Your baby is suddenly a toddler, you have educated yourself on extended breastfeeding and baby-led weaning and have decided that it's for you. Now that you're in the midst of it, you realize it might not be the cakewalk you thought it would be. Daily Mom is here with the resources and support you need for success.
Surviving the Emotions
One of the biggest hurdles for Moms who decide to nurse their children past their first birthday is probably criticism from others. You may arm yourself with massive amounts of information pointing to how baby led weaning and extended nursing are not only the right decisions for you, but the most popular choices in many cultures around the world.
However, none of that will matter to someone who doesn't share the same ideas about child rearing as you do. Ultimately, you have to be comfortable in the choices you have made as a mother, knowing that what you are doing is what's right and best for you and your child, and you can't worry about how others will view you and your decision.
Overcoming the emotional hurdles is hard enough without having to deal with the logistic issues that arise from nursing a toddler. It's a whole new ball-game from nourishing the little babe you brought home from the hospital over a year ago. That baby wasn't distracted by every little sound, nor did she ever get the urge to suddenly jump up and run after your cat, or try to do gymnastics during a feeding session.
Practical Tips That Work
Utilize nursing clothes to keep from being exposed. You never know when your toddler will decide to turn away from a latch to check out a passing bird or a stranger in the park. We are head over heels in love with Boob Design nursing clothes.
Invest in a nursing necklace. Toddlers tend to nurse for only a few minutes at a time and often spend that time pulling mommy's hair, yanking on mom's shirt or even pinching arms and faces. A nursing necklace will give them something to play with and keep their busy hands occupied while they are feeding, saving your face from getting pinched and your shirt from being stretched out.
Don't let biting get you down. A nursing child with a full set of teeth is probably one of the most feared issues among new moms who plan on breastfeeding. If your child starts biting, there could be a couple different reasons. Sometimes biting occurs because a child is teething. Be sure and provide plenty of safe teething toys (like Ringley's Zooley Natural Teething Toy) to give your baby ample opportunity to sooth his gums on something besides you. The other reason a nursing child may bite is to get a reaction from his mom. A simple solution for this type of biting is to unlatch baby and safely place him away from you for a moment, maybe on the floor or the couch right next to you. Say a gentle no, and then go on with nursing.
For more information on Breastfeeding check out these books:
One of the best things you can do to ensure breastfeeding success with your toddler is to surround yourself with support. Try to find a friend who has either already successfully nursed a toddler or who is currently going through it at the same time. If you can't find a local friend who is practicing extended breastfeeding, seek out online support through blogs, facebook, twitter or e-mail. There are few moms who make the decision to breastfeed after baby's first year of life so don't be afraid to utilize your resources online to help you find a network of like-minded moms who you can turn to for support.
The single most important thing about making the decision to breastfeed your toddler is to be confident in your choice. This decision is one you won't regret. Any time you feel strange for breastfeeding a toddler seek out support to reassure yourself you are making the right choice.
photo credit: The Art of Making a Baby