The Truth about Nursing a Toddler

I have a confession:
 I still nurse my 19 month old toddler and yes I plan to continue until she self weans. 

It seems like it’s a dirty secret that I should be ashamed of and only whisper about in a darkened alley way. I feel judged as if it makes me less than a mother because I continue to let her nurse. How dare I to continue to treat her as an infant, isn’t she supposed to be like driving a care or getting a job now? 
Around here in this small town it is seen as a sin against nature or I’m some kind of deviant abusive woman for allowing my toddler to suckle. I don’t even dare bring up the topic in polite conversation for fear of the looks of disapproval and automatic withdraw from my company. If the topic happens to be broached I feel myself trying to justify my choice or down play the frequency, as if only nursing at night makes it better. The truth of the matter is, I feel the need to justify or conceal my choice to breast feed my toddler. That is the real truth I should feel shame over. Why should I care what the judgmental opinionated people care?

Why should I be ashamed of trying to provide what I feel is best for my child? 

Is this not the child I carried inside of me for 43 weeks (yes, 43) while attending twice a week fetal stress tests? 
Is this not the child I woke up and nursed every 2 hours for 11 months till she learned to sleep 4 hours at a time?
Is this not the child I have rejoiced over every success and milestone ever since she was born?

This is my child. My heart. My life. I would never do anything to hurt her or to prohibit her growth. I have done the research. I know the benefits of extended nursing. I will do what I feel is best for her. I will not let someone else tell me what is best for my own children.

Living in a small town is sometimes like living in a house of mirrors where everyone’s thoughts are a mirror of someone else’s. There is the same doctors, same teachers, and same out of date literature that they have all been subjected to. So it is this over shared out of date knowledge that I fight against today. From people at work all the way to family members. There is just little to no encouragement for a nursing mother of a toddler as in the popular opinion on their 1st birthday they are supposed to be cold turkey weaned happy and drinking pinto bean juice out of a sippy cup.

So with that being said, I will give my support to those who are also in the position I am in.
You Go Momma!! 

For one thing, I don’t want to discourage anyone from doing whatever they feel is best. Wean if you want to, formula feed if you want to, do what is best for you and your family. A happy mother makes a happy baby. While a fed baby makes a content baby which in turn makes a happy mother. 

From my point of view
The realities of nursing a toddler:

First and foremost, Toddlers have teeth and a lot of them. Sometimes (ok truth is it’s more often than not for us) they bite. Does it hurt? Well take one of the most sensitive parts of your body and then using a pair of pliers….. well you get the picture. YES it hurts! Get over it, it is going to hurt but the pain doesn’t last long and the benefits your giving your child will last a lifetime. 

Toddlers are little pent up balls of energy beings who tend to get distracted. If she doesn’t want to nurse, I don’t make her. She is growing fine and from the amount of pull ups we go through, I know she is peeing well. She eats tons of solids and drinks other drinks. She is not completely dependent upon her mommy milk, she just doesn’t want to let it go. It is more out of comfort than nutrition at this stage of our nursing relationship.

There is something I like to call Toddler Nursing Yoga. This phenomenon is quite the spectacle and takes months of preparing for the level of skill I have seen. She will latch on while laying down and then maneuver herself over my shoulder and head in such a way that eventually she ends up standing on her head without ever letting go.

Another fact is she will figure out something to play with while nursing because it is physically impossible for her to just lay there and nurse. She maybe nursing on one side, but she will be pinching, scratching, or slapping the other out of boredom.  

So with the pain, discouragement, and fear of teeth, is it worth it?


Did you nurse and for how long? 

This Post was written by Becka M.

I’m just a multi-passionate Christian mom of three, who sews, crochets, crafts, and creates printable and educational materials. I love working in photography, digital art, graphics, and all things crafting. The LORD is my guide as I blog about my life.

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51 thoughts on “The Truth about Nursing a Toddler

  1. Well written Becka. I’ve been in the same boat and I so agree, do what you feel is best. God didn’t make you that child’s mom for no reason. You are the best mom that child could have got.

