Welcome to the Carnival of “This is what a nursing toddler looks like,” organized by @TopHat8855 from The Bee in Your Bonnet. Please see below for more great posts! Here is my contribution entitled “The Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding a Toddler.”
I love breastfeeding my toddler because it is a great way for us to connect. Whether it’s upon waking from a nap, after getting hurt, or just because she wants a snuggle, breastfeeding gives me an excuse to slow down and focus my energies on my child, while enjoying this precious time that is all too fleeting. It also continues to increase our bond which I know will have a lasting effect in her years to come.
Breastfeeding a toddler is a great parenting tool. What else can calm a tantruming, sobbing toddler better than breastfeeding? Nothing that I am aware of comes close. Also, after my second daughter was born my first still needed nursing so I tandem nursed for five months. I wasn’t sure how it would be, but I was pleasantly surprised that the oldest liked sharing me with her younger sister and would hold her hand and comment on it when the younger one was nursing. And when she cried, my oldest would say “mommy, feed her milk, she wants milk!” It was a beautiful start to what I hope continues to be a loving sibling relationship.
To top it off, the breast milk I am producing now continues to nourish her while specifically providing antibodies to fight illness and toughening her immune system to ward off future allergies. When a toddler is sick and won’t keep anything down or refuses to eat all together, moms can feel relieved that they at least can get some breast milk into them. This helps ward off dehydration and provides some nutrition. Because even when a toddler vomits breast milk, it is providing some nutrients because breast milk is so rapidly absorbed.
Toddlers generally don’t have the best manners. They get what they want by physically using their body in not necessarily the nicest of ways, and they shriek and cry and demand. So breastfeeding a toddler can be a challenge in dealing with inappropriate behaviours. My 24 month old daughter is just starting to learn that she needs to ask to nurse nicely. When she says “please milk” she gets what she wants. When she yanks at the neck of my shirt shrieking “milk mama, milk!” she is learning that I will stand up and walk away. She is still also too young to distinguish between when it is and is not appropriate to ask. Now that she is older I prefer to only nurse her in front of family and good friends, so it can be a bit embarrasing when she’s reaching into my shirt and whining for milkies whilst flashing my bra (or worse!) to a waiting room full of people at a doctor’s office. While on one hand I don’t really care what strangers think, I also don’t like raised-eyebrows arching in my direction.
It can be a bit worrisome to moms when your older nursling still has a very small appetite and prefers nursing over eating. My daugher usually skips breaskfast and then by mid-morning only wants a piece of fruit. At lunch time I am lucky to get a 1/4 slice of bread, a piece of cheese and two slices of cucumbers into her. Dinners are often wasted too. But she’s in the 95th and 97th percentile for weight and height so I know she’s not starving. And my oldest daughter did this too. Now she eats like a horse, so I assume the youngest will come around to larger portions when she’s ready too.
Some background information: I breastfed my oldest daughter until the eve of her third birthday and I continue to breastfeed my 24 month old daughter.
Now it’s your turn. Did I miss anything? What else are some pros and cons of breastfeeding toddler or older child?
Make sure you also check out these posts (to be updated throughout the day):
The Mother’s Lamentations on The joys, humours and struggles of being a mother and lover
My Seaside Retreat on This is what nursing a toddler looks like
Melissa’s Place on Nursing a (and around a) toddler creates cute stories
The Bee in Your Bonnet on Comfort in sick times
The Prudent Woman on I never thought I’d nurse a toddler
PhDinParenting on Nursing a toddler in a ring sling
Musings of Mommy Bee on Nursing an (older) toddler
BabyREADY on My nursing toddler story
Escaping to my Controversial Place on A breastfeeding toddler photo shoot
A Piece of My Mind on Beautiful at every age
Three Girl Pile Up on This is what a nursing toddler looks like
Permission to Mother on This is what toddler nursing looks like
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