I'm One of 'Those' Moms Who Breastfeeds Her Toddler

Before getting pregnant, I didn't think about how I would feed my future babies. I was familiar with both breastfeeding and bottle feeding, but I had the most experience with preparing bottles thanks to my babysitting days. If someone would have told me way back then that I'd breastfeed my children into toddlerhood, I would have looked at them like they sprouted a second head. But here I am, a mom who's been nursing for going on five years straight.

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When I got pregnant with my first -- my daughter -- I was very excited to learn all there was about preparing for her arrival and beyond. We went to all the classes, including a breastfeeding class, and I read too many parenting books for my own good. Armed with knowledge and what felt like the best decisions for us, I planned to breastfeed for at least six months. I hoped to make it to one year, but wasn't sure how difficult that would be if I returned to work.

As it turned out, I didn't have to juggle pumping and breastfeeding as a working mom since my position was eliminated while on maternity leave. Though we did have some breastfeeding obstacles in the beginning, I became confident we could reach our goal. At first I had mixed feelings about nursing beyond one year. I mean, a baby is one thing, but a toddler? I didn't want to be one of "those" moms.

One thing I've learned about motherhood is how your ideas on parenting can change and evolve. As 6 months came and went, nursing beyond 1 didn't seem so weird anymore. They are still such babies then! So, I figured I wouldn't wean my daughter until she was 2 years old.

While my parenting views and choices evolved over time in response to what my baby needed, the outside world didn't always see eye-to-eye. Questions about weaning became uncomfortable and too personal. I once thought it'd be easy to simply stop breastfeeding whenever I decided it was time. As we approached 2, nursing was no longer just a matter of feeding her. It was comfort and bonding. It was a relationship.

More from CafeMom: Breastfeeding a Toddler -- That's So Not My Plan

Like any relationship, it wasn't always sunshine and roses. There were days I felt extremely touched out (especially while pregnant with our son) and I'd limit nursing sessions. Other days she wouldn't want to nurse at all. Somewhere along the way I decided I wouldn't push her to wean. That I'd follow her lead, and I'm glad I did.

Continuing to breastfeed throughout my pregnancy kept my daughter and I well connected. I think it may have helped her transition into the role of big sister, too. There were many sweet moments while tandem nursing, allowing all three of us to bond.

I never ever thought I would breastfeed a toddler. It wasn't something I planned to do, but now I've done it twice over and I wouldn't change a thing.

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