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I’m Happy That I’m Still Nursing My Toddler

By Danielle |

Nursing till college!

Three square meals a day, plus a boob here and there, is how we roll in our house. Addie may not be nursing every two hours, but she certainly still enjoys nursing as much as she did a year ago.

If my daughter decided to nurse until she was in college, I probably wouldn’t mind. (Well, I probably would but it sounded so much better in my head.)

I’ve gotten a number of comments about her age and weaning, but if someone isn’t the mom… he or she doesn’t get a say! Right?

Speaking of comments from people, I am kind of sick of nursing comments, in general. They weren’t cute six months ago, and they totally aren’t cute now. Can I get an amen? Anyway!

I’m over the moon to make it to my nursing goal of one year. Looking back, I never thought it was possible, and now I’m en route to a new goal, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation of nursing a child until age two. I did it for a year… What’s one more?

There are a number of reasons I’m happy to still be nursing, even if my daughter is officially a toddler and still insists on waking up three or four times a night to grab a swig from a boob.

I figure, I haven’t slept through the night in a couple years… What’s a few more?

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The Joys of Nursing a Toddler

Weight Loss

Thanks to breastfeeding, I'm still losing baby weight. It may not be a huge amount, but it's been helping from the get-go!
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Danielle Elwood is a straight-shooting Florida based mom of three and emerging indie author. Read bio and latest posts → Read Danielle's latest posts →

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24 thoughts on “I’m Happy That I’m Still Nursing My Toddler

  1. Kaylee says:

    A few things AAP’s recommendations are to breastfeed until a year old and then after that only if it’s mutually beneficial to mother and baby. There’s no mention of breastfeeding until 2 in their guidelines. If you are going to bring up the AAP at least have the decency to do it right!

    Second thing, weren’t you the one who just 2 weeks ago was thinking about weaning your baby? Now all of a sudden you’ll do it until college? While I am happy to hear of your change of heart I fear you are giving people here the wrong idea about yourself. It almost feels like you have joined a new crowd of people so now you have to adopt their thoughts and opinions on things. Can’t you just be yourself and be honest?

  2. Danielle says:

    @Kaylee – Thanks for your comment, and you are right, the AAP does say one year. That is MY mistake. I should have been referencing the WHO (World Health Organization) breastfeeding recommendations. Thank you, I will fix that!
    As for weaning, you are also right, I see you followed that great post on Baby’s First Year. We were having a horrible latch problem. Every time Addison would latch she would bite and scrape her top teeth. It was extremely painful. The awesome readers on Baby’s First Year left tons of great information and recommendations. As well as some research on the awesome resource We have remedied that. If we were still having that issue I can tell you weaning would have been in full effect by now.
    As in parenting, all things change. I am extremely thankful this was a positive change of hear!
    I have been writing here on Toddler Times since August of last year, so I don’t think there is a new crowd reading here by any means, just hopefully those who are deciding to join from Baby’s First Year!

  3. Helen says:

    Good for you! We made it 14 months before my girl decided she was finished. I was happy- I’d made it a year which is what I’d had in mind. Plus, she was getting bitey. And eating most of her meals and snacks anyway- girlie likes her food!

    And I must say I agree with you. People who aren’t you or your kid really don’t have a say in the whole process if it’s still working out well. Input is fine when asked for it, but that’s about it.

  4. Isabelle says:

    Another great reason is when they get sick/hurt you can give them instant comfort (and fluids) in a way that is just different once they aren’t nursing.

  5. Raine says:

    My daughter is 22 months old and I STILL breastfeed…okay it was not my original plan and honestly after only breastfeeding her older brother for four months and then giving up I did not expect to get to 1 year let alone 2!

    But, here we are. She is a happy thriving young lady who only breastfeeds maybe 2-3 times in a 24 hour period and it is only for a few minutes at a time, but she loves the comfort it gives her and honestly I love being able to comfort her still. I have decided on her 2nd birthday will be the last day I feed her and she and I are finally to the point where we have a secure bond and no longer need that attachment. All I would like to say is every mother is different and that is no exception for breastfeeding mothers. Your baby will let you know when they are okay without it and I don’t think anyone else should get a say in it (however….come on at 5 or 6 or up that is kind of over doing it….but, again who am I to judge?)

  6. Mary says:

    This article is disturbing. When I see woman breastfeeding a walking/talking toddler, I find it slightly disturbing. Especially when I hear that your toddler is still not sleeping through the night. Are you really providing benefit to your child at this point or filling a need inside yourself? This is one of the issues of mother’s in America!

  7. Suzanne Tucker says:

    I am happy for you. Not in that you are still nursing… but in that you are following your heart. It sounds like you are enjoying motherhood — that you are tuning in and trusting your intuition (more than those around you/society/pressures) to guide. THAT IS WHAT MATTERS! Not what anyone else says. Accepting our paths. Ours AND each others… not so much from a place of right and wrong but of what is for us in this moment. As you state, things could be VERY different if the biting had continues… or if life threw a different curve ball. I think that is what the fight for women’s rights has been for in terms of motherhood. Allowing us to have the freedom to parent this way. I get you are happy and for this I am happy. Just beware of the feeling that one way is better. More right. This is working for you and that’s great. (btw I am still nursing my two year old twins and it still has MANY benefits for all.)

