“Mummy, the ducks don’t have milky (breastmilk). When they get sad they drink a bit of pond water, don’t they?”
There are a lot of taboos around breastfeeding. So I tend not to publicise too widely the fact that I breastfeed my almost 4-year-old birth-daughter and that I cross-feed my 2.5-year-old non-birth son. And that my partner does the same.
While much of the Western world think we’re doing some huge, crazy thing by breastfeeding these big kids, to me it’s far more that I just haven’t actually done the huge, crazy thing yet – stopping breastfeeding. And while, four years ago, it would have been unimaginably weird to consider breastfeeding a nearly-four-year-old, now it seems unimaginably weird to consider not breastfeeding Luna – it’s the first thing we did together when she was born and we’ve done it everyday since.
Nevertheless, most people don’t realise that either Luna or Willow are still breastfed. You need to be around at bedtime or story time or sad times.
The idea of stopping ‘milky’ horrifies Luna: it’s impossible for her to comprehend that one day in the not-too-distant future, she just won’t want it any more. For now, a couple of times a day it makes her feel completely safe and loved and comforted.
I’m left wondering what I will ever find to fill that gap for her. I certainly can’t see pond water turning out to be an acceptable substitute.