Toddler Breastfeeding, Frustration and What Keeps Me Going

For the last week I haven’t liked breastfeeding Smunchie.  Not just not enjoyed it but skin crawling, hair pulling, hiding in the bathroom couldn’t stand it.  I can’t tell you how much I’ve hesitated to admit this.

When Smunchie started walking I smiled and thought “wow, I’m now breastfeeding a real toddler again” and it was sweet, special and adorable.  It didn’t seem like a big deal either, just a natural transition easing the reality of my baby, more than likely my last baby, growing up.  I’ve breastfed toddlers before but this time I was more tuned in, intending to savor every moment, holding onto it because it was one of the last.  I told everyone I wasn’t going to try to convince them to breastfeed their toddler, just talked about breastfeeding mine.  Like a fairy tale marked only occasionally by moments that were just slightly less than fantasy, I rode the unicorns over the rainbows of my breastfeeding dreams once again into nursing toddlerhood.

Having breastfed toddlers before I know they can become little gymnasts at the breast, start drive-by nursing and attempt to help themselves if necessary.  They don’t hesitate to ask for it by name, loudly and repeatedly and they can become quite demanding.  I know all this, I’ve been there before so I knew what was most likely coming.  But Smunchie’s transition into toddlerhood and breastfeeding was sweet and full of sunshine kisses.  I was the freakin’ wood nymph breastfeeding a toddler while fairies fed me bites of ambrosia and sips of nectar as my cherub toddler caressed my cheek as she sweetly nursed while we gazed into each other’s eyes.  Rainbow farting unicorns.

And then last week Smunchie became that toddler.  Any time I sat down was clearly an invitation for her to breastfeed (really, what else could I have to do sitting down?) and she rejected any multitasking on my part.  She also solidly learned and established her word for breastfeeding, one created and handed down by a big sister, Smunchie now whispers, sweetly chirps or screeches “BOBBIE!” when she feels she needs to nurse.  Which, as it turns out, is all. the. time.  When she was a sleepy newborn with heart issues we could’t get her to wake long enough for a feed and if we let her she’d easily sleep 6-8 hour stretches from the get go causing much worry and alarm clock setting.  Now though she would be happy on the boob every hour, sometimes 3 or 4 times in an hour.  And sometimes she could be on the breast for 25 minutes, others she’s struggling to focus for 5 but if I close up shop she freaks as though I took her unfinished ambrosia meal away.  She’s also gotten jealous of the other girls giving me hugs, climbing up on my lap for a cuddle or even sitting next to me.  To be clear, it’s not really about me as much as someone else coming close to her precious bobbies.  Then there’s the standing nursing, the dancing nursing, the upside down nursing, the head flop nursing, the splits nursing, the humming nursing, the snacking nursing, the in and out of the pool nursing and the just-because-I-love-it-so-much-this-is-the-best-stuff-in-the-world-nursing.  There’s also the entertainment she creates while nursing, the pinching, the scratching, the tickling, the mole picking (Oh how I roar then), the smacking, the foot in the eye, the hand in the mouth and the random but oh-so-predictable raspberry blowing.  I’d love to say that I have a halo permantely over my head and the patience of a saint but the truth is this behavior is starting to make me a little crazy.  Or, a lot crazy.  The wood nymph is now chained to the couch with a screeching gremlin demanding the breast.  And the unicorn farts are not rainbows.

Now I’ve probably scared everyone away and you’re thinking “that’s what I’m in for?  I don’t want to be a wood-nymph!”  Before you go running for the least wood-nymphy outfit you can find that makes the boobies completely inaccessible to your nursling let me explain a few things.

This is normal. Not because my darling nymph baby has now morphed into a gremlin but rather because her toddler development is right on track.  She’s really come to understand that we’re not the same person which means her beloved “bobbies” can walk away.  Very scary when your favorite food source can freely move about.  Oh yes, she absolutely MUST capture it every chance she can!  CARPE DI LECHE!

Move it baby! Not only does she now realize the bobbies roam freely but she’s also discovered that she has a fairly decent amount of mobility all on her own now.  In fact, she’s exploring all the different way she can move and really, what could be better than having boobies around for the exploration?  It’s a good way to be sure she’s hydrated and keeps track of the boobies so they don’t get away.  I mean, really, can you blame her?

She needs more. As she grows her nutritional needs do too.  In Smunchie’s case she’s not a huge fan of solids, she’ll eat somethings really well and others not well at all.  We offer a variety of whole foods often and frequently but some days she just refuses to eat anything solid.  Except carrots, she’ll always eat carrots.  It shouldn’t really surprise me then when she wants to breastfeed more often because she needs something to fuel her.  And I know that breastmilk is still perfectly adjusted to her needs and her body can tell that too which is why she wants it so much.  Check out this info. from on how mom’s milk meets so much of a toddler’s nutritional needs. (If you haven’t seen this yet you’ll really, really want to.  Hint: it’s pretty awesome!)  By the way, in case you’re wondering, no, I’m not concerned that she’ll never switch over to solids and give up breastfeeding all together and no, I don’t think breastfeeding past 1 year old has messed up how she eats. I’m completely confident that she’ll one day be quite happy to let the bobbies go.  In fact, have you ever met anyone that didn’t stop breastfeeding at some point? Have you ever met anyone that was still dependent on breastmilk as a teen or adult?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.

(Also, this study is kind of interesting which is why I’m randomly sharing it here.  The Abstract basically says that the longer a child is breastfed the more they will talk and more words they will have.  Which makes me realize I’m really doomed and The Piano Man and I have almost no chance of getting a word in edgewise around here.)

It makes her feel better. Toddlers fall a lot, get hurt or become frustrated. (Or get pushed/hit by an older sister.)  So much change happening so quickly, what are they supposed to do?  Sit down and rationally talk about it?  A pat on the back?  As adults we think that eating to comfort ourselves is bad but it’s really because of WHAT we eat when we’re eating to comfort.  Smunchie wants more perfect food?  If I reached for spinach or a head of broccoli when I was upset instead of a tub of ice-cream I’d be in great shape.  Smunchie doesn’t always need to breastfeed when she falls down but sometimes she really wants to and the skin-to-skin, the familiar taste and smell of mom and the position of being cradled all combine to be way better than spinach or broccoli.  Or ice-cream for that matter.  I would go so far as to say that by responding quickly to comfort her with the breast if that’s what she wants I’m helping her develop the confidence she is going to need one day to figure out how to comfort herself in healthy ways.

She talks! New words happen daily and she’s clearly assimilating all the nuances of communication.  Everyone around her are fairly decent experts at communicating and she’s trying really hard to get there.  Learning how to tell me she wanted to nurse the same way she hears other people communicate is a big milestone for her because, let’s face it, up until now breastfeeding has really been the most important activity in her life.  Now not only can she sign for it but she can verbally communicate.  Verbally communicate that she wants it with a full spectrum of volume.  She really HAS to use it!

