Mama in the City since 2008 and blogging since 2009!

Yep, I’m Nursing A Toddler

12
April 9, 2014 // Birth & Breastfeeding

I’ve got a truth for you: I’m still breastfeeding Josie who is now 2 years and 3 months old. HOLD THE PHONE! That might seem sort of crazy to some of you reading this. My plan all along was to nurse her to 2 years old and here we are! I didn’t really have a plan for  what I was going to do once we got to the 2 year mark, I was just going to see how things went.

A favourite nursing photo with my and my first born. Sweet memories.

A favourite nursing photo with me and my first born. Sweet memories.

Some of you will cringe at the idea of me still nursing a child that is no longer a baby. It will make a few of you feel some weird feelings and you’ll wrinkle your nose and wonder what the heck I’m doing.  I can ensure you, I’m not still nursing a toddler to make you feel uncomfortable.

For the last 6 months or so I’ve been uncharacteristically silent about the fact that I am still breastfeeding. Like I stated above, my goal this time around was always to go till 2 years based on a few deciding factors, like the World Health Organization recommendations and my own beliefs around normal term breastfeeding. Breastfeeding a toddler has the same nutrition and health benefits that nursing a baby has. Human milk does not become less beneficial just because your child blew out 2 candles on their birthday cake.

So, what’s it like to nurse a child that can lift up your shirt/ ask for milk/ talk to you while nursing?

It is great! In all honesty, if I hated it I would not be embracing our nursing relationship at this point. Nursing a toddler is actually sort of HILARIOUS at times. Josie is a very verbal 2 year old and, like many toddlers that still nurse, has a name for breastfeeding. Since about 18 months old she has called it ‘boo boos‘ and that is what she requests in the morning when her eyes are still half asleep, when she is very thirsty after an afternoon in the hot sun or when she needs some extra comfort.

Mama! Boo boos!

Each morning I pull her up and into the big bed, into the warmth of the bedsheets, where we cuddle tightly and she nurses with her eyes closed. Sometimes she reaches up to my face to check if my eyes are open or closed. She rubs my arm and settles right next to me for 10, 20, 30, 40 minutes. She asks to switch sides, switch again and then switch sides again. As a tiny newborn she’d ask for the same thing but differently. Since my girl now speaks sentences she flat out says, ‘mama, I switch sides!’.

Sometimes we are even silly about nursing and when she asks to nurse I look at her and say, ‘okay, just a little bit‘. She responds with her sweet smile and tells me, ‘no mama , a lot!‘. My girl has a sense of humour she likes to say goodbye to the boobs when she is done and gets annoyed if I don’t play along with her. ‘bye bye boo boos!‘…’bye bye Jo Jo!‘. She is also a very considerate little one and says please when she would like to nurse. She also makes sure to cover me back up when we are done and she is ready to move on and eat more food/play/bother her brother.

Nursing in the park on Mother's Day. One of my favourites.

Nursing in the park on Mother’s Day with my 2nd nursling. One of my favourite photos.

Doesn’t it feel weird to have such a LARGE child nursing on you?

When I first nursed my sweet 9 pound newborn she seemed so big to me and my arms got tired holding things in place while we learned to breastfeed together. I cradled her head and her shoulders and tucked her body into my body,  she kept growing and filling up more of my lap and we kept on nursing. As a tiny baby she’d always cuddled right into me and when I nurse my 2 year old she cuddles right into me just like she did as an infant. She hasn’t changed, she is just growing. When I’m nursing her and look down at her I see my baby, my child and nothing feels weird at all about breastfeeding her.

This last year we’ve mostly nursed laying down in bed and haven’t nursed out in public in about 18 months, this is the process of weaning for us. Outside my girl is happier playing and climbing and keeping up with her big brother. If she has a fall or gets a bump and the tears start rolling she might ask to nurse but she also does just great with a big smooch and a cuddle in my arms.

You like to breastfeed. We get it. Are you going to judge me because I didn’t breastfeed/I couldn’t breastfeed/I stopped way earlier than you?

Nah! Just because I’m continuing to nurse my toddler does not mean I judge other mothers who aren’t doing the same as me in the breastfeeding department. How silly would that be? I am not nursing my toddler to prove a point or to make you feel uncomfortable. All of that sweetness I felt when she was 1 hour old, 6 months old, 18 months…well, at 2 years old it is all still there.

Nursing my toddler doesn’t define my motherhood. Instead, it’s just the way we are.  I’m aware that I am nearing the end of my nursing relationship with Josie and she is slowly weaning. She can go a couple of days without being bothered to ask to nurse, especially when I am away working but the next day she might want to nurse 2,3,4 times that day.

