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Breastfeeding: You Never Know When It’s the Last Time

“I feel like Jack is going to be one of those kids that breastfeeds until 7 years old,” I said to my husband one day when Jack was around 1 year old. I had been learning a lot about breastfeeding, mostly through the moms at The Badass Breastfeeder Facebook community. I learned that kids who are not weaned early can breastfeed anywhere from 2.5 to 7 years old. Before kids it would have completely freaked me out. Now that I had celebrated my very first nursiversary, after fighting tooth and nail to save what seemed like a doomed breastfeeding relationship, I couldn’t imagine why on earth I would ever wean him. My husband took a bit longer to adjust to the idea of coloring so outside the box, but ultimately we both felt that what helps Jack is much more important than anyone else’s opinion.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding Jack.

Jack is a sensitive fellow. He feels things deeper than most people. He can sense your mood the moment you walk into a room. He cries at unkindness, even when it’s not directed at him. Lights are bright, sounds are loud, he’s a picky eater and clothes are scratchy. He’s been in occupational therapy to address his auditory sensitivities. Nursing aversion set in during my pregnancy with his brother and I worked hard to create boundaries around breastfeeding to make it more manageable for me because I didn’t want to wean him. I wanted him to have breastfeeding, even if it was just a few times a day, until he felt ready to stop. As I got to know my little baby boy I knew he would be in it for the long haul.

“I bet Exley weans before Jack,” I said to my husband when Exley was about 1 year old. Breastfeeding was old hat around my house by then and I was totally fine with both boys breastfeeding (along with boundaries that I placed for my own sanity) for as long as they wanted. I was confident in my decision to let them steer this ship.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding Exley.

Exley is a tornado. He is strong-willed. He’s also physically strong. He can do a flip on the rings in slow motion. He can throw a truck right at your forehead from across the room. He can flip the dinner table, I know this because he’s done it. He is a force to be reckoned with. I never owned child safety locks before Exley was born. They were a waste anyway because he figured out how to open them. If he gets the slightest inclination that you don’t want him to do something he will make it his life mission to do that.

I can relate to Exley. I don’t like rules and I mostly them see them as things to break. I can relate to Jack too. As I learned about Sensory Processing Disorder I learned so much about myself and my childhood. Breastfeeding has always been such an important piece. At 6.5 and 3.5 it’s not by any means their only coping skill, but it’s one they have always known and one I feel should be eliminated by them when they decide they have fully transitioned to other skills.

Jack has nursed only one time a day for more than a year now. And even that has gone through stages. From filling up on breastmilk before dozing off, to latching on for a few seconds before turning over and asking me to put my arm around him. Last year we were in a hotel room and he said, “I can’t wait until I can fall asleep on my own.” I told him that he can fall asleep on his own. He falls asleep on his own whenever he is too congested to nurse or when I am out late or out of town. I told him he can fall asleep on his own whenever he wants. He said, “Well, I’ll have boobie tonight anyway.”

Abby Theuring. The Badass Breastfeeder, tandem nursing, tandem breastfeeding.

Not everyone will breastfeed this long. Some will. It doesn’t matter, that’s not the point. The point is to do what you feel is right for your kids no matter what other people say or what twisted cultural norms exist. Screw the haters and even screw what you yourself thought about it last month. No one can make this decision about your life, but you. You are the only one in this moment with your child right now.  Breastfeeding belongs to you and your child. No one else.

Jack is 6.5 years old. And Exley has nursed today. So technically I was wrong on both of my predictions. But you have to admit I was pretty damn close. I have no milk in my breasts at all anymore. It’s been more than a few months that I have been able to express even tiny drips at the nipple. But that doesn’t stop Exley from asking to nurse. Sometimes he will go a day or 2 without asking. So I know the end is near.

It won’t be long now that I will no longer be choosing clothes based on breast accessibility. It’s happened much as I suspected it would for us. Jack went about a week without asking to nurse to sleep. I wanted to tell you all. It’s how this post ended before my final edits. But then I brought it up to him, “Jack, you know you haven’t asked to nurse in about a week.”  He said, “Yeah, I know, I know it’s uncomfortable for you.” It made me feel guilty at first, but then I realized he has heard me when we are talking about boundaries. He’s taking my feelings into consideration, he’s old enough for that now. Being open and expressing myself in this relationship has paid off. And that night he asked to nurse.

You never know when it will be the last time.

I am emotional about the end, the knowledge that we leave that phase behind. Breastfeeding isn’t something I get to go back to. I got one chance with Jack. I get to cry happy tears of the end of an intensely profound era in our lives. I get to sleep well because it went the way we wanted it to go. And I get to marvel in awe at this insanely beautiful life that breastfeeding has shaped for us.

Breastfeeding, Breasts and Rules

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, tandem nursing

Rules. Man, I hate rules. Most rules are arbitrary; anchored in control and profit. Traffic rules that keep cars flowing and not hitting each other, fine, I get that. But there are some rules that we never question that are simply there to oppress and control people. Some of them are loved so dearly that we made them LAWS. Like laws regarding my nipples. In most places I can get a ticket or even arrested if my nipples are exposed! The “I” in this sentence is important because I am a female and if I were not I would not be able to write that sentence. If I were a male I would not have any laws regarding my nipples. I would not be able to find ANY laws regarding the control of my body. Well, you can piss off with your rules about my body! And what about these other rules that aren’t laws, but they are so ingrained in our culture that we don’t even need them to be laws because the citizens keep them alive through social norms? Like I need to wean my child at a certain age or I need to cover when breastfeeding in public. You can piss off with those too!

