When I first started breastfeeding my daughter, my goal was to stick with it for a year. Then I had a super difficult time with it and the goal changed to 6 months. But, then somehow the clouds lifted and Fern and I finally figured it out four months in. Still, I never thought I’d be into extended breastfeeding.
If I’m completely honest about it, breastfeeding always kind of weirded me out a little. I knew I would do it because of the benefits of the health benefits, but I was never one of those women who was super excited about it and I always thought it was awkward when I saw someone nursing a toddler and I was certain I would never join their ranks.
But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about being a parent, it is “never say never”. So here we are, nearly 15 months later, and Fern is still nursing. I don’t nurse her very often anymore – usually only in the mornings while we snuggle in bed and when I rock her to sleep at bed time. I haven’t really nursed much in public now that she’s bigger, but there have been a couple of times. There have also been a couple of times that people have commented in surprise about this fact: “Wow! You’re still breastfeeding?!”.
To that I say, “Yep. Here’s why…”
5 Reasons I’m Still Breastfeeding My Toddler 1 of 6"Yep. I'm still breastfed. What's up."
The bonding 2 of 6My daughter is a busy kid. She rarely stops moving and even more rarely wants to snuggle. Breastfeeding is the one time when she sits still and relaxes and cozies up with me, so I'm definitely still cherishing these moments while I can.
The health benefits 3 of 6We still haven't started vaccinations for Fern and as such, breastfeeding is still an important part of boosting her immunity.
The reassurance 4 of 6We've definitely experienced a rough patch of picky eating lately and there are days when no matter how many different things I offer her to eat (*note: I don't do the short order thing, but I do offer her different options at each meal) she just won't eat anything. On those days it's reassuring to know that at least she's getting some nutrition from breastfeeding.
She’s still into it 5 of 6I realize that our nursing relationship will have to end at some point, but I haven't really felt the need to rush it since Fern seems to be so obviously into it. She's not needy about it or anything since she's such an active kid, but at least one a day this girl still wants to snuggle up for a good nursing sesh. I would love to let her self-wean if possible.
The convenience 6 of 6Let's be real. Breastfeeding is an instant soother. Have a toddler temper tantrum on your hands? A quick nursing session will likely do the trick. It also makes putting her to sleep infinitely easier. On top of this, all the inconvenient parts about nursing have pretty much fallen away at this point. I can wear what I want since we're only nursing at home and not on demand any longer and I don't have to stop what I'm doing while we're out to fit in a quick nursing session. It really is incredibly easy at this point and I'm hesitant to give up this magical cure-all for the toddler grumpiness until the time is right.
Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland Oregon. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble.