It’s past the six-month, twelve-month, eighteen-month, two-year or whatever mark people around you thought you’d stop at. You’re still breastfeeding your toddler and they can’t understand why. Maybe it’s because they’re not the ones there to enjoy these moments.
You’re thankful to still be breastfeeding your toddler when:
Your toddler’s sick and can’t keep anything else down
We’ve been through this a couple of times and each time I’ve been so grateful that I can give Talitha the most easily digested food, human milk.
One of her bugs didn’t allow her to keep even that down, though. Still, it was a relief that the breast could comfort her and that even if she was throwing up, she was still getting something from my milk.
She threw up yesterday and though it was a one-time thing – so, not viral I don’t think – she was only interested in fruit and crackers. Of course she wanted to up her feeds, which meant that I wasn’t worried she was going hungry or likely to get dehydrated.
This moment alone is enough to make me think it’s a pretty good idea to continue to breastfeed children while their immune systems are immature.
Your child has lost it with that tantrum
I know I probably haven’t seen anything yet in this department since she’s not yet two and we haven’t yet encountered the total mentalness I hear three can be (take a look at this hilarious post 46 Reasons My Three Year Old Might be Freaking Out).
That said, we have had some pretty intense tantrums round these parts. I’m getting better at figuring out what I’m doing with them but quite a lot of the time, cuddle and boob quick enough can either stop one from going full-blown or can bring her back to me once she’s calmed down a little. Sometimes it even does the calming.
You discover the benefits of natural child spacing
My brother and I are very close in age. We’re fourteen months apart. Growing up I liked that age gap. I think, really, I just liked (well, like) my brother. And now that I have my own child I think: my poor mother.
We were never going to have children that close, seeing as my cycles didn’t even return until seventeen months postpartum. Lactational amenorrhea is an amazing thing. I raged against it when I got broody while Talitha was much younger but further along this journey I appreciate that by continuing to breastfeed, she’s helping my body to take the time to fully recover from the huge task of giving birth. My body is also making sure that it meets the needs of the baby I already have before prioritising the needs of another that’s so far a figment of my imagination. Well done, baby and body!
You want to sleep
Thankfully, Talitha still breastfeeds to sleep (most of the time, anyway). This allows us to have easy, calm naptimes. If I feel like it, I can stay with her and grab some sleep too. We still bedshare so if she stirs at night I can flop a boob out and seconds later, we’re all asleep again. In fact, I’m often tempted to tell people she sleeps through. What I really mean is, I feel like I do.
Your child goes through food fads
I keep hearing it’s a phase but we’re over six months into Talitha’s extremely fussy eating and it only seems to be getting marginally better. I continue to offer her a broad range of foods so I feel I’m doing my part. Knowing that she has access to the breast to fill in any nutritional gaps really sets my mind at ease.
You’ve been apart all day and need to reconnect
Talitha’s started going to a childminder one day a week. It’s a long day because I still don’t drive yet and the childminder lives a fair way away by bus. So Laurence drops and picks her up before and after work.
It’s quite a long separation for both of us but she makes up for it by feeding as soon as we get home and checking in with lots of feeds the next day. When I was taking the bus to go pick her up, I’d have to factor time sitting on the sofa at the childminder’s to feed her as soon as she saw me because it was the first thing she wanted to do!
This is just another indicator to me that her emotional need to be mothered in this way, though gradually fading, is still strong. It’s such an easy way to meet that need – a sweet one too.
So, mothers breastfeeding toddlers, what moments make you thankful that you’re still breastfeeding them?