3 Common questions about breastfeeding your toddler
Nursing past the age of one year is considered taboo for some, but in reality it’s a very natural, healthy activity for both mom and growing baby.
In fact, the World Health Organization now recommends that a mother nurse her child until at least the child’s second birthday.
Some mothers have been known to nurse their children well into the preschool years and others longer, however, this is a personal choice that must be made by each mother and child. If you are nursing a toddler there are a few things that you may be wondering about, like how to handle those who don’t find it “natural” or nutritional questions for toddlers who prefer milk to solid food. Read on to find the answers to some of the most common toddler questions for nursing mothers.
1. How do I handle people’s opinions?
Our society has become so fixed on convenience that we have moved away from what is natural. Sometimes it simply doesn’t matter what you say, people somehow think that when it comes to breastfeeding they can skip all etiquette and just tell you what they think. So the best thing to do is to take what they say with a grain of salt. What really matters is what works for you and your child.
2. My toddler wants to nurse all the time and doesn’t care much for solids. Is he getting enough nutrients?
It’s nothing to worry about. Milk is run on supply and demand, your milk will always keep up with your little guy’s needs. Your body is also VERY smart and it knows that you have a toddler now and not a newborn. Your milk is likely much more fatty now and has plenty of everything your child needs to grow up big and strong. Continue to offer your child solid foods as it can be hard on your body (and sanity) to nurse constantly. It’s also logical that perhaps your child makes a comfort association with your milk and that, as most toddlers and babies, doesn’t always nurse just to fill his tummy.
3. I’m pregnant. Can I still nurse my toddler?
Yes! In normal, healthy pregnancies (even in some more difficult ones) nursing poses no threat to the unborn baby. Because nursing can produce mild uterine contractions you may notice some cramping during and after nursing. If you have pregnancy complications a quick call to your midwife should ease your concerns about breastfeeding while pregnant.
Remember that while pregnant your milk WILL dry up at some point and return to colostrum, the nutrient- and antibody-rich substance that your baby will need hours after birth. However, this doesn’t mean you have to stop nursing. Many mothers continue to nurse even with the absence of milk which is a perfectly normal and natural practice.
Nursing your toddler can be one of the greatest experiences of your life. As he journeys into independence, the comfort of mother’s milk is a familiar place when he ventures too far into independence for his own comfort.
It is the perfect transition for little ones who are beginning to explore the world but still need the reassurance of mom’s arms.