I’m breastfeeding as I write this.
Yes, I am breastfeeding my cranky 13-month-old for two reasons. She settles down and I have a moment to collect my thoughts. It’s a win-win!
March 20, 2016 is the first day I nursed my baby. She was alert and ready to eat when the doctor placed her in my arms. I soon realized why everyone had warned me about breastfeeding–it hurts in the beginning! My baby had a lip tie, which made things even more painful. After the lip tie was fixed, feedings became much better. I really enjoyed nursing my little newborn. Nursing on demand and pumping was exhausting, but I was happy and baby was happy. It worked for us. Gradually, feedings became less frequent. And once my baby started eating table foods, breastfeeding changed.
I no longer have to decipher her cries. When she wants to breastfeed, she tugs at my shirt. Thanks to this little toddler trick, I’ve learned to wear an extra tank top in public! And when she’s ready to settle down for the evening, she says “ninny,” which is our code word for time to nurse and go to sleep. It’s especially cute when she eagerly brushes my hair out of the way and gives me a hug.
She doesn’t need mom’s milk for nourishment anymore, although it does provide healthful benefits. I can choose to let her nurse when she wants. If I’m not available, she’s easily distracted by books, toys, or singing the long version of “Wheels on the Bus.” If our day is especially tiring or we are traveling, breastfeeding is a convenient way to quickly comfort my little one. Simply put, breastfeeding makes life easier for me. Even with challenges like teething, biting, and having to enforce toddler breastfeeding manners, we are both happy continuing this journey together.
Now I look at this sleeping toddler in my lap and think back to the first time I nursed her. I smile at the countless moments of motherhood that are precious to me. I’ll say it again: I love breastfeeding my toddler.
Originally published May 2017.