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3 Reasons I Love Breastfeeding My Toddler

Affiliate Disclosure | in Motherhood | by | with 73 Comments

So, I Have This Friend . . .

Who had to take her 15 month-old hunk of chubby goodness – also known as Myles – in for blood tests. Explaining needles was not all that effective so there was, um, struggling. And crying. And a frantic search for the breast – which of course my friend lovingly offered.

“Mama, I’m too old for that.”

Now I know what you’re thinking, smart kid to be talking in complete sentences at fifteen months! And even smarter to overcome his instinct for comfort better than most adults and be a “big boy,” right? Um, nope.

Those words came from the ventriloquist in the corner – the tech holding a crimson vial of Myles’ blood. Apparently, the “he’s too old for it if he can ask” was too liberal . . . she’d made it her mission to be an “advocate” for pre-verbal infants everywhere who are, ahem, too old to nurse but too young to say so. Hmmm.

That’s why – drumroll – I’m so excited to be nursing a toddler again!!! Okay, he’s more like a wobbler at this point, but still I’m pretty excited. Why, you ask?

Reason #1: Other Parents Ask The Most… Interesting Questions!

Like, don’t I know that I’ll make my child gay, or uber-clingy, overly aware of “sexuality” or maybe just plain embarrassed? Apparently, I do not. But I do know two more fantastic reasons to breastfeed into the second year of life and beyond!

Reason #2: Quotes For The Baby Book

Too old if they can ask for it? No way . . . that’s just when it gets funny! Children use a variety of ways to ask for milk  – everything from Cream & Sugar to “Quiero Lechita.” Or, they can say nothing at all! “My daughter just makes this really surprised face with her mouth in an O, it’s pretty funny, oh or she just starts digging around in my shirt!” said M, who designed the adorable barrette in this post.

Reason #3:Fewer Medical Interventions (Really)

The Great Potamus Pukefest of 2009 was full of chunky barf. And foamy barf. And, wait, you probably don’t want me to go there. Let’s just say Katie was tossing A LOT of proverbial cookies.

How she found the means to puke I’ll never know, because the girl refused to sip water or eat so much as a cracker for over 24 hours. This, friends, is when nursing a toddler is so much more than a parlor trick, or a hippie choice, or something “those moms” do. It’s one of those things that can truly be called a lifesaver in many parts of the world.

[pullquote_right]The World Health Organization says that “a modest increase in breastfeeding rates could prevent up to 10% of all deaths of children under five: Breastfeeding plays an essential and sometimes underestimated role in the treatment and prevention of childhood illness¹[/pullquote_right]A lifesaver? Seriously? Oh yes! Here we have interventions. We have doctors and needles and IV’s. But what do people in other parts of the world have? They have the boob. Breastmilk is incredibly soothing to the digestive tract. When a child is ill it can be even safer than water that could contain pathogens (milk can contain pathogens, too, but it will also contain the antibodies to fight them).

And most importantly, it prevents mild dehydration from escalating into something more serious (like shock, seizures or losing consciousness). Actually, that’s wrong. The MOST important thing is that it is often accepted when everything else fails.

So while the local ER was blessed with the sweet faces of  dehydrated little ones who could not be coaxed with a sippy cup, the Potamus house went low tech. I nursed. And I nursed. And then, I nursed some more.

My body delivered homespun antibiotics specifically made for the virus that was raging through Katie’s body, combined with a generous helping of nourishment and comfort. Thanks to breastfeeding, my toddler’s sickness was over in a snap. No drama. No tears. Just cuddles while I gorged myself with cheese to help me keep up my supply. :)

So There You Have It!

Three random reasons to breastfeed into the second year of life and beyond. And of course there’s that stuff about how milk changes over the course of nursing to meet the needs of a developing child (milk from women who have been nursing longer than one year has a substantially higher fat content – which is exactly what they need).

Also, a study done by the Pediatric Clinics of North America estimates that in the second year of life (12-23 months), 448ml of breast milk provides:

  • 29% of energy requirements
  • 43% of protein requirements
  • 36% of calcium requirements
  • 75% of vitamin A requirements
  • 76% of folate requirements
  • 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
  • 60% of vitamin C requirements²

That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for AT LEAST a year and “beyond for as long as mutually desired, the World Health Organization “emphasizes the importance of nursing up to two years of age or beyond.” Yada yada yada.