I am proud of my nursing relationship with my child and I am reaping the benefits of normal term breastfeeding. While I am not breastfeeding to prove a point, I am blogging to help normalize breastfeeding within a culture that has skewed ideas about what normal breastfeeding is. If this post encourages one mother, helps make a family member less freaked out about breastfeeding beyond infancy…then I have succeeded.

I’m linking up with fellow top Vancouver Mom bloggers who are sharing their own experience with full term breastfeeding!

Hillary with two Ls (please) ‘Full-term Breastfeeding or Yup, Still Breastfeeding My Toddler

Spokesmama Normal-Term Breastfeeding, or, “Mama can I have noms”

Lilahbility He Can Ask For It

Comments

comments

About the author

Hi! I'm Andrea, a 30 something girl who loves living the downtown lifestyle and didn't want to give it up once I started a family. Mama in the City since 2008 and blogging since 2009!

12 Comments

  1. I nursed my guy until he was 3 1/2. We didn’t plan it like that, it just happened. Like you, I wanted to make it to 2 with him nursing, but when he hit 2, there was no magical signal that I needed to stop, do I didn’t. It was a very special part of our relationship and I was sad when it was over. The comments I would get were unreal but I didn’t care. Each family does what is best for them. Thans for sharing your story – this was a fantastic post!

    • I love that Brandee and thanks so much for sharing too. The more we talk about normal term breastfeeding the less crazy it will seem to outsiders. My biggest pet peeve is the comment, ‘well, once they can ask for it they can drink from a cup’…but we all know that is totally wrong. A newborn comes out asking for milk. Sure it is not with words and sentences, but a baby ALWAYS asks to nurse.

  2. I appreciate your honesty and how candid you are with this post. I am not a mother but I often think/worry about how things will be when I someday (hopefully) I am. Breastfeeding is one of the things I worry about and I think the more normal it seems the less I’ll worry (I think I’m going to hate it but who knows). Good for you for just doing what works for you and feeling no pressure by societies judgement which is backed by nothing but ignorace.

    • Thanks Rebecca!I think the more you know the better you are at making the right decisions for your family…and when it comes down to breastfeeding, the more support you have the better. This one is true for sure!

  3. I love this! I nursed my first son until he was 19 months, and was embarrassed to tell anyone. I thought most women stopped around a year and that I had gone way too long, I just loved the connection and comfort it gave him. I think I just weaned him because my husband just told me he was too old and that I should have done it already. I now have a newborn again and I feel better after reading this that I shouldn’t feel rushed to wean him before he’s ready!

    • Thank you so much for your comment Haley. It really made my day! I’ve often heard that mothers nurse their children a little bit longer each time. With me this holds so true. Barely 13 months for the first one…and the second is at 27 months and still going. Keep at it!

  4. Thanks Andrea. My daughter is 15 months and I am still nursing her a LOT! She’s at daycare all day during the week and does fine there, but the second we get home she is basically ripping my shirt off, and sometimes nurses enough that she barely eats dinner. She also nurses quite a few times throughout the night, but that’s more about comfort. I actually wouldn’t mind a LITTLE weaning so I could get more sleep or perhaps an evening out… But I also know that my daughter will wean when she is ready and I’m not going to deny her before then.

    • After I do a bunch of shifts at the hospital, it might be a good 2.5 days before we meet up and nurse again..and it is just the perfect way to reconnect. After all, they are still so little! If my girl comes into our bed at night she would use me like a buffet and I start to feel irritated sometimes because of the nibble nibble..I often get my husband to do the night parenting for her because of this. He has different tricks to soothe her and they work!

  5. We are still going at 28 months, which seems crazy to me since 1 year was my original goal (and I barely made it past six weeks I had so many issues). My son calls it “mommies” – “mommy, I want some mommies!” or “I want *this* mommy” as he pats the specific one he wants. There’s a time I would have thought this was the weirdest thing ever, but it just makes me laugh now. I’m going to miss it when it’s over.

    • Yeah! Way to go Kelly! I love that your son calls it ‘mommies’. It is so cute how they come up with nicknames for nursing and how each one has a different name for nursing too.

  6. When I read about people receiving harsh judgement for nursing into toddlerhood and beyond, I find THAT shocking. When you have nursed a toddler or been around a nursing toddler (ie. it has been NORMALIZED for you), it seems like the most natural thing in the world. And it is, in most parts of the world!!!

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