Breastfeeding A Toddler - My Experience

Breastfeeding a toddler is a very different experience from breastfeeding a newborn, or a young baby. However, just because it's different, doesn't mean that it's easier. 




Breastfeeding a newborn

The initial days are gruelling. They are tiring, they are painful, they are demanding

Breastfeeding a newborn is such an experience, and I personally think it's a make or break scenario. However, once the initial weeks pass by, breastfeeding can become easier more so in the sense that generally the pain is no longer there. It doesn't mean to say that breastfeeding is an easy option, because I'll tell you now that it absolutely is not. It goes so much further than just feeding a baby from your breast. What comes with breastfeeding is the constant need for comfort, or the cluster feeds, or generally your baby just wanting to be near you and on you.

Goals

When I was pregnant, I was so on the fence about breastfeeding. I was not sure whether I'd want to do it, let alone be able to. However, once I was placed Edith in my arms for the first time in recovery, and we were allowed some skin-to-skin time, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed. I knew that it would be my goal to breastfeed, and that I would do it

As the initial weeks began, breastfeeding was such a task. I doubted my ability to be able to carry on many, many times. Truth be told that if Edith had taken to a bottle, I would probably have stopped breastfeeding, but she just wouldn't. She spat, and choked and it made me feel awful whenever we would try, so she was my motivation.

After 6 months of breastfeeding passed, my goal extended to a year. When we reached a year of breastfeeding, I knew that we were not ready to stop. Not only does Edith want me for breastmilk, she also wants me for comfort. She will come to me if she's tired, or she's hurt herself because she wants the comfort, and that's ok. 

After a year passed, I extended my goal to two. So, for now, we will continue to breastfeed either until Edith doesn't want it any more, or until she reaches two years old. I think, for me, I will be at the point where I'm ready, although I'll be emotional, however I can't imagine myself wanting to continue once Edith is older than two. Let's see if I can make my goal of Diamond Boobies!

Toddler life

Let's be honest, toddlers are not easy. I mean, newborns aren't easy, but toddlers are a completely different kettle of fish, aren't they?

One minute Edith might be laughing and having a great time, and then the next minute she's thrown herself on the floor because I dare to take a sip of my own drink. Toddlers are irrational. Edith is equally as irrational whilst she's feeding. If I'm trying to have a conversation with someone then she'll make a few noises to remind me that she's still there, or she'll just poke me in the eye. One or the other!

Wrestle time

I have never been kicked, or whacked so many times, as I am when I'm feeding Edith. She just does not sit still. Long gone are the days where I could sit peacefully with my newborn. Now I have to block flying arms and legs from all directions. She never seems to do do any of this with intention, however she has done sometimes. At this point, I unlatch Edith and tell her that it's not kind to hit and then I'll move away until she's ready to try again. As much as I am her comfort, I'm not a punching bag and it makes me feel so touched out by the end of the day sometimes if she's had a demanding day. 

Cuddles

As much as it can leave me feeling touched out in the evening, I also still have that sense of pride that my body is still providing for Edith, maybe not so much in the way of food, because her diet is made up more of her meals and snacks than it is me. 

Like I say, breastfeeding goes so much further than just providing a source of nutrition, so just because your baby might have transitioned into a toddler, doesn't mean that breastfeeding suddenly goes out of the window and you have to stop. The World Health Organisation advises that you should try to breastfeed until your child is two years old (if you want to), so if that's good enough for WHO to advise, then it's good for me to listen! 

Public feeding

One thing that I will say is that public feeding can feel daunting all over again, just like the first time I breastfed in public. The first time I fed Edith in public, was so nerve racking because I'd never done it before. However, I quickly got over my worries and it became second nature, and truth be told that I've had a couple of odd looks, but nothing more.

Now that Edith is older, the looks are coming in more so. Perhaps because she's a toddler, and now doesn't look like a baby to an outsider. I have felt uncomfortable a couple of times when I've recently fed her in public, however I think that me feeling uncomfortable is down to my own mind. I think society has rubbed off a lot in that there seems to be a perception that only babies under 6 months old are breastfed. I'm not one to give in after some dirty looks though, and I'm not prepared to make Edith go without just because my breastfeeding might offend someone. We need to stop telling breastfeeding mothers to cover up, or only do it in private.

How long did you breastfeed for? Would you consider breastfeeding your toddler?

Thanks, lovelies.

A.x


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