Okay, enough from me! What do YOU think about the increasing number of moms who are breastfeeding into the second year and beyond?

Note: This photo of Micah and I was taken by Mae Burke Photography <3





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73 Responses to 3 Reasons I Love Breastfeeding My Toddler

  1. Holly says:

    I think it’s awesome! I nursed my youngest til he was three! One of our docs told me there were no “benefits” to extended nursing I just ignored him and continued …. no biggy plus people don’t seem to realize that with extended nursing it’s not the same as when babies born, they don’t nurse every two hours for long stretches anymore but there are still benefits.

  2. Rachel Israel via FB says:

    what i think is that our country is warped for discontinuing extended bf’ing

  3. Courtney Nelson Pope via FB says:

    I had a nurse in the hospital where I had my 2 year old almost insist that I give my sweet little Britain formula because she was quite fussy after breastfeeding. I knew she was ok and I wasn’t about to let someone tell me what they thought I needed to do to quiet my fussy newborn. I was stern with her and told her that I would not be supplementing! A few days later, we found out Britain had a broken collar bone!!! Hence the fussy newborn who was content with my milk just in pain cause no one checked the 9pm 13 oz baby that was delivered vaginally for a broken collar bone! I was livid!! I breastfed Britain for 2 years and I never had to supplement with formula! Comments from strangers like “mommy, I’m too old for that” makes me so angry!!

  4. Jen says:

    The reason #1 is really silly. Research has indicated that kids are more secure in their sexuality and self-esteem when they receive lots of love and affection and are even (gasp) breastfed for a long period.

    I love nursing my toddler. Is not always as comfortable now, with being pregnant, but always having a “safe” food on hand with a toddler who can’t eat many foods still, and a easy way to comfort, and special bond for quiet time…

  5. Natural Childbirth World via FB says:

    I think we should stop judging people about what age is appropriate – it’s just harmful and what we accept as normal is totally unusual in other countries

  6. Bethany Roth via FB says:

    Love it! My son nursed until 3.5. =D My daughter, on the other hand, quit at 8 months. :-(

  7. Kirsten Ayde Garza via FB says:

    nursed by daughter until she was 22 mo and self weaned. she hasnt had to go to the doctor since before she was a year old, she just turned 3 last week. breastmilk is so healthy. it’s like a natural medicine that helps protect their immature immune systmes. too many people think formula is an equivilant to breastmilk and think it isnt neccessary after one year. breastmilk can not be duplicated, it is not the same.

  8. Erica Kimberlin via FB says:

    I think its wonderful.. Moving away from ‘mainstream’ in prenatal care, birthing, breastfeeding and carseat safetly is great news to my ears:-)

  9. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    Courtney Nelson Pope – The mask threw me so I had to double check that this is THE Courtney Nelson from junior high, yay! Love that you breastfed for so long! Not surprised, though, you’ve never been much of a follower :_ So glad you stuck to your guns with that nurse – if I were a newborn with a broken collarbone I’d at least want the breast milk with painkillers!

  10. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    Natural Childbirth World – Agreed!

  11. Amanda Nordstrom via FB says:

    I wish I could nurse. Alas.

  12. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    Bethany Roth – Wow, that’s a huge divergence! Any thoughts on why that you’d like to share? I’d love to learn more

  13. Ty-Megan Gross via FB says:

    My 2yo is keeping up my supply for pumping for her tube fed sister! A benefit I never considered until our current situation.

  14. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    Kirsten Ayde Garza – Well said! And so true :)

  15. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    Erica Kimberlin Car seat safety? Tell me more . . .

  16. Gina Snyder via FB says:

    I think it’s wonderful :) Kaiden is 15 months and I hope there no sight of him stopping any time soon

  17. Erica Kimberlin via FB says:

    advocate, extended rfing past the 1 year/20 pound law (rfing till at least 2 is preferred) extended harnessing, keeping children 5 point harnessed past the 4 yrs/40 pounds most states req and encouraging basic education on carseat position/install, proper chest clip and strap location as well as the correct ways to use the latch system (there are weight limits) and when to use the seat belt.. I am shocked by how many people never read their manual, don’t follow state laws, and even turn their child forward before a year. So many people haven’t even heard of extending rfing and Ehing, its so much safer and you don’t have to do anything but leave them where they are at each stage longer. Many I have talked to believe its too expenive bc higher weight limit seats usually cost more but really you pay more buying an infant seat, convertable seat for rfing when they are too heavy for the carrier, possibly another forward facing seat and then a booster..