Our relationship is changing.  She doesn’t always want to be held or worn in a carrier.  These days she really likes to get down and do her own thing.  Sometimes she loses track of me.  Others she gets so busy exploring and playing that she forgot to see what I was up to.  And then there are the times where mommy finds her standing on top of the piano or scaling the book shelves (that are anchored) and she’s quickly and quite rudely snatched from the middle of her adventure by fun-ruining mommy.  In those moments she may need to remember our connection, a crucial element of who we are to each other is our breastfeeding and it reaffirms our bond quickly.  Specially if she’s hurt that I’ve ruined her fun.

Boundaries. Smunchie’s developing behavior serves as a reminder to me that she is indeed always growing.  My baby is, in fact, leaving babyhood.  As much as breastfeeding has helped ease this transition, these new behaviors from her help to make the transition real.  As our relationship changes so does my parenting.  In our breastfeeding relationship I’ve realized I need to set some boundaries for both of us, it’s time.  Breastfeeding is a mutual relationship, it has to work for both of us.  Part of Smunchie growing up means her seeing boundaries not only for herself but for others.  This week I’ve started putting some of those boundaries in place with our breastfeeding relationship just as I’ve had to do with her big sisters.

  • This is normal but I have other responsibilities and children that need me.  If I know she’s ok and fed I don’t hesitate to make her wait a few minutes to breastfeed if I’m busy with making dinner, tending the needs of one of her big sisters, or need to transfer the laundry before I can sit down to nurse.
  • I love my baby’s new moves, she’s quite talented.  Still, my nipple isn’t a rubber band and I really don’t care to have it yanked around as she attempts a 360 degree turn while latched.  Or a full back flip.  Just like when she was a new born, if it hurts, I stop it.  Like with biting, if she continues I end our session telling her “ouch, you’re hurting mommy” then put her down and offer a toy that can handle the acrobatics.  Sometimes she’s happy to move on, others she gets upset but I find that she is much more settled at the breast then.
  • Her nutritional needs have increased and I love that my milk is up for the challenge.  Not crazy about being a snack bar though, I limit the number of times at the breast if she’s crossing into 2-3 times in an hour and sometimes offer a healthy snack instead of the breast to get her to stretch to 2-3 hour intervals a couple of times a day.  She’s also recently discovered that she likes almond milk and will accept that in a sippy cup when I need a break.
  • Knowing I can comfort just about any hurt is an incredibly empowering knowledge as a mother.  Knowing that she can get hurt every 10 minutes makes me tired.  So we’re developing other comfort measures.  Smunchie has a lovey and a baby doll that she loves to cuddle with.  When she’s been hurt (feelings or otherwise) I help her locate these items and cuddle her with them.  I also make it a personal rule to never pull my breast out assuming it’s what she’s going to want, I wait for her to ask for it.  When she does, I take it situation by situation and either find alternative ways to comfort or go ahead and nurse.  Having a big family, Smunchie has the added benefit of lots of other pairs of arms that would love to give a cuddle so I build up The Piano Man and her biggest sisters as sources of comfort too.  We have discovered that they all excel in getting her calmed down and moving on much faster than I can.  This also helps when I’m feeling touched out and is a great preventative measure to keep resentment from building when I’m at that point.
  • With our relationship changing Smunchie has started to really communicate that she doesn’t like me multitasking while breastfeeding.  When she really needs me she will reject me holding anything, watching anything or talking to anyone while she’s at the breast and wants me to stare down at her, stroking her hair and talking to her.  To respect her boundaries I try to be sensitive to that need and give her that when it’s required.  In doing so I’ve noticed that she doesn’t come back as soon to nurse again.  That connection established she’s secure enough to move on and explore again.
  • When she screams “bobbies” at me I try to respond softly and gently, affirming that I understand what she wants.  Children learn most through modeling and Smunchie very often drops her voice to the same tone I’m using.  I try to respond very quickly when she does to affirm this positive behavior and thank her for asking so kindly.  Which may explain why “thank you” is one of her new words too.
  • Letting go.  She and I are both having to start letting go.  It’s a gradual process but one that happens none-the-less.  I don’t believe that Smunchie is doing this to manipulate me.  I really believe it’s a part of the developmental fast track she’s on as a toddler.  Recognizing that she is going through a lot right now reminds me to respond more gently when what I feel like doing is rolling my eyes and locking myself in the bathroom.

All these realizations are very helpful in keeping me going when the going gets tough and the boundaries give me hope that this won’t be forever.  My patience is growing, maybe, little by little.   We’re not going to stop breastfeeding any time soon, I know she’s not ready for that and truthfully neither am I.  That does’t mean I never feel like stopping, nope.  I still feel crazy sometimes and I am still a little irritated at the unicorns a few times a day but we’re going to be fine.

One of the most cathartic moves I made as I struggled this week was to admit how I felt.  One evening in a moment of frustration and fatigue and the 4th time Smunchie had nursed in an hour when I had planned on being very productive I hissed at her “I HATE nursing!”  Yep, I said that.  And, in that moment, I meant it.  Twenty minutes later, I didn’t.  Ok, maybe it was more like two hours later but whatever.  The point is it wasn’t what I believed even if I felt it.  More importantly, even if I did believe it for myself my belief that breastfeeding my toddler is important and worthwhile is stronger.  To be able to stick with it though I had to admit how I felt and find ways to keep going.  Admitting it on Twitter was even more cathartic.  Because there I found out I’m not alone.  I typed, deleted, retyped, deleted, retyped, waited 10 minutes before I finally tweeted : “Dear world, right now I’m so sick of #breastfeeding. My toddler is constantly wanting to nurse and I am starting to go crazy. It will pass.” I was scared, what would Twitter-verse think of The Leaky Boob admitting she was sick of breastfeeding?  I even went so far as to add my own “it will pass” to dismiss my feelings and hopefully preempt any replies of the same.  Though I had some, mostly I was surprised by the number of replies saying they were feeling the same way.  When Stylin_Momma replied with “@TheLeakyBoob I needed someone else to admit that. Thank you. I’m trying to tell my 2.5 DD that she has to wait at least 1 hr btwn sessions.” and “I’m trying to encourage night weaning. These things make me feel like #breastfeeding support phoney. So thank you.” I wanted to jump up and down.  In fact, I might have.  The rest of the day I tweeted with Stylin_Momma and a few others about how we and our nursing toddlers were doing, passed around ideas and strategies and shared funny stories.  By that afternoon I was feeling much better and encouraged.  We weren’t breastfeeding support phonies just because we admitted we weren’t enjoying breastfeeding at the moment.  If anything, we were as real as breastfeeding support comes and could offer support from the trenches, knowing that sometimes it really isn’t all rainbow farting unicorns.  That day I leaned on my fellow breastfeeding-a-toddler moms and we propped each other up giving each other a chance to commiserate, laugh and develop some new tools for this phase of breastfeeding.

