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October 27, 2015

Breastfeeding a Toddler

I have never hid the fact that I still breastfeed my 18 month old.
I’m not shoving my engorged breast in anyone’s face either.

However I do get asked when I’m going to stop nursing my son.
My reply is always the same.

When we are both ready.

Breastfeeding has changed and grown along with my child.

In the beginning breastfeeding was a test. Could I feed my child all on my own?
For the first 2 weeks I couldn’t, and my brother’s wife was generous with her overflowing stash of milk that she had for my niece, who was 6 months at the time.

Then breastfeeding was how I slept.
I was napping with Jaxon until he was a year old.
His second nap of the day would happen after I got him home from being watched at a family member’s house while I was at work. I was tired, he was tired. It was a win-win for everyone. I was so sad when Jaxon stopped that solid second nap.
Now it’s hit or miss.
More often, miss.

Then breastfeeding was how Jaxon slept.
If I am completely honest, we are still in this stage.
{Sleepy Milka face.}
I use breastfeeding to get him down for a nap or bed.
When he wakes up in the middle of the night, I nurse him back to sleep.

At this moment in my breastfeeding career, it is that quiet moment in a storm.
When my independent and growing toddler settles down and focuses on one single thing.
Me and what I can truly give him.

Yes, nursing a toddler is hard.
He is a toddler. Always on the go. He pulls on the neck of my shirt if he is upset or tired. He wiggles and squirms. Drops things he has to have. Pokes me in the eye or tries to stick his finger up my nose. We have nursing conversations about his cars or blocks. He grabs my phone or nook, trying to read it himself. He has started humming little songs, at least I think they are songs, content in bouncing his legs on the arm of our rocking chair. He also sometimes wants me to read him a book while he nurses. He stops to talk to the dog or cat if they pass by. And it’s game over if Daddy happens to come into the room.
But, I love it.
{Discreetly nursing out and about in the ergo. He just looked like he was sleeping.}

Yes, he sometimes bites me.
It’s a serious matter too. I say ‘Ouch!’ rather loudly and sit him up. We look at each other and I say ‘We do NOT bite.’ Tears start and I let it happen. He may not have hurt me intentionally, but I try to use the moment to show him that his actions have consequences. I always lay him back down once he settles down, and he nurses again. If he does it a second time, he is sternly told ‘No biting.’ And is set down.  
It doesn’t happen very often, thankfully.

When will he be ready?
I don’t know.
When he is.
When will I be ready?
I don’t know.
I’m pretty sure that it’s a possibility that my body will be done producing milk before I am ready to stop nursing Jaxon. And that doesn’t upset me. I have no timeline or age goal for breastfeeding. It’s never an agenda. I’m not doing it to prove anything. I’m doing it because I enjoy that time with my son.

1 comment:

Darby Hawley said...

Way to go mama! Keep on giving you precious boy that BM!!!