In a chaotic world, there is nothing better for my SPD, special toddler, than nursing.
My two year old, who I will call “Miss Spunky”, is on the Autism spectrum. She has Asperger’s and SPD- Sensory Processing Disorder. With these, there are lots of meltdowns, over-stimulation, stimming, and all sorts of adventures added to our days! But that’s all okay..because we have breastfeeding.
1. Nursing Is Her Safe Zone
With all of the overloads of stimuli and people always wanting to come up and touch my child (I’m not the only one that happens to, right??), she needs somewhere to be “safe”. She needs a place that she can run off to and take a breather to re-center herself. Cuddling up on my lap, even in a crowded place like Disney, gives her the ability to take a step away from the activities and calm her mind.
2. She Has A Way To Stim
I’m sure most of you breastfeeding mama’s out there have dealt with the “twiddling” that babies/toddlers do, but Miss Spunky does it an awful lot. I’ve attributed her excessive fiddling with me, as her just stimming. She does it an extra amount whenever she is overwhelmed. While I am not fond of her doing this all the time, I have come to accept that it is something she needs. Since it makes her feel better, I am happy to oblige.
3. She Gets More Sensory Input
With SPD, it can be very difficult to process certain textures, pressures, or even temperature changes. Because Miss Spunky is able to be squished up to me so often, her senses are always being exposed to changes in subtle ways. Therefore, creating an easier transition for her into the outside world.
4. She Gets Plenty of Nutrients
One of the lovely aspects of SPD is frequent food aversion. There will be times when Miss Spunky only wants to eat mac and cheese and popcorn. All day. For several days. Given that she is still receiving nutritional breast milk, I don’t often worry about it, as I know we will level it all out.
On top of that, if she is sick, she physically cannot stomach medicine. At all. So it’s a real perk to have the anti-bodies in my milk to pass on to her whenever she gets ill!
5. She Learns Social Cues
An unfortunate part of being on the ASD spectrum is not always understanding social cues and facial expressions. Being on the spectrum myself, I know the struggle with this. However, because Miss Spunky gets to pay such close attention to my face, vocal tones, changes of expressions, etc., I can see she is learning well how to interact with others. I am so grateful for this.
Why I Love Nursing Her.
Miss Spunky can be the sweetest little person in the world. She loves to cuddle up to me, her daddy and her sister, and I feel like our breastfeeding relationship has really encouraged that closeness. Despite her SPD (sensory processing disorder) issues, she can be so affectionate at times.
Special needs living can be really tough some days. It can bounce from hard to easy just minute-to-minute. But I am so thankful that we have this to share together and that I can provide these extra special things that she needs, and in such a beneficial way.
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