This twenty-something woman never thought about her breastfeeding journey before having children, and somehow, breastfeeding has come to shape my parenting story. I knew I would just breastfeed like I knew I would just give birth. What I didn’t know, was how long I would breastfeed and to what extent. As my toddler turns 2, and my second born inches closer to turning 1, here’s 5 Things nobody told me about nursing a toddler.
I share about breastfeeding because it is part of my story and this is my space on the web. You are welcome to read. You are welcome to leave. I am not a breastfeeding consultant and should you have any medical questions or concerns I encourage you to talk to a trained IBCLC (international board certified Lactation consultant) or connect with local breastfeeding support groups such as La Leche League.
Nursing a Toddler
I originally titled this post 5 Things Nobody Told me About Nursing a Toddler. However, this title is slightly deceiving because people did tell me. Monthly I attend a variety of breastfeeding support groups in my community where I get a chance to connect and share with other women. Despite knowing, it never hit until it happened to me.
As I write this post, I’m actively weaning my toddler because I’m just done. That’s okay. We made it two years, and that is amazing. But now, it’s time for me to have some energy back to focus on the challenges of raising this fiercely independent toddler.
5 Things I Didn’t Know About Breastfeeding a Toddler
In two years a lot has changed, and here’s my short and sweet list of stuff I didn’t know about breastfeeding a toddler.
- It’s Normal.You might not believe me, but it is. Besides the statement World Health Organisation recommending breastfeeding until 2, I know of so many other parents breastfeeding their toddlers. People just aren’t talking about it. Breastfeeding a toddler looks very different than breastfeeding an infant. For many of us, nursing only happens at home, at bedtime, or when the shit hits the fan. It’s less public because toddler breastfeeding happens less often – at least for most of us.
- It’s Challenging.Oh boy. Nursing a toddler is beyond challenging. It’s not challenging like the first month home challenging; it’s challenging in how you maintain and establish boundaries and parent your child. These waters are tricky without navigating a breastfeeding relationship.
- It’s Incredibly Rewarding.I can’t put words to this, but that moment, that relationship is so rewarding. Sometimes the nursing aversion is strong, but I never regret the choice. Making a choice to parent thru breastfeeding has been one of the most rewarding and beneficial parenting decisions I made. It calms me, recenters, and helps me, parent, better. That’s why I know breastfeeding a toddler is worth it.
- It’s extremely beneficial to Toddler Health.Breastfeeding provides numerous health benefits to little people and me. I’m not a scientist, but sites such as KellyMom and La Leche League outline these benefits. Best, when my toddler is sick – like with tonsillitis, I know breastmilk provides him with his nutritional needs at that moment.
- Weaning is emotionally tiring.All stages and changes in babyhood and toddlerhood come with BIG complex emotions for all involved. The weaning process is not exempt. As we begin to wean my toddler from the breast, there have been many tears and broken hearts. While weaning begins with the introduction of solids, the journey continues until they no longer nurse. For some its weeks/months, and others it takes years. With each drastic change in the breastfeeding relationship comes emotional turmoil. At least that is my story.
I share my breastfeeding story to relate with others on the web. You don’t need to agree with me. You need not feel shamed or judged because of your decision. If this isn’t your story, that’s okay. If this is your story and you relate, leave me a comment. Let’s connect.