I know people think I’m weird. Or crazy. Or both. Or worse – I know some think I’m gross.

It’s OK. I’m not doing this for validation or attention or recognition for being SuperMom or SuperFreak. I didn’t sign up for a 22-month-plus (-plus-plus-plus?) breastfeeding journey. Hell, I didn’t even sign up for one month.

I’ve said before that I never set a breastfeeding goal beyond, “I’m going to try.”

Successful breastfeeding seemed like an impossible achievement considering my hormonal deficiencies. Breastfeeding triplets sounded humanly impossible. Breastfeeding premature triplets? Whoa. Triplet toddlers? ARE YOU SERIOUS?

I’ve known people who breastfed their toddlers, and while I never thought it was gross, I wondered why a mom/toddler team would still be doing that. I’d see that toddler running around being independent and wild and very much so little-adult-ish and walk away scratching my head but ultimately thinking “whatever floats your boat, lady.”

I couldn’t imagine breastfeeding one toddler let alone three. Where do you find the time and energy? Does it come in a pill you buy from Amazon.com?

Insider secret: You find the time and energy while you’re breastfeeding your toddler. A lot of babies (all three of mine included) reach a point when they need somewhere dark and quiet to nurse. That was the first step in our latest chapter.

It took us more than a month for just one of my children to successfully breastfeed (determined by pre- and post-session weights while in NICU), and they were sent home with instructions to only breastfeed once a day because they hadn’t quite gotten the hang of it at nearly three months old. We practiced daily – I tried to give each baby their own practice session, and by May or June (they were born in November with a February due date), I was finally confident that we all were on the same successful page and walked away from feeding them with bottles of pumped breastmilk, leaving those for Daddy or grandparents when they fed babies.

They’re weaning, slowly but surely. Toby no longer wakes in the middle of the night to nurse, something he did until he was about 19 months old. My triplets all want to be breastfed first thing in the morning, but only Toby and Eleanor nurse in the afternoon after their nap. The only comfort nursing that happens takes place during illnesses (which are rare) and occasional (probably 2-3 times a month) difficult night wakings.

Before I breastfed I wondered why toddler mothers still nursed their children. Now I know. I breastfeed my toddlers because they like it. I’m still going because I can’t quit based on some arbitrary number, like 12 months, when it took 6 months for the four of us to learn what we were doing together. They’ve earned the quiet, comforting time with their mama, and I’ve earned the cuddles. Benefits like immunities and nutrition are handy, but they don’t drive me like they once did.

I’m still breastfeeding my triplet toddlers because it makes us happy.

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62 Responses to Still breastfeeding

  1. Laura says:

    That put tears in my eyes. We do the best we can for our children and ourselves. Good for you! :)

  2. Maha says:

    Well done! An inspiration x

  3. Jennifer says:

    Well said! I am breastfeeding and I think I will wean when Emma wants to also. I have a feeling my husband will think I am crazy though.

    • Jenny says:

      Rob has mentioned a few times that it’s kinda odd to still be breastfeeding, but then he turns around and says how nice it is that it’s a comfort to them or that it’s nutrition/hydration for the times they are sick. It’s ultimately up to your family and what works best.

  4. Amy says:

    I think you have done an amazing job! Keep doing what’s working for you and your trio!

  5. Sara says:

    You’re a rock star mama! I’m still breastfeeding my 9 mo old and couldn’t be happier with the decision! You’re an inspiration doing it x3!!!

  6. Meegs says:

    Kudos to you! The breastfeeding relationship is different from person to person, and its wonderful that you are listening to what works for your and your babies! I’m still bfing my 2.5 year old and it is still beneficial to us both.

    • Jenny says:

      High five, mama! I never knew how much a parent/child partnership this would be, but it truly is. Listening to them makes me a better mother.

  7. Tena says:

    You mean there’s hope that my 17 month old will stop waking at night to nurse?! HURRAY! Really though, kudos to you for nursing the triplets still! I don’t have a specific target in mind with my single toddler, but the longer I nurse her the more I want to keep going. My son stopped nursing at 19 months, I think my daughter will keep on going til she’s at least 2.

    • Jenny says:

      Haha, yes! Rob used to joke that I’d need to go to college with Toby because he woke long after his sisters quit (Callista quit when she was 6 months old!). It’ll happen – I promise!

  8. Rika says:

    This is awesome!

  9. Amanda says:

    AMEN!

