The Voice

“You’re STILL nursing?”

“Are you planning to wean him before preschool?”

“Aren’t you worried he’ll never want to give it up?”

I’ve been providing the same answer to these questions for a few months now: Yes, Yes, and No.

To be clear, the above questions aren’t always asked by other people. Even though I’m confident in my decision to continue nursing my child after his first birthday, I sometimes wonder if I’m doing the right thing.

I’m an experienced enough mom to not let external voices of doubt and judgment effect my parenting choices. However, there is one voice that still nags me occasionally.

It’s the same voice that worried when my son and daughter continued using their pacifiers beyond their 3rd birthdays. Our pediatrician was okay with it since their teeth were fine, but “the voice” still worried they would go to kindergarten with pacifiers in their mouths. I felt needed to battle it out with them, forcing them to relinquish their binkies because I thought they were too old to need that extra comfort.


It’s the same voice that frantically insisted my son would never stop using a Pull-Up at night. How would he ever go on a sleep over with his friends? I assumed other 4 1/2 year-olds didn’t need help in this department.

It’s the same voice that was convinced our oldest son had severe emotional problems because he would end up in bed with us at night until the age of 8. He’s 8 years old, I used to think. He should be mature enough to know that aliens aren’t real, that the house isn’t going to burn down, that no one’s going to break in while we’re sleeping! What’s he going to do when he goes to college? Is he going to drive home and crawl in bed with us?

I finally realized all kids have a unique set of emotional and developmental needs. Some kids take longer to potty train. Some need help extra help soothing themselves to sleep, even during the preschool years. Some have active imaginations and need you to help calm their fears.

Usually the things we worry about end up being unfounded. Those little habits and behaviors are often a very temporary part of the vast landscape that is childhood.

I know it’s a cliche, but the time we have with our children goes by so, so fast. As long as you and your child are happy and healthy, maybe some of these battles aren’t worth fighting. Just as we learn to tune out the external voices of judgement and doubt, maybe we need to do the same with the internal one as well.

photo copy 4Eventually I gave up on pacifier struggle. My now 6- and 8-year-old children ended their binky addiction years ago. Both started kindergarten sans pacifier.

My now 12-year-old did the hang of staying dry at night. He hasn’t worn a Pull-Up in 8 years.

My oldest will be 14 in a month. He can’t get enough alone time in his bedroom.

And even though my now 15-month-old still loves to nurse, he’s starting to show signs that he’s getting ready to wean.

Until then, we’re going to take it easy and enjoy those quiet moments together. I’m going to soak in every second he spends snuggled in my arms. I’m going to treasure each sway of the rocking chair. I’m going to relish the sound of his sweet little breath during those early morning hours when the rest of the house is asleep, and just the two of us are awake.

Do your kids have any habits or behaviors you’re afraid they’ll never outgrow?

Meghann is the mom of 5 kids. She is a Lecturer at the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication and an Owner/Partner at Brand Driven Digital. Meghann was elected to the Coralville City Council in 2017 and is currently serving her first term. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Coralville Community Food Pantry (Vice-Chair) and on the DVIP Board of Directors. She is also a member of Johnson County's Juvenile Justice and Youth Development Policy Board. Meghann is passionate about her family, her community, and is a proud pop culture nerd.


    • For some weird reason, I sucked my right index finger (not my thumb) when I was little! I kept up the habit until kindergarten. I think some kids just need the extra comfort, which is why I decided to stop battling with my kids over their binky habit.

  1. Thank you for a great post! I love your writing and really appreciated this message.
    Mother of a 5-yr old thumb sucker 🙂

  2. I also tend toward the gentle side of the parenting spectrum, believing that they’ll grow into new levels of independence at their own pace. But I’m just stunned that you get comments about nursing a 15-month-old! Is this a regional thing? (I’m in the SF Bay Area.) My 31-month-old is still nursing (though not in public, simply because he’s down to just morning/nap/night) and I’ve never received a negative comment. Around here I don’t think the silent judging even kicks in until more like two, but I still get positive/supportive/neutral reactions when people hear he’s still nursing now. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I think it’s great that you’re still nursing!


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