Sixteen Months… and I’m Continuing to Nurse

I told Theo’s pediatrician… “I’m still nursing”.  He said, “Is that a bad thing?  It sounds negative.  You should say, ‘I’m continuing to nurse'”.  I love Dr. Ajl and his little bits of wisdom.  So there you have it.  Theo is now sixteen months old and we’re still going strong.  I didn’t really plan it this way.  My goal was a year.  But then a year came, and went, and neither of us (it seems), have a strong desire to stop.  If I were back at work, I’d have probably stopped by now.  Pumping sucks.  But I’m home and I’m nursing about four times a day – give or take.  And those times are all moments in the day where we stop, lay down, cuddle, and be quiet together.  It’s a nice break from the toddler grind.  Sure I’m craving a bit of separation… a weekend away with Adam perhaps?  Dropping Theo off with grandma and grandpa and taking off just the two of us.  But I’m not exactly ready to quit yet I guess.  I’m surprising myself.

Meanwhile, I’ve had this issue since Theo was born.  My joints hurt.  I feel like an old woman.  I get up in the morning and my first steps are painful because my feet ache.  I’m unable to open jars the way I used to.  Adam can’t crack my toes anymore because they hurt (yes – true love is your husband cracking your toes for you.)  I spoke to some other nursing mom friends of mine and did some research online and apparently, this happens.  When you are pregnant, hormones in your body loosen up your joints so you are able to give birth more easily.  In some women, as long as they keep nursing, this hormone sticks around and it can cause sore joints.  I’ve read about many cases where as soon as a woman stopped nursing (even eighteen months postpartum), the joint pain just poof!  goes away.  I always assumed that is what was going on with me.

There are, however, many other conditions associated with joint pain… Lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus (ugh).  And apparently, conditions such as these can present themselves after childbirth.  Like – your body goes through such a traumatic experience that it brings this dormant condition out.  Again… ugh.  So, I went to the doc the other day to get some blood work done.  I’m still thinking it’s probably just the nursing – but it would put me at ease to cross any major issues off my list.  Then I can just try some herbs or acupuncture or something like that.  Of course, I can also just stop nursing!  I don’t know why I’m so hesitant to give it up!!  I guess if the pain gets any more severe or if it starts affecting me in greater way, then I’ll stop.

Any other mommies ever hear of this or experience it?  Feel free to chime in.

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11 thoughts on “Sixteen Months… and I’m Continuing to Nurse

  1. Thank you for explaining why my feet hurt in the morning! We are still going too but only at night. I never did sleep train the little bugger. Maybe when we get back from vaca we will do a little pick up/put down. It will confuse Caleb so much! I love your updates and photos – Theo continues to be the cutest with the best hair!!

    • Thanks for the input Teresa. There are still many benefits to nursing and in my perfect world, Theo will sort of lose interest naturally… But we’ll see what happens!

  2. Brava! The Kidling stopped at 15 months and I was a little wistful…

    Regarding your aching joints, this might sound crazy, but I cut out dairy and felt a million times better. Not all dairy, mind you, but no chugging milk and eating loads of ice cream. I no longer have that horrible, first-thing-in-the-morning foot pain I had as soon as my tootsies hit the floor.

    • Ooh. Thanks for the tip. Dairy… My love. I think cutting out dairy seems to help a lot of things actually. I already gave it up for 4 months to ease Theo’s colickyness. It’s unfortunate, because its my favorite thing in the world. If things don’t improve I suppose I can give it a try. Sigh.

  3. I didn’t nurse, but I had the joint pain in every single joint at around 8 months after having Darcy and then it went away around 9 months! I think it was just everything going back to normal and tightening up again- it happened to a couple of my friends too! So I’m sure you’ll be fine! :-)

  4. I love that tidbit: “continue to nurse,” I too get skeeved out when I feel obligated to explain “extended” breastfeeding by using “still” like it’s past the expiration date.

    I’ll probably try to use that instead. Thanks, Doc. ;)

  5. I have the foot pain also (no longer nursing, but brava to you for keeping up with it!) and I finally went to a foot dr and its plantar faschitis brought on by those pregnancy hormones you mentioned. Seems pregnancy does a number on relaxing the foot tendons too, but for us non-18 year olds the foot ones dont always go back to normal :(

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