    I love it and I totally agree.

    We night nursed until past 16 months and everyone thought I was nuts but I knew he needed it. I had to stop talking to some people about certain topics.

    • Jenny says:

      It’s hard to field suggestions from outsiders when you know you’re doing exactly what’s right for your child. Kudos for listening to your gut!

  10. Amy says:

    Yes!!! Still breastfeeding my 13 mos old twins with no end in sight. Big brother went to 22mos. I think he would have gladly gone longer but it was too much for me to juggle it and a very difficult pregnancy. Thank you for sharing your experience!!!

  11. Bonnie says:

    Breastfeeding was one of the things I was most looking forward to when I had my daughter and our eventual abandonmend of it at 2 1/2 weeks was one of the most crushing experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve never felt like such a failure in my entire life! Consequentially, 18 months later its my most sensitive parenting topic. I often feel attacked when advocates (of which I still consider myself) put down the use of formula in order to emphasis that breast is best, because even though it is best it wasn’t best for our family and I don’t feel like that is acknowledged sometimes. I say all of that in order to tell you that I’ve never felt that way from your blog. I’ve followed your journey from early on (as a fellow February 2011 Bump Mama) and find myself bragging about this girl I “know” who breastfeeds her toddler triplets! You’ve always expressed your views in a way that emphasized you were doing what you felt was best for YOUR BABIES and I appreciate that! The way you phrase your story has always allowed me to cheer for your without feeling like my choices were second best. I just wanted to thank you for that and tell you that you are a ROCK STAR!!

    • Bonnie says:

      Oh and I think you should nurse ETC until as long as you guys want to and if anyone gives you a hard time, you send them to me!!

    • Jenny says:

      Well, you totally made me tear up! Thank you for saying that. I’m happy to hear my words reach readers as intended. I only want to share what works for us, and it never comes from a “you should be doing this, too” sort of place. <3

  12. Brooke says:

    BRAVO!!! I think it’s amazing and inspirational that you’re still going strong with nursing. And for the exact perfect reason – it makes you guys happy! People gave me a hard time for nursing Ruby as long as I did and I would throw all the stats back at them, but in the end, it was a beautiful and joyful part of our relationship and I was so happy it lasted as long as it did (24 months, 2 weeks!).

  13. Crazytwinmomma says:

    This is awesome! My twins weaned at 14 and 19 months and I was not ready for it. I used to be one of those who couldn’t understand people nursing their 2 or 3 year old, but I missed it so when they weaned. Now I am 1 year in with little sis, and I am hoping she’ll stay interested till 2. Some people have to stop for various reasons and that is fine, but I can’t imagine picking an arbitrary date and saying, “sorry, you’re cut off now” just based on age. As long as you and they are both enjoying it, keep doing what works!

  14. Anita says:

    Go you! It is amazing and fabulous you are nursing them. I really appreciate you sharing your breastfeeding journey with us. I’m trying my hardest to get the babies on the breast and sometimes it is just gut wrenching–my eldest two left the hospital as champion nursers. I’m fortunate in that I can pump for three, but I really hope that nursing will be part of this lactation as well. It is amazing how discouraging it can be and I can only imagine how stuff like this makes it easy for a first time parent to just give up. It speaks worlds that you kept going AND with trips.

    Nursing toddlers is certainly a different experience and one that I had never anticipated being involved in. However, once my first daughter’s first birthday came up I could not envision stopping. Both girls self weaned–though, my being pregnant and my milk supply tanking did encourage it a bit–and I could not be happier. You will find the right time for you and the kids

    • Jenny says:

      Thank you! Any encouragement or advice I can share is yours whenever you want. We worked long and hard at breastfeeding, and I remember many times when I’d be crying right along with my babies as we tried to learn with each other. It takes a lot of determination and patience, but it also takes grace and humility and the ability to give up on too-difficult attempts. Knowing your backup is pumped breastmilk makes defeated attempts easier to swallow, but it’s still so, so hard. Email me if I can help!

  15. Mama Pants says:

    Awesome. I gotta slow clap for you, mama. I am all for nursing as long as mama and baby are happy. My son nursed, weaned and then unweaned, then weaned again at 3 and my daughter is nursing still at 19 mos. Not sure when she will stop. I nursed them tandem for about a year. But, um, PREEMIE TRIPLETS??? You are a rock star. :) And it’s so funny the things we think before we have kids, isn’t it? I thought nursing to 12 mos was pretty nuts. I was sure I’d try my best to make it and then just stop. My kid had other plans ;) AWESOME post!

