The ‘Funnies’ of Breastfeeding a Toddler
Otherwise known as: Extended Breastfeeding.
Who would have thought?! Period.
I remember one of my biggest shocks after giving birth was how ‘complicated’ breastfeeding was. Complicated being the perfect word.
Part of me wished I didn’t know anything at all, so that I could have just pretended that I was doing everything right and everything was supposed to be the way it was. But instead, all I could hear was, ‘if it hurts, you’re not doing it right,’ ‘she’s using you like a pacifier!’ ‘breastfeed on demand,’ ‘she’s off the charts, breastfeed less,’ ‘make sure she gets that hind milk,’ ‘how many wet diapers has she had?’ ‘she’s not latching right, try holding her this way,’ ‘this way,’ ‘how about this way?!’ Honestly, at one point I had her propped up on 3 couch pillows, in a makeshift football hold, mentally trying to sum up a days worth of poopies and pees, with zero hours of sleep, paranoid about if she’s getting enough hind milk, sitting on my feet in the most awkward position for 30 minutes, wincing in so much pain, I thought, how the hell am I going to keep up with this?!
Yet, somehow I did. And 2 years later, here I am STILL breastfeeding and STILL amazed at how less complicated, but ‘funny’ breastfeeding is.
Now I remember why I started to write this post in the first place. Because today, in Els’ art class, a mother brought in her little 2 month old. A tiny little thing. And the whole time, she just laid there suckling on her mother’s breast, so peacefully, ever so gently grazing her tiny fingers against her mother’s chest. And I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself. Firstly, at how easy she made it look, and secondly, how drastically different it is breastfeeding a baby and breastfeeding a toddler.
Let’s start off with the looks. Everyone looks at a baby breastfeeding with the automatic head tilt, oohing and aahing, sighing and curling their lips in that ‘oh, so adorable’ form, while clutching their hands to their forever warmed hearts. When they see a 30 pound 2 year old doing the same, people are still clutching their hearts alright. IN shock.
Here’s the thing. Breastfeeding my toddler is not easy to say the least. Besides the comments, the looks, my tired body, she is quite demanding, vocal, and not willing to give it up any time soon. She is no longer lying still nor is she always gazing up at me with those loving, locking eyes. But instead, she is a downward dogging, yoga infused, acrobatic wrestling gymnastic fiend, clawing, grabbing, head-butting, elbowing, greedily alternating, remarkable, expert in the field. She’s like a skilled pick pocketer, but with the boobs. Sometimes, I have no idea how she got it, but she did.
99 percent of the time, we do it in the privacy of our own home, but there are times when we aren’t or can’t, and it is those times where I feel like saying: “Have you ever tried covering up a 2 year old?” It’s like a never-ending, not-so-happy game of peek-a-boo, where she wants to and will inevitably stay completely BOO. Which comes to my next question: “Have you ever breastfed a 2 year old?” It’s just not the same as nursing a baby, and you can’t expect it to be as it comes with its own set of intricacies. And if anyone, or anything comes in between her and my boob, somehow the whole world will have to pay for it. Like I said, it is just a completely and totally different and funny experience all on its own.
For those of you who read this entire post thinking you were going to get some helpful, informative advice on the benefits of extended breastfeeding and feel quite gypped, fear not! Here’s a great link that tells you all the reasons why, we do this!