Before I had Asahi, I knew I wanted to breastfeed for sure but I don’t think I had any idea how long we would continue. We have now been breastfeeding exclusively (seriously, not even one bottle of formula because he wouldn’t drink it!) for over 16 months and to be honest, the thought of quitting never entered my mind. I think that’s because breastfeeding has always felt like the most natural and convenient way to get through the various obstacles of toddlerhood, from tantrums to teething.
Nursing is our way of reconnecting throughout the day. In moments of transition is when Asahi most often asks for milk. When we return home after being out, he runs straight for the couch because that’s where we usually nurse. It’s actually so adorable to see him that excited. I usually have a few things to put away and then I too get to sit and relax while nursing, In fact, I think our nursing times are the only real times where I get to just sit and rest during the day. It’s a welcome break from the infinite list of things that all moms have to do on a daily basis! It’s also one of the few times during the day when Asahi is able to sit still and relax as well, so it’s an enjoyable time for both of us. This time is especially meaningful if Asahi and I have been apart for a period of time, such as when my husband takes care of him so I can have some much needed time by myself.
Nursing heals all bumps and bruises and diffuses (most) tantrums. We have yet to have an injury that couldn’t be healed by a little boob! Whether it’s falling off the couch or banging his nose on our bed frame, both of which resulted in a little bit of blood, the quickest way to calm his fear and reduce his pain is always the breast. I’m sure there are other ways to soothe him, but why use them when the fastest most efficient way is so easily accessible? I hear people occasionally say they don’t want their child to rely on the boob for comfort in these types of situations and would prefer them to be soothed in other ways. The same goes for tantrums, which are alive and well in our house no matter how much I attempt to prevent them. When Asahi is having a difficult time calming down, five minutes of nursing can usually put his mind in a better place. Personally, I want the easiest possible solution, which for me is the boob! I don’t see it as a bad habit, I see it as natural. Eventually, Asahi will not look to be comforted in this way so I’m enjoying it while it lasts!
I know my son is getting all the vitamins he needs, regardless of how he eats. It can be very stressful getting your toddler to eat, especially nutritious foods! Since I am still breastfeeding, I know that even if Asahi didn’t eat much during the day for whatever reason, he is still getting the proper nutrition from my milk by nursing multiple times during the day and night. I’ve also heard a lot of people talk about whether or not to switch to toddler milk (or follow up milk/formula) after their child’s first birthday or to give other types of milk (cow, almond, soy, etc) in order to ensure their calcium intake. Follow up milk is also meant to replace any calories that they aren’t getting from food. For me, it is so much less stressful to just breastfeed! I never have to worry that he is getting enough to eat or that his nutrition is lacking because I always have a perfectly healthy back up option. Breast milk never loses it’s nutritional value so keep breastfeeding as long as is right for you and your child!
Are you breastfeeding a toddler? How are you finding it?