Healthy Kids/ Motherhood

Cold Feet in the Morning


I can’t believe that Penelope will be 4 soon. Where has the time gone? I mean, it’s been a well lived and full 4 years, I have done my darnedest to be present and live each moment to the fullest with her. Experiencing loss sure makes you appreciate every second with the one you’ve got. Yet, time still seems to just slip through my hands.

As I quickly approach the time when we are going to get serious about trying to get pregnant again, I am thinking about the end of Penelope’s babyhood. Really that ended almost a year ago, as postpartum is three years, but I feel like when/if I get pregnant again, that is when her babyhood will truly end. It will be time for me to shift gears and focus less on her and more on myself and growing a healthy baby. It is going to be a hard balancing act since she still co-sleeps with me half the night and still nurses to sleep and upon waking in the morning.

Penelope had started sleeping through the night and in her own room at age 2, but since we moved earlier this year she now wakes up all hours of the night like she was a 12 month old again. I thought we were done with our co-sleeping days, but now she thinks my room is her bedroom again. She is still not used to our new house, and I am hopeful that soon she will get back to her routine, but because we let her know that she was always welcome in our bed anytime she needed it, we have stuck to our word. We are not doing any sleep training tactics or working on getting her back into her bed. I know she will go back when she is ready.

On the other hand, I am not sure Penelope will let me know when she is ready to be done with nursing. I always assumed I would let her make the decision but now I am not so sure. Before we moved, I was feeling very done with nursing. I was ready to have my body back and I wanted to have a couple of months of not having to give or lend out my body in anyway to a small child. And with my history of miscarriage, I don’t think I will want to nurse during pregnancy just to be on the safe side.

But I also love the idea of nursing her through my pregnancy and then being able to actually give her my milk when it comes back in when baby arrives. I love the idea of giving her a cup full of healthy liquid gold. If she weans or I wean her before the next baby arrives, I plan on pumping for her to give her a cup of breastmilk once the new baby comes.

I don’t know what the future will hold. I always intended on letting her self wean, but now at almost 4, I am very nervous and uncomfortable about the idea nursing a 5 year old, or a 6 year old. Even though intellectually I know the world’s average age for weaning is around 5 years old, it’s just still so socially unacceptable here. Where would I draw the line? Would she ever the draw the line herself? Or because of her SPD and personality, is she is the kind of kid that would never wean unless given some pressure and gentle nudging. I fully support women who do child led weaning and when I see other women nurse an older child it doesn’t make me uncomfortable, I just worry what other people will think of me. I am such a weirdo as it is, you would think I would be used to standing out, but truth is I want to be liked and not judged just like everyone else. And I worry about what people would think of her, now that she is in real school. I’m cool with being the wierdo, but I don’t want her to feel like a wierdo. But then I also don’t want to make a decision out of fear or worry of what other people will think of us. Because if someone doesn’t like me because I am still nursing, then they are not someone I want to be around anyway. But it is still a tough a call!

All I know is that right now I am over my need to have my body back, I enjoy nursing her to sleep and when she wakes up. I enjoy seeing her sweet face first thing in the morning. It’s been a rough summer with lots of changes and it is the one thing that has stayed constant, safe and comforting. I am grateful I am comforting to her in this way.

And as much as I would like to not be woken up at 11pm or 2am or 5am to the sound of Penelope’s feet pitter pattering on the tile as she makes her way across the house, and then crawling in my bed and asking for some nunnies, I am relishing in the feeling of her cold feet when she curls up next to me. The sound of her heavy breath as she nurses and falls back to sleep. The feeling of her body warming up next to mine, her feet slowly warming as she lays nexts to me and drinks in the comfort of our heart to heart energetic connection that is so easily accessed by nursing. The comfort that only I can give her. I know that just like she will go back to her own bed when gets back to feeling safe and secure in our new home, she will get to a point where she doesn’t need nursing for safety and security and we will find other ways to maintain our loving energetic exchange. So I am just gonna enjoy these last few moments before I become a widow to her babyhood, and head back to the motherhood journey starting line all over again.

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  • Kendra
    October 1, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    Such a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing some very vulnerable thoughts. You’re doing a great job!

  • Andrea Richison
    October 2, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    You are very brave to share such a personal struggle. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to decide about weaning. My daughter is only 8 months old and I am always wondering what the weaning process will be like. She definitely will nurse the full year, even longer, but I am nervous about weaning her. Nursing is definitely her comfort and I don’t see her wanting to stop at 12 months. Yet there’s always that stigma with extended nursing, and like you said, it’s not fun to be “different” and judged. It’s such an internal battle because like you wrote, you long for your body back (and uninterrupted sleep back!)–yet it is such an amazing bonding time that you can only experience for a while with your child. Good luck to you!