  18. Bethany Roth via FB says:

    I have to step away from the computer, but I will definitely reply later. =)

  19. CHEESESLAVE via FB says:

    I think it’s great! However, I don’t think it’s a good idea to have babies too close together and do extended breastfeeding. Babies should be spaced at least 3 years apart. No traditional cultures had their babies too close together — it was taboo.

    • Mae says:

      That’s a pretty outrageous statement. My midwife says that the most common times their breastfeeding mothers get pregnant is between 9 & 18 months.
      And what are you referring to as “traditional?”
      “Irish twins” refer to babies that are so often born in Irish Catholic families, dating pre-colonization, exactly 18 months apart.

      • Rachel says:

        She is referring to the research of Weston A. Price. He found that many traditional societies made sure to have children at least 3 years apart. Not doing so led to mineral, vitamin, and other deficiencies for both mother and subsequent babies. Also, traditional peoples went to great lengths to make sure both young women and young men got excellent highly nutrient dense super foods (such as liver, roe, etc.) prior to conception (yes, even the future fathers) and that mothers were fed these super nutrient dense foods throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.

        • Stephanie says:

          Rachel this is a very smart statement that I also agree with. I have his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration and you are spot on.

    • Brittany says:

      I would agree with Mae. What is your basis for this statement? And are you implying that a woman should do what she can to keep from having babies closer than 3 years apart?

    • Anna D says:

      I have to agree and support Cheeseslave’s statement. By ‘traditional’ she means indigenous people. And they indeed naturally kept away from getting pregnant for a min of 3 years, in some cultures up to 5. The reason is that the women’s body needs at least 3 years to restore the balance of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients essential for conceiving a healthy baby, in order to give the maximum boost to that baby. If I am not mistaken this info contains among others in Dr Weston A Price’s book and also in Ramiel Nigel’s Healing Our Children.

    • Rebekkah Smith says:

      I also find that a lot of toddlers naturally wean themselves when their momma gets pregnant. That’s what happened with my first. No longer interested and just stopped when I was 6 weeks pregnant.

      • Heather says:

        I’ve heard that happens sometimes, but my dd was not daunted when I got pregnant. Nursed happily all the way through!

  20. CHEESESLAVE via FB says:

    I think it’s great! However, I don’t think it’s a good idea to have babies too close together and do extended breastfeeding. Babies should be spaced at least 3 years apart. No traditional cultures had their babies too close together — it was taboo.

  21. Michelle McCoy says:

    What’s funny about stoping when they can ask for it is, if you stop and think about it they have been asking for it since birth. What do people think they cry for?? LOL

    • Rosebriars says:

      I’ve always thought ‘if they can ask for it they’re too old’ is ridiculous. Do we stop feeding our children when they get old enough to ask for food? Or changing their diaper when they’re old enough to tell us they need it? Or deny them any other thing they need that we provided when they were pre-verbal just because they can now express it?

  22. Genevieve Mama Natural says:

    Love it! Cherish each time Griff nurses as I know it won’t last forever. I do miss the days when he was exclusive but that’s just cuz I don’t want him to grow up too fast. LOL!

  23. Kate says:

    I breastfed all six of my children until age two or beyond for a few of them. I still miss it. It was a relationship builder, a health and wellness booster, and a brain builder. My youngest daughter is just now turning 18 (Nov.16th) She’s top of her class and hoping to go to Princeton. The next one up just finished his BS in computer science and was immediately snatched up for a free ride to get his doctorate at UGA, all expenses paid and a thousand dollar a month stipend. The next one up is a CPA and she’s always been a math genius. the next one up is a labor and delivery nurse…do I have you attention yet? They are all happy, healthy, intelligent adults and when people ask me how they got that way, which happens quite frequently, I tell them breastmilk and years of reading to them. They look at me like I’m crazy…but it’s true.
    By the way, that lab tech ought to be reported. Nobody in the health care field should be allowed to get away with that kind of behavior.

