And it’s good for kids too, packed with nutrients and more fat and calories for older nursers. That’s the amazing thing about breast milk; it evolves to meet the needs of the child it’s nourishing. Still, my father, a physician, couldn’t figure out why I wouldn’t wean my children. “When are you going to stop breast-feeding already?” he’d ask each time he’d see me. “It’s not like I’m giving them soda,” I’d respond. “I’ll stop when I’m ready.”
In truth, I was never ready. I weaned my first two midway into subsequent pregnancies, bowing to pressure from my husband and doctors that it was probably a good idea to put my developing baby’s needs first. Plenty of women, of course, continue to safely nurse through pregnancy. But I wasn’t crazy about the thought of nursing two at a time. Several years later, I weaned my youngest because I had an unavoidable out-of-town trip. She was pushing 3 at the time, and I was able to have a conversation with her about what was about to happen. We had a kind of farewell party: she celebrated by munching on a cupcake made to resemble a breast with a gumdrop nipple, and that was it. We were done.