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.’