I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed my children. What I didn’t know, was for how long. With my first baby, I had set a goal to make it a year. I was sadly disappointed when I only made it three months. With this baby, I didn’t set any goals. Instead, I took it day by day and as each new month came and went, I was grateful.
As I sit to write this, my sweet boy is sprawled out, halfway in my lap with his legs kicking the couch cushion nursing away as he holds his toy dinosaur. This sweet little boy is 2 years old…
My sweet baby boy and I had a rough start into our breastfeeding journey. The first four weeks, I was in excruciating pain. We had difficulties with his latch, resulting in discomfort for the both of us. My nipples were so sore and no amount of creams, oils or cool cloths helped. He was also in so much pain from being constantly gassy, due to a poor latch, and no amount of gas drops or natural remedies would help him either. At our four-week appointment, I spoke to my lactation consultant. He was diagnosed with a tongue-tie, which they clipped in office, and five minutes later, we both felt relief!
Why I Love Toddler (full term) Breastfeeding
Full Term breastfeeding is essentially nursing past your baby’s first birthday. Besides the nutritional value, we are still going strong for emotional reasons. I find my toddler wanting to nurse more frequently when he’s anxious, nervous, excited and sad. I can tell when he is having a growth spurt, not feeling well or just wants to be comforted.
When I think about weaning, which I have numerous times… it always comes down to knowing that one day, he won’t want to nurse anymore. That thought alone is enough for me to continue, and let him lead the way naturally.
When I think about weaning, which I have numerous times... it always comes down to knowing that one day, he won’t want to nurse anymore. That thought alone is enough for me to continue, and let him lead the way naturally. Click To Tweet
The Real Deal
Breastfeeding a toddler comes with a whole new set of challenges. Life is far more interesting and exploration is the top priority for any busy toddler. One minute, my little guy will be busy playing with his trucks and the next minute, tugging on my shirt. There are times that he’ll nurse to sleep, and others for only seconds in order to go back to playing.
The bottom line is, breastfeeding at any age can be beautiful, relaxing, irritating and even humorous. At this age, more than any other I’ve yet to experience… it’s also sometimes very unpleasant. At any given moment, he’ll whine for “boo boos” and it just so happens to be when I’m making dinner, making a phone call, or rushing to get dressed. Let’s not forget his acrobatic skills he’s mastered. This kid will nurse while standing, sitting in my lap, practically a gymnast of all sorts.
One of the great things about nursing a toddler though, is that you can set boundaries. Since he is able to understand and communicate, we can work together to find a common ground. It’s rather difficult negotiating with a non-verbal baby.
Breastfeeding past the age of one is often a touchy subject. There is so much scrutiny, judgment, shaming and criticizing, that is truly disheartening. Unfortunately, many parents deal with this, but what is even more unfortunate is that many people simply aren’t aware of the continuing benefits breastfeeding provides for both parent and child. Breastfeeding is a symbiotic relationship between mom and baby, and only the two. If you both choose to continue your journey, remember to look beyond the criticism to the reason you are doing so.
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