The Joys of Breastfeeding a Toddler #13

June 25th, 2010 by Dionna | 5 Comments
Posted in Breastfeeding/Lactivism, Carnival and Special Series, Compassionate Advocacy, Feed with Love and Respect, Guest Posts, Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, natural parenting

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Today I am pleased to host a guest post by Karen, working mama of one toddler and one teenager. You can normally find Karen over at Mom Again @ 40, where she writes about becoming a mama (again) after the age of 40, her life in South Africa, and the beauty of new beginnings.

Karen’s guest post is special to me, because while she is obviously happy and proud to be breastfeeding her toddler, she acknowledges that she cannot breastfeed in public. It is for women like Karen that Paige and I are planning the Carnival of Nursing in Public.  You still have a few days left to submit to the Carnival – let’s join together to let the world know that we are free to N.I.P.

Here is Karen’s breastfeeding guest post:

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Joys 13

I did not plan to breastfeed for as long as I have. Mieka is now 18 months old. It has been a complete joy! I cannot recommend it enough.

I could only breastfeed my first-born for 4 months; that was fifteen years ago. She refused to take a bottle, and because I worked I had to take her off the breast completely because she was crying at the day mother. Weaning so early was extremely traumatic for both of us.

This time around I was more confident, but I was completely taken aback by how difficult it was getting used to breastfeeding again. Latching on was particularly trying for us, and of course it felt like she was breastfeeding 24/7. The only thing that made me continue was the knowledge that it is possible to breastfeed successfully.

But look at us now!

  • At 18 months the most precious time is when she is nursing and looking into my eyes. When else do you get so much eye connection? It’s incredible, this bonding time!
  • She had her MMR injection last week, and the first thing she did after the initial cry and shock of the injection was to lunge at my breasts. It made me aware of how much breastfeeding is one of her soothing mechanisms.
  • She was in the operating theatre twice last month to drain an abscess, and both times I could nurse her while she woke up after the anesthetics. It calmed her and she did not cry like all the other babies.
  • It is a bit of a struggle to get her to focus on breastfeeding. When she hears something or someone walks past, she has to look. I  help her focus on my earrings or necklace, or we play a game to occupy her hands.
  • She loves playing peek-a-boo with her hand in my blouse. My teenager thinks it looks “very dodge” (the teen’s words) when she sees it.
  • It continues to be the best way to get her to sleep at night. I pop her on my breast and she falls asleep immediately while nursing.
  • I do not breastfeed her while we are in public or visiting friends. She opens up the blanket that I try to cover her with. Unfortunately a public display of breastfeeding is frowned upon here in South Africa.
  • She indicates she wants to be breastfed by moving her face very close to my breast, in the middle of my chest. The vocabulary is not there yet, but we have no doubt what she wants when she does it! Very precious!

My teenager is my child from my first marriage, and Mieka is my daughter with my current husband. I was 41 years old when we had our beautiful baby daughter, and we are savoring every developmental milestone. Because I am an older mom I try to take everything in stride, and I am enjoying every minute. I know they grow up so very quickly!

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Breastfeeding a toddler is full of laughter, joys, and heartbreaking tenderness. I am publishing a series of posts dedicated to the beauty of nursing toddlers in an effort to normalize this healthy and beneficial nursing relationship.

But this isn’t just about me – I want to hear YOUR joys. If you are nursing a toddler (or have in the past), please contact me and tell me about your favorite moments. I will include them in the series and credit you, your site, or post it anonymously if you so desire.

5 Responses to:
"The Joys of Breastfeeding a Toddler #13"

  1. daisy   TooTooDaisy

    I was shy to nurse in public even when Bear was an infant. I avoided it unless his need was strong and therefore outweighed my own sensitivities. strangest place I went to emergency nurse in private was the mens’ dressing room in Neiman Marcus. The salesman was really very accommodating. Once Bear was a toddler we nursed only at home, and it seemed to work for him. It’s okay that we all have different thresholds, I think.

  2. Karen   karentoittoit

    Totally agree, and we have to do what comes naturally. It seems my threshold is getting more bold as the toddler is getting older. Pushing my own boundaries, and that of society. :-)

  3. I think the only way to *normalise* breastfeeding in public is to do it. i breastfed ALL 3 of my kids anywhere, anytime from the mall to the library to restaurants. Not once did anyone say anything and sometimes I think its us moms that feel more uncomfortable than those around us. As Karen says – its the most amazing gift!

  4. Tyrrell

    I think it helps that as an older mom (I’m 42 and my daughter is 40 months and still nursing), I really don’t worry what people think of me. We have always nursed whenever and wherever. I do always make a point not to be in people’s way physically (i.e., we don’t block a grocery store aisle), but I think it’s important not only to meet my child’s needs, but to remind people about breastfeeding. We’ve breastfed all over the country, everywhere from planes and trains to restaurants and stores and public gardens. And I can’t tell you how many women have come up to ask me for advice about technique or simply to encourage us; I look at it as a public service! : ) : )

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