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Why Mothers Nurse Their Children into Toddlerhood

When I ask mothers who have nursed longer than a year why they chose to do so, they usually say, "It just seemed natural," or, "He seemed to need it still." Some mothers, taking their cues from the child rather than the calendar, say, "I never even thought about it." One mother describes the way she felt about her child's continued nursing: "I knew and felt her need for me and her desire to nurse. I love her, and it would break my own heart to disappoint her and refuse myself to her." If we look past all the social...

Is Your Baby On A Nursing Strike?

Nursing strikes can be trying to say the least. Mothers feel understandably anxious, rejected, and panicky about whether their babies are starving themselves. It's easy to jump to the conclusion that a baby who doesn't want to nurse is weaning himself. But if the refusal to nurse is sudden, it's not a sign of readiness to wean. A baby who is itching to wean will almost always do so gradually, over a period of weeks, months, or even years. And it is highly unlikely that a baby under a year old will self-wean. If your baby is on strike, now...

One Father's Perspective on Demand Nursing

I wanted only the best for my child. Yet then, as now, the issue seemed to be: who will control? It didn't make any difference to me whether or not he needed to nurse every 45 minutes. It wasn't I who had to be available constantly, day and night. In the morning before leaving for work, I would set my wife and child up for "nursing and napping" in the rocking chair. I'd put the phone, books, notebooks, a glass of juice, clean diapers, and other necessities within reach. At night, I was useless, and soon learned not even to...

So I Nursed Him Every 45 Minutes

I nursed my first child every 45 minutes--big deal. Boy, was it! I never expected a child of mine to be so demanding. He had to nurse every 45 minutes or else ... else he'd scream till the end of time. Or so I thought; I never found out. After all, if I let him nurse every 45 minutes, he was in seventh heaven, so who was I to complain? Hmmm ... complain. What about all those baby books bedecked with lovely charts and graphs of when babies sleep, eat, and have alert periods? Reading them as a pregnant lawyer,...