How Breastfeeding Enriches Toddlerhood . . . and Motherhood

November 19th, 2015 by Dionna | 1 Comment
Posted in Carnival and Special Series, Feed with Love and Respect, Guest Posts, Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, natural parenting

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If I told my 20-year old self I’d breastfeed a toddler she’d be shocked. Horrified.

In my twenties when I imagined having children I didn’t even think I’d breastfeed. Breasts were for sex, right? If I shared them with a baby would I lose my appeal?

I’m the first-born of four children and we were all bottle-fed. I’d seen my cousins bottle-fed. And the first of my friends to have kids bottle-fed her babies. It seemed like the normal western choice.

But then I became pregnant and everything changed.

It took us three years to conceive. I devoured information on natural fertility like a ravenous beast. I was determined to fall pregnant despite what fertility experts told us.

Through the process my perspective on the status quo changed dramatically. Question everything and make conscious decisions became my mantra.

So, when I was pregnant I explored the world of natural parenting. Co sleeping. Breastfeeding. Elimination Communication. Child-centered parenting.

While unconventional the concepts felt natural. Logical. Authentic. For me, they promised an exciting and organic dimension to parenthood.

So, my when son was born we breastfed. And we thrived. I planned to breastfeed for a year.

When Tom was two months old we visited our naturopath. She suggested I should breastfeed until at least the age of two. She said the World Health Organization recommended it. That is was best for my son’s health. I remember thinking she was insane.

“But he won’t be a baby” I said and she replied, “He’ll always be your baby.”

She couldn’t have been more right. And I couldn’t have been more wrong.

So, here we are, over two years later and I am still nursing my two and a half year old baby. It works for us. It feels as natural now as it did when he was an infant.

Nursing a toddler is undoubtedly different to nursing a baby though.

My son asks for “boo-zie” or “milk”. He looks up at me and talks while he’s half nursing. He laughs and smiles. He likes to ask for the “big one” or the “other one”. He is acrobatic. Sometimes I end up lying in bed with a foot in my face laughing on the inside at how ridiculous we must look. I’ve surprised myself and even managed to nurse while my husband drives.

Lately Tom has developed a dinosaur obsession. Occasionally he tries to get one of his miniature triceratops to have “milk dosi” holding it up to my breast.

Sometimes in public if I have a low cut top on and am holding my son he’ll put his hands down my top and ask for “boo-zie”. What amazes me is how few people seem to notice what’s happening right in front of them.

We recently travelled to New Zealand from Canada and nursing on the plane was a godsend. Tom nursed and slept for nine of thirteen hours. While the parents in front of us repeatedly waited for hot water for formula. And their baby seemed to cry for most of the flight.

If my son asks for it we breastfeed in public. I try to be discreet but have never used a nursing cover. I feel it’s easier and draws less attention without one.

My son rarely gets sick and I credit a large part of his vibrant health to breastfeeding.

I feel like breastfeeding is my mummy superpower. It soothes falls and frustrations, bumps and bruises. It makes me feel special. It’s something unique I can share with my son. And it feels like one of the most selfless gifts I’ve given anyone.

It is a tie. I’ve never spent more than a few hours away from my son in the last two and a half years. Let alone a night or girls weekend away! I crave more independence but I know this is a season that will pass and when it’s gone I’ll deeply miss it.

I am grateful to be able to nurse my toddler. Not all mothers can. Work commitments and health issues can get in the way. But for those of us who can and want to we owe it to ourselves and our kids to proudly nurse our little guys as long as they need it.

______________________________

Tracy Gillett is a passionate writer, mother and founder of the blog Raised Good. She’s on a mission to help new parents free themselves from the “rules” of modern parenthood. Create a closer bond and develop a deeper connection with your child at raisedgood.com. Tracy lives and writes in Vancouver, BC.

Pictured is Tracy & Tom, photo by Jozi Grant of http://www.idocumentlove.com/, used with permission.

One Response to:
"How Breastfeeding Enriches Toddlerhood . . . and Motherhood"

  1. Hanna   healthywhale

    I got touched by your story, thank you for sharing it.I have never been away not even one night since my daughter was born and sometimes I miss my freedom but mostly I am just feeling blessed and I know I will miss this time of my life when it has passed. Here´s my blog if you want to read it. In a very hands-on, practical way, I want to share my best tips with the readers, I focus on things that can make life easier for parents.

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