    • Heather says:

      Yes, you definitely have my attention! Love this comment SO VERY MUCH I think I’ll have to quote you somewhere (not sure where yet, but somewhere!) And you’ll be happy to know that the lab tech was reported. :)

  24. Amanda says:

    I really encourage it. After all, it’s only more ‘civilised’ cultures that don’t breastfeed or have a shorter nursing time. If I could breastfeed, I’d probably do it at least two years.

  25. Kirsten says:

    I love “extended” breastfeeding! I’m nursing my 10 mo as I type! 😉 I also nurse my 26 mo daughter a couple times a day. She just popped up on my lap for a little fly-by nurse. :) I love the closeness and the bond breastfeeding gives us. My favorite comment from her thus far was one time after she nursed she told me it was “good for sipping!” hehe

    I do have a question for you, though, Heather. So I’m still nursing both, and I’m now 9 weeks pregnant! Yay! (I guess I fit into the “taboo” category above, lol.) Does it seem like it would be beneficial to wean the 2 yo so the 10 mo has the most nutrients available as my milk changes (and diminishes) during pregnancy? I guess I plan to wean at some point, as I don’t know about tandem nursing 3 kiddos. Hmmm, just curious as to your thoughts. Thanks! :)

  26. Amy says:

    I loved breastfeeding my toddler, and I fully intend on breastfeeding the next one into toddlerhood, too.

  27. Margo says:

    I think extended breastfeeding should be encouraged. As time goes on the more verbal i become for pro breastfeeding. Mommas who extend breastfeed should be encouraged and educate themselves in order to educate others who question their choice to extend breastfeed! Those (like the lab tech) who give out unwarranted comments are just uneducated. If they really knew how beneficial extended breastfeeding was they might become advocates.

  28. TreaSon Holdings via FB says:

    37 months! :) all of 4 minor colds her entire life…

  29. dana says:

    coming up on 40 months of [ecological] breastfeeding (one child)! i think i read somewhere that older nurslings don’t nurse as often (every two hours), but mine did — for quite a while. in fact, i remember feeling like she nursed nearly as much as a toddler, as she did as a newborn!! i am grateful for the many times nursing provided nourishment and comfort, where a child in a similar situation, who wasn’t breastfed, experienced more pain or severity of illnesses than my daughter did (if that makes sense). nursing was especially helpful to us when a friend’s suv slipped out of park, in our driveway, and knocked my then 27 month old under the wheel and pinned her under the vehicle!! i pumped for days to keep up my supply (which was a feat in itself). when my daughter wasn’t allowed anything by mouth, and when she finally could nurse again, it is ALL she wanted to do! i can’t even imagine how she would have done, without nursing. she healed so quickly (she had A LOT of damage)! it was a miracle, and i truly believe breastfeeding her helped her to heal so well :)

    i think it would help to stop using the term “extended,” and start calling it full-term nursing. extended implies it [breastfeeding after age 1] is not totally necessary, or an extra. breastfeeding past 12 months is most certainly necessary for proper growth and development. it is in no way an extra, or not needed. i am doing what is natural, and normal, for our species — i am breastfeeding my daughter until she weans, on her own. it is quite unnatural for children to be prematurely weaned, or fed an artificial chemical substitute. if more mothers breastfed, especially to term (full-term), we (generalized) wouldn’t have lost the knowledge that previous generations had about breastfeeding. more moms would know what’s normal, they’d know about the normal course of breastfeeding — what to expect *and* how to handle the issues some moms face; there would be a better attitude towards breastfeeding (and those who didn’t breastfeeding would be the “abnormal” ones); there would be wet-nursing and shared nursing (formula would truly be used as intended — for the rare minority); children would get sick less and/or illnesses would be less severe; we would be healthier/obesity would be less rampant (as would other illnesses); bonds would be stronger — parenting would be more attached; and we, as a whole society, would be a bit more intelligent. :)

    also – someone mentioned that the spacing of children should be at least 3 years apart. i have also heard this. it is better for the children and the mother to space children 3-5 years apart. here is a link to a site with information as to why it is better to wait at least 3 years before conceiving:

  30. Amy says:

    My friend who kept asking me when I was going to stop feeding my almost 2 year olds was the very same friend who gave a bottle to her babies until 5 years old. What is a bottle, after all, but a breast substitute?! I LOVE breastfeeding!!!

