My daughter has just turned two. Breastfeeding is still going strong here and we have no plans to stop yet. However, when your child turns two, you expect them to be more independent and breastfeed less. At least that was my expectation.
In January we were away visiting my sister. Believe me, my daughter was feeding much more than her 3 month old cousin! I started to feel overwhelmed but thought this was because we were away from home and she is missing daddy.
Once we returned home, to my surprise nothing changed.
I started to question whether this was normal or not. Was it normal to breastfeed so much at this age or was she just trying to get my attention? Was she feeding just because she was bored or was I not able to meet some of her needs and was she resorting to breastfeeding? For the first time in my breastfeeding career, I felt overwhelmed and tired about it.
Thanks to the internet, I turned to my online community.
I have learned that while some two year olds are happy to breastfeed just a few times during the day, some increase the time they spent at mama’s breast (especially around 2.5 years old as they go through a major development and they need the omega 3 in breastmilk). When I talked about this with our local LLL leader,she kindly brought Nursing Your Toddler to our next meeting. This book is great as it has a section about what to expect past infancy. Kellymom also has a good article about dealing with these “velcro days“.
I have recently read Veronika Robinson’s book, The Drinks are On Me (She is the editor of The Mother magazine). What she wrote really spoke to me.
Breastfeeding in toddlerhood can make the terrible twos, the terrific twos. Breastfeeding allows the child to have comfort during the time in their life when they are discovering they are actually a separate being to mother. They come and go, from us, the matrix, back and forward, back and forward. We provide them with so many things when we breastfeed. Security in a mother’s unconditionally loving arms, drinking liquid love, is something which lives within every cell of a child’s being, and journeys with them through the rest of their life.
Learning my daughter was just going through a stage; I wasn’t doing anything wrong and “this too shall pass” gave a such a relief to me that I started enjoying breastfeeding again. She went back to normal in a few weeks. This made me realise that although she doesn’t look like a baby anymore, she is still my baby who may need to breastfeed quite frequently. Knowing what to expect made all the difference for me.
Isil writes about vegan cooking and attachment parenting at Veggie Way.