|Mikko looks on as his newborn youngest brother, Karsten, nurses on the first day.|
There's so much to love about breastfeeding beyond infancy: the closeness, the health benefits for you and your nursling, having a tool to calm and connect. Here's one that continues well beyond the time nursing stops: Your child will think breastfeeding is normal and natural. Because it is.
Mikko is eight years old, and our nursing days are literally years behind us. But he breastfed till five years old, old enough to remember, and what he remembers is all pleasant. He describes nummy milk as the best milk in the world, sweeter than ice cream, even though he has no current desire to taste it; the memory is enough. He remembers snuggling and being close, and he's confident and content in those memories as well.
And he's taken those memories and projected them on to his baby brother. Karsten is nine months old, and still breastfeeding like whoa. Mikko loves it. He cheers him on. Whenever Karsten makes the slightest fuss, Mikko will turn to me: "Give him nummies, Mama."
When Karsten's eating, Mikko will lean in close and say affectionately, "You're a nummy thief, aren't you?" Karsten will break off nursing to smile milkily up at his brother. Mikko loves that Karsten's being nourished, body and soul, just as he was.