Today my daughter is 2 years and 7 months old. She still nurses multiple times each day. Does that seem like a long time to nurse to you? I nursed my son until he was 3 years and 4 months, until he weaned himself.
I've heard that many people believe that a mama chooses to keep nursing her baby into the toddler years as a selfish way to keep the child in babyhood. I don't believe this is true. At least, it's not true for me.
It happens so gradually. The baby turns 1. Then she turns 1 year and 1 day. And so on. Each day adds up until she's 2 years and 7 months old.
Goose learned to ask to nurse from the day she was born. First she asked by rooting and sometimes crying. When she was about 6 months old, she learned to ask by making the sign language sign for milk. Sometimes she would ask by lifting my shirt. When she learned to talk, she began to ask for them by saying her name for them: Deedees. These days she says, "Mama, can I have deedees please?" I only say yes if I also want to.
Sure, I enjoy nursing her. One reason I enjoy it is the closeness we share. Another reason I enjoy it is seeing the obvious comfort it brings her. When she's hurt, she asks to nurse and immediately feels better. When she's sad, she wants to talk about it and then nurse. Sometimes she just wants a hug. When she's tired, she nurses to sleep. Sometimes these days she nurses a little bit and then rolls over to go to sleep. She is teaching herself other ways to get comfort, but she still likes to get comfort from nursing. From experience, I know that gradually she will replace nursing with talking it out and asking for hugs and snuggling with a book, and anything else that brings her peace.
One nice thing about nursing an older toddler is the things she tells me about it.
"Your deedee milk tastes so yummy!"
"I love deedees so much!"
And best of all:
"Deedees keep me safe."