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  1. #1

    Breastfeeding a Toddler

    Can you share your experiences of breastfeeding a toddler? We want to encourage other mums to continue breastfeeding their children as they turn from babies to toddlers.

    The World Heath Organisation recommend breastfeeding to two years of age and beyond. Indeed, there are huge benefits to breastfeeding a child in the second year of life and beyond. At two years of age a child can still get 20% of their required nutrients from breastmilk. Of course, this will depend upon being put on the breast often enough to keep up mum's milk supply. As a child starts to walk they also benefit from the ongoing emotional support that breastfeeding provides them. So much is developing in your toddler's mind and body but special bonding time with mum is still really important. That closeness also aids your toddler's social and speech and language development. Breastfeeding your toddler also reduces their risk of contracting many illnesses and raises their immunity levels.

    In the words of Elizabeth Baldwin (in Extended Breastfeeding and the Law):

    'Breastfeeding is a warm and loving way to meet the needs of toddlers and young children. It not only perks them up and energises them; it also soothes the frustrations, bumps and bruises, and daily stresses of early childhood. In addition, nursing past infancy helps little ones make a gradual transition to childhood.'

    My own experience of breastfeeding toddlers has been that it provides us with some magical cuddles and wonderful bonding times. We have both laughed together and held hands as I have breastfed my toddlers. I feel that we are building our relationship for the years to come; my hope is that these will be relationships founded in love, warmth and care.

    We would love to hear your experiences of breastfeeding your toddler.

  2. #2
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    Breastfeeding for 3.5 years

    Breastfeeding-a-toddler.jpg

    I have fond memories of breastfeeding my children. My first child Joshua self weaned at 15 months and I felt sad. We'd had a lot of issues breastfeeding starting from his birth. Joshua was born at 35 weeks and was separated from me - he went on to develop severe reflux and didn't gain weight. But we continued on until 15 months and that was a great achievement considering the barriers we'd faced at the time. Jarred and Lia were a very different story. Both children breastfed from birth without difficulty and grew into healthy chubby babies. Our breastfeeding relationship continued for three and a half years. I breastfed Jarred through Lia's pregnancy and continued on feeding them both weaning Jarred when Lia was around 9 months old. I made the decision to wean Lia when she was 3 and a half years old as I had been breastfeeding continuously at that time for over 6 years and I needed to stop. My memories of snuggling with my toddlers soothing them to sleep. Being available if they were hurt and offering them comfort. We not only experienced the emotional and physical benefits of breastfeeding a toddler but the health benefits as well. Both Lia and Jarred rarely got sick and if they did they recovered very quickly. They have grown into happy and healthy children. Joshua is now 24 years, Jarred 13 years and Lia 10 years old. The attached photo is me breastfeeding Jarred
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    I thought you might be interested in this article called "The pleasure of extended Breastfeeding" www.pregnancy.com.au/breastfeeding/breastfeeding_information/the-pleasure-of-extended-breastfeeding.shtml
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  4. #4
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    I can't imagine parenting a toddler without breastfeeding. It fixes everything! Painkiller and distraction if they're hurt, comfort if they're upset, a quick snack if they're hungry/thirsty, calming if they're overtired, connection at the end of a busy day, etc etc... mine fed until 27 months and 3.5 years, and self-weaned during pregnancy and just on her own, respectively.
    R, mama to M (8), Z (5.5), and bellybabe due Jan 2014

  5. #5
    Thank you Jane (aussiemidwife) and Asrathiel for sharing your experiences.

    The article which Jane has linked to above mentions this research:

    'In every case, regardless of the outcome health variable, the longer the child was breastfed, the better the health outcome, with the children breastfed for 18-24+ months having the lowest risk….' (Dettwyler, 1998)

    What an encouragement that breastfeeding a toddler is the natural thing to do and gives your toddler immense health, social, emotional and developmental advantages. I want to celebrate all mums who are breastfeeding their toddlers and I hope this encourages others to continue in their breastfeeding journeys.

    I look forward to reading more toddler breastfeeding stories.

    Best wishes,
    LJ

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    Hi there,
    I followed a link from FB, and would love to share my experiences.

    I'm currently tandem-breastfeeding my 3yo & 17 month old daughters.