There are many great and wonderful parts of breastfeeding a toddler too.  I look for them and savor them to try and have a more balanced perspective.  That afternoon I pulled out a basket of instruments for Smunchie to distract her from wanting the boob again.  She immediately forgot about breastfeeding, or so I thought, as she became engrossed in the instruments.  Playing chimes on a drum and wooden xlaphone, Smunchie started singing.  I returned to what I was doing, smiling at the banging and chiming filling the living room as her little voice soared.  Then I realized what she was singing, the first time I’ve ever heard her put words to her songs.  Over and over again in sweetly sustained notes she was singing “BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBBIEEEEEEEEEEE!  BOBBIE! BOBBIE! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBBBIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”

See, only a toddler could write a song about how much she loves her bobbies.


  1. it was lovely to read this article and it made me feel very supported in my own breastfeeding highs and lows.
    i’m creating a gallery of breastfed toddlers on my own blog for breastfeeding awareness week and i couldn’t help wondering if you would like to submit one of these lovely photos?
    let me know if you are interested. meanwhile all the best xxx

  2. I’m a fan of saying, “Breastfeeding sucks!” at moments like those, because the pun always makes me laugh. 🙂

    A really thoughtful post; thanks for sharing.

  3. I’m in love with this post. It expresses exactly how I feel about nursing my 22-mo-old son, Jackson. Thank you for writing it. I’ve tweeted it and shared it on FB so others might understand better.

    • Thank you Jaime! It’s a funny feeling, isn’t it? The love/hate dynamic of breastfeeding a toddler sometimes. Parenting is complicated! ~Jessica

  4. My LO is almost 11 months now and my goal has been to breastfeed at least the first year. But the more I read and the more I nurse, the more I want to just stick with it until it feels right to wean. It just doesn’t feel right to me to wean just because my baby is a year old. I know my husband would like me to quit only because I am having to take Domperidone to keep it going and it is QUITE expensive ($170 a month before insurance). But I just really want to keep going! Reading this article reaffirms for me that I should keep going….. thank you SO MUCH for sharing!!!

    • You have already faced so much, what an inspiration. I think you’ll find continuing past 12 months to be so encouraging and though likely to be full of different challenges (as toddlers are) very healing for you as well. I hope you can keep going as long as you would like. ~Jessica

  5. Aquarius B says

    What a great article. I work full-time and am in the military but have high hopes of nursing until 2 years… 18 months at the LEAST! This article is comical but also very insightful!! Thank you sooo much for sharing. Great pictures!!!

    • Breastfeeding in the military, that’s no easy challenge. Way to go you! You have a lot of determination, I bet you’re going to make it just fine!

  6. This article sums up a lot of how I’m feeling about breastfeeding my 13 month old – thank you! How amazing that sometimes admitting you don’t like breastfeeding actually does support others by letting them know nursing a toddler can be challenging for all of us blessed enough to do so.

    • It was realizing how many people were glad when I did say it that I realized I really did need to write about it. Doesn’t mean I’m going to stop just that sometimes I don’t like it. That’s ok, right?! 🙂 ~Jessica

  7. sleepdeprivedmama says

    I so needed to read that right now. I’ve been struggling with my 17 month old who I still nurse at bedtime and once or twice during the night, which I am fine with until nights like last night where he nursed all night long. I think he’s starting to teeth again. And he’s frustrated and uncomfortable, so he bites me and scratches at my neck and pulls my hair and his acrobatics almost smother me sometimes and it’s maddening, but then he falls asleep curled up next to me, one arm draped over my neck and his sweet little face on my shoulder and it’s all ok. Until 10 minutes later. 🙂
    But thank you for sharing because I have muttered those same words to myself more than a few times the past few nights and felt so guilty.

    • Smunchie is 17 months too. No guilt, you don’t need to feel guilty about how you feel.

    • My daughter will be 21 months soon and still does the same as your son, sleepdeprivedmomma! I feel your frustration…trust me! (and I am pregnant)

  8. I LOVED this blog! I laughed, I cried, I thank you so much.

    As I sit here, with sore boobies cause my toddler needs to nurse all the time. I am not sitting here alone! I swear, it was like you mirrored my life. Thank you again.

    • I have a sore boob today too! I’m not sure what happened but I think a lazy latch in the middle of the night led to a pinched nipple. It’s been sore all day. You’re not alone, I’m right there with you! ~Jessica

  9. I totally loved this post, it hit everything that I’ve been going through 🙂

  10. Thanks for sharing this. It seems that we are just about in the same place with our toddlers and nursing. It’s nice to know that my ups and downs are normal. Thanks again!

  11. Thank you so much for this. My son is now 21 mths and you described him completely.
    I have never expressed my “lack of love” for nursing at times to anybody not even my husband knowing that they will say to stop then. They are already not taking kindly to the fact I didn’t stop at a year.

    • It’s hard when you’re determined to do something but don’t have support from the people around you. You’re not safe to admit how you really feel which is so helpful in working through it. You’re not alone and you’re such an amazing mother for doing what you believe is right for your child even when it’s difficult and you don’t have the support of people around you. ~Jessica

  12. Nicole P. says

    This is so what I needed to read right now. Thank you!

  13. It’s as though you’re reading my thoughts. I’m so glad that the behavior is normal and it’s not just me feeling touched and tapped out.

    • It’s so not just you. The behavior is completely normal and really even necessary as toddlers work through all the massive amounts of development they are experiencing. Language development, social development, physical development, all of it impacts their need to be close and work out the world around them. It’s so important. Hard on moms though, however, something I think I should have included in the post, it’s full of difficulties even when they aren’t breastfeeding, that’s the nature of toddler development!

  14. Mine is only 6 months old and barely taking solids (she loves them but isn’t usually very successful getting them into her mouth). I hope to be nursing a toddler someday, and I thank you for all the great advice. The part about baby demanding all your attention while nursing is appropriate now. When mine was tiny, I could play on my computer or eat while nursing. Now she smacks the keyboard or asks for a bite or just cries. We both have a better time if I go ahead and give her my whole attention for ten or 15 minutes.

  15. It’s comforting to know when others are in the same boat. Drive-bys and help-yourselfs, oh boy do I know what you mean! My nursling is one week shy of 3 years old! “Letting Go” is one thing that doesn’t look like it’s in the near future right now, but I know it’s inevitable. So I’ll just enjoy what I have left. 🙂
    Thanks for the post!

  16. kristen maccione says

    I went through this when my now 4 yr old was 2. She weaned at 2.5. And yes, I have to admit, sometimes it was annoying!! Especially at night when I would lay down with her in her bed, nurse her and think she was asleep (stupid me) and try to unlatch her and sneak away, nope she would wake up and say, “momma, where are you going?” Ugh. And yes for a good year and a half, in public or wherever, every time I would hold her she would stuff her hand down my shirt. That became her signature thing and everyone knew it. It was her comfort. My boobs, my milk, me. I was everything. And now she is a “big girl” as she says and those days of nursing are long gone, but I still remember each and every stage. And now I have an 8 mo old I am nursing (my 3rd) and now I know what will be coming to me in a few months!! haha!! hugs to you!!

    • YES. My little one is 25 mo, and it feels like she is never ever going to wean. I’ve been freaking out trying to get more nutrition into her solid foods, thinking maybe that will help her lay off the breast a bit. Probably not a bad idea anyway, but knowing that this is normal, and that it won’t be forever, helps a lot.

