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The Advantages of Extended Nursing

Valerie Gee
Grand Rapids MI USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 20 No. 4, July-August 2003, p. 140

As I look back over the past 22 months that I have nursed my son, Harold Trey, I can see many advantages to extended breastfeeding. The two that have made our lives easier are that breastfeeding comforts him when he is sick and helps him feel better when he is hurt.

When Harold Trey was around a year old, he split his lip open. There was blood everywhere. I started to panic and called my husband to come and help. But before my husband could get there, I followed my first instinct, which was to nurse my son. The bleeding stopped and so did his tears.

He had his first ear infection when he was 13 months old. He had a high fever and, of course, an earache. All we did all weekend, day and night, was nurse. He would not eat any food. It felt so good to be able to breastfeed him and give him the perfect food. I was able to comfort and nourish him at the same time.

During long trips, I have been able to keep my son happy by breastfeeding him. This summer we took a 12-hour car trip from New Jersey to Virginia. We brought a lot of toys, books, and food. These things were able to keep him somewhat contented, but, after many hours of traveling, I was always able to meet his needs and soothe his tears by breastfeeding him. We have also taken him on three airplane trips. After each trip, we got compliments on his good behavior and people asked what our secret was!

Nursing a toddler can be a challenge. My son will pull my shirt up in public and get upset if I pull it down. He will breastfeed for a minute or two, play for a minute, and then want to nurse again. It can also be rewarding. At night when he is nursing to sleep, he lets go, looks into my eyes and says, "I love you, Mommy." That is the best thank-you he could give me. I look forward to nursing more children and learning more about the advantages of extended nursing first hand.

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