You know you are breastfeeding a toddler when…..

Nobody tells you ‘breast is best’ any more (even though it is!). Instead, you hear “are you STILL breastfeeding” or “you will be going to school to feed him at lunchtime.” (Tell them, ‘only if I am on canteen duty’)

The positioning mantra ‘chest to chest and chin to breast’ no longer applies – now it’s ‘gymnurstics’ with their feet in your face, hands in your mouth fingers up your nose, or a free hand tweaking ‘the other side’. You don’t even blink at your child being upside down, with his foot on your face, and humming whilst nursing.

You don’t have to watch for subtle feeding cues – you pick your toddler up for a cuddle and she pulls your top down, he greets you when collecting him from daycare with ” more mummy milk?”
 Or, you walk around with the kid on your hip trying to keep his hand out of your top!

You can forget tiny contented sighs and relaxed open hands to signal they are satisfied. Now they call you ‘Yummy Mummy” or say ” mmmm! It’s a-licious!” after a feed and they might even say ‘thank you for milk” in their prayers.

You have mastered ‘multi-tasking’ as you breastfeed and so has your child: You are “tandem feeding” a little boy and a soft toy shark or he is running a car over your ‘hilly’ boob as he feeds off the other side.

Feeding discreetly isn’t an issue: Your boobs get grabbed (and exposed) in public or in front of your father-in-law. You flash more out shopping now then when you used to go drinking, and it doesn’t bother you a bit, even though you are stone, cold sober.

You don’t need a bedside light – toddlers are big enough to reposition themselves for night feedings, but make requests: “help, milk”, ” other one” and expect mummy to move them so they don’t have to wake or open eyes.

You have a beautiful natural way to settle them when upset – you feel all warm and fuzzy when your little one looks up and tells you, “Mummy when I get scared, booby makes me feel brave”

You know, this too shall pass, all too soon. When you look down at their little face as their eyes flutter closed and their little hands hug you tight, you feel so lucky to have maintained your breast feeding relationship so long. No bed-time battles, less sickness, the perfect soother and the ultimate cuddles. You know one day your toddler will be ready to wean, but until that day comes, you hold onto this moment as long as you can.

 

Thankyou to the mums on Pinky’s Facebook page for sharing their nursing toddlers’ ‘antics’ .

Pinky McKay is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, best selling author of “Toddler Tactics “ . If you are seeking tips to gently wean your toddler, check out her ebook ‘Weaning With Love.’

 

 

17 Comments

  1. Sarah Says Reply

    This is all so true and the last sentiment is quite beautiful. My little one (who just turned 22 mos.) is suffering from hand, foot and mouth virus and nursing has been the only thing that will calm and soothe her. She’s been nursing like a newborn the last several days:-) It’s exhausting, but so worth it. I am trying to soak up every last cuddle and moment we spend nursing together.

  2. Carrie Says Reply

    I enjoyed reading this. My nursling #4 (the only boy) has far surpassed his sisters when it comes to length of time nursing with 26 months being the previous record. It is a WHOLE new ballgame and I’m constantly surprised by what happens next. This kiddo nurses more frequently now than he did as a newborn and you are so on mark with the nurstastics! Ha!! Although there are moments when I just want to pop him off the boob, I’m so grateful for the closeness and ability to comfort him when he is hurt, sad, or tired. I often wonder how I would cope if he wasn’t still nursing. 🙂 Thanks for giving me something to giggle at.

  3. Kim Says Reply

    I really enjoyed reading this. Most people don’t understand why I’m still nursing my 2 1/2 year old but this sums it up perfectly!

  4. Katrina Hicks Says Reply

    This gave me a giggle and a cry. Sometimes it feels like no one understands why us mums of 2 1/2 year olds are still breastfeeding. It wasn’t in my plan to be breastfeeding a walking, talking, fiercely independant toddler especially after my first nursling self weaned at 11 months. Nursing a toddler has it’s challenges but the rewards far out way theses.
    You summed them up so perfectly. Thank you.

  5. Ana Says Reply

    Beautiful! Brings me back to the time when I was breastfeeding my eldest son until he self-weaned at 43 months. It was a challenge indeed, but I certainly would not exchange it for the world.

    • rachelle Says Reply

      Really? You could’ve just said 3 1/2 year old. Seriously no one wants to count that out after 2 years old.

  6. Clare Says Reply

    My 2.5 yo saw the accompanying photos to this article and said, “I so cute. I wan’ do nana.”

  7. Michael Says Reply

    You stop counting months after 2 yrs old women! Come on!

  8. Trista Says Reply

    I have a lot of people asking me when im going to be done breast feeding and lil man is only 14 mobths. God bless all you mamas in it for the long haul! ♡♡

  9. Meagan Says Reply

    Katrina Hicks how long will yo be breast feeding

  10. Eliza Says Reply

    What does it matter if you count in month or years ? lol My little one will be 2 in October and is nursing more now than ever before, he asks for it so frequently. I’ve had the car driving over my other boob whilst feeding… The one that gets me most though is when he attempts to stand up whilst I am feeding him lying down on the bed before sleep time. He knows the suction is not strong enough so grabs on with his teeth as he stands.. painful 🙂

  11. Sarah Says Reply

    My son is 20 months and still feeding, wonder when he will stop and who will miss it most . Me or him.

  12. Lisa Says Reply

    I’m currently tandem nursing 3 year old and 8 month old, I read this with tears, I know once my little man finishes this will end my 8+years of breastfeeding, I just hope he keeps going into toddler hood.

  13. Joyce Says Reply

    The last part of this made me cry…”this too shall pass…” My first nursed until age 3, the second until she was 3 1/2. I loved every minute and I wish I could have it back. It was the best part of being a mother. It’s like it was yesterday……..and I last nursed 23 years ago!,,, enjoy it while you can!

    Oh a and my funniest moment was when my three year old had my shirt pulled up while she sat in the seat of the grocery carriage—– I was too busy looking at cereal or something!!!!

  14. Ashleigh Says Reply

    Omg, the tandem nursing cracked me up!!! I have to feed a big pink cat haha!! Loved this article, the end was oh so true…holding on to each memory it will be over way too soon!

  15. Rebekah Ferguson Says Reply

    I am feeding my 22 month old and I’m also 20 weeks pregnant. My little guy has really started eating food in this past 2weeks. He used to peck at meals i made or graze off my plate but now he eats all the time but also breastfeeds ALL the time. I’ve never had a problem with breastfeeding but my nipples are very sensitive and I’m struggling with him feeding constantly at night. My boobies aren’t coping with his back and forth all night suckling. It’s becoming a struggle for both of us some nights. I don’t want to wean him and therefore don’t mention this to people because it seems to be their first suggestion. I want to keep going but need encouragment. I thought my son may be having a growth spirt as he feeds (breast and solids) so much and has lost a kg. Is this normal? He always breastfeeds more when he is unwell but there are no signs of being unwell.

    • Rachael Says Reply

      I remember that nipple pain when breastfeeding pregnant so well. Still think it was worse than labour.!!!
      Your bub is probably “dry nursing” in that your supply drops in pregnancy due to your hormones so unfortunately very little you can do to increase it.
      There is a group called Tandem Nursing on Facebook that would be really helpful for you. Your toddler maybe eating more now cause he is hungry as getting less volume of milk. Keep up the heart work and congrats on number 2.

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