Atlas is now a year old, and we are still nursing. A lot. Now, for me this isn’t really much of a significant milestone. There was no question that we would get here. Tycho still nursed until 20 months or so. But in our culture, in the US, a year is definitely a thing. The first year of baby’s life they need breastmilk or formula, so you pick what side of the mommy wars you want to be on and go. Or something. But after that, you can give them cows milk and they don’t NEED to nurse and they have teeth and can ask for it and omg boobs. I’ve known quite a few people that while they were happy to breastfeed for the first year, abruptly weaned from the breast once they hit that birthday because it’s not needed anymore. And your body, your choice, you go girl, but honestly, that seems completely crazy to me.
Yesterday Atlas was sick. A little. He didn’t have any quantifiable symptoms and he wasn’t running a measureable fever, but his little body felt hot to the touch and when I brought him to bed at 6am all he wanted to do was nurse. And nurse and nurse and nurse and nurse. It was three hours of fussing and nursing before I was able to squeeze in a shower, and then he wanted to be held while I got dressed and got packed to go.
Fortunately our destination was just a babywearing meeting, so I could continue holding and nursing him. And then we got home and he still just wanted to be held and to nurse. Kyle took Tycho out and I turned down the lights and stripped off our clothes and held his skin against mine and he nursed and he slept fitfully and sweaty on my chest. And he woke and we nursed some more. He nursed while I ate, and then he nursed some more.
And while I was sitting in my darkened living room, half naked, baby at my breast, I thought, right now I am giving him all of me. Everything I have. My body is still his. It’s been a year since we cut the physical link between us, but we are still not independent individuals. And that is something that is mine alone. No matter how involved and supportive my husband is, he will never be able to understand motherhood. I tried to imagine Kyle in an on demand nursing relationship and I couldn’t keep myself from laughing.
Although I’ve been trying to get him to spend more time in his own sleep space, when it was time last night I took Atlas straight into bed with me. It was hours of him falling asleep and then waking up and crying when he realized he was no longer latched, but we nursed and nursed and nursed and he finally fell asleep.
Today he is fine. Being one with me yesterday means that today he is happy being on his own. I’m drinking a cup of (cold, but still) coffee while he climbs into the toy box. Maybe he would be okay today regardless, but I’m pretty sure all the nursing and snuggling yesterday had something to do with it.