This post was inspired by Jessica from TheLeakyBoob’s post on Toddler Breastfeeding – it was great to realise that I was not alone in finding breastfeeding a toddler an emotional roller-coaster; it’s harder than nursing a baby, it’s perhaps more rewarding and it really means you have to defend your position more than ever.
Many see it as crunch time for us … BiP is almost 15 months old, she has been walking for 4.5 months, she now suddenly has 12 teeth, she eats more than I do (seriously) and she can say “Mama”, “Daddy” and “A-BOOB”! Time to wean I hear people say! Well, I‘ve said we’ll wean when we want to before – here are 10 straight up home truths about breastfeeding a toddler:
1 – Your clothes need to be more easy access than ever as your begin to realise just how strong your dermined toddler is to get to the source. Necklines on your tops will be stretched beyond recognition if you do not oblige.
2 – Be prepared for raised eyebrows and the “you are STILL breastfeeding?” when you nurse in public. You can tell people that it’s actually recommended by the World Health Organisation to breastfeed for 2 years.
3 – To prepare yourself for breastfeeding a toddler you might consider watching wrestling matches for some interesting holds. Exciteable toddlers want to run, jump, talk, laugh and feed at the same time. That’s a lot for one small nipple to handle.
4 – Get ready for the possible social embarrassment of your toddler asking to be fed. I have memories of one little girl screaming “I want BREASTY” in the middle of a supermarket. By now it’s too late to change the word for it – BiP already calls it “A-BOOB” and if I don’t give it to her I get “A-Boob-oob-oob-boob!” No one in our area of France knows what she is saying but I do find it funny and incredibly cute.
5 – The level of cute is so hard to describe. When BiP know’s she’s going to get her “A-Boob” she gasps in delight, sometimes even grabs the side of her head with excitement – It melts my heart. Every. Single. Time.
6 – It’s the best first aid kit in the world! Every toddler falls, some falls are more spectacular than others but one thing is guaranteed, no amount of cuddles, singing, distraction or chocolate will work as fast as the breast at calming a hurt toddler.
7 – Tantrum Free Zone … well, kind of. One of the best way of avoiding tantrums is to create a diversion or a distraction – yes, parenting a toddler seems to involve skills of a magician, a circus monkey and an acrobat. If you see a tantrum on the horizon breastfeeding your toddler can often avoid it altogether.
8 – Breastfeeding your toddler will not make them clingy or “needy”. What’s the big rush to make them super independent before their 2nd birthday anyway?
9 – Contrary to what many say, after 12 months your breast milk does NOT turn to water. The nutritional properties change but as KellyMom reports 448ml of breast milk contains over 60% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C plus many other nutritional benefits.
10 – Running around after a toddler is exhausting! But! Be prepared that every time you sit down your toddler will think that it’s time to feed! Honestly, if it means I get to sit quietly for a few minutes let’s do it … here’s your A-Boob!
There are obviously so many more benefits to breastfeeding a toddler as outlined by La Leche League International but these are just some personal ones. At the end of the day our children grow up so fast – the bond a breastfeeding mother has with her child, no matter how long the journey is, is so special – for those of us who choose to continue remember, it’s YOUR child and YOUR breast.
What are you thoughts on breastfeeding a toddler? Have you done it? Are you doing it? Would you do it?