  17. The song lyrics made me laugh out loud! Thanks for that.

  18. Veronica says

    Fabulous info – bookmarked this to read again in a year or two 🙂

  19. Right there with you. And I feel like a big breastfeeding fraud telling people how awesome it is to breastfeed and yet secretly wishing I wasn’t doing it myself. It doesn’t help that since mid-March I’ve been suffering from pain during evening and night time feeds (yes, fine in the day). I don’t think the lip tie is helping but it may be the onset of the last molars.

    I don’t know, I just know I’m worn out. Need people like you sharing this shit to know I’m not alone: to get me through it 🙂

    • Oh Jem, you’re not a breastfeeding fraud! The people that don’t like it but do it anyway and encourage others in their breastfeeding journey are the ones that help make it accessible to everyone. How isolating would it be to think you were the only person in the world to not enjoy every minute of breastfeeding? And how likely to end up giving up? No, admitting it while still being able to talk about the good parts keeps it real. ~Jessica

  20. loved the article! my goal was 12 months…well my son is now 19 months and still nurses more then anything haha, he has some health problem though so id rather stick with nursing then go with surgery 🙂

    but i have to say if i stopped nursing he would have a nervous breakdown, i tell him no just so i can go pee and the world comes crashing down and he has the most pitiful little cry lol

  21. Mine is exactly 37 months today. I can totally relate. My lips and mouth (probably the whole face) are used to the cuts and bruises I get from the sudden acrobatic stunts that my little man pulls out. There are days I get lucky when little fingers get shoved up my nose, poke my gums or try to invert the once flat nipple. Not to mention those times he suddenly thinks I’m a human trampoline. So yeah. I get days like these too.

    Thank you. Once again, you made me feel normal. Also, for the fact that my kid eats just a few solids too.

    BTW, the Bobbie song is epic!

  22. Amanda Herman says

    THANK YOU for this! my son is only 10 months but has been walking for over a month and is full blown toddler mode. i was prepared to nurse an infant, i went to the classes and i did research, but no one talks about nursing toddlers. we are struggling with a lot of the same issues that you posted. we cosleep, and i was crying at 3am because my son was nursing almost all night and screamed and screamed when i tried to stop him so i could get some sleep! i am pretty sure i said something along the lines of “if you don’t start supporting me more i am just going to stop nursing him and make you deal with it!” to my husband. obviously, there was nothing he could do, i was exhausted and i wasn’t actually going to stop nursing him at only 10 months. this morning, i noticed that he is about to cut some teeth, which explains our episode from last night. thanks again for this post and the resources. it’s been a struggle that i wasn’t prepared for so early in the game. he was showing a lot of these signs even before he started walking on his own (which was right before he turned 9 months).

  23. EXACTLY where I’m at right now with my 21mo old! And this is REAL breastfeeding support;). Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  24. My 23 month old calls them Bobbies too 🙂 I lived this, I tandem nursed my two and honestly, nursing through the pregnancy and then a 2.5yo and a 9mo wasnt all rainbows and sunshine. I’ve nursed everyday for more than 3.5 years, good times and bad. I always love hearing other moms be honest about how hard it can be.

  25. Libby Rose says

    Reading this made me feel so much better about the frustration I have felt towards my 20 month old’s nursing habits lately. You’ve really helped me put things into perspective. Thank you so much!

  26. Thank you for sharing this! My 26 month old is still happily nursing, but her little sibling is expected any day now and I’m tired, easily frustrated, and have very tender breasts. I don’t mind continuing to nurse her some, but the clinging to my breast like a worry stone, wanting to nurse for long stretches of time, lazy toddler latch, and nursing acrobatics drive me up a wall some days. I hate to admit that because I don’t want to scare others away from nursing their toddlers or nursing while pregnant, but I really feel like I could explode with the need to vent on bad days. It’s so nice to know that I’m not alone.

    • I’m there, Jen! Only 10 weeks pregnant, but for the last 6 weeks it’s been painful and the exact “creepy crawly mentally insane I can only do this for one more minute” that you describe, Jessica. I try not to hide out in the bathroom but tell her that milkies are sleeping or need a break. (She also sang a little milkies song before the pain when she was into the acrobatics you described and all was joyful.)

      The hard thing for me has been that right before the pain started, she was a little monkey (doing “tune in tokyo” on my nipples, for real, regularly, so happy and singing about it) and I was so proud of my nipples of steel! We were in such a great place. She was careful with her teeth (or so I thought at the time) and was easily redirected. We were nursing as much at 14-16 months as at 6 and 7 but I felt good.

      The transition has been hard for both. I have been feeling guilt for what feels like me weaning her more than me setting boundaries. (Of course, my diminished milk supply from pregnancy hormones was a big shock to her and hasn’t helped me.) I just feel like a bad mom, especially when I had high hopes of nursing her till she self-weaned. Sometimes she is so sad, but I don’t want to resent her or breastfeeding and have to say no sometimes. (It did happen at the busiest time of year for me, when her stay-at-home-dad was away for a month on tour and grandparents were in and out of here weekly. Tough times.) Now she is teething and going through a growth spurt and I force myself to nurse her more than I was. I now just pray that the pain and brain insanity will stop after the birth and we will all find some kind of good place to be.

      I am so grateful you made it ok to express some negative feelings. I, like Jen, would hate to turn anyone off from breastfeeding. I have wanted to be an example and help others.

      I do want to have a breastfeeding blog carnival or some such thing on my blog and include this very topic…..and this post as a resource for others.

  27. Oh yeah, we’re there. 15 months old! Except I’m at work all day so this is an all NIGHT LONG thing!

    FYI- “Carpe di leche” is my new favorite slogan. You should make T-shirts, but please make them up to 5T (my 15 month old is in 3T already!)

    Hugs from a mamma in the same situation!

  28. Great article.. my 1.5 yr old is exactly the same!!! It made me feel better to know I am not alone! 🙂

  29. Loved this. I’m currently sitting here at 11:50 PM (Germany) nursing my almost 13 month old, who just hapens to be our 5th child. He’s starting to get to that phase that can be just out and out annoying, maddening, eye popping.

    So far the longest I’ve nursed is 3 1/2 years with son #2 (child #3), with daughter #2 (child #4) we nursed for 2 1/2 years. My first two were both sadly less than a year.

    I can’t see my 12 month old weaning anytime soon. We plan to selfwean, but I do not live in a fairytale in which I think I will not want to throw in the towel a few hundred thousand times between now and then!! He’s just starting to walk without holding onto things (although cruising the furniture is still his preferred method), so I know the various acrobatic nursings are still ahead of me. Oh the joys (or not!). But even on the bad days, I’m thankful I have the ability to give my little guy the best nutrition available!! I love that since he’s not much of a solids eater that, he is getting everything he needs. Now lets see if he’ll ease up on the breast, and let me go lay him in our bed.

