Breastfeeding Flavors

Welcome Carnival of Breastfeeding readers! This post is part of the Carnival of Breastfeeding on the topic of “Extended Breastfeeding” hosted by Blacktating and The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog. This month’s theme was extended nursing and we’ve got a variety of posts on nursing toddlers. Be sure to check out the links to all of our participants at the end of this post

Tri-Andeming in Spring

“Mom, may I please just have a little piece of mama milk?” That’s what my almost 5 year old son asked me the other day. I was breastfeeding my almost 3 year old and almost 1 year old sons and my oldest knows how to wait patiently for his turn. It’s amazing to me that he has learned this patience when he had mama milk all to himself for 2 years. He has happily made room for not one, but two younger brothers. He has put up with toddler feet in his face, passed out babies sprawled across his tummy, and a mom who sometimes gets touched out before it’s his turn and has to put him off until later.

Patience has always been his flavor of breastfeeding. When he was a newborn, he was almost constantly latched on. I am glad that he was able to have his solo infancy because I’m not certain that even having a practiced mom, confident in nursing and babywearing would have been enough to meet his sucking needs. Even when his needs were urgent, he would calm down and patiently look at me as long as he knew a feed was coming soon. He knew that once he was latched on, he could stay that way for as long as he wanted because his new mom didn’t have the heart to hear his protests if the nipple was removed-no matter how gently.

His little brother, my second son, has a very different flavor of breastfeeding. From day one, he latched on strongly and nursed until he was full. I remember the first time he was done and pushed out my nipple. I was certain there was something wrong. After all, his big brother was still latched on and he was eating solids. I soon learned that even as a newborn, his suck needs just weren’t as high as his big brother. It was a good thing, too, because I had post partum depression and had a lot of trouble dealing with so much raw need from two little ones. Knowing that I could nurse him and he would delatch himself helped me be able to continue exclusively breastfeed him even while feeling depressed. He has always loved cuddles, but doesn’t have very high touch needs. Even now, he is fiercely affectionate, but not while breastfeeding. He wants to meet his needs for hunger, solace, or comfort and then run off to have fun.

My youngest son is still exclusively breastfeeding. His flavor of nursing is an interesting mix of my previous experiences. He is also very patient and has a gentle latch. He is also a very strong sucker and loves to sleep nurse during his naps (thank goodness for babywearing) but will delatch himself and roll over to be spooned to sleep at night. He seems to need touch more than suckling to meet his needs and will happily wait for his next feed with his dad as long as he’s being worn. He loves nursing with either of his brothers so much that I have trouble keeping him latched on with all his smiling and trying to grab them. He is very attached to me more than to my breasts, which is nice because with three kids, I sometimes feel like walking food. Even though I have been battling a second bout of PPD, I’ve been able to manage the breastfeeding demands better this time because my support structure is in place.

My flavors of breastfeeding are also a part of this mix. And like my sons, my needs have changed over the years. When I had one nursling, breastfeeding was my go-to for everything and I set very few boundaries. When I had two nurslings and PPD, I had to set very clear boundaries because my ultimate goal was to be able to continue breastfeeding for as long as they needed to continue. At three nurslings, I am able to explain to my oldest two boys what I can and cannot do and they are willing to accept what I say because they know I will honor their needs as I am able. I feel more confident in parenting now and have more flexibility in how we manage breastfeeding.

This is how breastfeeding several children of different ages can work because they each have their own flavors. They each have their own rhythms. They each have their own needs. As long as I am patient and honor how and why they, as individuals, approach breastfeeding, we can make it work.

I have no idea how long all four of us will continue our breastfeeding relationship. So far, it has all happened so organically, that I foresee it continuing the same way. Some days I’ll breastfeed all three boys several times. Sometimes my oldest two won’t ask for a couple of weeks. It depends on what is going on in our lives and it’s the way that feels right for us. I love and respect how together, the four of us have moved through the different flavors of breastfeeding.

**************

Please go check out the other Carnival of Breastfeeding Participants and give them some comment love.

Elita @ Blacktating: The Last Time That Never Was

Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC: Old enough to ask for it

Karianna @ Caffeinated Catholic Mama: A Song for Mama’s Milk

Judy @ Mommy News Blog:My Favorite Moments

Tamara Reese @ Kveller: Extended Breastfeeding (corrected link)

Jenny @ Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: The Highs and Lows of Nursing a Toddler

Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding

Rebekah @ Momma’s Angel: My Sleep Breakthrough

Suzi @ Attachedattheboob: Why I love nursing a toddler

Claire @ The Adventures of Lactating Girl: My Hopes for Tandem Nursing

Elisa @ blissfulE: counter cultural: extended breastfeeding

Momma Jorje: Extended Breastfeeding, So Far!

Stephanie Precourt from Adventures in Babywearing: “Continued Breastfeeding”: straight from the mouths of babes

The Accidental Natural Mama: Nurse on, Mama

Sarah @ Reproductive Rites: Gratitude for extended breastfeeding (corrected link)

Nikki @ On Becoming Mommy: The Little Things

Dr. Sarah @ Good Enough Mum: Breastfeeding for longer than a year: myths, facts and what the research really shows

Amy @ WIC City: (Extended) Breastfeeding as Mothering

The Artsy Mama: Why Nurse a Toddler?

Christina @ The Milk Mama: The best thing about breastfeeding

TopHat @ the bee in your bonnet: From the Mouths of Babes

Beth @ Bethstedman.com: Extended Breastfeeding: To Wean Or Not To Wean

Callista @ Callista’s Ramblings:  Pressure To Stop Breastfeeding

Amanda @ Postilius: Nursing My Toddler Keeps My Baby Close

Sheryl @ Little Snowflakes: Tandem Nursing- The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Zoie @ Touchstone Z: Breastfeeding Flavors

Lauren @ Hobo Mama: Same old, same old: Extended breastfeeding

Tanya @ Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: Six misconceptions about extended breastfeeding

Jona (Breastfeedingtwins.org): Breastfeeding older twins (corrected link)

Motherlove Herbal Company: Five reasons to love nursing a toddler

Mamapoeki from Authentic Parenting: Extended Breastfeeding?