    • Stephanie
      October 2, 2013 at 1:40 AM

      Thank you for reading and standing witness. Every post I write feels like I am taking off my clothes and standing in the middle of a crowded mall waiting for the stones.

  • Cassandra
    October 2, 2013 at 12:38 AM

    If they don’t think you’re a weirdo about this, they’ll find something else. That’s what people do. I had so many people telling me that Addie’s weight and teeth problems were related to still using a bottle. My husband weaned her when I went into the hospital out of laziness. Now that I’m back home 2 weeks later, I see her teeth worse than ever, her weight no different than before. Let’s ignore the part where everyone I asked to give her FCLO/BO had failed to do so despite repeated reminding and she was fed garbage – it was obviously the bottle causing all her problems! And what does she do now? Suddenly she starts asking for milkies again. Suddenly she’s back to voraciously sucking her thumb all night long as she lays next to me, rolling around restlessly keeping me awake, things she supposedly never did while away from me. But yeah no, I was just having a hard time letting go, I didn’t want to wean her even though she’s obviously such a big grown up girl and is ready to be done, right sure. First thing she did when she saw me in the hospital is lay on my arm and stick her thumb in her mouth. The desire to nurse is universal, even among babies who were never breastfed, even among toddlers reaching towards childhood. Now that she’s weaned, they’ll find some other way to blame, to ridicule, to judge. That’s the way it goes.

    • Stephanie
      October 2, 2013 at 1:39 AM

      Yeah, that’s probably true. And between the compost pile, eating my placenta, cloth diapering, crystals and energy healing, I give people plenty of things to think I am a wierdo about. You keep sticking to your guns, mama.

  • Rebecca
    October 2, 2013 at 12:40 AM

    You speak words that come from my heart. I am still nursing my daughter who will be 3 in Jan. I get so much pressure to wean her, and part of me sooo ready (like the part of me at 2 am, or when I’m trying to make dinner), but there is nothing better than those big brown eyes looking up at me. And she is my last, I need to cherish it. So thank you for being the voice of us “outcasts”. Love to you and Penelope.

    • Stephanie
      October 2, 2013 at 1:37 AM

      Lol, that’s me, the voice of the outcasts. 🙂 Lots of love to you and your little girl too.

  • Celeste
    October 2, 2013 at 12:53 AM

    This is such a great post. You don’t know how much I needed to read this after getting so much pressure from my friends and husband to wean and cut off co-sleeping with our 18 month old. Can you shed any light on how you transitioned Penelope into her own bed and how she started sleeping through the night? I will not give up breast feeding but I would like her to sleep in her own bed toe my husband more comfortable.

    Thanks so much! Love your blog 🙂

    • Stephanie
      October 2, 2013 at 1:37 AM

      I do have a post about it, called How I Got my Toddler to Sleep Through The Night. And I have a night weaning post too, that was the very first thing I did. Thanks so much for reading!!

  • Megan
    October 2, 2013 at 1:02 AM

    What an honest, beautiful post! From one nursing mom to another I think your doing a fantastic job! Not sure what the future hold for me and my little one but she is almost 1 1/2 years old and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon!

    • Stephanie
      October 2, 2013 at 1:35 AM

      Thanks so much for reading Megan. So sweet that your daughter loves nursing so much.

  • AmeliaBluebelle
    October 2, 2013 at 1:08 AM

    First, good luck to you however you choose to wean. Second, a bit of my story: I finally had to cut my daughter off from nursing about two weeks before her third birthday. I was tandem nursing and got thrush, but that was really just an excuse that she was able to understand at that point (nursies were sick). I was done, and had been done for awhile, but I let my guilt keep me going. I’m not saying that you are now or will ever be at that point, just that I wish I’d figured out a gentle way to wean before I got so fed up. Maybe the last part of nursing would be a happy memory like the first bit. Still, all’s well that ends well, my sweet girl is almost 7 now, still comes to our bed in the middle of the night occasionally, and still wants to snuggle up to me a bit before getting out of bed EVERY morning. That never changes…at least not til the teenage years 🙂 Sorry this was so long, but I think different perspectives help, and it’s sometimes hard to find other mommies of nursing toddlers. Best wishes.

    • Stephanie
      October 2, 2013 at 1:33 AM

      Thanks for sharing Amelia. That is great to hear she still comes into your bed in the morning for snuggles.

  • Jennifer
    October 2, 2013 at 1:46 AM

    It was comforting to know that we aren’t the only ones still co-sleeping part of the night at 2yrs old. I agree, i love waking up to my son hugging me and saying, mommmmy. It doesn’t last forever, so enjoy every minute of it.

