On Breastfeeding a Toddler

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I’m one of those weird crunchy gals who still breastfeeds her two year-old. I’m just a mom doing what she thinks is best for her family.

In a time of Mommy Wars and Formula v. Boobs, I’m actually optimistic that we’re beginning to cut through the crap and lift each other up more than ever.

Is breast best? No. And by that I mean it’s not for everyone. On the same hand, women aren’t getting they support they need when it comes to the first weeks of breastfeeding, many switching to formula or pumping because they don’t think their bodies are capable when for most women, they are.

But I think most of us can agree we’re all just trying to do what’s best for our children. Unless you expose any part of your breast during feeding or nourish your child past the first year.

My little turned two and a half this month and he still finds nourishment and comfort at the breast. I’ve encountered some resistance and judgement, most of it coming from family members. I nurse exclusively uncovered, even in public, and I’m willing to bet the only people who realize what’s going on are breastfeeding moms. While no one has yet said anything to my face, I have heard some nasty talk, mostly from other moms.

I was once playing with my little guy when a woman I had never met started a conversation with me, asking if he had been breastfed (none of her business) and criticizing those “weirdo hippies” who breastfeed past a year.
breastfeeding a toddler
We’ve all heard the jokes, but why are we poking fun at people’s choices?  I’m not going to advocate for what we do and rattle off statistics because that’s not what is important. The important thing is that we stop and think, “Huh, that’s not the way I did it. It seems to work for them though. Carry on.”

It’s why every time I see a mom breastfeeding in public I thank her for feeding her child without shame. It’s the same reason I’d speak up if I heard someone criticize someone for feeding their child formula.

Yes, I definitely consider myself a lactavist for reasons stated above. I feel this part of the journey is just as important to share because I have found so many moms who breastfeed toddlers for the same reasons I do: it’s comforting, it’s nourishing, and it’s a fail safe for any toddler tantrum. Heck, sometimes it’s the only time I get to sit down in a day!

So the next time you see a mama with a child vocalizing her/his desire for comfort and nourishment, please pause and think. Don’t judge. This mama isn’t causing any harm, and whether or not you would do the same doesn’t matter to her and shouldn’t to you. Smile, and even thank her for being a great mom. We’re all in this together.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I love everything about this post. I also felt the stares and snickers of even thinking of breastfeeding let alone going past 1 year. We were blessed to breastfeed for 1 year and a half. There is definitely not enough support for breastfeeding mamas and the disrespect of it is saddening. I thank you for taking a stand because not many do. I really miss being the go to fixer of all problems and the closeness you get with breastfeeding. I also agree those first few weeks are the hardest for breastfeeding and the support is slim. Thank you for the great read.

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