Mama Alvina of Ahava & Amara Life Foundation: Breastfeeding Journey Continues

32 thoughts on “Breastfeeding Flavors

  1. Pingback: Old enough to ask for it « normal, like breathing

  2. Pingback: Old enough to ask for it « normal, like breathing

  3. This is such a wonderful, inspiring post, thank you for writing it! I am still nursing my son, who is now 4,5 years old, and it’s lovely to read about other moms who practice extended breastfeeding. L is still going strong, but only to nurse to sleep and when we sit together on the sofa.

    Thanks for linking this wonderful picture to my Take That, Facebook! post :)

    Dagmar

  4. Wow – thank you so much for sharing your story. I can’t even imagine how wonderful and at the same time exhausting it must be to have 3 nurslings. You are a great mama!! And I ADORE that photo of you with your 3 boys! It is truly priceless!

  5. Wonderful! My youngest is definitely the pacifier-type, wanting to stay latched on all night long or through an entire nap. Sometimes I just gotta have my nipple back! :-)

    • Thank you for your comments, Momma Jorje. Ha! I could handle the mama pacifier with my first, but there’s no way I’d be able to do it now-even with babywearing. I’m too touched out and too busy. I think it’s awesome you’re able to give that to your youngest while still honoring your needs, too

  6. What an amazing and unique story! Before the Carnival, as I’m approaching my son’s 1st birthday, I had some preconceptions about what that meant for my son’s and my nursing relationship. It made me sad to think I needed to start to seriously consider weaning.

    It has been so wonderful to hear stories of moms nursing years beyond where I am now. And here you are with your story of nursing three at once, with something that grew “organically.” I love it!

    Thanks so much for the inspiring story!

    • Thank you for commenting, OBM. I had the same experience with moms who had nursed longer and shared their stories. It’s one of the reasons I support the carnival and mamas who write and share photos about breastfeeding. Many of us have lost our firsthand experiences with it. It’s empowering to read about all the many variations

  7. Pingback: The Little Things « On Becoming Mommy

  8. I love reading about tandem (and triandem) nursing, since my entire nursing experience was an ongoing cycle of tandem nursing. I did nurse my twins individually at times, but mostly I tandem nursed them. Just like with any other siblings, my twins each had their own style of nursing, and of interacting (I love your use of “flavor”!).

    I do sometimes wonder what my parenting would look like (and what breastfeeding would look like) if I’d had babies one at a time instead of together.

    • Thank you for commenting, Jona. That is the big question, isn’t it? There are so many positives to parenting more than one child for both the children and the parent. But there are also challenges that come with it. I think about if I only had one that I would be able to parent much more closely to my ideal. All these different flavors have changed me so much, though, I couldn’t even comprehend who I’d be with a different number of kids.

  9. It’s interesting to hear the differences in your kids’ BF styles. Even though I knew from breastfeeding my twins that kids took to it in different ways, I never really got how much of it is determined by them until one of them self weaned at 11 months. I was resolute that this was not normal, not right for her, etc and kep trying for three months until one day she looked at me, looked at my breast, and shook her head at me firmly. She’s still got that determination at four.

    • Thank you, Kate. I had no idea there would be such a difference in nurslings of the same age. Your point about trying for three months makes me smile. It makes me think of those arguments against breastfeeding that make it sound like it’s all for the mom’s benefit. I always think, “have you actually ever met a toddler? Just try making them breastfeed when they don’t want to. Ha!”

  10. That’s a gorgeous photo of you and your boys! I like the way you described each of the nursing relationships. It makes me curious about what it will be like with my next nursling.

  11. Pingback: The best thing about breastfeeding – The Milk Mama

  12. Pingback: A Song for Mama’s Milk: April Carnival of Breastfeeding | Caffeinated Catholic Mama

  13. Great post – I truly enjoyed reading it but what a fabulous picture of the four of you (actually, both of the pictures of the four of you – the breastfeeding pic and the avatar pic! Love it! :)

    • Aw, thank you, Robin! It’s touch catching tandem & tri-andem shots. I pretty much have to have someone standing by with a camera because I don’t have free hands. If I ask someone for a camera/photo, they pop off & look up at me and there goes the shot lol

  14. Pingback: Gratitude for extended breastfeeding | Reproductive Rites

  15. Pingback: Natural-term breastfeeding « Massachusetts Friends of Midwives Blog

  16. Pingback: My Hopes For Tandem Nursing « The Adventures of Lactating Girl

  17. Pingback: Five reasons to love nursing a toddler | Motherlove Herbal Company Breastfeeding Blog and Podcasts

  18. As a mum nursing a 4-year-old, 3-year-old, and 19-month-old, I can so relate to your words here. I, too, hope weaning happens quite organically with all of them. My older ones are nursing less and less, so I guess it’s happening already.

    Something that has helped me (and I am in no way affiliated) is natural progesterone cream. I use Happy PMS brand, and it has helped my moods and my cycles. May be something to consider. Nursing three is a challenging task!!

    • Thank you, Elisa. I’m reading you post right now and I’m excited to read more on your blog.

      I do have some progesterone cream, upon advice from my ND. I haven’t used it, yet because I seem to be recovering. It’s comforting to have extra tools to try out if and when I need them and I welcome others’ experiences and advice

I love comments and try to reply to each one. I look forward to connecting with you. Namaste

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