Tuesday, January 20, 2009

how you like them apples?

I'm almost entirely convinced the reason I cannot get Henry to nap more than an hour during the day, and sleep no more than five hours consecutively at night, has everything to do with the fact that I nursed him exclusively the first twelve months six months of his life.

(And probably a little bit to do with the fact that he shares a room with his sisters that has no door and is located immediately off the kitchen.)

All along, I've been certain that Henry would wean himself at 10-months like his brother did. Or most definitely by 17-months like his sisters did.

Because ... because ... that's what babies do.

But it's been so different with Henry. All along, it's been different. He's never had a regimented schedule like the triplets did. Sure, I could have put him on a regimented schedule, but then - our entire lives would have revolved around one child's sleeping routine, which is tough when you have four children.

So at night when he would cry, I would scoop him up because I didn't want him to wake up the rest of the family and besides - they grow up so, so fast and really how much trouble is it to let him sleep next to me and nurse? Or catch a snooze on the couch while listening to his dad play guitar?

Or sleep while laying across my lap while I respond to work e-mail?

Or pay the bills?

To date, I remain convinced that he will wean himself when he is ready. Or before he turns two two and a half. Yet here we are, edging deeper and deeper in to toddler territory, and my child shows no sign of slowing down.

I've offered him food. I've offered him drink. I sit him down with a bowl of Cheerios and he tosses them across the table, tries to climb under my shirt while pointing at my chest and yelling "APPWLES!!!"

That's what he calls them.

APPLES. Like the fruit.

Which I suppose is better than William who walked in while I was getting dressed the other day and after taking a moment to size me up, declared "Mom, I really like those squishy things."

Personal boundaries? Privacy? What's that?!

I haven't seen either since I've become a mother.


  1. My mother decided to stop when I asked her (at 2 and a half) if I could "have a lick" at a dinner party she was having.

  2. LOLOL! Oh, Jen...this is awesome. Nursing was just not an option for me with my #1 because of some health issues and because I didn't think I could handle it. But with #2 on the way, I'm actually considering it. I need to make some adjustments regarding my health, but it's something I'm feeling more confident about it.

    Until I read your post. The idea of having a monkey on my apples for the first 17 months of #2's life is terrifying to me. LOL! Especially considering #1 has never seen them. He's a very verbal child. I can only imagine what could come of this...LOL!

  3. Wow, I didn't make it past 15 months with any of ours...even though I was willing. Way to go.

    One of these days he may do what our oldest did and just look at you and say "no." That was it. Done. And I was sad...

    Squishy things?! That's hysterical!

  4. Awe, William, you're such a ladies' man ;-). My 7 year old son still tries to cop a feel once in a while. He's been weaned since he was 19 months....

  5. Hey Jen. You don't know how it gladdens my heart to see this post. I always thought that babies weaned at about twelve months. I thought that they just stopped being interested. Well, my little boy who turned 3 last week didn't get that message. And neither did lots of the little boys and girls that we know. I was a closest breastfeeder of a toddler for such a long time, but now that I know how many people do it but don't talk about it for fear of disapproval, I'm going to keep on talking about it. Besides, it's nobody elses business but ours!

    I do insist on good manners (ie no lifting shirt), but a two year old is much different to a 17 month old. Also, it's much more of a negotiation now. I'm only comfortable breastfeeding first thing in the morning and late at night. But, when he was so sick he had a fever of 40 degrees, then his doctor was also so very pleased he was breastfeeding.

    Breatfeed, don't breastfeed. Wean, don't wean. It's just so nice to see you with so much confidence!!!!

  6. Love the post... laughed the whole way through... and the pictures are amazing. The sleeping while daddy plays guitar... just fantastic!

  7. Uh yeah. I'm so with you. My first (and only at the moment) will be two in March and he sounds EXACTLY like Henry. He sleeps about 4-6 hrs with me before needing to nurse a couple times before getting up for the day. He'll sleep two hours at the baby-sitter's but at home its an hour wherever and whenever we can get it. I try to make him sleep alone but then he just wakes up sooner and more frequently AND I have to get up out of bed to get him.

