I wish I knew about nursing a toddler…

Madonna Litta by Leonardo Davinci

Madonna Litta by Leonardo Davinci

So I nursed my now 4 year old until she was 2 and it was great! She is growing up a very healthy happy child and I am very happy she was breastfed for that long. I also wish I knew that it will be much harder to wean a toddler and had prepared myself for it. It seemed impossible at times. I truly was often worried about not being able to wean her by 2. And back then I really did not feel the need to continue any longer, as at that time I have developed a health issue that was totally unrelated, but if I were to go along with the doctors’ advise I would have to be using huge amounts of cortisone and steroid meds. I would never subject a nursing baby to meds through the breast milk. I ended up finding alternative ways to work with my disorder, but that is a whole other post 🙂

Back to weaning. As baby grows, they learn that being at the breast is a safe, comforting environment, and so even when older, they will ask for it just to be comforted after a fall, a scare, a disappointment. One thing that helped me with nursing a toddler is that I taught her a Russian word for “boob”, and so when she would ask for it in public no one could understand but me. It indeed was very helpful to have a “code” word for when she was able to speak and would ask to be nursed in public, we were able to address it discreetly and without any unnecessary discomfort.

Although, I did not nurse in public places, just did not see the need. At the stores, I sometimes used mother’s room like the one Nordstrom stores have, but only when she was a newborn and nursed often. As a toddler she was eating age appropriate foods and nursed only before, after sleep and at night. I would always carry tons of healthy snacks and tried to avoid getting her hungry.

She did often ask to nurse outside of home, when uncomfortable, or in unfamiliar situation, scared or hurt. I used distraction to avoid nursing in public, as I really did not want her to get used to the idea. I preferred for her to be nursed at home and it worked.

My goal was to nurse her for as long as both of us were comfortable and happy. I did not want to make it too complicated or too involved, our life was very busy as it is, always out and about with her older sister, so and being flexible and yet setting up some good “habits” around feeding schedule, really helped and kept us going until she was two.

To your and your little one’s health 🙂

Elena

Image source: http://vis362artwiki.wikispaces.com/Lorena+Perez

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Showing 7 comments
  • Valerie
    Reply

    It is very helpful to read about toddlers nursing because I am currently doing it for the first time with my 19 month old. I would like him to be weaned by 2 but I don’t know – he is VERY enthusiastic still and asks for it (by signing “milk”) multiple times a day. My older children were weaned at 14 and 16 months so I’ve never done it this long. I enjoy it still, as does he, but I am trying to slowly wean him. I distract him, he eats lots of regular food, etc, but at night he still really really likes to nurse. 😉
    Do you have a post about how you weaned your little one?

    • Elena
      Reply

      Hi Valerie,
      Thank you for stopping by and for sharing!
      Good for you! How wonderful and how lucky your kids are for being given this wonderful gift of healthy start in life.
      You know I think at some point they are eating so much regular food, that the nursing become somewhat of a calming, bonding experience and of course a great boost of nutrients. So my youngest stopped on her own at 20 months, she would just nurse less and less. I was thinking we would go for another couple of months, and we were doing so well I was concerned she would not stop, but gradually she did, I did not encourage her and it just happened naturally…

      • Valerie
        Reply

        Thank you! 🙂 So it really was child led for you guys – that’s great! I don’t forsee Samuel slowing down, but he’s teething (again) right now, so I imagine that accounts for many of the feeds. 😉

        • Elena
          Reply

          You are right, he probably wants some more comforting 🙂 In our case, instead of encouraging her as I did in the beginning, I just let it go and run it’s course hoping we won’t go past 24 months and we did not 🙂
          I am sure Samuel feels great and soothed thanks to you making yourself available for him!

          • Valerie

            Thank you, that’s really sweet! I hadn’t looked at it like that. xo

  • mmmarzipan
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing your experience with nursing! I wanted to continue to nurse my little boy (at least at nights) but he decided to wean himself at 13 months. I am lucky in a way that he chose when to stop… He looked up at me and smiled one night and gently pushed me away. He kept smiling at me and was just happy with me sitting with him to settle him and I knew my nursing days were over. I was emotional. He wasn’t! 🙂

    • Elena
      Reply

      I had the same emotional experience, the less she was nursing the less milk I had and just like with my first one, there was a moment where I knew this was the last time and I felt like that special bond between us will be gone….and yes both time they stopped on their own and they were ready

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