You did it!! You made it to a year with breastfeeding! So now what? Are you done with nursing and can’t wait to get back into normal bras? Do you want to keep nursing but are feeling judgement from all around? Regardless of your long term feeding goals, the game changes when breastfeeding beyond a year. Nursing a toddler is completely different than an infant!
Breastmilk is NOT the primary food source
Now that your little is over a year old, breastmilk is no longer their primary food source. Although we recommend nursing first THEN solids when a little one is starting solids, this changes along the way. Your toddler should be getting lots of “real people” food now and those foods make up the bulk of the calories. This is not to say that breastmilk is not good or important for them, because it is. But you can let yourself off the hook a bit 🙂
Time to set limits
We can all remember when our 2 month old cried in hunger and we literally dropped everything to nurse them. But if your little one is over a year, breastfeeding is not that urgent. One of the things our toddlers must eventually learn is “frustration tolerance” and there’s no time like the present.
If you’re in the middle of something important or tending to another sibling, it is totally FINE to tell your toddler that you will be happy to nurse him in a few minutes when you have a moment. Don’t expect him to be happy about it though. Especially if you’ve been dropping everything to immediately meet his needs for a while now. I promise having him wait 5 minutes to nurse is not going to harm him emotionally. And watching you set kind limits will also show your other children that meeting their needs is important too.
Don’t be afraid to enforce manners
As our sweet infants grow into boisturous toddlers, they begin to know what they want and will use every tool at their disposal. And if this means sticking their hands down your shirt while you’re talking to your boss, so be it. Remember that part of teaching our children to set boundaries for themselves is taking the time to show them we respect our own boundaries as well.
It’s never too late to nip those annoying habits in the bud. Know what simple rules you want and enforce them. And if you ask them to please not pinch your other breast when nursing and they do it anyway? Gently detach them and remind them that you will not be able to nurse if they pinch you. Give it a few minutes and try again. Eventually they will learn to respect your needs while nursing. For more information you can check out Breastfeeding Manners on Kellymom.com.