  31. Anna D says:

    Almost 3 years old and still breatsfeeding, by the way. Breastfed babies are indeed the healthiest. My friend who also has 3 year old but stopped bstfeeding at around 6 months as is a common practice here in UK recently asked if my son ever been to a hospital for anything I said no and she was stunned.

  32. Lori says:

    I nursed my last baby to three years old. People were amazed :) If I could go back, I would nurse every one of my babies that long. I <3 nursing, and so do my babies!

  33. Rebekkah Smith says:

    I’m nursing my one year old still, but I’m ready for a break! I need a night ALONE. I feel like I’m going nuts.

    • Heather says:

      So sorry, Rebekkah. I’ve been there. Hugs to you <3

    • Rosebriars says:

      I can sympathize. Although I intended to nurse all my children until they were at least 18 months (random self-generated number) I weaned them by 13 months for a number of factors. With the third baby I was just done, it felt like a chore, and she wasn’t all that into it.

      It sounds like your nursling is still in bed with you in the middle of the night. If you want to keep nursing but are really ready to get your bed back, I’d suggest just dropping the mid-night nurse. It can be a rough transition but sounds like it may be worth it.

  34. Marissa says:

    I’m still nursing my 2 1/2 year old. Best decision evvvvver. Her demeanor changes substantially after “mot-ties” (when a toddler tries to pronounce “milk” or “milkies”… who knows…), even her cheeks turn rosy and her face brightens. She is never sick more than 24 hours (times of which I can count on one hand). And she is incredible independent and secure. People ask me what my secret is: I would just whip em out, but I don’t want to be arrested. Thanks for the post!

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  36. michelle says:

    I left a comment on another post about growing up with a mother who did support breastfeeding and how I have only breastfed my last one out of 7 children. I went full throttle and any inhibitions I had I can’t believe I ever had. Any inhibitions I had about my breasts are long long long gone. Jeremiah is 15 months and lemme tell you he loves the booby. We even have a booby song. He is a digger. He just digs around when he is ready and I get tons of bad stares and terrible comments and even Dr.s as you have said when do I plan to stop. I have never been one to care what others thought, I still don’t. I think it is hilarious when he roots around, or hums the booby song. I just found your blog here and am loving it!!! I have so many things that annoy others, breastfeeding, extended breastfeeding, homeschooling, not using birth control, having 7 children ( So far), Not immunizing, I can’t hardly think about all the ways I might annoy someone or I could go crazy haha. Michelle

  37. Sue R says:

    Nursed most of my young’uns until 3 yrs; one was 2 (I was pg w/ the next one) and one was 4; all the others were 3-ish. Tandem nursed with all but the first-born and the 7th, b/c the 6th was the 2-yr weaner :-) All healthy kiddos, all happy and well-adjusted and all love babies!
    We had situations with a few of them when they could not tolerate other foods / liquids than my milk, usually around 18 mos or 2 yrs. Never needed medical attention, they did just fine on my milk. Oh, and having a toddler to nurse when the newborn arrives means that mommy has little, if any engorgement — toddlers are great at helping with excesses supplies! :-)
    We also had (sometimes) occasion to use mama’s milk for earaches, nose drops, eye wash, etc. Cleared fluid out of my dh’s ear once when he’d gotten over an earache but still had fuzzy hearing / fluid sensation.
    The youngest is now 3, and God hasn’t sent us any more to keep, so we’re probably done … after 26 yrs I can hang up my nursing bra and go find some cute sexy ones (HA!). It’s been a marvelous quarter-century of nursing little ones and I wouldn’t trade it for anything! :-)

  38. sandra says:

    awesome post. Thank you! I’m going to use this to help my mom understand why nursing beyond 6months & 1 year is so important. Hopefully, it will change her mind a bit.

  39. Jessica says:

    The last time I took my son to the pediatrician, the resident was amazed that I was still breastfeeding at 9 mo! She said I was the first mom she had met who was continuing so long. When I mentioned that the average world wide age of weaning was 3.5, she asked, “months?” People repeatedly ask, “How long do you plan on nursing?” and are shocked to see a toddler nursing. I’m happy I can challenge their thinking.

  40. K says:

    Breastfeeding is not necessary once a child can eat solid foods. A child can get just as many nutrients from the foods of the earth. And they are also capable of chewing, swallowing, and digesting solids…whereas before this was not an option.

