I was looking through photos on my computer the other day and came across this one, taken by Jill last August in New York.
While part of me sort of let out a tiny little cry at how small Emma was, another part of me reached out and gave a giant pat on the back. My goal for nursing her was a year. We’ve surpassed that goal and we’re still going strong with no signs of stopping. I’m totally okay with that.
She’ll always be my baby, but Emma’s a bonafide toddler with the adventurous spirit (and attitude) to go with it.
I’m breastfeeding a toddler, guys.
She doesn’t nurse as often or for as long as she once did, but she’s still firmly Team Boob. Nursing is about more than just food.
It’s about comfort and connection and it makes us both slow down and makes me pay attention to the tiny little things about her that are growing bigger and bigger by the day.
Like the way her hair has a little curl on the ends and sometimes twists up over her ears. Or how she seems to chronically have some piece of food crusted in her eyebrows.
(Hey, I didn’t say all the things I notice were sweet, okay?)
Emma’s a little firecracker and she’s always on the go. Moving and running and exploring. The fact that we’re still nursing hasn’t affected that part of her at all.
Breastfeeding a toddler looks very little like the relatively serene picture above. In fact, it looks a little something like this picture here, taken with my cell phone in the waiting room at Joshua’s therapy appointment. Only it’s often a smidge more crazy than this:
Now when she nurses, instead of always snuggling into me like she used to, there’s a foot in my throat, she’s pulling on my necklace, and her index finger is making its way into my nose.
Or she’s popping on and off and on and off and on and off to look at whatever sound she heard three rooms away.
Or she’s blowing kisses at my boob. Or raspberries.
Or she’s nipping me and laughing about it which gets her put down immediately and then she cries.
Or she’s perfecting her famous “nurse and roll” maneuver where she attempts to roll over while my boob is still in her mouth.
Or she’s trying to get down and run away while still trying to nurse which is always fun and also sort of painful because while my boobs will never be what they once were and will no doubt be slightly mishapen when this is all said and done, they’re not actually made of elastic and I can’t stretch them across the room. But she doesn’t know that.
But sometimes, oh, sometimes she still feels so small and I have flashbacks of her tiny days.
Her head rests perfectly in the crook of my arm and she puts her hand over my heart and she and I just are. She nurses and pops off and looks at me and smiles, sometimes letting out a tiny giggle, sometimes a tiny sigh.
Or her eyelids flutter as she starts to fall asleep and her contentment is palpable.
There is nowhere else she would rather be in that moment than right there with me and my Mama Heart is full.