  16. akl says:

    So amazing! I used to feel uncomfortable with breastfeeding when the child is basically old enough to ask for it. But now breastfeeding my 3 month old is the best part of my day (especially after returning to work). I have an arbitrary goal in mind, but no longer feel like I have to stop just for the sake of stopping!

  17. Bri says:

    Saw this post on facebook. Absolutely LOVE IT! Way to go mama!

  18. I love this. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH.

    It’s weird, isn’t it? People are generally pretty supportive of nursing infants, but once they’re 18 months or so you feel like you have to whisper it.

    Thanks for being brave and declaring it. My experience with extended breastfeeding has been similar. Now at 25 months, he nursed today but hasn’t in a week. Every time, I think: this is it! The last time!

    I left for a week and came home and he didn’t want to nurse around 22 months. I cried. I was way more heartbroken than I expected to be. (Two days later he wanted ‘milk’ – ha.)

    More power to you doing it times THREE!

  19. Anonnurser says:

    I am breastfeeding my 21 month old and we’re going to start trying for a baby in January. There are so many twins in our family, that for some reason, I’m mentally preparing myself for the task. I have anxiety dreams that I will have a hard time nursing them and that people will feel the need to comment if the situation arises. I’m in awe that you have successfully breastfed triplets and its taken some of my anxiety away. It sounds totally stupid, but with twins in every generation since before my grandma, it seems pretty likely that someone will! I’ve always thought I will have twins, so maybe my dream will come true!

  20. This is fantastic. As the mother of a 30-week preemie I know how difficult it is to establish breastfeeding with them but stuck it out because I knew that breastfeeding would help me re-bond with a baby that was in the hospital for almost four months. I cannot imagine having to triple that workload and effort, but am so happy for you that you were able to to do it and are still going strong. Breastfeeding my preemie has transformed the “abnormal” experience of his birth into a normal mother/baby relationship in a way that, I believe, nothing else could. We continue to breastfeed and he will be 3 years old on 31st December (his due date was 12th March). Fantastic post.

  21. Emma says:

    Way to go mama :-)

  22. jacq says:

    I have to second the slow clap. you worked hard to perfect the breastfeeding relationship s you have with your trio. enjoy it :) I breastfed all 3 of mine to different ages. Each child is different which is why its so incredible you are juggling 3 nursers! Kudos to your boobs :)

  23. Davina says:

    Hi there,
    Wow finally!!! It has taken me forever to find someone doing the same thing as me!! Thank you! I have 11 month old triplets, always been fully breastfed, still going…some people think I’m crazy, nobody thought I could do it and I searched the net for others who had done it long term…we are a rare breed. I would love to have contact with you to discuss practicalities and how to manage certain things if you want to email me? Thank you again for your blog…somebody over at the Badass Breastfeeder put me onto it and I’m very pleased they did! Go you! xx

  24. Kristin says:

    I felt the same way you did about breastfeeding toddlers (yay for the people who do, but why??)until I had my first baby. She self-weaned at 25 months, at a time that felt right to both of us, although I did cry when I realized she was finally finished with nursing. My twins self-weaned this summer, when they were 2.5 years old. They still think that breasts are called “nursings.” :)

    Congrats on making it this far, and enjoy every moment that it lasts.

  25. Beth says:

    Way to go. I too had a November baby…due in February. Yes, enjoy it all…I am still nursing my 3rd (2+ years…never thought I’d be here!) and when its over, its done. The immune systems of those babes will be fantastic and they will have you to thank!! Bravo Mama!!!

  26. Emily McGee says:

    Way to go mamas..I nursed my daughter for 26 months as well..it is so refreshing to hear similar stories of other proud mamas. All I ever heard from close friends were constant questions and asking Kare u still breastfeeding?” Every single get together with them I was always asked secretly. I really got good feedback from casual friends and supporting my decision. My friends judged me too often. I do miss every moment and the bond we shared. She still asks once in a while where’s mama milk? I loved every moment never putting a time frame on it. Way to go Jenny for sticking through thick and thin and going as far as u r now with 3!!