  30. Thank you for that post. I am nursing a 10 month old who looks at me with disgust when I try to feed her anything besides breast milk, cheerios or bread. So, to hear that your little one isn’t that fond of solid foods as well, but is growing just fine makes me feel better. I am going to book mark this blog post for the future when I have my own nursing toddler. (not too much longer eek!)

    ~ Kerrie

    (PS the Bobbie song had me laughing out loud!)

  31. Heather E*K says

    Oh, Jessica – you have such a beautiful way of expressing how all of us feel!!! Olivia stopped nursing at 22 or 23 months, thanks to random toddler feedings and the pregnancy. I miss it everyday! She still talks about the “Boobies,” and checks to make sure they are there, frequently – perhaps she will tandem, perhaps not.
    As much as I love breastfeeding I DESPISED the biting, pinching, pulling, insistence that they were REMOVABLE objects, “tune-in-Tokyo (by far HER favorite), and the downright attacked / assaulted feeling I was left with sometimes.
    I do not, however, regret a moment of what she and I were able to share! <3

  32. Timely post for me! I love nursing my 20mo old, but not all the time. He nurses as much as he did as a newborn and we are working on some night weaning. Everytime I sit down he’s pulling on my shirt. Sigh. My oldest made it to 24mo, but was way less into the whole experience from the start. He cut back the daytime nursing all on his own and at the end only nursed 5min at a time if that. Needless to say this is a whole ‘nother experience going on…

  33. Thank you for posting this. I am a proud breastfeeding supporter but this is realistic. I’ve been feeling the same thing lately and have made some not-so-successful attempts at weaning. I refuse to quit cold turkey. I’m typing as my 18 mo is trying to nurse while leaning over and balancing on a remote control on the couch next to me. I realize that I need some boundaries too and I like how you explained them. Thank you again for being a “real” mom.

  34. This post made me smile. I was only able to breastfeed my first for a month, so when my second daughter came around, I wanted to make an effort to nurse her for a year. Well, she was just a couple months shy of 3 when she weaned. I well remember the ups and downs of breastfeeding a toddler. Sometimes you just feel sick of it! I am so glad I was able to do have that relationship with her. It was a great time, so short in retrospect. I am now breastfeeding their 3 month old brother so we’ll see how long he goes. 🙂

  35. What a great post. Thanks for sharing your own experiences so honestly and normalizing this behavior (both the toddler’s and the mama’s). Just in the past week, I’ve started limiting the number of time a day my toddler can nurse (he’s 16 months) to keep my sanity and I’ve been feeling torn about it. If we were nursing “on demand” right now, I’d be nursing every 10 minutes. But I’d be nuts and bitter, so we’re not doing that. Instead, I’d saying things like, “We’re going to wait until after dinner to nurse.” It’s going okay, but it is a big change to set these boundaries and it’s really wonderful to hear a veteran’s experiences.

  36. As I sit her misty eyed, I cannot express how relieved it makes me feel to know that “hating” breastfeeding sometimes is normal, that my 14 month old son driving hot wheels across my chest, standing, flopping, ect while nursing is normal, that nursing a demanding toddler really does at times suck! Thank you for helping me realize that I am not a bad breastfeeder… just that we are in transition.

    I actually posted on the local mommies website today about my frustrations with my 25mo milk monster and another Mom posted the link to this – it is perfect and just what I needed to read today!

  38. Beautiful writing 🙂 I have a 12 month old little cherub, who is just beginning to find her feet and we are just beginning to see her charming little (huge) character blossom. She has started trying to feed while laying on her tummy, which is a little chaotic at 2am! She has food intolerances (we are both avoiding egg & dairy ), and I have often wondered what the benefits of feeding past 12 months of age are, ever since one doctor said to me that feeding after 6 months has no nutritional benefit! So I really thank you for posting the links to the studies. It gives me confidence in knowing that I am providing for my baby, not only in comfort and nurturing, but in nutrition too.

  39. Thank you so much for writing this. It seems as if you have described me and my 16 month old. I’m sorry that it’s been tough on you for the past week but I have to say that it feels really great to know that my son and I are not alone. I keep saying to my husband that it feels like our son is a mobile 4 month old because he is back to nursing all day long every. single. day!

  40. I am still bfing my 26m son and have had some days like yours lately. It is refreshing to hear you talk openly about this topic. I don’t have many people (just one other “mom” friend who I’m not close with) in my life who have nursed as long as I have. Thank you for your information and your inspiration!

  41. Lisa Letzelter says

    My son is 16 months, and I’ve been feeling this way lately. It doesn’t help that I’m currently 6 months pregnant. It’s nice to know there are so many other moms who sometimes feel frustrated too. I especially hate the twisting and turning at the breast. Probably because my nipples are more sensitive now. I also find I can’t sleep through night nursings anymore. It’s just too uncomfortable. But I love when he falls asleep at the breast right before nap time, or how sometimes when I first say “not right now”, he looks up at me with his big blue eyes and says “please” oh so politely. How could I say no to that. Anyway, thank you for this post.

  42. Sometimes I think the things I need to hear find their way into the minds of the bloggers I love. My shemonster is almost 11 months, but is already more of a toddler than some kids much older than her, and definitely moreso than I am prepared for. We have begun experiencing ALL of the aforementioned behavior and it’s driving me bonkers. It’s so nice to be reminded that its normal, I’m not alone, and it will pass.
    -Kit (Shemonstermama in the twitter-verse!)

  43. Ryan Merrifield says

    Good for you!

  44. Thanks so much for your post!! I love it! Feel like I’m not alone! :))

  45. Are you sure that you don’t have a clone of my son? LOL, he’s 2 and boy he’s hit almost all those phases you described! He gets sooo jealous if anyone comes near his boos!

  46. I really enjoyed reading this and I finished my breastfeeding journey years ago! My boys were both lucky to b/f until the age of 5 and it brought back all those memories of days where I didnt want to do it anymore, but, somehow we get through and just know that we’re doing a wonderful thing for our children. thanks for posting this!!!

  47. Amy Paine Hudson says

    Hi there,
    Having recently gone through an extended “I hate breastfeeding” episode, I can totally appreciate where you are coming from. My beautiful, amazing, and limber almost 7 month old daughter has been making me crazy. We went through a biting period (which is just now tapering off) that had me practically in tears during and after every session. She is also very acrobatic – splits are her favorite movement! I managed to make it to a little over six months exclusively BFing and have very recently begun solids. DD still nurses on demand, but to give myself (the boobies) a break (and since I was worried she wasn’t gaining weight well enough) I decided to give her one bottle of formula most days. Although I still feel some guilt about that decision, it is what is currently working for us. I am more relaxed and DD is too. I tried pumping the extra bottles, but my supply just doesn’t keep up. Also, it’s like she knows I am trying to stock up, so she wants to nurse more! I did want to ask you a question about BFing your toddler though. Does she eat anything else or is breastmilk still her primary nutrition with the occasional solid? Sorry if that sounds ignorant, but with this being my first baby, I still consider myself to be a BF novice (and the only one in my family to BF). I am just considering options for the future. I never thought I’d make it this long! 🙂 Great post! Thanks for your honesty!

