Top 5 Reasons I Like Breastfeeding a Toddler

Ah, toddlerhood. There are moments I thoroughly enjoy this age of discovery and playfulness. However more often than not I feel completely frazzled by the two second attention span, the constant need to touch, pull, climb, dump, etc. and the “hold me now! put me down! hold me now! put me down!” stage of toddlerhood. Inevitability the demand of “hold me now! put me down!” typically occurs in direct opposition of what is most convenient for mama.  For example at the library it would be much easier if my toddler would let me hold him/wear him so I could check out our books. Nope, not happening. Instead he squirms and screams in my arms until I eventually put him down and gently say “okay but you need to stay close to mama“.  HA! He runs away from me as fast as he can, pulling books off the shelf and giggling hysterically the entire chase. However when we are at home and I would gladly let him run around and pull all of our books off the shelf so I can do whatever, he of course wants to be held.

There are many aspects of toddler development that make this stage particularly challenging for parents. There are days where I actually cannot imagine surviving the intensity of toddlerhood without breastfeeding. Here are the top 5 reasons I like breastfeeding my toddler:

1. It’s the only time I get to sit down and they stop moving. Literally! Although this does backfire on me at times because on the rare occasion I do sit down (without the intention to breastfeed) he of course immediately comes running toward me signing ‘milk! milk!’. The association between “mama sitting” and “time to nurse” is incredibly strong in my little one almost to the point I have to be sneaky about sitting. I confess to periodically hiding in our pantry for a few minutes simply so I can sit down alone.

2. If they are sick and uninterested in foods/liquids….no worries! There have been several times when my little ones have been sick and I am so thankful we practice extended breastfeeding. I am certain it has helped us avoid what could have been serious episodes of dehydration because while they refused foods/liquids they were happily nourished with breastmilk.

3. Makes almost any task far more enjoyable for them. For example my son hates having his nails cut, but if I cut them while he is nursing, he hardly seems to notice. Same with having his hair combed. Actually the hair washing and combing thing got to be so difficult we recently decided it would be easier to buzz his long shaggy locks. About 3 seconds into the haircut, he decided he was done with it. Instead of letting him go around with a random patch of hair shaved off, I offered to nurse him and my hubby was able to finish cutting his hair in peace.




4. I carry a magical, powerful sleep induction tool that is readily available anytime/anywhere! This is hands down my favorite part of nursing a toddler. When we are out and about and he’s tired and cranky, no sweat! Just latch him on and he’s in dreamland shortly thereafter.

5. It relaxes me and connects us. While this kind of goes along with my first reason, it is worthy of separate mention. Beyond the fact that I get to sit down randomly throughout the day, breastfeeding actually releases hormones (Oxytocin and Prolactin) that relax the mother. Nature’s design for breastfeeding is pretty cool, huh? Also the opportunity to positively re-connect with my toddler on a regular basis throughout the day is beneficial, if not necessary to our relationship; because in all honesty mothering a toddler is an intensely exhausting venture! I am exceptionally grateful to have breastfeeding in my bag of tricks!

What do you enjoy about nursing your toddler?


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One Response to “Top 5 Reasons I Like Breastfeeding a Toddler”

  1. Emily B says:

    Great post! I love breastfeeding my toddler, too. It melts my heart when she signs “milk please”!