the beginning of the end

here we go - the beginning of the end. 

'lou has been nursing once every day or every other day for weeks now. he just went 3 days w/out asking and then wanted to nurse tonight. for the 1st time, he told me he can't get any milk.

he's 5 yrs and 24 days. after 12 3/4 years of non-stop breastfeeding, i'm almost done. if you spaced out how many years each kid nursed for consecutively instead of con
currently (due to tandem and triandem nursing), i normal- fed my small children 23 1/2 years of human milk.
out of 5 kids, my youngest weaner was 3.5 and my oldest was 5 yrs and 7 mos.

it was hard. it was uncomfortable. it was not always approved of or understood. but it was my duty and privilege to provide for my babies and i can look at the end of the road with fierce pride that i did it for as long as they needed it. i will never ever regret not giving them their best, most essentially necessary start in life.

i especially love knowing they nursed to an age that they will always remember it. i hope it is one of their most enduring memories of me all of their lives. never were we all as in sync, bonded, content and still enough to look into each other's souls as when they were nursing.

tandem nursing jovie -5 and 'lou - 3 1/2

'lou, 4

tandem nursing jovie, 2 1/2 & jonah, 3 3/4 while pregnant with 'lou. they always held hands. :-)

nursing 'lou in his hospital bed in denver at 4 3/4.

little lactation consultant in the making - lilmama (22 mos) gives up her own booby to help make sure new baby 'lou latches on and nurses well right after his home breech birth. one of my fave nursing photos ever. 
professional photo by

tandemstacking jonah, 3 and jovie, 18 months. 
biggest one goes on the bottom!

1st time ever tandem nursing - almost 13 years ago! jake, 17 mos and bo, about 2 hours.

jovie held 'lou's hand while tandem nursing the same way jonah use to hold hers before he weaned.

tandem nursing a preschooler and toddler in public "discreetly" - this is what it looks like.

nothing else helped reduce sibling rivalry and promote bonding and contentment with more than one child at once better than nursing multiples. best parenting and health tool ever invented, bar none! 

one of the last photos of my last child nursing. 'lou, 5.

like climbing mt kilamanjaro, but he wasn't about to give up!
professional photo by

putting two and two together...'lou, 10 minutes old. 
professional photo by

an experienced breastfeeding dad teaching his new son how to latch. 
professional photo by

tandemstacking newborn bo and 18 month old jake.

3 yr old nursing bo helping to induce labor after the spontaneous rupture of jonah's membranes at 37 weeks pregnant. professional photo by New Life Photography » Photos by Lesley Mason

5 kids at LAX, baby is hungry and w are rushing to meet planes and problem! pop him in the mei tai carrier and he nursed until he fell asleep, through all the frantic hustle and bustle.

she knows how to feed her babies the basics to get an optimal start in their dolly lives!

a boob's eye view of tandem stacking! i love how they always hold hands or rub each other's heads when tandem nursing.  jovie and 'lou, about 2 and 4 here.

thousand of people, crowded, hot lines, standing and walking for 8 hours, but he never so much as whimpered or complained! 'lou's day at disney at 11 months old. 

attending the global nurse-in at facebook offices at our local one in michigan. i nursed 4 year old 'lou while jovie nursed her own baby shortly after just weaning her herself at 5 1/2.

4 yo compliments to the chef. :-)

nursing #1 while 8 months pregnant with #2. bo was born a few days after this picture was taken. 
jake was 17 months old here.

jovie's 1st time ever nursing at about 15 minutes old after her home water birth. 

one of jovie's last times nursing, at 5 1/2 years, alongside her baby brother at almost 3 1/2 years 
(as he rubs her hair affectionately)

another devout lactivisto, giving up his own breast to make sure the  justborn baby learns how to latch and nurse well first. jonah, 15 months and jovie, 30 minutes old. 

what triandem nursing looks like. i needed a ticket dispenser to hand out tickets for the oldest to wait in line!  newborn, 15 month old and 4 year old, waiting his turn as he pets, snuggles and smells the new baby.