    • Stephanie
      October 2, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      Oh yes, you are not the only one. In fact, I think co-sleeping is much more prevalient than most people realize because outside of the earthy, crunchy mama community, no one is talking about it or owning up to it.

  • Siara M.
    October 2, 2013 at 2:03 AM

    Stephanie, I just love hearing your heart. Honest, vulnerable, sweet. I enjoyed this post so much – seemingly feeling what you’re feeling and the turmoil in this decision. I agree that you should bask in these incredible moments for now and things will change a they should. Hopeful for a positive transition and the next part of your parenting journey. Well wishes!

    • Stephanie
      October 2, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting Siara!

  • Amy
    October 2, 2013 at 2:35 AM

    Stephanie, you are so inspiring for sharing all your real life adventures. I breasted my daughter until two and she was down to two a day. I too felt torn to stop so I could have my self back but loved the way we snuggled first thing in the morning and when I picked her up from daycare. I started telling her that we were going to stop getting booby soon because big girls didn’t need it as much. We talked about it all the time. She stopped the morning one after telling her that we would not be getting booby in the morning a few days in a row. It worked way smoother than I thought it would. We nursed once a day for another month or so and I started telling her about not getting briny in the afternoon anymore…she fought it less than I thought she would. She was ready. She still talks about boobies and loves mind still but knows they aren’t for her…even though I long for those days in my soul.

    • Stephanie
      October 2, 2013 at 12:32 PM

      Thanks so much for reading Amy. I think that will be my plan too, since she nurses about twice a day now, to slowly cut down on time nursing and times of day. Get rid of the night time one first or something. That method worked really well for us when we were night weaning.

  • sara
    October 2, 2013 at 3:36 AM

    this post hits so close to my heart…
    my guy turned four in july – i thought he’d never wean himself but it’s slowly happening. i really wanted the process to happen organically and easily and i’m shocked that it’s panning out to be just that when all evidence pointed in the opposite direction. i had (have) such similar feelings about nursing at this age, too. but, also like you, all the positives outweigh the negatives. it’s brought so much to us both – and carried us through some hard times very recently, too.

    no matter when or how your nursing relationship changes with your sweet girl, i hope it’s peaceful and that you always know in your heart (which i know you totally will) that you two shared something truly amazing – and you’ll have *that* forever. xx

    • Stephanie
      October 2, 2013 at 12:30 PM

      Thanks so much for sharing about nursing your four year old.

  • Jill
    October 2, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    Hugs <3

  • Susan
    October 2, 2013 at 3:56 AM

    Love how open you are about this. I have been on my blog and FB page too. My son already is 4 and he’s still going strong! I think I have fewer worries because we are homeschooling so that part of it is a bit easier. I also know that my discomfort is always because I worry about what others think – and I so don’t want to be that way! But I think just by examining our feelings and recognizing their roots we take power away from our fears. And every time we push our comfort envelope we grow.

    I tandem nursed my daughter and son for a little more than 2 months. My daughter was 3 when her little brother was born. After 2 months I was done nursing her – so it wasn’t exactly the peaceful, child-led weaning I had dreamed of. But we made it 😉 I think because of that experience though, I am feeling even more patient with my son. I know it will happen in time.

    Here’s something I wrote about coming out of my “lactivist closet”:

    and here is a post I wrote about children doing things when they are ready:

    Sending you lots of love on your journey! Keep on listening to the voices that matter most – yours and your daughter’s.

    • Stephanie
      October 2, 2013 at 12:29 PM

      Thanks so much Susan!

  • Claire
    October 6, 2013 at 3:02 AM

    We went through a similar thing with my older daughter and nursing. I was so convinced that I would let her wean on her own, but when little sister came along it changed things. Suddenly she wanted to nurse more than the newborn baby and I was feeling just so done with it, so we weaned. I still feel sad that it ended so suddenly and not on the terms I wanted, but it’s really what we needed at the time. Our relationship was suffering.

    That said, don’t let others misconceptions force you to make this decision. It’s none of their business if she’s still nursing and if they don’t understand why, that’s just sad for them. Your daughter is lucky that she has a mama that cares so much for her.

    • Stephanie
      October 6, 2013 at 3:45 AM

      Thanks for sharing Claire! And the support!

