BREASTFEEDING A TODDLER This is me and my youngest Scarlett. She is 21 months old…. and growing way too fast ?
I get the widest deer in headlight eyes every time someone asks the recommendation on how long to breastfeed for. What? 2 years and beyond?! ? The World Health Organization and the Canadian Paediatrics Society recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and continued breastfeeding for 2 years and beyond.
The truth is, breastfeeding a toddler is NOT what most people picture. Am I still feeding 8 times a day? Not at all! Does that mean I can’t go back to work? Can’t have a social life? Can’t leave for a night? Or even 2 or 3 nights?? Of course not!!!!! Breastfeeding a toddler looks very different than breastfeeding a newborn. Some may be breastfeeding once a day, some maybe 2 or 3 times a day. It all depends on what works for YOU and YOUR family.
Even having periods of separation, hours, days, a week, is OK!!! I recently traveled with my husband (without our children ???) and I was so worried Scarlett would wean. But she was happy to not breastfeed while I was away, and more than happy to continue when I got home ?
Some people may ask WHY would you breastfeed that long?!?! What’s the point?!? There are so many factors that impact our decisions/abilities to continue breastfeeding.
Some of the reasons that influenced my personal decision to continue breastfeeding was the immune protective factors are in a much higher concentration – think of it as giving your child an immune boost every time they feed and how great that is especially during cold and flu season AND especially when our children are entering daycare centres where exposure to viruses is much higher.
And let me tell you, the snuggle is real! There is no greater feeling than snuggling my girl at the end of a long day while she nurses because all those mommas out there with toddlers know that getting your toddler to stay still for a nano second is almost impossible! Am I right?! ??♀️??♀️ Can you snuggle and connect without breastfeeding? Of course you can!!! This was just one of the reasons for me ☺️
Thanks for reading!
Christin RN, BScN, IBCLC