I have 4 children, and I have breastfed each one. I was days away from 19 when I had my first child. Due to a lack of support and being poorly educated on breastfeeding, I only breastfed him for 2 months. With my second child, I was more prepared, and I ended up breastfeeding her for 14 months. My 3rd child breastfed until a little past his 2nd birthday. Now, 4 years later, I am currently breastfeeding my 22 month old daughter…… and to be honest… I don’t see an end anytime soon.
I get so many questions and silly comments about it.
“She has teeth..she shouldn’t be breastfeeding.”
“She’s too old for that.”
“Isn’t it weird to breastfeed her…cause she’s so big?”
“You’ve got to wean her some time”
“She doesn’t need it anymore.”
Well… no….no, she isn’t too old, no, it’s not weird, and her teeth have nothing to do with it. (I know babies who got their first tooth at 4 months…and had several more by 6 months… That is no reason to wean.)
And I get the question often:
“Why are you still breastfeeding her?”
Well here’s why:
#1 My daughter does need it.
She uses it for comfort when she is hurt or when she is sad. A few months ago my daughter pulled boiling hot water on top of her, and ended up in the children’s hospital with 2nd degree burns. It was a horrible situation. She was in so much pain. Breastfeeding is what soothed her, and got her through those painful first few days. Also, When she is teething… it is a lifesaver
#2 She is still my baby.
She may not be little bitty anymore, but she still needs comforted, loved on, snuggle time, and time to bond with her mommy.
#3 There are still plenty of benefits of breastfeeding past the age of 1.
A lot of people think that the benefits of breastfeeding end at 1. That is simply not true. Breastfeeding changes to fit the baby’s needs. My daughter is rarely sick… I give credit to a healthy immune system from breastfeeding.
#4 It’s how she gets to sleep at night.
It may seem like a silly reason… I can just hear it “Why can’t she go to sleep on her own?? She’s almost two years old??”…. but we have had this routine since birth. She will climb in my lap anytime she is ready for bed, and lay down to nurse. It works for us. It is the perfect time for us both to unwind. I’ve had people suggest letting her “cry it out” at bedtime. My answer: no…. Just…no. We will stick with nighttime nursing sessions. One day she will be ready to wean… Today’s just not that day. Which brings me to……
#5 She is not ready to wean.
She still asks for it all throughout the day.
She still uses it for soothing.
She still wants mommy’s milk for bedtime.
And that’s ok!!! She will wean. It’s bound to happen.
Here is a little snippet from the World Health Organization:
…..infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond.
Breastfeeding beyond the age of 1… and even 2 is completely normal, and it is also very good for momma and baby. There have been times that I really wanted to wean my daughter, after long nights of endless nursing sessions. But my plan is to continue breastfeeding until I feel like we are BOTH ready to wean.
What are some of the reasons you breastfeed your toddler?
Let me know in the comments!