  27. Becki says:

    And that is all that matters! You dont breast feed to make others happy, you do it for your kids! I hope to make it to a year with my daughter since she is my last…I dont want the time to end :( She is five months now and I cherish every feeding that I have! Watching my two older sons I am blessed that I got the oppurtunity that many mothers didnt get with their own children. I just want to say way to go! :)

  28. Karianna says:

    I love how you’ve described the experience as being serene, rather than a chore. That shows why you are successful at it. What a wonderful bond you have with each of your kids.

  29. Kerri says:

    Fantastic!!! It is so nice to be able to tell other nursing moms of multiples that there are other mothers who have done it too, and survived! My twins were #5 & #6. Their 3 year old brother nursed up till just before they were born. They nursed past toddler-hood. I too went to wondered about nursing a toddler or older, but shrugged it off and just figured I would nurse as long as “baby” wanted to. Each of mine progressively nursed longer. #1: 19 mos, #2: around 2 yrs, #3: over 2 years, #4: over 3 years, #5 & #6: 6 years #7: 7 years. I breastfed 3 babies for 3 years plus pumped for a friend’s baby for a couple of weeks. The first four I had a month of not breastfeeding before the next was born. Lack of milk most likely. I offered to nurse again after the baby was born & the toddler found it amusing, but didn’t want to nurse. There was no break with the last 3, so I breastfed for 10 years straight. At 18 months, the twins even nursed through my severe illness that required my hospitalization. The Dr’s all said the twins would wean so not to bother nursing. I ignored the Dr. & offered the nurse when my twins were brought in 2-3 times per day & little did I know they would still nurse for years after that!! I was nursing my youngest at a World Nursing Breastfeeding gathering, while sitting beside my oldest daughter nursing her son (my grandson :) ) This was after the OB I had for the twins said my breasts were so small that there was no way I could nurse twins (I am smaller than an A cup!!) HA, was he ever wrong. Good thing I don’t let other people’s opinions stop me from trying! Another cool thing is my 4 youngest kids (including my now 15 year old son) all remember nursing!!!! Keep up nursing for as long as it is beneficial for all of you :) Your posts will continue to encourage other multiple moms!!!

  30. Kacey says:

    Go you! What a lovely gift you’ve given those babies. I nursed my son for 50 months and I loved that it kept him coming back for snuggles as he got more and more independent and he needed that quiet mommy time to process his experiences. And it’s sort of fun to nurse an older baby because they can show appreciation/talk to you about nursing. I’ll never forget when my son was 2 and paused his nursing session long enough to look up at me and say “mmm! Chinese food!” (which I had eaten for lunch earlier in the day).

  31. CurbsideProphet says:

    I think it is awesome you are still nursing your triplets. I only have one and it was a struggle in the beginning. I am so glad I stuck with it though. DD is 13 months and still nurses. Not sure how long we will go, but no plans to stop any time soon.

  32. I have triplets and wish I had tried harder to breast feed. I made it about 2 weeks(all pumped BM) after all three were home from NICU. They needed to eat and breast feeding was too hard for them at first because they were so little. I tried to provide breast milk but I found myself hooked up to a breast pump too much to be mobile and take care of their needs. Then I switched to formula and things were wonderful. But I always look back on that time and wish I had stuck with it for longer.

  33. Becca says:

    You have been a HUGE encouragement to me on my bfing journey, just so you know. You’re such an amazing mom Jenny & those 3 are lucky to have you!

  34. citymouse says:

    I love nursing after 12 months, it’s a completely different world nursing a toddler versus a baby. So much more about having that connection with each other…I would have never believed it unless I went through it, though. Such a good job nursing three! I am impressed!!

  35. jossalot says:

    Thank you so much for this – the last paragraph is pretty much what I try to tell friends and family that really don’t undertand it. I’m starting to be slightly concerned though, since my son will be 3 in December and there is no sign that he plans on self-weaning any time soon. We love our time together, it transforms both of us into our most peaceful selves – but what if he never wants to self-wean??? I would love to hear your ideas and opinions :)

  36. Wow, what an awesome post! I have nothing but admiration for you! I breastfed my eldest for 7 months, my middle child for 4 months and am currently on 8 and a bit months with my yougnest. I cannot imagine stopping but, like you, never felt I would understand breastfeeding toddlers. I STILL don’t know how you manage triplets though!! Hats off to you indeed! :0
    xx

  37. kali says:

    Your children are adorable!!

  38. Jenny says:

    Beautiful!! I love this. What a sweet, precious time with your babies and I think it’s absolutely wonderful that you do what works for you guys without worrying about what others say/think. :)

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