Nursing a TODDLER
Nursing a Toddler
I want to first preface this blog by saying however you feed your baby is wonderful! Bottle fed, breast fed, a combination of both. Breastfeeding for a month, six months, a year, or three years whatever is best for you and your baby, YOU GO MAMA!
Now, having said that, I wanted to share with you my experience nursing a baby into toddlerhood.
Let me start by saying breastfeeding was really important to me and I continually prayed for a good nursing relationship, for my milk to come in, and all sorts of nursing related stuff during my pregnancy.
Once baby was born and started nursing... OUCH!!! I was cracked and bleeding and in so much pain by Day 3 I knew I couldn't go on without help. I got help by way of a shield (which I used for a few days) and a lactation consultant and things greatly improved...
But it was still a struggle and every month my milk would drop! I would pump like crazy, stress out like mad, and drink copious amounts of fluids while praying my milk would come back.
Then came my baby's alertness! By three months he couldn't nurse anywhere but in a quiet room alone with me or he'd get distracted and pull off! Things where pretty smooth as far as milk supply and not too much tenderness from that point on though.
Right after my baby turned one I wrote a blog post about starting to wean him (see post HERE). I felt such sadness about it but felt like it was just the thing to do (everyone else seemed to wean their babies around one or earlier and my baby was also getting very big and somewhat demanding). A dear friend encouraged me to keep nursing him! She said that this time of nursing is short, that the benefits are great, and that the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding till two years or beyond.
That was the encouragement I need. I let go of the idea of weaning my baby and immediately felt such peace and relief over the decision. I taught my baby to ask for "milk" through sign language instead of pulling down my shirt and things were good again.
My son is now NINETEEN months and I think breastfeeding him at this age is just as sweet, if not even sweeter, than in those early days. My son is big, squirming, and fully aware of what he wants and when he wants it (he gets told to "wait" often) but I LOVE breastfeeding my toddler.
We cuddle every morning for a good half hour. We talk, make faces, and play. This morning he shoved his little hand into my armpit and was delighted that it made me laugh. We just laughed a bunch about that, him still nursing and snuggling! Some times he makes silly faces as he looks at me and then giggles. We hum together, smile, and cuddle. It's heavenly, really. I wouldn't trade it for anything and I'm so grateful I get to still share these special moments with my baby.
Moms, we are awesome! What we do through holding our babies and looking into their eyes does wonders for their hearts and minds, whether that's over a binky, boob, or bottle, know that you are showing so much love to your baby. You are amazing!