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8 Reasons I'm Loving Extended Breastfeeding

"Are you still nursing?" is a question I get a lot these days, emphasis on the "still." The baby recently turned one, and while some of my mom friends consider that the finish line for breastfeeding, I'm not ready to stop, nor can I predict the end date. My little one eats three big meals a day in her high chair and washes them down with water or cow's milk in a straw cup, but she still indicates her desire to breastfeed a few times a day, and I'm more than happy to oblige.

Here's why:

1. The Magic Bullet - At this age, the baby has a lot of feelings but not a lot of words to communicate them. I love that I can solve many of her problems by nursing. When she's better able to articulate what's wrong, I'll feel readier to wean.

RELATED: 7 Crazy Myths About Extended Breastfeeding

2. The Best Medicine - When the baby caught Hand Foot and Mouth Disease from her big sister, sores in her mouth made it hard for her to eat. The only way she'd let me feed and hydrate her was by nursing, so I was grateful to still have that trick up my sleeve, er, bra.

    3. So Much Teething - This baby's gummy first birthday smile included only two teeth, leaving 18 more to come in. When she wakes in the night with teething pain, breastfeeding soothes her like nothing else.

    If I wasn't nursing, I don't think I could convince her to stay in bed with me nearly that long.

      4. Snuggle Time - As babies transition into toddlerhood, they get so busy! I love knowing that for a few minutes every few hours, she'll stop moving and just cuddle up in my lap.

        5. Extra Sleep - My little one gets up at 5:00 a.m. every day. I've never been a morning person, so snapping to attention at that hour is not something my body does. Instead, I bring baby to bed where she nurses at a leisurely pace for a good 45 minutes. (At other times of the day, it takes about 5 minutes.) If I wasn't nursing, I don't think I could convince her to stay in bed with me nearly that long.

          6. Airplanes - When we travel, breastfeeding during take-off and landing helps prevent ear discomfort from the change in altitude. It also keeps baby from wiggling off my lap during seat belt time.

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            7. Snack Emergencies - Now that I have two kids, my diaper bag is a lot less organized than it used to be. I aim to be prepared, but still leave the house with no water bottle and an empty snack cup. At those moments, it's nice to know the baby won't, you know, starve, especially since the 5-year-old is going to be impossible to drag out of the park on short notice.

              8. Last Baby - Now that our family is complete, I'm very aware of doing all the baby things for the VERY LAST TIME (cue sobs). Knowing that I'll never nurse another baby again keeps those little breastfeeding annoyance—like accidental bites—from bothering me. And since our nursing relationship gives both of us so much joy, I see no reason to rush my baby off the boob. So yes, I am breastfeeding. Now be still.

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              Photograph by: David Lepes

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