  8. francie says:

    I think most of the reasons on this list are silly and even selfish (it keeps her little?! or even the lame joke, I could nurse til college!). There are enough stereotypes and stigma associated with nursing older babies and toddlers as it is. Adding silliness & selfishness (I don’t want to wash any bottles?!) to the list is irresponsible. As a nursing mother, I don’t agree with the messages you’ve published in this article. I’m sorry I read it.

  9. Danielle says:

    @Mary – It sounds like the strong and ignorant opinions such as your own is what is wrong with our country. The lack of acceptance and of course educated opinions on nursing! The WHO recommends infants to nurse until 2 years old. My daughter turned ONE on Monday. As for sleeping through the night, nursing and sleeping through the night have ZERO connection. My middle son was formula fed and didn’t sleep through the night till he was 16 months old. What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

    @Francie – I am sorry you feel that way. I guess everyone isn’t going to like everything they read right?

  10. Jenny says:

    When I read the headline about nursing a toddler, I thought your daughter was 2 or 3 years old! Nursing a one-year-old isn’t odd to me at all. My son nursed until roughly 12 months; my daughter was well into her 2s before she gave it up for good, at my urging. Nursing a one-year-old is normal, in my world.

  11. diane caso says:

    The weaning decision is up to mom and baby…honestly, a two year old really does not need a swgg every f2 hours at nite…Sounds like she isn’t able to self sooth. I think your last line is the kick of the article…

  12. Jen says:

    I nursed my daughter until she was 2 and a half. Now my son just turned two and he’s still at it. I never thought I would do that, but my gut told me it was right. And I love that cuddle time!

  13. Kristin says:

    Isn’t it the mother’s right and her business how long to nurse her child? I would have loved to nurse longer than 4 months, but my twins were not good nursers and between the two, I couldn’t pump as often as I wanted so my supply snuffed out. What do you think they do in other countries where formula is not readily available? Do you find that disturbing as well?

  14. Linda F. says:

    Good for you! Don’t pay any mind to the ignorant comments because unfortunately, people always have something negative to say. You are giving your child a gift of bonding & nutrition and anyone who has anything negative to say is uneducated. I am happy you are standing your ground and not shying away or embarrassed like some other moms because they don’t have the moral support or simply because they are tired of getting dirty looks or hearing negative comments. It’s crazy how nursing is something essential and beautiful in a third world country yet here, where people are supposed to be educated and have some common sense, they look upon it in a negative way.

  15. steffmarcusky says:

    Glad you’re doing it as long as you want. I did want to make the comment, though, about waking in the middle of the night. It’s been a few years since I read “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child”, and I need to find it again for the new baby, but I think the waking in the middle of the night is no longer about needing to feed, it’s about spending time with you, but not in a healthy way. She’s waking herself up to be with you. It’ll take a little disruption, but both of you deserve to sleep through the night by this age. Check the book out and see what age it applies to, but I think 1 year is a little late. But I do understand the cuddle time.

  16. Denise says:

    @Mary – seriously? You think the problem with America is mothers giving their babies all the health benefits that come from breastmilk? Do you not know that breastmilk carries antibodies that are just as useful to toddlers as they are to infants? You just sound extremely ignorant. Do some research!

  17. Erica says:

    I have bonded with both of my children. I nursed first child, my son and did not nurse my daughter. I was not able to breast feed her due to medical reasons and feel equally close to both of them. There are other ways to bond with babies besides breastfeeding other wise their daddy wouldn’t be able to bond with them.

    1. Danielle says:

      @Erica – Thanks for your comment! I know breastfeeding isn’t the only way to bond with a baby. I never implied otherwise!

  18. Sommer says:

    I also say good for you! It is wonderful to be able to nurse your child for that long. Some mothers have a very tough time with it and it just doesn’t work out for even the first month let alone the first year. I feel ashamed for those people whose comments are disrespectful and judgemental. This is your personal experience and your child. Like you, I feel that if they aren’t the mother they don’t have a say in how long you breastfeed. They don’t have to like it, but they should respect your decision as a mother with her child’s health and well-being in mind, and if they don’t then you should dismiss their negativity. As far as sleeping through the night, there is probably some truth to her waking up because you’re nearby, or because she knows she will nurse when she does wake up, but what is so wrong with that? Humans are alone as mammals in practicing having our children sleeping in cribs or beds completely separated from the mother. To each his own, and what works with one may not with another, but to me a child sleeping near mommy is natural, and if the child is nursing that may mean that more than once he will wake up at night wanting to breastfeed. I don’t see any harm in that, as from personal experience with extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping in the same bed or room, the waking subsides and eventually stops altogether without intervention. I used the same approach with both of our children and they naturally came to need or want me less and less over time. No pressure, no crying, no stress on either side and that is what worked for us.

  19. Kellan says:

    @Denise, I agree with you!

