The AAP recommends nursing to at least 6 months and possibly to 1 year and beyond, if mother and baby are both amenable. The WHO (a healthier organization with loftier health recommendations, in my opinion), recommends at least 2 years. The reason that both of these highly respected and oft-cited groups have statistical goals higher than the average age most American mothers cease nursing is because no one can dispute the health benefits of breastmilk.
They can, however, get squeamish when they see a gangly preschooler draped over his mother's lap, asking her to take her breast out. All kinds of things from abuse to dependence get brought up in the national toddler nursing discussion and, though the health benefits are sound, the cultural ick factor is equally strong.
As Olive approaches 2 years old, and as I look back on two years of nursing her, and as I look forward to what is bound to be at least a little more time of continuing to nurse her, I am struck by how easy it has been to decide to keep going.
I feel so very very very lucky to live here, where no one bats an eye (and if they do, someone else kicks their shin under the table) at my decision to keep nursing my toddler. She is getting older, yes. She is taller and weighs (a little) more than a baby, yes. But she is still so very small, so new at food and regulating her emotions and living in the big world. She anchors each day with nursing before bed at night and I think that's perfectly normal. She loves my boobs, but her relationship to them isn't unhealthy. She will be 2 whole years in 19 short days and that day will mark the end of 2 years of nursing and the beginning of 3. So, I'm that lady. And it's not nearly as weird as I thought it might be.
I'm so curious - how many of you nursed past the 2 year mark? How many didn't? Who would go back and change the length of time they nursed and who thought it was just right?