Some days he’s a grizzly bear. Other days he’s an octopus. Most of the time he is an acrobat who’s tricks are utterly amazing.
I never really set out to breastfeed toddlers. In fact, I didn’t even know anyone who had breastfed at all when I had my first child. Because I didn’t have any support, I set a goal of 6 weeks (I made it to 3 months). With my second child, I knew someone who had breastfed to 9 months so I set a goal of 6 months (I made it to a year). By the time I had my third child, I was deeply entrenched in La Leche League with solid support all around, and that baby breastfed well into toddlerhood. In fact, she even tandem nursed with her little brother for several months.
It was then I discovered the joy of breastfeeding a toddler.
Now before I sing the joys of breastfeeding a toddler, I will admit nursing a wiggly, wild one isn’t always fun. They pick and pull and nurse upside-down, but there are also some really fun benefits to breastfeeding at this age.
- They can talk. I can actually ask my toddler if he needs to nurse and he can answer me! Yes, this sometimes means he yells for it at the most inopportune times, but it still melts my heart every time I hear him say, “Naw naw.”
- A little bit goes a long way. Nursing sessions are quick and to the point. He nurses and leaves. Yes, I sometimes lament that the days of cuddling are all but gone, but I sure do get a kick out of how fast he is satisfied. And along those lines…
- Momentary connections mean so much. Toddlers are busy. Connecting with them is often limited to kissing boo-boos and bedtime routines. Breastfeeding a toddler gives mama and baby one more (or several more) opportunities throughout the day to connect.