Breastfeeding a Toddler

As my sons second birthday quickly approaches I can’t help but wonder how long our nursing relationship might continue. Two was always the end point that I had in my mind. After all, two seems so old when you are holding a brand new baby.  But now that we are here, it makes my heart ache to consider weaning him at this point. And so, we will keep going until one of us doesn’t want to anymore.

Nursing a toddler is a whole different ball game than nursing an infant; a game which I am really enjoying.  A few of my favorite things about nursing a toddler:

  • Flexibility – Unlike his nurse on demand counterpart that existed only one year ago, my toddler nursling is a little more flexible. If I am not feeling like breastfeeding at any particular moment, he is usually happy with a snack or a distraction. Phrases such as “when we get home” or “in a little bit” are starting to be understood.
  • A Chance to Reconnect – The world is an amazing place for a toddler, with endless avenues to explore. There are some days where I feel that I am constantly playing defense so that he has the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe environment. Breastfeeding provides us with little breaks in the day to stop, relax, and reconnect with each other.
  • Bedtime Cuddles – Nothing soothes a child into a deep sleep quite like breastfeeding. If I were to wean my son, it would simply be one less tool that I would be able to use to help my son fall asleep and unwind after a long day of exploring.
  • Healing Powers – Learning to run, jump, and climb brings with it a lot of falls, bumps, and bruises. I have found nothing that works as quickly or as effortlessly, to dry those tears, as breastfeeding.
  • Fighting Sickness – Breastfeeding continues to boost my child’s immune system for as long as it is continued. If I come down with a cold, my son will receive antibodies via my breastmilk. Breastfeeding also helps prevent dehydration in a sick child, for many children who will not drink water will still nurse.

What are your favorite things about nursing a toddler?