The transition from infant to toddler is usually a very gradual process, at times completely imperceptible. But it is very real and there are some very special aspects of breastfeeding a toddler that are unique. One shares with us.
My vocabulary is still quite limited but that doesn’t mean my brain isn’t going all the time and there are a few things you need to know. Particularly about breastfeeding toddlers. Because some grown-ups seem to get confused, I will take a moment to explain very simply so even an adult can understand. As a breastfed toddler, what I like to just call “human being”, I don’t understand why anyone would think I shouldn’t be breastfed. The milk is yummy, I like to be close to mommy, it’s fun, and I was just a baby still yesterday and I’m not grown up over night, you know. Also, I don’t care how many months I am, I know I like to breastfeed and I still need it, so please don’t make it sound gross or bad. That just seems mean. Don’t be a meanie. Some toddlers may be ready to move on, that’s fine and I’m not judging them but don’t judge me just because I’m not ready yet and need to breastfeed to get through my day. I don’t judge you for what you drink to get through your day, ok? Acting like there’s something gross and wrong about something I’ve been doing my whole life is confusing, just let me do my thing. I can’t imagine ever stopping breastfeeding but most of the people I see don’t breastfeed any more so I figure it’s inevitable I’ll stop at some point. Just not today.
Also, before someone tells me there’s no nutritional value to breastfeeding past the first year (it feels nutritional to me, more than most chicken nuggets) check out how breastmilk continues to change to meet my very special toddler requirements here and a mommy’s point of view on how special breastfeeding is here.
Toddler’s guide to breastfeeding (so simple, even a grown-up can understand):
- Hungry? Breastfeed.
- Sad? Breastfeed- rub mommy’s arm.
- Happy? Breastfeed- giggle lots and dribble milk.
- Bored? Breastfeed and sing with your mouth full of milk, won’t be bored any more!
- Feeling silly? Breastfeed and growl while sticking finger up mommy’s nose, she’ll growl too!
- Tired? Breastfeed.
- Tired but don’t want to sleep? Breastfeed- keep switching sides.
- Tired but don’t want to sleep and want to try to keep playing? Breastfeed- break out dance moves.
- Want to go to sleep? Breastfeed.
- Just wake up? Breastfeed and consider falling back asleep.
- Fall asleep on the breast and mommy tries to sneak away? MUST BREASTFEED.
- See mommy is busy and want her attention? NEED to breastfeed NOW. Sign milk constantly at the breast.
- See mommy is not busy? Breastfeed.
- See mommy is bored and needs something to do other than laundry? Breastfeed.
- Mommy trying to work? Breastfeed.
- Afraid mommy is going to go down the toilet? Keep mommy safe, saver her by holding on to the boobies by breastfeeding!
- See mommy sat down? GET THE BOOBIES! Even if you just breastfed, breastfeed now, she wants you too, why else would she sit down?
- See the ta-tas out when mom is changing? BREASTFEED NOW! DO NOT LET THEM GET AWAY!
- Fall down? Breastfeed, pop off and wail occasionally to remind everyone what happened.
- Get hurt? Breastfeed.
- Got hurt yesterday but just remember? Breastfeed and whine at the same time.
- Broken toy? Breastfeed, pull mom’s hair so she knows how upset you are.
- Can’t climb that stupid gate thing? Breastfeed and point at it.
- Break mommy or daddy’s toy? Breastfeed and make sure she keeps looking you in the eye until the oxytocin kicks in and you help her forget about the toy.
- See mommy and daddy kiss? Breastfeed and slap daddy away.
- See mommy and daddy hug? Breastfeed and give daddy the evil eye.
- See friend breastfeeding? Breastfeed more than them.
- Mommy sleepy? Time for gymnurstics.
- Mommy tries to exercise? Breastfeed- insist on side lying.
- Mommy eating? Breastfeed- time for gynurstics or stick fingers in her mouth.
- Mommy getting ready for date with daddy? Breastfeed- insist on hand on other one too, give daddy stink-eye.
- Mommy talking on the phone? Breastfeed while standing on her lap, pop off occasionally to yell in her face to help her talk.
- Mommy making food for other people? Remind her how easy it is to breastfeed. If she doesn’t do it right away, cling to leg, refuse the carrier, and jam your hands down her shirt as soon as possible.
- Need to pee? Breastfeed then freak.
- Just changed diaper and need to poop? Breastfeed.
- Wearing clothes? Breastfeed.
- Naked? Breastfeed?
- Love dinosaurs, baby dolls, trains, elephants, anything else? Breastfeed to celebrate and tell mommy all about it.
- Get a new toy? Breastfeed and insist mommy breastfeed the toy too.
- Toys get hungry? Have mommy breastfeed toy, get angry that mommy is sharing with toy, throw tow, breastfeed and give toy stink-eye.
- On a plane? Breastfeed- swallow loudly to clear ears and make everyone happy you’re not screaming.
- Headed to the car? Quick, arch back, twist, anything, BREASTFEED.
- Mommy holding you while meeting new people? Breastfeed or at least let them know the boobies are yours by shoving hands in mommy’s shirt.
- Daddy and mommy snuggling in bed? Need that boob! No, that one! No, the other one! Must breastfeed on both right now!
- Mommy in shower? Let her know you need to breastfeed and are worried the shower will wash your milk away. Screaming may be necessary.
- Walking? Breastfeed every couple of steps.
- Climbing? Breastfeed when they move you off things. Every time.
- Have sickies? Breastfeed lots and lots and lots.
- Cutting molars? Smash all the things! And breastfeed.
- See picture of breastfeeding? Breastfeeding for all!
- Hear music? Do the breastfeeding dance.
- Knock over block tower? Breastfeed- hold block and hit mommy with it.
- Grandma coming over? Breastfeed and tell her how excited you are about it at the same time.
- Having a first experience? Breastfeed.
- Think mommy is going to leave without you? Desperately need to breastfeed to avoid starvation.
- Mommy returns home after being out? Five minutes or 5 hours, you must breastfeed while berating her for leaving even if you didn’t actually notice she was gone.
Isn’t breastfeeding wonderful?
You know what else is wonderful? The roll of toilet paper. You can use the whole thing to fill the potty, it’s so fun! And then mommy has to clean up a giant mess and it’s time to breastfeed again. Everyone has fun!
Your friendly local breastfeeding toddler.
What would you or your toddler add to this list of toddler breastfeeding? Have you changed your views of breastfeeding beyond a year?