    Oh and… I found you from Twitter… liking your blog and you around. 🙂

  2. I wanted to say Momma You ROCK. I nursed my daughter until she was 2 1/2. I also got the looks and all of that and stood strong, To this day (8 years later) I miss that look in her eyes of total trust, love and that I am her everything. I think its great you are doing this for her but also for you. Keep up the awesome work

  3. Breastfeeding is “offensive” no matter how long you do it. I breastfeed both of my girls excusively when they were infant. every body and their mama felt it was their right to tell me that my kids weren’t getting proper nutrition, based on the fact I’m very tiny I can’t possibly make enough milk to feed a child.
    the same tiny body who made the child SMH!

    Do what is best for you baby as long as you want to! beside every nursing session = 1 hour of gym time LOL

  4. Certainly not a dirty secret! Don’t feel ashamed! Just like any child, everyone has different needs. She will weans when ready 🙂

  5. I have to applaud you for still nursing! You know what is best for you and your girl! I am at three months and it has gotten a lot harder since I went back to work.

  6. I know what you mean. I love that I can make her feel better when she is sad or in pain. 🙂 Thank you

  7. I know what you mean. She has always been so little and they were all blaming me but she is healthy and happy. :)LOL that is good to hear because I don’t go anywhere near a gym.

  8. I did not nurse, and I was ashamed to say that! It never seemed to work for us, though I will definitely be trying again with baby two, when the time comes. You should never feel ashamed about what you do if you feel it’s best for your child. To each their own, and so many people forget that. I am sorry you have to deal with such judgmental people. Know that you have a world of support here! I totally applaud any mom who sticks with nursing, especially extended nursing. Wishing you all the best. 🙂

  9. Your little one is still so young! I’m absolutely baffled and irritated that we live in a culture where you have to feel apologetic for doing what’s best for you and your child. Good for you!

  10. Love it! I love reading other moms who nurse their toddlers! My youngest is 26 months old and is still nursing. Not often, mostly in the mornings, AND I’m 34 weeks pregnant. The pliers thing made me chuckle, because it’s even worse with being pregnant, lol. Not sure if she’ll finally wean completely once baby is here, but if not, I’m totally fine with tandem nursing. I love my little girl and that bonding time is still precious to me.

  11. I’m not a mom yet, but this was an interesting read. I think it’s always important to do what is best for your child and not what society makes you think is best.

  12. There’s always going to be those people that scathe at the idea of nursing a baby, nursing a toddler, and nursing in public. I don’t understand it…at all. I nursed Dylan for 8 months and would have gone longer but he was sick of me. It started with him biting me and then became a full-fledged refusal to be breastfed. It’s the best thing for our kids so people need to get over it and look the other way. You go momma! Regardless of the yoga (LOL) & distractions, it’s definitely worth it

  13. I did with my daughter until 22 months much like how you daughter as she wanted always before bed…my son was the total opposite at about 5 or 6 months it was a loosing battle to get him to suck for more then 2 minutes…so I pumped and we did bottled breast milk until 18 months.

  14. No children yet but I know some mothers that breastfeed for 1 month and some that did for 2 years. I think it all depends on the mother and child.

  15. My son is adopted and we tried to find a milk bank, but it did not work out. I am envious of you folks that could breastfeed, and it makes me so angry that non of my sister-in-laws would. They are backward people in that regard.
    More power to you mom!

  16. My son weaned himself at 13 months. I think he would’ve gone longer, but I was working really odd hours and he just started to fill up on cow’s milk and wasn’t interested in nursing when I came home. I’m sorry people haven’t been more supportive!

  17. My husband was nursed until 2. I was nursed until one. In my house, if you can verbally ask for it, you’re done and we’re working on big kid foods and drinks only. However, a former director of mine nursed her daughter until she was EIGHT. It screwed her teeth up, and she would do it in the MIDDLE OF REHEARSAL. I’m a fan of doing what’s best for you and your child, but even that was a bit much in public.