    While the antibodies in breast milk are beneficial, a child cannot rely on this alone forever. Do you plan on breastfeeding your teenager because of the anti-bodies? Because the minute breast milk isn’t being consumed all there is to rely on is the individuals own immune system (which is already enhanced by the first six months of breastfeeding).

    Just because our bodies are capable of amazing things does not mean it is even necessary. This makes me question why the ‘world average’ age of breastfeeding is being used here? In a first world country where food is available to probably every person posting? At one time, and in certain situations, it may be life saving. If a child is so sick that IV fluids cannot save them, I guarantee that breast milk won’t either.

    I have a really hard time believing that breastfeeding into the toddler years is anything more than an act to fulfill some need of the mother. Give em a cup(mind you, they don’t need a bottle anymore) filled with your milk if you need to. But latch a toddler, with teeth, onto your nipple? Sorry, it’s unecessary and perverse.

    • Michelle McCoy says:

      K, It’s not only about nutrition and antibodies. Anyone who has ever nursed knows it’s so much more than that to the child. I find your post not only offensive but naive. It’s also about providing comfort and security. A sanctuary for your child if you will. Trust me the reasons I nurse my preschooler have nothing to do with me and everything to do with my child and his desires only.

    • Jess says:

      Really? After reading all of the posts and replies regarding breastfeeding, is it really necessary to come on a blog such as this where it is culturally and socially acceptable to breastfeed as long as it is mutually desired by both mom and child, and bash it? I’m thoroughly offended, which my guess is that was was your goal with your post. Not only is your post unnecessary, your viewpoint is uneducated and your criticism unfounded. I agree with Michelle’s reply 100%. Not to mention the picky palette of many toddlers (which is a normal developmental phenomena) results in decreased food intake of many essential vitamins and minerals that can be found in breast milk, reducing the need for replacements like synthetically engineered vitamins. IV fluids have their place, but when your child is too sick to want to take in water or electrolytes by mouth, they WILL take the breast, PREVENTING a trip to the hospital completely, saving hundreds of dollars and undue stress of an emergency room visit.

  41. Lucks says:

    I was unable to breast feed my daughter past the first 6 weeks. I feel like everyone who is bragging about their breastfed toddlers going off to Princeton and achieving great things BECAUSE of the extended breast feeding are full of it. My daughter, who is bright, smart and perfectly healthy is going to grow up to be a junior college underachiever because I didn’t breast feed her long enough? Screw all of you braggy b*tches. It takes more than just sucking on a boob to turn out a great kid. You all full of crap.

    • Heather says:

      Lucks, no one is saying that children who are bottle fed can’t grow up to be brilliant, successful people. I’m sorry that’s what you got out of this discussion :/ And you’re right, turning out a great kid is about a lot more than breastfeeding.

    • Teresa says:

      Wow, Lucks, why are you so angry? It is very well documented the advantages of breastfeeding. It takes quite a commitment to breastfeed your child. At least that is how I feel. Many of us “braggy b*tches” are just trying to support eachother. You need to relax.

      • Jewel says:

        I have really enjoyed reading all the comments from other women about nursing their little ones as toddlers. I am pregnant and nursing my 2.5 year old and it’s a lot more difficult now that I am pregnant. I always planned to let my daughter nurse as long as she needs and I am looking forward to how my childrens relationship will be as they tandem nurse. I’ve read really sweet stories about other little ones holding hands and smiling at each other. The comments seem really supportive and the kindness is what I really liked. It’s what Mommapotamus said about not being so independent but interdependent and the wonderful feelings being part of a community can foster. I don’t think its bragging at all I don’t think i am better than anyone for the choices I make as a mother.

  42. Christina says:

    I have to agree heartily with #3! I tandem nurse my 2 girls (they are 17 months apart), and when the baby was 8 weeks old and toddler was19 months, toddler girl came down with the cold sore virus reeaaaally bad – her lips and mouth were swollen with sores. She didn’t eat or drink ANYTHING but breastmilk for a whole WEEK. Her baby sister even helped out by triggering a let down (they nursed together at that point) so toddler girl didn’t have to suck very much with that sore mouth. We definitely would have had to spend at least a few days in the hospital with her if she hadn’t been nursing at that point. Yay for tandem nursing!!

    • Jena says:

      My 3yo daughter just developed a cold sore. Not sure how to handle nursing her & my 7wo son–I know the virus can be dangerous for young babies, but I’m not sure how young “young” is. And she already nursed on one side before I realized what was on her mouth. Furstrated at how little advice there seems to be for this situation. Do you know of any??