    • out of curiosity… Have you tried “Tandem pumping” Pump one side while she nurses the other? Might help

      I have a 1yr old. He is now up to 3 solids meals/day. He still nurses as well. I give him his food first and then he nurses for naps/bedtime. *currently* He started out one meal/day and slowly worked up whenever he seemed interested in what we were eating. I started by just letting him play with a spoon with a little food on it… (mostly because it kept him busy long enough for me to eat!) It’s really what works for ya’ll! 😀

  48. Thanks for this post – I am going through EXACTLY the same thing with BiP. It’s so much harder than nursing a baby! Have shared!

  49. Oh man… we are just starting that fun.. He isn’t walking yet.. or crawling (Open heart surgery scar) but he is beginning to ACT like a toddler (15mo/1yG)
    He started wanting to play with my nips while nursing the other day.. I’m like “no… lets not start that…”


    I’ll take my t-shirt in a L please. Hmm, *checks out the still-abundant supply*, make that an XL.

  51. Thank you so much for this! My son is 17 months old and breastfeeding has been challenging lately. He wants it ALL THE TIME and then does gymnastics, runs away, comes back… I feel like I should just leave my boobs out all the time. Some days I’m amazed the snaps on my nursing bras haven’t given out. I really thought he’d be cutting back by this age, and was a little worried it wasn’t normal for him to want it this much. If I say anything to friends or family about how frustrating it can be, they tell me to just wean him, since they can’t understand why I haven’t already. I’m bookmarking this page to read when I get frustrated. It’s so nice to know I’m not the only one!

  52. This is so helpful for me to read as I am on the verge of nursing a toddler. Baby turned one yesterday, and there is no end in sight to our breastfeeding adventure!

  53. Brilliantly written as always! I know exactly where you are coming from because we’ve been there too. Following the example of a local LLL mum I taught my toddler (who is only a month off her 3rd birthday) the value of ‘pop’ – I let her nurse for a length of time that I am comfortable with then ask if I can have a ‘pop’, where she pops off my breast and stops nursing. As soon as she does ‘pop’ she gets tonnes of praise and I often get her out an exciting toy to play with. She now also understands ‘power num-num’ where we agree we will only make it a tiny nursing and then go back on with what we are doing. Anyway, it works for us, it sounds like you have great ways of coping too!

  54. I needed this. I get extremely I-can-not-be-touched right around the beginning of my cycle. Like I have to sit and count while LO is starting to nurse. It gets so bad at times I have to bite my arm or I am afraid I will lose it and snap. Thankfully, it only ever lasts a day or two. I am glad to know that I am not the only one who doesnt always like breastfeeding, I have been afraid to recognize this feeling because I want to be a strong lactivist who loves breastfeeding! Somehow, I guess, by admitting there are times I HATE it I am afraid I will turn others off to the idea of it. So thank you for bravely admitting that sometimes, breastfeeding sucks. :o)

  55. Great Article. As usual you hit it right on the head. Especially the mole picking. Arg!

    Thanks for sharing.

  56. I am nursing 18 mo twins Ayla nurses every now and then but Aiden is a non stop nurser it drives me mad i to hide from them lol some time i see him comeing and i get up i feel so bad but i can not get nothing done with him stuck to my breast lol now i feel so bad for Ayla because her brother wares me out so i feel i dont give her the time she needs on the breast i love my babies so much but ive nursed now 8 children and i think im about done with this stage of life lol but i do not ween my babies i let them ween them selfs i just hope its not to much longer i would like to take a bath without being hunted down for milk 🙂

  57. Boy, I needed to hear this tonight. I am 10 weeks pregnant with my 3rd. I have a 2 1/2 year old who is becoming interested in nursing again. My 13 month old is still nursing around the clock and will NOT let anyone else comfort him. If I tell him no, he screams like crazy for a very long time and to the point of throwing up. I am sore. I’m not enjoying nursing much at all. There he goes screaming again and I just got him quiet 5 minutes ago. I need to wean because of my history of preterm labor and it is NOT going to be easy or fun at all! It is so helpful to know that others struggle on a daily basis. Thank you.

  58. christie says

    thank you sooooooo much for this, as i was reading my 14 month old came to me no less than 3 times to perform acrobatics while nursing, perhaps using the excuse of the boob to get closer to the computer? the keyboard got bashed a few times anyway. we too are no where near weaning but boy some days i wish we were! thanks again for putting into writing how i feel you do it so often and so well

  59. SamsEarth says

    You have a knack for reading my mind, and adding the correct amount of sarcasm and sentiment. 🙂 I am currently nursing my 2.5 year old little man, and have days where I want to lock my boobs in an iron harness. He has never been a calm nurser. Since the minute he was born he has been on the boob, (hence the nickname: Boob Monster) and I have had very little sleep in the last few years because of his constant need to be on the Tots!!!!! I am a single mama, and sometimes feel like I am completely drained (probably because I am. 🙂 ) So, it was nice to hear another mama express her frustrations, giving me permission to also be frustrated (without guilt) and know that I’m on the right track. Thanks a lot! 🙂 Happy nursing. Peace and Love,


  60. I’m currently nursing my 19 month old and very occasionally my almost 4 year old and oh but all of that is familiar. However infuriating it is at times, I love that my little one will still pass out with a happy milk drunk face before bed. I love that she’s developed her own way of asking for milk (however much I use the sign, she insists on making slurping noises at my chest! Lol! ) and always does so with this cherubic excited expression.
    Nursing a toddler is totally worth it. Nursing a preschooler tests the patience, but at least I can negotiate with her.
    Love the post 🙂

  61. I can’t tell you how much I needed to read this EXACT post RIGHT NOW. Just…thank you.

  62. I think we all have days like this. I’m still nursing my 3 year old. I’m not really a blogger, but when I get emotional about something, I write about it. I recently wrote this and thought you may like it. And it’s ok to not enjoy it. I go days where I simply can’t face another “mimmim” request, but I take a deep sigh and do it anyway. *hugs* mum! You’re doing great!

  63. Claire Clark says

    All this is so true, i am now feeding my 3rd toddler and this stage is so annoying at times (as I speak she is attached and has been for 2 hours, no idea why but I have got work done at the same time!)

    Also though she may not like you to multi task do you find that she requires something to hold, a book to read, or to watch the tv whilst latched on..ah yes..

    The joys 🙂

  64. This is the greatest post I have every read! I feel the same way every now and then and it’s rather difficult to admit these feeling as I know no one that has fed for this long. It’s places like these that have kept me going and believing that I know what I’m doing right.
    Thank you!

