The Breastfeeding Toddler Explains

 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.

 Breastfeeding toddler in black and white

 

Dear grown-ups,

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 bfing judging image

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!

Love,

Your friendly local breastfeeding toddler.

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What would you or your toddler add to this list of toddler breastfeeding?  Have you changed your views of breastfeeding beyond a year?

___________________________

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Oh my goodness isn’t this the truth!!! Thank you for the good chuckle today it was GREATLY needed!!

    • It started for me a few days ago when I was getting frustrated with how much my toddler was feeding. I asked her “what’s the deal? Do you think everything is a reason to breastfeed?” She nodded, mouth full of boob, and grunted “uh-huh.” Sure seemed like it was true! ~Jessica

  2. Love, love, love IT!!!

  3. Love this.

  4. Emseypenguin says:

    This is freaking amazing. I mean this is just exactly it.

  5. A lot of these rules apply to infants as well :D

    Thanks for the laugh, it was much appreciated!

  6. Kayla Lerma says:

    It’s like you got into my 20 month old sons head and read all of his thoughts.. He does every one of these things. He still nurses on demand and had the same thought a few days ago about him nursing so much at his age.

  7. My daughter told me a few others-while drinking water, breastfeed. Want the comfort of your pacifier, amplify its comforting power by breast feeding while it is in your mouth. And if eating particularly yummy solid food, breastfeed for an extra fabulous culinary treat.

  8. I have changed my view of breastfeeding toddlers. Here’s the thing… I didn’t breastfeed my first two for very long at all. And I worked at a daycare, where it was normal for babies to stop taking a bottle at about one year old. So, I just assumed it was normal for babies to stop drinking special milk (breast or formula) at one year. And, I had never seen anyone breastfeed an older baby/toddler.
    Then I had my third baby, just recently. I’ve been exclusively breastfeeding which has been wonderful. I’ve also been around many more breastfeeding moms than I was before. And I’ve seen moms nurse their little toddlers, or even their big toddlers/preschoolers. And I realized it was nothing unusual. They fed their little ones the same way I’m feeding mine. In some ways it looks easier to breastfeed an older baby. They have a lot more control, and don’t need nearly as much help. I plan on nursing my little guy for as long as he wants.
    I think more people need to see just how normal breastfeeding is. And the more we do it, out in public, without making a scene about it, the more normal it will become.

  9. Oh my goodness, PERFECT!!! My daughter is 30 months and still nursing ALL the FREAKING time!!! (I say that like I’m frustrated with it, but I’m really not.) This completely describes our nursing relationship pretty much from day one. So funny, and so very accurate. :)

  10. Love this! Laughed so hard my family demanded to know what I was reading. They were not quite as amused…

  11. I love all of them! The gymnurstics is so funny! My husband calls it booby yoga.

  12. Thanks! My family (including doctor sister) think I need to wean my 22 month old. I just smile and nod, knowing she won’t nurse forever! Sure I complain about not sleeping well, but that doesn’t mean I want to force stop this bond!

  13. Love this!!!! ,Currently nursing my 13 month old. So perfect in how this is described!

  14. Cristina says:

    haha, this is so my daughter. Every single one. She’s 26 months. And still demands “mommy mil!” at every occasion.
    Thanks for the laugh!

  15. This is hilarious!!! I think you can read my toddler’s mind!!

  16. Mandy Moo says:

    This happened to us yesterday: “Need to wash down that dog food you just sampled? Breastfeed!” :x

    My DD is 16 months. When she was about 12 months she learned to sign “milk,” and once she figured that out, she started nursing a LOT more often! These days, she signs “milk,” and when I ask her if she wants milk she laughs and does this little dance. I’ve been contemplating weaning her lately, but I just can’t bring myself to do it yet. She is still my baby, even if she is a toddler, and we both LOVE nursing. <3

    • Ha! My 14 month old does almost the same thing. When he signs “milk” and I ask him if he wants some, he gets so excited that he almost hyperventilates breathing so fast!

  17. Love this! Too cute! :)

  18. From a mom who nursed two of her babies till they were 18 and 19 months old, I never regretted one moment of those feedings. Btw, they are 18 and 23 now. Nurse them as long as you can!

  19. Well, You’re Jessica, I’m Jessica. I think I could have written this post.

  20. So happy I signed up for this newsletter, reaching the 18 month mark and for the first time feel like I’m in the dark. The pages dedicated to this in most books and websites primarily talk about weaning and not the act of nursing itself. I never really had to seek advice because I didn’t have any problems but it has been only recently that I questioned if everything is still ok. I definitely feel like I am just nursing my baby and I have no intention of a forced milk stoppage.

  21. I read this article right after reading a gossip site (while breastfeeding) that was berating Selma Blair for publicly breast feeding her (gasp!) almost 2 year old. I wasn’t sure about extended breast feeding, but Ms. Blair’s baby, and the baby pictured here look an awful lot like my extra tall seven month old. It puts things in perspective, and I think my baby totally agrees with all of these statements! I think I’ll be weaning on his schedule, not mine.