    I just thought he would wean. My only two friends who nursed have kids that weaned before one. I don't get it. But I can give you a little hope for the future since Henry is a couple months younger than Andrew... My son does understand me a little better now than he did a few months ago. If he wakes me up too often at night, then I can say no, and he'll fuss a little but he seems to get that he has crossed the line into "serious mommy".

    Before he turned one I thought that one was the magic number for us to start weaning, then I pushed it back to two... now I guess I just feel like its easier to nurse him than wean him. My mother-in-law nursed her boys and is really supportive, so that helps too:) She sees how much he loves to nurse and doesn't want to hear him cry either.

  8. I love it! Apples! I need a code word. Too bad my kids don't call it apples! I'm trying not to let my family know that my girls are still nursing (at almost 3) but they ask all the time so we need a code word.

    And Henry is so adorable when he's passed out on your lap.

  9. Apples, now that's unique!

  10. wondering if you've seen http://www.kellymom.com/ or the WHO's recs on breastfeeding, which can be found on their website.


    a sample: "Infants should be exclusively breastfed – i.e. receive only breast milk – for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health."

    "Breastfeeding on demand – that is as often as the child wants, day and night.
    No use of bottles, teats or pacifiers."

    and it goes on. my point is, you're doing the best thing for henry. personally, i'm a huge proponent of child-led weaning, but even if you're not, the WHO recs 24 months of nursing at a minimum. :) dr sears also has a lot to say about baby sleep habits that you might find interesting as well.


    personally, i absolutely think you're doing right by henry by nursing him and by allowing him to sleep where he feels comfortable and safe. not that it's easy, but i just wanted to give you some support.

  11. That picture of Henry asleep on couch is adorable!!! When I was nursing my daughter one of my twin boys came downstairs with his magnifying glass and wanted to see my boobie. When I asked why he said "so I can use my magnifying gwass to see the wholes in your boobies where the milk comes out"!!! There is definitely no privacy with little ones in the house.


  12. Hey, My Mom was a LaLeche league leader in the 70's. She nursed my younger sister until she was five and says it was great. Now, that doesn't mean she nursed her on *demand* until she was fine. That meant she nursed her once or twice a day at home in private (bedtime, naptime, when she was hurt...). Once they get to Henry's age they are old enough to learn there are rules (no lifting mom's shirt up in the line at the grocery store and demanding apples). The "apples" are "sleeping" and unavailable certain times of day. He's a great kid, I'm sure you'll have no problem. Nurse him all you want.

  13. Your posts always brighten my day and never fail to bring out a chuckle. I LOVE your blog!!

  14. Susan in Missouri1/21/09, 8:10 AM

    I have a friend whose neighbor let her son nurse until he was 5! FIVE!?!? Wow, that would just be too much for me. 2-3, I could see it. I nursed my daughter until the first time she bit me...and that was enough for me. She was done and so was I! I didn't nurse my son, but after nursing his sister, I wish I would have. But, when I had him, I was 19...so that's that. You are right, he will wean himself when he is ready. Some kids just need a little nudge and if you aren't ready and neither is he?...OH WELL! They are YOUR babies...you nurse them as long as you need to! Great blog by the way! :)

  15. I say its whatever works for you, they had a special on 20/20 a couple weeks back and some of the kids breastfeeding were 6-8 years old, so I guess under 2 is pretty dang good.

  16. LMAO! Oh my gosh, that is absolutely hilarious! Thanks for that!

  17. Jen:
    I'm a fellow "Ducky" (JLD) and I've been following your blog for a while. I have question... did you change the way you attach the pictures? Eversince you changed the format, I've been unable to see the pictures :(
    Maybe it's just me and my dumb computer, but I have to say I miss seeing your beautiful babies.

  18. Thats so great that you are still breastfeeding!! Way to go momma! And how OMG cute that he calls them apples!!! HAHAHAHAHA

  19. It makes me smile knowing that Henry takes comfort in you. BF'ing is such a neat relationship. I think it's great that you guys are still enjoying it. AND I also wanted to say that I think its amazing that you breastfed your triplets! I've read your other posts about that in the past and I think it's awesome!!