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  44. Christy says:

    My little nursling just turned two. He was struck this week with a nasty case of RSV which did require hospitalization due to increased work of breathing and oxygen requirements. And yes, he did become quite dehydrated due to his (mostly untreated) fever that had been going on 5 days. Luckily we had a progressive and pro-breastfeeding ped on board. It was decided to look beyond straight diaper weights to clinical signs and labs if needed while promoting breastfeeding over IV fluids or even “pushing fluids”. Afterall, what could be better for a sick baby than breastmilk tailor made with exactly the nutrients, electrolytes and antibodies he needs? And why would we “push fluids” meaning water (as one of our less progressive docs tried to insist) which has nothing but, well, water? (Well, this certain doc did offer apple juice or gatorade as an alternative if i wanted something ‘more than’ water)

    Long story short, the little nursling slowly improved over the next 24 hours, delivering more urine, showing more energy, weaning off oxygen – all while nursing or snuggling contentedly in mamma or daddy’s arms.

    Breastmilk rocks!

  45. Lori says:

    I have 6 children and each have a different feeding story. I nursed my firstborn 6 weeks and had a ped telling me that I HAD to put her on formula because I did not have enough milk, baby #2 I did not even try nursing, so upset was I from the first attempt. 8 years later (older and wiser) with baby #3 and we had a beautiful experience nursing. At 11 months she just weaned, with no attempt from me. I was sad but we moved on. Babies #4 & #5 are adopted so formula was our only choice, and now we have baby #6 who is 19 months and I see no signs of her weaning soon. I am thoroughly enjoying this time with her, and the absence of illness she has been blessed with. There are so many reasons to let your child guide the way. And I would just like to note that ALL my children are above average, wonderfully independent and successful at whatever they choose to do. This isn’t about “being better” than a non-nursing mama, it is just one of the many choices we make every day for the health and well-being of our precious ones. Thanks Heather for all the time and research. I love your blog!

  46. Jess says:

    As long as I not judged for not breast feeding that long, I don’t care how long other mamas beast feed. We are all doing what is best of us. I couldn’t produce more than 4 oz in a day after going back to work. I find more people judge because I had to supplement with formula so my child could survive.

  47. Dana says:

    Heather, I am in high school and you should know that my parents inadvertently practiced attachment parenting and I am endlessly grateful they did. My mother breastfed me until I was around 4, and I even have comforting vague memories of nursing to sleep. My mom and I also co slept for quite a while, and all throughout childhood (and even today!) my moms bed is my go to for the stomach flu or a broken heart. My mother and I are insanely close, and no, I am not some anti-social home school freak. I am an athlete and heavily involved in school. I have never experienced the “I hate my mom” stage often paired up with teenage girls, and I credit it fully to her constant nurturing of me throughout my life. Attachment parenting goes much farther than infancy, and your children will thank you for it long into their teenage and adult years. Props to you!

    • Heather says:

      I love this comment SO MUCH, Dana! My dad passed away when I was little, but in many ways my mom was an AP parent as well. I didn’t go through an “I hate my mom” phase either, and she is still one of my best friends. Thank you for joining the conversation here!

  48. Sharifa says:

    I breasted 5 babies,the last two until two years. In my religion it is the RIGHT of the child to be breasted until 2 years of age. It as absolutely beautiful experience which I miss now. I love encouraging new moms to breast feed for the health benefits. They are far too many to ignore. Thanks for a lovely blog,Heather

  49. carebear says:

    I got pregnant when my son was around 18months with my daughter. I nursed my son my whole pregnancy. When I started going into labor and wanted to help push baby along my son nursed ( helped a ton). When my daughter had her first latch brother was on the other side and they held hands the whole time. My daughter had problems and had to go to the NICU for a week. I had trouble getting my milk to come in so I had to use milk from my freeezer for my daughter. My son helped my milk come in along with pumping. When the Dr. tried to give my daughter formula without asking me I blow up and told her if she did I would sue. Neither my daughter or my son has ever had formula. I am very happy to say I am now nursing a 5month old and a almost 3year old with no end in site.. My husband is very supported and brags on me all the time for nursing and how long I’ve done it. I really couldn’t ask for anything better. :)

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