  18. My kids are/were formula fed because there was so much stress and difficulties with breastfeeding that I couldn’t deal. I’m not ashamed to say that though. I don’t have the same experiences so I cannot tell someone when they should stop with the breast. I personally don’t think I could do it past 2 years old though. They are too independent and can eat and drink on their own by then.

  19. Good for you – don’t ever feel ashamed for doing what you think is best for your kids. It’s what us mommas are made for, after all!

  20. It makes me sad that we live in a world where moms are so quick to disparage each other. I’m all for encouraging moms! So keep on keeping on! 🙂

  21. I nursed my oldest until he was 2.5 (and that was thru a pregnancy and tandem nursing with his younger brother). My middle until he was 18 months and my youngest until he was 18 months. I’m wondering if my oldest wouldn’t have self-weaned at 18 months too if his brother hadn’t been born when he was that age. But in any case, it worked for us.

  22. Great honest post, thanks for sharing! Don’t ever be ashamed of doing something great for your children. The world will judge us no matter what, keep doing what you are doing. 🙂

  23. i nursed my littlest until she was 27 months. i was getting ready for her to be done, and then the last time she nursed i didn’t know it would be her last and i was sad she was done. its a great gift we give them!

  24. That’s small towns for you. I nursed both of my girls for as long as I wanted and enjoyed every moment of it. Don’t let anyone else bother you, like you said you’re the momma.

  25. You go girl! This would not work for me, but I think there it’s unacceptable to tell someone when to to stop breastfeeding. I wouldn’t say anything to a mother who feeds her child french fries everyday either, because my life choices are jus that: mine. I can’t stand the judgement on both sides when it comes to parenting: too many moms think they are right about everything!

  26. Moms should never feel ashamed doing what they feel is best for their child. Everyone has their own opinion and no one should make someone feel bad about their choice. I had to stop nursing my son at 8 months due to 3 mastitis’s that occurred…I was sad and was hard on myself for having to stop.

  27. Sharing your post with a friend that has a one year old – I am sure she will like reading your post. She breast feeds her son.

  28. Good for you. I nursed my last one until she was over two. Please be careful about her teeth though. My daughter got nursing mouth and her teeth decayed. They say to include some kind of calcuim to protect their teeth.

  29. I never understood why people are so sensitive and offended by breast feeding. It’s as though mothers just started doing this out of thin air in the past decade, which isn’t the case. There isn’t anything wrong with it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but you should never defend yourself for doing what is best for your little one.

  30. It has been about 15 years since I breastfed! To be honest, I don’t recall that much about it, except that my daughter liked to bite…not exactly the best memories. LOL!

  31. My DIL is nursing her 8mos old and gets looks and comments all of the time. I’m amazed at how well she handles it with grace and still continues to do what she thinks is best. Big kudos to her too, for it. 🙂

  32. I really wanted to nurse my son but I had a C-Section and he was in ICU so between him not being able to leave and me not being able to get out of bed in a wheel chair to go see him it was hard. Day 2 we tried but he had that instant gratification from the bottle and wanted nothing to do with it. I wish I would have been able to nurse him. I plan to nurse our next!

  33. We will always be judged by someone regardless of what choices we are making. Enjoy your baby! She’s only small once.

  34. I nursed my son until he self-weaned a couple of days after his second birthday. I felt the same way about needing to hide it because some people gave me a hard time about it. I think you’re awesome, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks!

  35. I live in Peru, and it’s such a different atmosphere here around nursing. It’s completely normal to see a woman sitting in the park or in a mall and nurse. say keep doing what ever feels best for you and your baby – haters gonna hate, and if it wasn’t the nursing they’d find something else to judge you about.

  36. We’re at 34 months (yes, almost3!) and showing no signs of slowing down. I can tell you the biting gets better, but the yoga gets more active! Hang in there though, it is worth it.

  37. This.Is.AWESOME! My baby is ten months old and we are still going strong. I self-weaned at 3 years, my brother did at 2.5. The first few weeks, even months, were tough but we made it through with wonderful support and now we will keep going until she wants to stop. Good for you for keeping it up!

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