This post is about breastfeeding a toddler in general. Specifics like when, how, how long will be coming next week in the "daily routines" post.I could start this with a typical sentence that you hear from the majority of women who are still breastfeeding at a year and a half "When I first had my son/daughter, I never thought I would breastfeed for this long!". It would be a lie, though. I always knew. I knew that if it was up to me, I would breastfeed well into toddlerhood. It was an obvious, a given. But I actually respect the women who say they never thought they'd breastfeed for this long, because that means they adjusted their plans and expectations as they went, and more importantly did what was best for their baby. But for me, it's not a strange thing, it's not being a hero, or a martyr, a weirdo, or selfless, it's not anything special that we are still breastfeeding. It's normal. Honestly, it feels so normal and natural that I rarely give it a second thought. We breastfeed like it's no big deal ( and really, it's not a big deal) and rarely even think about the fact that to some people it might seem strange.
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BENEFITSIt's a convenient "snack": When you're running out of the house and you forget to pack food, you at least know that they can have breastmilk when they are hungry.
That’s not to say that our full term breastfeeding doesn’t have its struggles.
ANNOYANCESBiting: The biting began early on around 7-8 months and was very occasional, mostly due to teething or boredom. I didn't think it was a big deal, to be honest. When she was in the biting stage, I was always very aware of her jaw movements and was ready to "interfere" at any moment. Mostly due to that, she never got a chance to bite hard. I used all the recommended techniques when she was biting and soon enough it stopped being an issue completely. At this point I cannot remember the last time she bit me. It stopped MONTHS ago and we've not had an incidence since. Limbs in face: Ugh! That's almost the worst! You can see on all these photos that her favorite nursing position is "foot in mouth".It's fine if she keeps it there, but the problem is she kicks it around, moves it to the side, hits me on the jaw. It's not painful, but OH SO ANNOYING! I guess I could tell her not to do it ( light bulb!), but it has so been a part of our "breastfeeding" that I am not sure I should/want to. Hair playing: Hair pulling is actually worse than limbs. She loves running her hands (and feet) through my hair. But it doesn't end there. She will gently wrap my hair around her fingers or toes and start pulling. It's pretty common and is a form of self-soothing. But maaaan, she's slowly one by one (accidentally) tearing out my hair. She doesn't mean to tear it, she just likes wrapping her fingers around it, but the individual hairs do tear under that pressure. I have super short strands of hair in the front and back due to that. To combat this hair playing, I try to give her a nursing necklace to play with, but that still doesn't occupy her toes. I guess it doesn't bother me ENOUGH to do something about it, but that's probably my most hated part of our routine.
Conclusion:I really do love breastfeeding. Always have. Even more than I did at first. There's just something so precious about a breastfeeding toddler. A rough, active, fast, smart, opinionated, stubborn toddler who turns into an angel for those 5 minutes of nursing. It's pretty darn cool. And to have all the long term benefits to their health- that is just what seals the deal for me when it comes to full term breastfeeding. If you're struggling with breastfeeding, unsure of whether you want to breastfeed, looking to read what to expect, looking for help, check out some of the previous breastfeeding posts I've written, as well as BFing posts on Daily Mom.
- BREASTFEEDING JOURNEY (First few months)
- BREASTFEEDING PRODUCTS
- FOLLOW UP TO BREASTFEEDING POST
- BREASTFEEDING AT 8 MONTHS: WHAT IT'S LIKE NOW.
- RETURNING TO WORK AND PUMPING
- MAKING EXTENDED BREASTFEEDING WORK
- SURPRISING BENEFITS OF EXTENDED BREASTFEEDING
- THE SYMPTOMS AND SOLUTIONS OF MASTITIS
- INCREASE YOUR MILK SUPPLY AT BREAKFAST