It's wonderful that you're jumping right in and asking questions! It sounds like you are doing a great job of following your heart and your instincts despite a lack of a tight support network. Good for you! I know every kid is different but when do most wean themselves?
When they're ready! Truly, that's the only answer I can give you. As you noted, every child is different. There are different "statistics" from different sources. One says that humans naturally wean between 2 and 7 years, which means some wean before 2 and some after....so I don't see the point in putting a number on it at all, because, after all, your child will wean when your child is ready to wean, and only (s)he will know when that is! I know all of the great benefits of nursing for the first year but are there any specific to nursing beyond that?
Nutrition, antibodies, comfort, reconnection of mama and child (especially with busy toddlers/older nurslings!), being "forced" to slow down and take a break and really focus on your child (as our kids get older and entertain themselves more, some mamas find that they spend more time concentrating on other things...housework, volunteer work, reading, etc....and enjoy the reminder that nursing provides!), help in soothing physical and emotional hurts, help in bonding with a new sibling (if you nurse through pregnancy/tandem nurse) ... and more!Logistically how does it work? I've never seen a 2 or 3 year old nursing so I guess I want to know what position you would use?
This can be fun and entertaining. Mostly my older nurslings (I'm tandem nursing a 4.5 year old and a 2.5 year old and am 12 weeks pregnant!) nurse laying in the "cradle hold" across my lap, but when nursing at the same time, they'll each put a head on my lap with feet going away from me on either side. We also nurse laying down. My 2.5 year old is, as I type, nursing standing up as I sit in the computer chair. Nursing toddlers are famous for making up new and interesting nursing positions, including hanging over mama's shoulder and nursing upsidedown. This is called "nursing acrobatics!"What's it like to a verbal child nursing?
nursing verbal children! They can ask for it, they can wait for it if needed (when I'm cooking, driving, etc.), and, BEST of all, they can tell me how much they love it!!! There's nothing like hearing, "I love nursing, Mama, thanks!" or "I need to nurse, Mama. I need to feel love and warm and safe." It's also amazing hearing my little breastfeeding advocates in action: My oldest has said things like: (about a mom at the mall feeding her baby with a bottle), "Doesn't she know what her BREASTS are for?!?" and (to a woman who, when she heard him, less than 2 yrs old, ask to nurse and asked me if he wasn't too old to nurse), "No, YOU are too old!" My middle child, when he hears babies crying, says, "Mama, that baby really needs to nurse!" or "Why doesn't that mama just nurse that baby?!?" My youngest loves to nurse her baby dolls and carry them in her sling. She has also announced that she's going to be in the birth pool with me so that she can nurse our new baby as soon as (s)he's born!Are there any disadvantages to clw (other than how long it could take or the "inconvience" factor)?
I don't see how long it could take as a disadvantage, and I don't see it as an inconvenience. Some disadvantages can be a lack of a support network if you don't know many/any people who clw, the funny looks you can get from people, and the realization of how wonderful clwing is coupled with the frustration that so many people see things wrong with clw or nursing an older child. I try to see these things as challenges, building a support network and trying to educate people.