Photo by Ivette Ivens

Unsolicited Breastfeeding Advice

When people criticize, give unsolicited advice, insult or claim they are offended by breastfeeding, breastfeeding beyond infancy, tandem breastfeeding or any other decision you are making about your own family you can simply ignore them. People can say whatever they want and it never has to affect your personal choices. Go ahead and waste your time being offended. I’ll be over here living my own life.Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, tandem breastfeeding

Jenn’s Tandem Nursing Journey, Part 2

Breastfeeding and being a mama of two isn’t easy, it’s something I’m still figuring out. How I talk to myself while figuring out Tandem nursing because I’ve been struggling nursing my oldest but it’s getting better.
I’m trying not to think about how she’s playing with my body. How she’s taking his milk. How she’s big and awkward and leaves teeth marks or that I can’t make it through a nursing session with her without bargaining for her to get off me. Or make it through a nursing session with him without her begging for milk.
I try to think about how she needs it too or else she wouldn’t be doing it. Whether it’s for nutrition or comfort, she needs it. Then my tension melts away slowly as if I started a Scentsy. It’s not immediate. I try to pass the time writing things like this to help. I look at my little baby and see that he is healthy and sleeping. That she’s resorted back to baby things like me changing her diaper etc. So she’s just trying to figure all this change out. It’s only been a month. Her life is completely different but nursing can at least equalize us a little bit. I think back when she was a baby and how concerned I was that she would wean too early and it makes me laugh now.
I breathe slowly in and out. I think it’s honestly my body equalizing out too because she sucks all the milk out so fast. I just get this sensation that I don’t like. Maybe this is nursing aversion? I’m being patient. I’m trying to let her stop for once. He’s full. He is fine. Even though he’s waking up. It will be OK . She has to stop eventually. She has to so be patient mama.
I’m building supply. I’m building supply. I made it through she’s happy . Her heart and mine are full and I can have a break oh wait she wants more milk. Lol she distracted herself. Time to get off the couch and do something.
***Jenn Novak just began her tandem nursing journey and will be sharing her experiences with our community.

Jenn’s Tandem Nursing Journey


“There I was pregnant, nursing my daughter, super anxious, excited, scared about nursing a new baby along with her. Will she be jealous? Will she wean? Will she still love me? [Read more…]

Full-Term Breastfeeding

By Sara Sites

Sara Sites extended breastfeeding
I want to share a picture with you all.  This was taken on August 19th 2015- the day Jack turned 5…the 5th anniversary of our breastfeeding journey.  [Read more…]

40 is the New Badass

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, tandem nursing.

Happy birthday to me! Today I turn 40. Such an epic milestone. I could have told you with great certainty at every year of my life what I would be doing at age 40 and it would never have included breastfeeding an almost 5-year-old and a 2-year-old, being a stay-at-home mom and mommy blogging. [Read more…]

Tandem Nursing Nighttime Routine

I didn’t think much about sleep before I was a mom, but it didn’t take long for me to learn that this was one of the most controversial topics in parenting. My husband, Josh, read a bunch of sleep books while I was pregnant, I didn’t read any. It never occurred to me that it would involve anything beyond lying a baby down in a crib and walking out of the room while they closed their eyes to quiet sleep. It’s what I always saw in the moves! Well, HA! [Read more…]

Breastfeeding Critics

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, tandem nursing

My Dear Critic,

I posted this photo on Instagram, that social media platform with the reputation of being drama-free. I received comments such as, “that’s disgusting,” “so gross,” “you’re sick,” etc. Nothing we haven’t heard before on social media, where people can comment without [Read more…]

This is Exley

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding her son

This is Exley. He is 20 months old. He breastfeeds a lot. Like 7,582 times during the day and 10,498 times during the night. We share a bed so he wakes up, latches on and goes back to sleep. He nurses to sleep, to wake up, for comfort, before he eats, after he eats, when he’s resting and all other times too. He is loud. His voice booms in your chest and pierces your ears. He likes to follow his big brother around. Exley thinks he can do everything his big brother can do and falling on his head never holds him back. People often wonder if I get criticized for breastfeeding both Exley and his big brother, Jack (4.5 years old). I do online, but not in my real life. I wouldn’t keep critics in my life anyway. My close friends and family support my decision. Extended family and acquaintances seem to keep comments to themselves if they have any. I plan to breastfeed both of them as long as they want. It’s not always fun, but it works for us. It’s far more than food; it’s comfort, security, attachment, bonding and nurturance. I believe that allowing them to wean in their own time will lead to independence, high self-esteem, health and a sense of connection to their family and the world. I don’t think nursing Jack takes anything away from Exley. I think Exley gains a unique relationship with his brother along with all the other “perks” of breastfeeding.