    It's been an easy journey for us, thankfully, and I've thoroughly enjoyed it. There are times where I feel very touched out, and just want space & not to have my boobs grabbed at, but it's otherwise great.

    As Asrathiel mentioned, it's a excellent way to soothe an upset or hurt child, calming a tantrum, or even just cause you want some snuggles. And although I never would have thought before I became a mum that I'd breastfeed past infancy, I just couldn't imagine not doing it.

    I breastfed my eldest for 5.5mths, she self weaned after I introduced a bottle to help give my cracked nipples a break (big mistake), and after that short experience, I was left determined to do better the next time around. My son (baby #2) breastfed till he was 18mths, weaning on his own terms when I was 22wks pregnant with baby #3.

    I love breastfeeding, and am so grateful that I've had such an easy experience (excluding the 1.5mths of my eldest refusing the breast & weaning).

    I have written 2 blog posts on my experience, and am happy to share them. Though I can't seem to add the links as I am a new member.

    Tess

  7. #7
    Dear Pippityroo,

    Welcome to the forum and thank you so much for sharing your inspiring experiences. This is awesome! I tandem fed my two until my older son was about 32 months - he used to say 'two milks, two boys'. It really should be as simple as that I feel

    Occasionally (at the end of the day) I also feel 'out touched' but this isn't for long compared to all our lovely breastfeeding times.

    Can you share your blog links in reply to my post or private message me and I can share them?

    Thanks again for sharing and helping to encourage all of breastfeeding forum mums and mums-to-be.

    Warm wishes,
    LJ

  8. #8
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    Thank you LJ And you're welcome.

    That's cute.
    I love when they get to the age, where they are vocal & ask for it. My 3yo (well not actually 3 till next Friday) says "please beautiful Mummy, can I have some boobie!" Or "just a little bit boobie?".
    Whereas my 17mth old just climbs on me & helps herself, all the while saying "ooo-waah!" Or "boob-ahh!" (Her words for boob). She's much more addicted to the boob than my others were at this age. I'm finding I have to stand at times throughout the day, otherwise I'll have her on me all day, this is where I am touched out & need my space. But thankfully its only small moments that I feel like this, & I have much more positive breastfeeding moments.

  9. #9
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    Figured out I just needed 5 posts before I could post a link.


    Here are my links;

    (Almost) 3 years of breastfeeding - https://lactasticmamachatterings.wor...g-well-almost/

    My breastfeeding Journey - https://lactasticmamachatterings.wor...eding-journey/

    I also have a video/slideshow that I made from 365 breastfeeding photos I took last year - https://lactasticmamachatterings.wor...tfeeding-2013/

  10. #10
    Dear Pippityroo,

    Thank you for sharing these links

    Your 365 breastfeeding photos video is absolutely beautiful. What a wonderful piece of breastfeeding art. I am feeling inspired to do the same. You have a lovely family and what an awesome start to life you are giving your happy, contented, well-attached children.

    Just wondering if you ever breastfed in a sling and, if so, how you find this? I enjoyed a long walk with my 14 month old on the boob in the sling (a Toddler Tula) at the weekend.

    Thank you for sharing your inspirational breastfeeding stories. It sounds like your breastfeeding friends have helped to support and encourage you. I really feel peer-to-peer breastfeeding support is key to encouraging long, happy breastfeeding relationships.

    Best wishes,
    LJ

  11. #11
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    You're welcome.

    Yep I've breastfed in a ring sling, it worked out ok, but not as comfortable as breastfeeding in the ergo.

    Tess

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    BF in Ergo worked well for me with Zara, never tried with Malachi or with any other carrier.

    I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get to try tandem feeding. After Malachi weaned I thought he might be interested again when Zara was born and he saw her feeding, but nope. Oh well :P
    R, mama to M (8), Z (5.5), and bellybabe due Jan 2014

  13. #13
    Thanks for sharing which slings worked for you when breastfeeding. I like breastfeeding in a stretchy sling for a newborn baby and then a Mei Tai as they get a bit bigger but I know lots of women find ring slings great for breastfeeding toddlers in.

    Sorry you haven't experienced tandem feeding Asrathiel (yet, unless you go on to have bubba no. 4....). I know it can feel emotional when a toddler stops feeding and you don't quite feel ready for it yet.

    Best wishes,
    LJ

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