  65. TerminallySerious says

    Thankyou from a daddy, for writing this. My partner asked me to read this, and it has given me a good idea of what I think she really wants to tell me.
    I remember in the first 12 months being so frustrated when mums would all tell each other how great and amazing it all was, when all of them had their challenges. As if admitting how hard it can be at times makes you a bad mum. I have a complete and utter respect for all of you mothers out there. The more open and honest we can all be, the better.
    And massive thankyou and love to the mother of my lil’ Hurricane. Your perfect. 🙂 xo

  66. I DESPERATELY needed to read this today. I came across it by “accident”… but soooooooooo needed it. My 20-month-old son it becoming a stunt man while nursing and my nipples are incredibly sore. Just minutes ago, as I was laying him down for a nap, I tried to NOT nurse him. He didn’t like that very much and I ended up “caving in”. I’m not ready to wean him and he’s not ready to wean. So, thank you for the words of encouragement. Especially the part about not multitasking while nursing. He’s been pushing my laptop off the arm of the couch so that I can focus on him. You just confirmed what I already felt. I need to focus on his needs when he shows me that he really needs me to focus on him. Again, thank you.

  67. My second nursling turned one yesterday. 🙂 And I relate to a lot of this, both from her and my first. And I’m glad that you’re being open about the skin crawly nursing feeling, which I feel is important to talk about- that nursing it’s always rainbows and kittens. (Can you imagine if a bunch of married people tried to convince you marriage was like that???)

    But mostly I’m replying because you reminded me why I am doing this, and even though it’s hard, it’s beautiful too, and I’m happy to do it. 🙂 Viva la Leche! (I loved Carpe di leche, lol!)

  68. Wow. I thought I was alone and doing everything wrong. (I flipped through a run-of-the-mill baby book today that made the daily life of me and my 19 month old nurser seem nothing short of obscene. Why do I read such garbage??) Thank you very much for your post. Exactly!!!! Breastfeeding support at its best!

  69. Truely a great read! I laughed out loud and read some to my husband who pretended he was interested. I am not currently nursing a toddler, I have a 5 month old so it wont be long, but I nursed my oldest 23 months. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  70. Angela Cope says

    I soooooooooooo needed this right now. I am currently tandem feeding. The oldest will be 5 at the end of Sept. and the other just turned 19 months. These are the third and fourth children I’ve been blessed enough to feed normally and most times I think it is the most amazing, awesome journey. Other times I wonder if it will ever end…LOL
    I know it will end eventually and my soul will ache when it is all over but sometimes a Mom really needs to commiserate. I know it doesn’t make me a bad mom but it is still nice to know others understand!

  71. Thank you for your post. I too have been struggling to nurse my now 24 month old and have many times where I am not loving the experience. I thought it was me and felt horrible about it. But I have a newborn now and since bringing the baby home 3.5 months ago my toddler has really increased the amount of booby time she wants.

    I thought this behaviour was all because of the new baby and was really happy to read that it’s more of a toddler thing.

    My oldest is not easily deterred and she gets quite distraught when I tell her she has to wait. So much so that I had to re-allow night nursing (which I had weaned her off of while pregnant) because she was waking at least once an hour looking to nurse (the newborn has slept a good 4-6 hours since coming home so you could imagine how frustrating it was to be getting woken up by the older child) and was getting quite upset when I would remind her she no longer nurses at night. Now that I allow it again she is sleeping much better – and so am I!

    Between the two of them some days it feels like all I do is nurse one then the other and then it starts all over again. Sure can’t get much done when you’re nursing. 🙂

    I’m not ready to tell my toddler she can no longer spend time with her two best (or should I say breast) friends. She loves nursing – so much so that I can’t imagine trying to take it from her any time soon. And truthfully, I’m not ready to wean her. She’s growing so fast and this is one way I have to stay connected with my beautiful little girl.

  72. THANK YOU! I know other moms feel the same, but this was very well-written and made me laugh because I can relate. My 19mo daughter is very fond of the foot-in-the-face maneuver right now, and it drives me INSANE! As does the night-feeding… thank goodness it’s only once a night every other night on average! I felt very good about BF the other day, however, when my daughter was out of sorts… not acting herself. I was sitting at the table eating lunch and asked her if she wanted to nurse. She nodded in her adorably slow way and said, “Nuhsh” (her pronunciation of nurse hehe). 5 minutes of mommy-time must’ve been all she needed because she was back to her normal, precocious self. And I was feeling proud and awed that something so seemingly simple did the trick!

  73. Holly aka Lynne says

    I too have hissed “I HATE breastfeeding” when Aiden has come back for the nine millionth time of the day to nurse. During the day he plays with his brother.. *if* they are outside or in the playroom I can get a few things done… UNLESS he gets hurt, mad or scared.. then my day has to stop to nurse.. through the evening… nursing is about all I get done 🙁 He too has decided he doesn’t like me on the computer where before I could be on the computer during our nursing sessions since we do it SO OFTEN it was a good distraction.

    Thank you for putting into words what we all are feeling but too afraid to say! If we say these things will we turn our non full term nursing friends away from nursing forever? Will they throw it in our face that we should just stop nursing? It’s so hard to be positive about it all the time when you want to run away (sans nursling) and not nurse for a few hours. 🙁

  74. I am so glad you wrote this because I. Was about to post on the wall. My daughter (#6) is going to be 18 mos tomorrow and still nurses A LOT. I am also 13 weeks pregnant and worry how this will go over the next 6 mos. She does the drive by and will sometimes nurse for 30 minutes or more. Sometimes, she’ll want me to pick her up and will force herself into position, stick out her tongue with an open mouth, lean in to my boob and say “Ahhhh”. That’s her form of sign language. She sometimes signs please for it, but most often just gets ticked off when I try to redirect her. I know she’s not ready to wean and I don’t want to force it. It would be nice to get some cleaning done….

  75. Sorry about the typos…phone issues….

  76. I just wanted to Thank YOU! I am nursing my twin toddlers, and had a very long nursing day. I feel like I was nursing someone all day. Nice to know there are others going through & feeling the same things. So glad they are in bed and I got to read this 🙂

  77. Thank you for your post; it brings back memories of when I was breastfeeding my son. I breastfeed him until he was over 24 months and wouldn’t change those moments of closeness and bonding for anything when I look back. Sure it was quite tiresome and embarrassing at times. Sometimes we would be in the park and he would just come over and pull up my shirt for a quick sip, and he always wanted it to go to sleep with. Past a certain point, my milk production started to slow down, so I know it was more for comfort than anything else, and that was fine with me. He eventually gave it up because his older brothers started making fun of him, lol! So that’s how it ended – something akin to telling him he is a big boy now and can start wearing big boy underware. My experience was very positive, and I truly believe that breastfeeding, even past what others think is “normal”, is not only good for mother/child bonding, but the nutritional benefits are fantastic too. It’s definitely a win/win.

  78. I posted above & I forgot one thing. My son was really big for his age. He was over 10 lbs. when he was born & just kept right on growing. When he was in the park playing, mothers often thought he was much older and thought he was too old to be playing with their same age toddlers (afraid he would hurt them). Actually he was a gentle giant and had such a sweet disposition. Also because he was so big, people wondered why he wasn’t walking yet when he was only about 6 months or so! Anyway. because of his size, people really gave me dirty looks when I breastfeed him in public. There’s such a stigma even among many mothers toward women who choose to breastfeed their babies into toddlehood. That needs to change. Also, I wanted to say that just because I had mostly a positive experience, that doesn’t mean I can’t empathize with what others are going through. I can only imagine!

