Am I breastfeeding a toddler?

I suppose I should start with defining what a toddler is to me. I thought that toddler was really around the age of 2-3 and maybe even in nursery. Then I was minding my own business when suddenly it was thrust upon me that Ivy if walking (toddling) should really be a toddler.

I was aghast!

In one word you had taken my baby from me. I have now accepted that. It’s okay.

Now I am breastfeeding a toddler in the eyes of many more than I had realised. I haven’t been super vocal on breastfeeding of late and that was because we were going through some issues ourselves. Ivy had one day decided that breasts were no longer her thing. She wanted what Middle Kid had. Ivy lunged for the sippy cups, the beakers and the spouts. She was more entranced by the bright plastic than by my slightly brown, over-chewed, droopy nipples. To me, this was unacceptable. I didn’t believe she was finished, I knew I wasn’t and my breasts were red and sore, which took me all the way back to the early days waiting for her to feed and relieve me of my milky burden.

She obviously needed time to explore other options, we were now in an open breasted relationship – great.

I pumped (which I hate) and she refused it, I massaged my saggy milk sacks under a hot shower for hand expression (which I find much better) and took fenugreek to help me out while I was cast aside like a used napkin.

I felt quite dejected, she didn’t need or want me in the same way and there was no warning. During the time not feeding, she would request to lie on my bare chest, she still did the pumping action she did when drinking because she has always been impatient and she still wanted relax in my arms in the same position we used for feeding but she didn’t want the milk. This was awful, my breasts would ache for every minute she was sitting there. On the occasion she did feed, which was usually if she had woken in the night or just woken up it was the fast top-ups I had been used to and I thought we were back on track but alas no, we weren’t. Poor stupid breasts had no idea what was going on.

My breasts are idiots and forever hopeful

Now here we are, three weeks later, my supply is a little lower but still great and she has started feeding again. She has short deep feeds, there are teeth which I have decided to ignore. Yes, she has bitten me on more than one occasion and while teething she grinds her top and bottom jaws together – horrendous. She walks her feet along my arms and places her feet on my face, she sticks her hand in my armpit, I get a finger shoved up my nose, she opens my eyes with a pincer like grip if I should fall asleep, sometimes she digs her toes in and bounces up and down.

Sometimes her latch is lazy because she has been drinking water from a cup, sometimes she is sleepy, dozy and sweet.

I knew that things would change and we wouldn’t be in the exclusive phase forever, I knew that food would change us and I knew that when she found her feet it would change again, but never did I imagine that I would need to hand express in a hot shower while trowing back fenugreek to continue a journey that we both obviously weren’t ready to finished yet. I also didn’t expect to feel like I do. I was prepared to rent a hospital grade pump to make sure that when she was ready to come back that she would have something to come back to.

Our feeding has changed, and I am happy that we managed to get beyond a year but more than that I am happy to get beyond one of our biggest struggles to date with breastfeeding.

What age do you class a toddler? Were you like me and woke up one day to have no babies left?

Zara

4 thoughts on “Am I breastfeeding a toddler?

  1. I guess I always count a toddler as a child who literally can toddle – but then Alex could toddle at 9 months and he was still a baby – so I have no idea! I think on Alex’s first birthday when he ran up to me for a breastfeed I had that ‘oh s**t, I’m now breastfeeding a toddler’ moment. He self weaned at 22 months when I was 6 months pregnant – I do wonder if he would still be feeding now if I hadn’t been pregnant!

    1. Yeah see! It’s a tough one I think. As a mother I don’t want to acknowledge my baby is no longer a baby but at the same time if she is walking, is she really a baby anymore?! Confusion land! He probably would be, I think they naturally do it for as long as possible.

  2. I love this post. Another toddler breastfeeder not ready to stop just yet – yay! Like finding a needle in a haystack sometimes. The feet in your face, the biting, hair pulling, it can get a bit much sometimes, but it’s so lovely when they snuggle right in.
    Well done for continuing and for the dedication in keeping up your supply!
    Bx

  3. Awwww … what a lovely post. Breastfeeding struggles comes in all shapes and sizes, doesn’t it? And at different ages too; not just in the early days. I had the baby / toddler confusion too when my little started exploring walking very earlier than his friends. I’ve settled with the view that a toddler has arrived when a baby starts to toddle. 🙂 I’m hoping mine will self wean when I’m ready … lol. Really, thanks for sharing your experience, it’s insightful. #aNoviceMumTwitterFeed

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