    @Mary – Honey, you really need to do some research. Humans need to grow big brains, smaller bodies. Putting Addie on only cow’s milk now would do her a disservice in that regard – which means in every regard, eventually. My 11 month old girl drinks cow’s milk, but it has in no way replaced her breastmilk. She still nurses 3 to 6 times per 24 hours. This gives her continued, more concentrated antibodies, boosts her tiny immune system, helps her sleep, comforts her, fills her up at night, keeps her tummy full during her nap, tops her off when needed, gives her one-on-one time with Mommy, keeps giving her the nutrients she needs for *her* brain and body development, and that’s just the baby benefits list – and not a complete one at that! Some benefits for me? The longer I nurse her, the lower my risk of breast cancer is – I know, why isn’t that enough of a reason to keep going as long as possible?!?!?! I already have an elevated risk due to big breasts and genetic factors, so ANY way I can lower my chances of getting it is a green light in my book. Cheaper, fewer/no bottles to store/buy/sterilize/wash/keep track of/pack/prepare/feed baby (believe me, this is a time and space saver!!!), different bond than otherwise, cuddle time, better sleep for both, mom is in-sync with baby’s sleep patterns (this can be annoying, but is highly beneficial as it means that when she’s ready to eat, I’m not coming out of a deep sleep to nurse her at night), extra cuddle time (co-sleeping tends to be most beneficial to BFing), and weight loss (or at least maintenance). I haven’t even mentioned the reduction of children amongst those who do breastfeed. Or how the waking up when baby does means your toddler can’t just sneak out of the bed and get into something potentially dangerous because you’re too deep asleep to hear/feel them.
    Know what this means, Mary? You need some RESEARCH under your belt before you go spreading your uninformed opinion to those susceptible to believing bad things about BFing.

  20. Kellan says:

    *reduction of death in children amongst those who BF. Oops. :)

  21. Giselle says:

    My son is going on 9 months and I’m very proud of nursing him still, on demand, but it feels very natural and normal. I wouldnt do it any other way. I will be nursing for as long as our nursing relationship is mutual.

    I’m so thankful that I can Breastfeed because my son shows signs of allergies when I try out solids, or maybe he cannot properly digest them yet, but he gets most of his nourishment from my breastmilk. I’m also amazed at all the benefits of what my milk has! It’s definitely a superfood.

    And the weight. If that is what helped me lose all my baby weight, 75 lbs, than I am IN LOVE! I thought I would never wear jeans again, lol.

    Also, it has drastically improved my health. I was coming over to a whole foods diet right before my pregnancy, but I’ve completely converted to an all natural, vitamin, cod liver oil filled diet and I’ve gone Paleo too. Lol. It’s changed my life for the better. I guess I can justify that as not being selfish by stating that I’m so estatic of how wonderful I feel after changing, that I am a better mom because of it.

    I do not judge mothers who deem themselves unable to Breastfeed. I am saddened there is not more help to moms who DO want to Breastfeed and don’t have the resources to help them get over problems. Which in my understanding, are all pretty rare to not be able to resolve. <- but that's a whole other issue for another post :)

  22. Anne says:

    I am so glad there are so many mothers out there who have had such great experiences with breastfeeding. Keep it up! As for me, none of the things on this list rang true. I breastfed my son, but I hated every minute of it. Even long after the pain subsided after the first month or so, I didn’t like it. I never felt it brought me closer to my son, never got the happy feeling when breastfeeding. His latch was fine and he was getting plenty of breastmilk, but the whole experience made me long for the day I could stop. I was surprised I made it to 9 months with him breastfeeding. Only stopping because I became pregnant (I know you can still breastfeed while pregnant it just hurt way too much due to the extra sensitive nipples and he had teeth at that point and kept biting). I finally gave in and stopped. I know breastmilk is best for him and there are mother’s out there who can’t breast feed who would give anything to be able to, but I just couldn’t take it anymore.
    My husband was the one who kept me going each month, until I put my foot down by the 9th month. Every month I would say how I can’t take it anymore. He kept reminding me it’s best for our son and what I was doing was great.
    I will breastfeed the new baby when it arrives, but I fear the same thing will happen again. I hope this time I don’t feel like a feed bag who has no life other then to nurse my son, because that’s how breastfeeding made me feel. I love my son and when he wasn’t hanging off my boob I felt close to him. Because he would give me hugs, smiles, laughter, etc. That’s the stuff I love that makes me feel good as a mom. The more independent he became (sitting up by himself, crawling, talking, etc.) made my heart sing, because not only did it give me a little bit of freedom, but it made me feel I did something right as a mom. Once I stopped breastfeeding, I became so much happier. I noticed I wasn’t as cranky anymore.

  23. Carolyn says:

    My baby girl is hitting one and still wants a boob every three hours without fail. We are working on some night weaning, but not seriously. We started off about an hour after she was born and she’s nursed like a champ since. As we’ve come up on this year mark, I regularly am getting, “Well, if she can ask for it then she doesn’t need it” type comments. I’m thinking that I may ask if it is time to potty train if she can tell me she needs a new diaper. It is a similar type of thing in my opinion and basically a way to get people to leave me alone. I was kind of rude/sarcastic about people & my bump, so I’m trying to figure out a way to do that with the rude comments I’m starting to get…

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