  79. May I just say ‘THANK YOU!’ I am SO there right now! Our soon to be 2 yr old thinks he needs his ‘This’s’ what seems like 5 million times a day! Every time I sit down there he is! He will nurse all night long, all day long if he could! I feel soo very guilty every time I get frustrated that I simply do.NOT.want to nurse! I feel so DONE, but then he gives me a bit of a break and I am better.

    We are looking to wean him during the night right now, so I will be reading, reading, reading your blog!!!!

  80. That is such a comforting and beautifully expressed (no pun intended) post. Thanks.

  81. I found your sharing here from my SO. He said I should read, at least to reassure myself that our L O is perfectly normal. Your stories are such much similar to what I experience. Now, my LO is 14 mo and he is helping himself whenever he wants boobies. Flip my top and latch no matter how. He starts to behave similarly outside and I have learned to say no as I explain the reasons of not. Tough at times to entertain his requests yet grateful that boobies are good enough him a jolly man 🙂

  82. Mom2MaxNLex says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! If I said these things aloud to by nursing friends I feel it would discourage them! They all have babies under 9 months while mine is 14 months. I laughed & cried along with your story. It’s nice to know I’m not alone!

  83. Thanks so much for posting this. I just posted to your wall the other day looking for advice for weaning a demanding toddler that doesn’t require letting her “cry it out”. I’ve so enjoyed being able to breastfeed my booger for so long, but I’m about ready to stop, especially when she won’t eat food or thinks my boob is portable, or yells “boobie” in the grocery store. It is particularly strange to see her noticing other’s boobies too. I have a 22 year old daughter who can not be naked around baby girl, because baby is very interested in what her boobies can do too. I take some criticism for still breastfeeding my little one, from the day care employees to her very own siblings, so it has been a battle to continue so long. I’m so grateful to know that I’m not alone!

  84. This sort of stuff makes me a little secretly glad that my toddler self weaned so much earlier than I ever intended. (I tried to treat it like a nursing strike but she has only once – when baby brother was about a month, she gave about 3 exploratory sucks and has never asked since – shown even the slightest interest in nursing since 13 months, when I tried to push it I just got bit and I finally gave up after a month or two. But she is a VERY independent little soul and it was really no surprise that she lost interest early. Little guy, though, is a very different kid, and I have a feeling he may need actual weaning round about 3ish (purely for my sanity), so this is good to file away in the back of my head as I bet I might need it in a year or so.

  85. Thank you for this lovely post 🙂 My 18 months old son is having same relationship with boobies as you so perfectly describes in your post. Im going through the motions of figuring out if I actually want to stop or not…and seems im rather undecided!!

    Seems like the easy way out to just continue – however, at times when “hating” b/f it seems like a cold turkey is the only way out….

  86. THANK YOU. Thank you so very much! I found this by googling “how to make breastfed toddler stop playing with nipples it’s driving me crazy!” I have been through a couple bouts of thrush, a permanent lazy latch, blisters, smothering, acrobatics while nursing, refusal of any and all bottles and pacifiers and about 7 months of biting hell… Because of all of our issues i have never been one of those “rainbows and unicorns” breastfeeding moms but i marched on. I don’t hate it but its just never been this profound beautiful thing for me. Nothing has made me threaten to give it up until now. I can’t get my 14 month old to stop playing/pinching/twisting my nipples!! And it is driving me insane!! Like I want to grab my boobs back from him and hide them (which I can admit to doing) and if I try to cover the nipple he’s playing with (while he’s nursing from the other) he will stop nursing to cry hysterically and pry my hand away. He has recently come to the conclusion that he cannot nurse unless both boobs are in sight and one must be in his hand (which makes for awkward feedings when I’m not wearing a button up). I just feel uncomfortable. Like… Seriously? Can my personal space be any more invaded? I’m a stay at home mom, he is the worst sleeper in the world and I have to lay with him to even nap, we cosleep at night which means he’s laying on top of me half the time (or else we’d never sleep) and he’s breastfed what feels like around the clock… I get no time to myself. He even opens the bathroom door if I try to pee without him. No personal bubble space. And now I can’t make him stop pinching my damn nipple. It is like nails on a chalkboard and I don’t know how to get him to stop. I don’t complain about him waking up in the middle of the night multiple times to nurse… But the second he reaches for that second nipple I’m like “wtf! Leave me alone!”

    Before reading this I had no idea the acrobatics (360 degree turns while latched and other antics) were normal. I appreciate you enlightening me that we are as much their comfort as the boobs. Our smell, our touch, yes our milk, but all in all its US. Mommy. Your comical approach and knowing that I’m not alone makes me feel like I can keep marching on 🙂

    Ps. I love the boob raspberries. The way he looks up at me with that big ol smile because I’m cracking up… It’s priceless <3

  87. This is absolutely helpful! Im nursing my 26 month old toddler & im just exhausted! I feel a bit guilty that she has cough now & i refuse to nurse her directly! There was like a switch that just flipped that made me dislike the feeling of the lazy toddler latch similar to a finger fiddling with your nipple. It made me cringe & would want to unlatch immediately. I read somewhere that many women started feeling this sensitivity when they got pregnant. Not sure if i am. I feel guilty because she finds it her comfort zone & everything is alright in the world if she’s on the breast. I just dont like it when she even plays with the areola while doing the lazy latch! Ugh! So now moving forward, how did u guys overcome that hate feeling & the sensitivity to the nipple?

  88. Thanks a million or this article, you made me laugh, while also making me feel a whole lot better about my toddler nursing. Your DD may do acrobatics on your boob, but my DS seems to think I am actually least aster woman, stretching my nipple for miles if he can get it that far before I yell ‘ouch’.

    It’s not so much knowing I am nt alone, but needing the reaaurance that its ok what we are goin through and ‘the too shall pass’ and that every stage in their development we will come upon strange phases an unusual behaviuoral traits, but these are the things that make our children unique and those are the thngs that make special and memorable moments in our lives together, the embarrass stories to tell the boyfriends or girlfriends when they get older (yeh ammunition), kidding.

    Leaky Boobs, thanks for sharing it reminds me why I enjoyed it in the beginning and why I should still enjoy breastfeeding still.

  89. I was so glad to find this! I am the mom of a 19 month old who just doesn’t want to stop. I feel bad that sometimes I detest his seemingly constant requests. Thanks for being a voice I recognize and not that of a chastising-earth-mother-type telling me its wonderful and beautiful and he’ll stop when he wants.

  90. Thank you. I really needed to read this right now. I have a 16 month old who is doing all the same things – especially the accosting me every time I sit down! It’s driving me nuts but I was feeling so guilty for not being available for such a simple need for her. All while simultaneously feeling like nobody I know would understand, that they would secretly think I brought it on myself with our ‘crazy’ attachment parenting style. It is so good to know that I’m not alone. And that it will pass. Thank you.


  1. […] Jessica at The Leaky Boob writes an inspiring and comforting post on the struggles and joys of breastfeeding a toddler. […]