  22. All of these plus:
    – Need to shift some uncomfortable wind? Breastfeed! (and fart happily).

    Very good, made me laugh out loud, and then have to explain why to my partner. My 12.5m girl does all these things. Her gymnurstics usually involve kicking me in the face, standing on one leg or twisting herself into the furthest position from comfortable (for me) she can get. And then laughing.

  23. Thanks for the laugh and the reminder of why I am still breastfeeding my 17 month old!

  24. Christina says:

    Hilarious! I laughed out loud. I never quite realized how not alone I am in nursing my toddler until now. Thank you. I’m so glad for the Internet and for your blog.

  25. LOVE this! My 3.5 year old nursling heartily agrees with all your reasons to nurse. Breastfeeding is the best thing I never stopped doing!

    Sharing this link on my nursing Tumblr, Galactoblogue…

  26. Thanks for the good laugh. It does sound like my 28 month old. She never minds sharing beeboo with her toys though. I am not so happy about how much time i end up with a beeboo monster doing gymnastics but she doesn’t have any interest in stopping. Her older sister agreed to stop at 30 months but it was a negotiated nursing retirement. I just couldn’t envision the toddler feet in the newborn’s nose working out very well during tandem nursing.

  27. I just love this article – I had a great laugh :) It was just like that. My last of four wanted to be “latched” on all the time – unless there was something better to do. ;)
    Don’t worry mummies out there, just enjoy while it lasts. I have breastfed my two first only a few months, and greatly regretted that I did not know better. My two small ones I fed for three years each. I really loved it while it lasted. All this is now four years ago and in the distant past. The two oldest are adults and the third is entering puberty.

    What is different? I have a much bigger bond with my two smaller ones. They are somehow better attached to me, and me better to them. When my older one were small, I really wanted to teach them INDEPENDENCE! That was important to me and the whole world in the nineties. But in the 2000s a different view in society emerged. We have figured our independence is not something we need to teach a two-year old, but rather social natural behaviour. They get independent soon enough.

    My older ones saw me breastfeed their younger siblings on demand and nowadays see breastfeeding as completely normal and natural way to bring up their own children. So in the end we all benefit…

  28. Christina Saunders says:

    Great list! I seriously laughed at this. Between my two nurslings I experience all of this on a daily basis!

    My toddler would add to the list that he must nurse when his baby sister nurses, wouldn’t want her get all of the milk!

    He’s actually pretty funny. On the rare occasions that he is nursing & the baby isn’t he will insists that I nurse her too saying “baby want nurse”. A good big brother never wants “his baby” to miss out on a nursing session!

  29. Love it, had such a good laugh, thank you! Pretty much says it all. I can totally relate & knowing that I am NOT the only mother breastfeeding beyond 12 months which I consider to be NORMAL. Love, Peace & Happiness.

  30. I actually just enrolled in a study at a state university that will be looking at changes in the composition of breast milk from 11 mo to 18 months. If you’re interested, I would love to share the details of it now and eventually my personal and the overall results of the study (it ends next December). Feel free to email me if you’re interested :)

  31. This is so awesome, thank you! I laughed through the whole list, it sounds just like my toddler :D

  32. It’s perfect time to make a few plans for the future and
    it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this put up
    and if I may just I wish to recommend you some interesting things or tips.
    Maybe you can write next articles relating to this article.
    I want to learn even more issues about it!

  33. Funny! It’s been 22 years since I breastfed my toddler and I still laughed as I remembered so many of these behaviors. As I look back all these years later, I can say that breastfeeding was, hands down, one of the best experiences of my life and I’m so thankful that I continued breastfeeding my son until he was two years old, even though 20 years ago, this certainly wasn’t the norm and most people thought I was crazy. I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

  34. omg this is the truth BEYOND WORDS!! i nursed my daughter, Kamy, until she was almost 2.5 yrs old…. i would have LOVED to continue as mostly it was a comfort meal… a mood consolation… cranky baby ? nurse….. cranky mommy? nurse til the oxytocin took affect. I often caught friction due to the IGNORANCE OF OUR SOCIETY… immune to the reality that women have breasts for one reason and one reason alone and it is NOT for the uncomfortable OGGLING OF HORNY MEN… breasts contain mamnary glands…. AKA “mommy glands” for babies to nurse off of…. as i explained to my older son…. (older being age 6) when mu daughter was born… any way.. i wanted to thank ui for the eloquently yet simple article u posted as it is the most beautiful thing i may have ever read….. in fact.. i miss nursing TERRIBLY!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Thanks for the giggle, I’d still be breastfeeding my 15 month old little girl if I hadn’t had a miscarriage, she still gets very jealous of dh near her boobies even though she doesn’t nurse anymore

  36. Hah! Yes! It is very important that my little kitten “help me talk” on the phone too. Also the stink-eyes. And the catching sight of while changing. Thank you :)

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