Unforeseen benefits of nursing a toddler through and beyond pregnancy:

Instant milk. My milk came in within 18 hours after Iris was born. And I bet this contributed to keeping jaundice at bay. I’m not positive that the extended nursing caused this, but it sure came in more quickly than it did with Ingrid.

No sore nipples. Maybe I should have guessed that compared with a fully-toothed two year old, even a vigorous newborn’s suckle would feel dainty and painless.

Convenient breast pump. Ok, that’s crass. But in those first days when I was so engorged Iris could barely latch on? Ingrid could have a little “snack” and take care of the problem, even in a power outage.

See friends’ jaws drop. My friend Kelly came for a visit about a week ago. A had told her something on the phone about Ingrid being jealous about the nursing. Kelly said something like, You haven’t been nursing her all the way through pregnancy, have you? Like she must have heard wrong. Hee hee.

Connection. Ingrid’s and my relationship feels interrupted in a major way. I’ve been away from her, distracted from her, more than ever. It’s great to have this point of connection in our day. Naptime and bedtime, she knows, always include “special nursing time.” I know that if she were already weaned, we’d have found some other way to connect, but it’s really, really nice to have this concrete, physical part of our routine still in place.

Sense of kinship with our barnyard friends. Where you live, is there a fair in the fall? Is there usually a big mama pig there, with, like ten piglets piling on each other and rooting and sucking and tugging all at once? Yeah. It can be kind of entertaining.

Wait. Nursing both at once? Remember when I said I was going to be all tough about restricting Ingrid’s nursing to before bed? Well. I’ve mostly done that. But I decided that denying her a little taste of milk when she asks for it would just add to her sense of displacement and upheaval. Once or twice a day, she asks to nurse while Iris is nursing. I always say yes, and about half the time she loses interest before I’ve even got my bra open. The rest of the time we have a festive little piglet pile style nursing fest for about half a minute before Ingrid loses interest and moves on to something more fun, like unrolling all the toilet paper in the bathroom.

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