Nursing a toddler or full-term breastfeeding can be a difficult season to navigate. Full-term breastfeeding is often described as breastfeeding past infancy or breastfeeding past one. My son just turned 18 months old and we still choose to breastfeed. I figured it was a great time to do an updated breastfeeding journey post, since we have another 6 months under our belt.
I have written several blog posts throughout my journey breastfeeding our son. Breastfeeding past 6 weeks (which in my opinion was the HARDEST part of the journey), past 6 months, and past a year. Looking back on those posts and this journey, I have grown a lot. There are some things and beliefs that have changed, but the one thing that has stayed constant is my commitment to nursing our son until I know in my gut it is time to wean.
Our Breastfeeding Journey
I will keep this recap of our journey short because there are 3 other posts that document the journey well, but I wanted to say upfront that I was the woman who didn’t think I would make it past the first 4 weeks.
In fact, even while I was pregnant I didn’t have full confidence I would be able to breastfeed based on the negative stories, opinions, and input I received from others. Getting to the point in our journey where I have successfully nursed our toddler this long feels like a blessing.
Today I wanted to share what I have learned up until this point. Chances are if you are on this post, you already have a gut feeling you will nurse your child(ren) past age one. OR there are some of you here who are just following along the journey.
5 Tips for Nursing a Toddler
I want to share with you some supportive thoughts and a few more tips, incase I missed them in my previous posts. I think at this stage in the game, most women know why they are nursing past infancy. Sometimes though we need some extra support and ideas.
1. Find Support with Nursing, Even Online
There are excellent support groups out there for women who are breastfeeding. In person is always great, but if you cannot find something in person, find a group online. The Cleavage Club: Breastfeeding Support Group on Facebook helped me so much, especially in the beginning of my journey when we were working out the kinks. Now it has become a place of connection with other women who are extending their breastfeeding journey.
Holistic Moms Network is another great place to find like-minded women. Not everyone is in the same season of life, but a local group could be a great resource for you and offer support. If anything, it is a place to go where you feel like you can nurse your child without anyone having negative things to say.
2. Build your Nursing Friendly Wardrobe
This is still one of the things I think is often missed when sharing about breastfeeding. Choosing and building a wardrobe that is nursing friendly is so important. This has been more challenging for me during the summer months when it is hot and I want to wear breezy clothing.
Pink Blush Maternity Dress Review
I have found a few great pieces at Pink Blush Maternity. When you get to their website, there is a tab specifically for dresses and tops that are nursing momma friendly. It makes it really easy to choose clothes when everything will work for your nursing lifestyle.
I was sent this beautiful lavender dress to review by Pink Blush and I love it! Even if you have been here a short time, you can see lavender is one of my favorite colors!
It has been really difficult for me to wear dresses while nursing my son. If I want to wear a dress, it has to be wrap style so I can easily nurse him while we are away from home.
Since I don’t have a large bust, most wrap dresses tend to gap. This dress definitely didn’t gap. It also wasn’t see-through when the light hit it. A total PLUS! There is a slip layer on the bottom half of the dress. I chose a size small and their clothes run true to size, in my opinion.
If you are looking to building your nursing Momma wardrobe, this is a great spot. They have so many things to choose from and they are affordable. I love this dress and top, too which are still on my list to order!
3. See a Chiropractor
Usually I am all about promoting children visiting the chiropractor, but today I want to give the reminder that Moms need adjustments too.
Nursing a toddler can create a lot of strain on your back, neck, and shoulders. As Moms, we are constantly in “forward motion” leaning, picking up, holding. Adjustments can help keep everything in alignment and help ease any pain or discomfort coming from nursing.
4. Continue to Eat Nutritious Foods
I believe in a whole foods based diet for all women, whether you are nursing or not. However, during the season of nursing a toddler it is important that we are taking care of ourselves, too.
Foods high in healthy fats like avocado, organic nuts, and wild caught fish are great. Plenty of water, since 88% of breastmilk is made up of water. Leafy greens are rich in vitamins A, C, E and K as well as fiber, antioxidants and minerals including calcium. Choose real foods over processed or packaged foods whenever you can. I also add in an organic greens shake every day (or multiple times a day) to make sure I am getting adequate nutrients.
5. Do What Works for Your Nursing Journey
If you are still struggling to find this in yourself, I hope it comes to you soon. My prayer is that you find your confidence in your breastfeeding journey. Maybe you need to do more research, so you can arm yourself with the facts when people throw their opinion at you. The more you know, the more confident you are.
Trust your gut, momma. Even when Aunt Susan is throwing a good round of “You’re still breastfeeding that child?” around, trust you know what you are doing.
If you want to nurse without a cover, do it.
If you want to nurse with a cover, do it.
If you want to nurse your child until you decide to stop, please do it.
Whatever works for you and your family, do it.
A Blessing with Struggles
Nursing our son past one certainly has given me a few struggles to get through. It can become challenging to nurse a child that is more demanding now, in my opinion, than he was when he was an infant. Exhausting is also another word I might use to describe our journey at some points. We have been doing this for 18 months, but as cliche at it sounds it has been worth it all.
I hope you found some inspiration today!