out, and I am pretty sure the last of the ‘baby weight’ won’t shift until they stop. It’s not that I want my body back to myself, because the three of them will continue to climb on me, sit on me and take ‘piggy back rides’ on me, it’s more that I am just feeling done.
But they love it so much, truly they do. They are at times obsessed with ‘numnees’ and let me know. I say no a lot. Our biggest challenge at the moment is lessons in respecting boundaries and body autonomy. For example, they ask for boobie and I don’t want to, I say ‘no’ and they gang up on me. It’s like dealing with a bunch of walkers (yes I’m a TWD fan) when they just keep coming at me, pulling at my clothes, trying to get my boobs out and just not listening to my ‘no’. It can be quite upsetting to not feel ‘heard’ by your own children in this situation. But they are only children and so it’s a repetitive lesson and I will continue reinforcing that this is my body and my rules – something I hope teaches them how to respect their own bodies as they get older.
When they were newborns and my body was the ONLY thing sustaining them then obviously that rule didn’t apply, but since about 2 years old, boundaries have been slowly added such as when and where and how to long to nurse. Now we are down to only once or twice a day, generally before bed and maybe on waking in the morning, for about 5-10 minutes. And I do still love how it calms them, especially at night as they go to sleep. There have been nights when they go to sleep without it for whatever reason and they are fine, but I do love that quiet one on one connection which may be the only quiet one on one time I get with them each day!
They have been at pre-school for a year now, and for those worried about kids still breastfeeding at that age I can say they don’t ask for it at pre-school (too much other stuff running through their minds I guess), they don’t get bullied about it because they haven’t told the other kids that they breastfeed (too much other stuff running through their minds I guess), and when they start big school next year, if they are still nursing, I expect it to be much the same.
One of the nicest things about breastfeeding older children is that they are able to verbalise their joy of breastfeeding to you. Mine tell me quite often how much they love it and how happy it makes them. When people worry about them remembering nursing at this age (as if that’s a bad thing), I sure hope that it is these moments of love and happiness and connection that they do get to remember!
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