  • Katrina
    October 7, 2013 at 5:53 AM

    My daughter was a little over 4 years old when I finally weaned her. I sincerely doubt this has anything to do with it, BUT…I had a string of miscarriages (5 to be exact) from the time she was 2 years old until she was 4. I often wonder if the nursing had anything to do with it? Makes me sad to think it might have. I’d rather blame my age and my old eggs. But still. You can’t help but to wonder. Anyhoo…when she turned 4 is when I gently weaned her. The way I did it was that I gave her a time limit. I simply told her that she is 4 now, and soon she’d be starting preschool –she’s got a summer birthday and started preschool at age four that fall — and from now on, she could have “mama num nums” only for two minutes at a time. It’s not like I actually timed her at two minutes, but she got the idea. She’d come into the room and say, “Two minutes?” — She would take a few sucks and then say, “All done” and happily trot off. Well, after a week or so of this, she stopped asking. It’s funny….I don’t remember that LAST time, you know? But one of those sucks was the last suck. It’s bittersweet. Anyway, two months after she stopped nursing I got pregnant again…and that one held. He’s 4 months old today. I still have to wonder….did I finally hit a healthy egg? or was it the nursing? I guess I’ll never know. On another note, it’s such a shame that there’s a stigma out there about nursing babies past the two year age. My husband is a great guy, but even HE would tell me, “She’s too old for that!” when he would see my 3 year old nursing. He didn’t really care that she did it, but every now and then he’d say things like that and it let me know that he’d prefer I weaned her. WHY?? I don’t get it. And it’s not like I nursed her out in public when she was 2 or 3 years old. I didn’t. So I don’t understand what the big deal was. I never got an answer out of him, either. He would just say, “Don’t you think she’s too old?” — so it’s really all just because it’s a taboo thing. He had no real reason why she should be weaned. It was just not typical thing to be doing, and I guess therefore it was “wrong” to do it. Which is so funny because we are totally a “going against the grain” type of family. I mean, we have 10 kids instead of the acceptable 2 or 3, and we have homeschooled our kids even though not one of our friends or family have done it. We have our babies at home instead of in a hospital (and believe me, we got a lot of flack about that – but that didn’t stop us) and we co-sleep with our babies … so the extended nursing thing seems to be right up our alley, so to speak, but yet the only thing that my husband wasn’t 100% onboard with me on. I can’t figure it out…unless it’s a BOOB thing and he wanted them back for himself. (Well, too bad for him because now we have a new baby — so ha! The boobs will be taken for another couple years!!) Okay, I’m kidding. (sort of) — oh and guess what? With this baby we are cloth diapering! I am loving it! My husband? Not so much. The other night he was in charge of the kids while I attended a girl scout meeting and when I came home all the kids and even the baby was in bed, sleeping. I was like, “Whoa! So cool. Thanks, honey!” and then I noticed that the baby had a disposable on (I have a few stashed away just in case) I asked, “And WHY is the baby in a disposable?” and he said, “Oh…yea, well…I can’t figure out that cloth stuff.” LOL

    • Katrina
      October 7, 2013 at 5:53 AM

      Dang, I have long responses!

      • Stephanie
        October 7, 2013 at 2:34 PM

        And they are awesome!

    • Stephanie
      October 7, 2013 at 2:34 PM

      Ugh, husbands. I know. I wish I had some advice, but I struggle so much in the husband arena.

  • Anne Marie
    October 7, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    I cried like a baby when Alistair turned 4 a few weeks ago! He grew up SO much between 3 and 4. I totally understand wanting to snuggle and hang on to P’s babyhood! They grow up TOO fast! And…you worked SOOOO hard to get that nursing relationship:)

  • Allisa
    April 2, 2014 at 3:29 AM

    Ahhh … this post gave me chills, in a **good** way! I’m still nursing my 18 month old baby boy and I never imagined myself nursing a toddler but I love, love, love it. What a beautiful post, thank you for sharing!!

    • Stephanie
      April 2, 2014 at 2:14 PM

      Thanks for reading Allisa!

  • Paala Secor
    April 30, 2014 at 3:38 AM

    What a great post! It even made me cry.
    I am a stay at home, not-yet-30 mother of three children, a daughter born in 2009 and a second girl born in 2011 and a 2 1/2 month old baby boy.I believe everyone should absolutely see and accept breastfeeding mothers, never suggesting they cover up, move, or just pump a bottle. (Even Obama and the Pope agree with me!) It’s only recently in our history that breastfeeding hasn’t been seen as a non-issue, a commonplace, socially acceptable activity. So I strongly encourage you to keep breastfeeding until Penelope wants to stop for good. I have been breastfeeding(non stop) since 2009 and love it!

    So keep it up girl! it is a time you will remember forever.


    • Stephanie
      April 30, 2014 at 1:11 PM

      Thanks Paala! I love how supportive the Pope has been recently, hope he keeps it up and also starts showing support to mothers who are breastfeeding toddlers and not just tiny babies!