05/12/2015 03:51 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

I Breastfeed My Big Kid

Elisabeth Lighty

Before I had a baby, I don't think I even knew extended breastfeeding was a thing.

The first time I saw it was at a La Leche League meeting when a kid who had been running around the room suddenly stopped running and started nursing.


That kid is like 3 years old!

Who does that?

At least that's what I thought at the time.

So how did we get here?

I fell in with a breastfeeding crowd when my son was a baby, and most of the moms I knew nursed until their kid turned one. But a lot of the women I knew -- and I know this isn't the norm -- kept on going.

So we did too.

And suddenly, my kid was two.

And then two and a half.

And now, I breastfeed a toddler who is 32 months old and wears 4T clothing. A child who can ask for "mommy milt" and request to "sitch sides."

Toddler nursing is a mixed bag

I'm going to be honest: some days I love nursing my toddler, and other days it's kind of the worst.

It's awesome when he is sad and sleepy and looking for comfort.

It's the perfect way to reconnect when we've been apart for awhile.

And I really do treasure the moments when he nurses to sleep in my arms, because I know they won't last much longer.

But when he asks me to "sitch sides" over and over and over?

And scrapes me with his teeth?

Or won't go to sleep without his "mommy milt"?

Then I don't love it so much.

Just wean him already

Honestly, it's not that simple. I mean, I know he doesn't need to nurse. But it is a big part of our relationship as mother and son, and I don't think either of us is ready for that to change right now.

Also, I kind of tried.

He went to stay with family in the beginning of April, and I was sure it would happen. I nursed him on a Sunday afternoon, and the next time I saw him was on Friday. We went five days without nursing. Surely this was it.

But it wasn't. It took awhile, but he did eventually ask for mommy milk.

And so, here we are.

This morning, he called for me when he awoke, and I went in to nurse him. And I just nursed him down for his nap.

I don't know how long I will nurse my big kid, but for today, it works for us.