Why Nurse a Toddler?

PhotobucketThis post was written for inclusion in the April Carnival of Breastfeeding brought to you my Elita of Blacktating and Tanya of The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog.  This month’s theme is on Extended Breastfeeding.  Please check out the other submissions listed at the end of the post.
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Little Man on his Birthday!

I guess to really answer this question I have to start at the beginning.  Our start was extremely difficult – I was told I was not nursing him correctly and to use a Supplemental Nursing System and to supplement with formula or pumped milk.  This was so awkward to do and I did not want to use formula that I resorted to exclusive pumping.  I did this round the clock for two, very long and stressful months.  During month three I finally got help from a lactation consultant and was able to learn how to nurse properly.  At month six, I returned to work, which meant back to pumping.  I struggled to maintain an adequate supply for my son while I was away at work.  I ended up having to supplement because I could not keep up.  At month ten, I read a great article from Natural Parents Network and began bed-sharing to increase my supply and to get some much needed sleep.  Finally, I was getting the hang of this nursing thing after months of struggling.

Squiggling during Christmas Festivities

So we’ve continued to nurse now at thirteen (almost fourteen) months.  I have finally found the light at the end of our tunnel that most nursing moms struggle with and overcome earlier.  Our plan of action will be to continue nursing until we decide it is no longer right for us.  Hopefully, this will continue to be his decision and not mine.
This newly discovered ease of nursing has arrived just in time for toddler antics.  My son – who probably knew what to do all along anyway – can now nurse while trying to stand on his head.  He can walk up to me at home, lift my shirt, nurse and then off he goes.  He can nurse while thwarting my attempts at writing (or pepper it with his own little flair).  Or he can have days where he is so distracted that he ignores me completely and only settles down for a marathon feed at bedtime.
Nursing, has magic healing powers.  If he falls while trying to chase down the cat – nursing makes it better super-quick so he can be off again!  If he is feeling awkward, nervous or shy in a new place, we can quietly nurse until he feels confident enough to engage the situation.  We nurse when he is cranky or tired because he feels relaxed and peaceful in my arms.
Our nursing bond has helped me as well.  When I’ve had a stressful day at work, I can reconnect and let go with my child in my arms.  His wiggling and squiggling remind me of the love we share and how much fun we have together.  All the day’s stresses melt away when I look in his eyes.  That moment is ours and ours alone to share with each other.
Now that we have reached this point in our nursing journey I have been able to assist other mothers who may be struggling with their own nursing relationship.  I have been able to share my story with others and help them find the resources that they need in order to continue.  I model breastfeeding as normal no matter where we are so that future parents see it and become comfortable with it.  I share my extra milk with mothers who need it to feed their children.  I nurse a toddler – because I can nurse a toddler.

Carnival Participants:

Mamapoeki from Authentic Parenting: Extended Breastfeeding?
Mama Alvina of Ahava & Amara Life Foundation: Breastfeeding Journey Continues
Elita @ Blacktating: The Last Time That Never Was
Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC: Old enough to ask for it
Karianna @ Caffeinated Catholic Mama: A Song for Mama’s Milk
Judy @ Mommy News Blog: My Favorite Moments
Tamara Reese @ Kveller: Extended Breastfeeding
Jenny @ Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: The Highs and Lows of Nursing a Toddler
Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding
Rebekah @ Momma’s Angel: My Sleep Breakthrough
Suzi @ Attachedattheboob: Why I love nursing a toddler
Claire @ The Adventures of Lactating Girl: My Hopes for Tandem Nursing
Stephanie Precourt from Adventures in Babywearing: “Continued Breastfeeding”: straight from the mouths of babes
The Accidental Natural Mama: Nurse on, Mama
Sarah @ Reproductive Rites: Gratitude for extended breastfeeding
Nikki @ On Becoming Mommy: The Little Things
The Artsy Mama: Why Nurse a Toddler?
Christina @ The Milk Mama: The best thing about breastfeeding
TopHot @ the bee in your bonnet: From the Mouths of Babes
Callista @ Callista’s Ramblings:  Pressure To Stop Breastfeeding
Zoie @ Touchstone Z: Breastfeeding Flavors
Tanya @ Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: Six misconceptions about extended breastfeeding
Jona (Breastfeedingtwins.org): Breastfeeding older twins
Motherlove Herbal Company: Five reasons to love nursing a toddler


Special Inclusion:

Dulce de Leche: What is it Like to Breastfeed an Older Child

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4 Responses to Why Nurse a Toddler?

  1. blissful_e says:

    So true!!

  2. Heather B (HomemadeMom) says:

    That sounds rough! I feel blessed that my nursing came pretty easy for my little ones. I really admire your dedication to see it through! To make it work for you! You're amazing!

  3. Zoie @ TouchstoneZ says:

    This is a great post for this month's carnival. I think a lot of people assume that if you're breastfeeding after a year, it was all easy-peasy from the beginning. I don't think many realize that you can face difficulties, sometimes many of them, and keep going for along time.

    I almost didn't make it with my first and he (and his two brothers) are going strong after almost 5 years. If I hadn't had stories like yours available to me online, I don't know that I would have kept searching for right help for as long as I did.

  4. Pingback: 2011 Wrap-up and New Beginnings | The Artful Mama

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