  20. RIGHT??? This morning I was getting dressed and I had an AUDIENCE asking QUESTIONS and offering FEEDBACK.

  21. Jen,

    I have to say, I think we moms worry way too much about what everyone else is doing, and whether we are doing the "right" thing. You have to do what works best for you and your family. When did our children sleeping through the night (or not!) become a judgement of our quality as parents? He's a baby! When he's ready to grow up, he will, without being forced into it. I don't know any 16 yer olds who are still nursing or sleeping in mom's bed.

    I think it's awesome that you are nursing Henry. (And I love that he calls them "apples!" How wholesome.) It is so good for toddlers - emotionally and physically. The fact is, you are not alone in nursing a toddler. I have several friends that are breastfeeding toddlers. It's just that most toddler nursing moms keep it "undercover" because people react so weirdly at times. My oldest weaned at 21 months. I was 3months pregnant, and I couldn't handle it anymore. My second is 21 months, and I'm pregnant again, so she will probably wean soon. Part of me will be happy to have my breasts back as my own (temporarily!), but part of me is really sad. I realize that once Rachel weans, that is the end of that part of her life. I'm trying not to be so eager to push that time away.

    You keep doing what works best for your family. When the status quo becomes more problematic than the energy it takes to change things, then you will know that it is time to change. Until then, you are absolutely right - our kiddos grow up so fast, so let them be babies while they are babies, and enjoy it while you can!

    Sarah L

  22. I have heard that if you get pregnant again, the breast milk dries up? I do not know if that is true---want to try that?I will book my trip now to California. How do you like them apples? lol


  23. Noni...nope, breastmilk doesn't dry up. I breastfed my oldest until I was 3 mths. pregnant with my 2nd daughter...I only quit because I couldn't stay awake.
    And from the words of the La Leche League, when I asked of course, there are many mothers who breastfeed throughout their pregnancies.
    Way to go for them, but I actually wanted to stay awake for the remainder of mine ;-). I did however continue to produce for a while and it was easier to start back up again when the baby was born.

  24. OMG, that's how nursing came to be named in our family. :-) I thought we were the only ones. Baby #2 tried to say "apple" when he was around one-ish and it came out "ap-ba". He immediately transferred this to nursing and since then, nursing--and my breasts--have always been referred to as "ap-ba" (or "ap-ba's") by all of us.

    I wouldn't be too quick to blame exclusive nursing on poor sleeping habits though. I've had good nappers all round and a couple of good night sleepers, too, in spite of co-sleeping and night nursing well into toddlerhood.

    P.S. I wonder how many of us mums have piccies of our nursing toddlers sacked out on our laps while we sit in front of our computers, LOL. It's probably becoming a classic in family photo albums in this digital age of parenting...

    P.P.S. Yeah Noni, pregnancy does dry up your milk. Can't promise it always curbs their interest in nursing though.... Just from personal experience! ;-)

  25. I have done almost the same thing with my wee one. Now I have another one coming in four months so I am trying to crack down on my inconsistant habits:) She actually has been transitioned out of our bed and doesn't seem to even know it. We sit in there til she goes to sleep and then she sleeps through the night:))))) YEAH! We have managed the impossible without too many hitches. No mo boob, no mo binkie, and no mo bed hogging!!! Wish me luck on potty training before baby.

  26. so many mamas nursing older babies and toddlers here! that's so exciting, makes me happy and i'm not even a mom yet. yay for normalizing something that should be normal anyway. ;) go mamas go!

  27. My elder girls each fed til 3, when I weaned them (had had to waen #1, so did so with #2 to be 'fair'). #3 is nearly 2.5 years and going strong and #4 is 6 weeks and getting got at it :)

    I think I always thought I would breastfeed, but I never would've thought I'd willingly feed til 3 (and perhaps beyond, my definition of fair has changed as I've relaxed a little as a Mum).

    Oh and apples is good. They're called boobies in my house and out of my house when my girls would often ask or assume the position LOL.

  28. I don't know what that would be like...simply because my son cut himself off at four months. Done. No more cooperation...could not convince him to nurse. At four freaking months! I love it when I see moms who don't have such "issues" and have a nice successful breastfeeding experience. Your pendulum seems to have almost swung in the opposite direction...trying to convince him that he wants to give up 'em apples!