It’s been a few years since I learned about World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) and it’s importance. My mom is a lactation consultant and NICU nurse, and she has put on a WBW community baby shower at her hospital for several years now. I began to learn and understand the true importance of it the year before I became pregnant with Chloe. Learning and understanding about breastfeeding and this amazing community that builds women up has been a joy. I’ve enjoyed it so much that I hope to expand my knowledge and eventually find a way to do more work helping women with breastfeeding. I’m not exactly sure what that entails right now. I could possibly go back to school to become a lactation consultant like my mom. But there are other avenues I could take once I make my decision.
I don’t want to completely reiterate everything I said last year, so please hop back a year to see my breastfeeding journey through year one! I also wrote about my favorite breastfeeding products which I still love and support. I’ve seen some other awesome products over the last year, but since I haven’t tried them out, I’ll have to wait until baby number two comes along to share more.
Breastfeeding Beyond a Year
Today I really want to talk about what it’s like to breastfeed a toddler and breastfeeding beyond one year! In case you looked back at my post from last year, I mentioned that Chloe was a boobie baby. She loved to nurse. Now you’re probably thinking, oh my goodness she’s breastfeeding a toddler? She’ll never stop! Remember, a baby technically becomes a toddler after their first birthday. I continued to breastfeed Chloe until she was 18 months old. Stay tuned to see how we decided when to stop and how she weened.
Breastfeeding a toddler is nothing like breastfeeding a baby. Toddlers are constantly on the go. They may want to nurse for 10 minutes or just 1 minute. Maybe they just “need a quick drink” or a reminder that momma is there for them! This is something you need to be prepared for if you continue nursing past a year. Personally, I love it and everything about it. I loved the connection it gave Chloe and I, and it gave me the chance to get a quick snuggle with my busy girl. I loved knowing that I was providing her with nourishment.
After about the 9 month mark, Chloe began practicing what I like to call “gymnurstics.” Maybe you’ve heard of it before? Instead of nursing in any semblance of a normal or proper nursing position, she would move around, attempt to do flips and go about whatever she was doing while still nursing. At times this can be painful, but for the most part it’s just kind of annoying. Or adorable. I guess it just depends on the kind of mood you’re in. You can see in the picture below, Chloe has me laying on the floor of her bedroom for a quick nurse while playing with her puzzle. You just do you baby girl!
Decreasing sessions and comfort nursing.
As the months went on after her first birthday, the nursing sessions shortened and became less frequent. I was prepared to nurse her until she was two or until she decided that she wanted to stop nursing. We slowly weaned over the months. By we, I mean Chloe. I was completely following her lead. At first it was just shorter sessions. Then it was only in the morning, at night or if she was tired or just needed momma.
In November, she was 15 months and we traveled to London. She was still nursing and kind of picked back up at this point. I think traveling, being in a different place and out of her comfort zone drew her back into nursing because nursing was something she was familiar and comfortable with. It was part of her “normal” routine even though we were doing something different and new every day. In the picture below, I’m actually nursing Chloe at a pub in London!
Slowly, starting to wean.
Once we returned, Chloe’s schedule went back to slowly decreasing her feeds. By Christmas she was only nursing in the morning and before bed. At some point in January as she was approaching her half birthday, she just decided to stop. I would put her to breast when she asked for it or was staring at my shirt, and instead of latching to nurse, she would just kiss it. It sounds kind of weird, but it was actually very sweet. She still had an appreciation for my boobs, but she was just done.
This went on for about a week before I just stopped offering. When I stopped offering, she stopped asking, and we were just done. It was an incredibly smooth transition that I wasn’t expecting. I’m lucky that she decided to be done on her own. It was easy for us, and I know it isn’t always easy that’s for sure. I think she was more okay with being done than I was. I wasn’t quite ready to be done when she decided to stop!
That was my personal journey breastfeeding beyond one year! It’s funny how something that is such a pain and joy at the same time becomes an integral part of your life. It was a beautiful 18 months that I appreciate. I know this time allowed me to bond and connect with my daughter at a completely different level. Not every woman is capable of breastfeeding for various reasons. I know how fortunate I was to have a smooth journey and an easy ending, and I look forward to the day that I get to do this again with my next little one. It will be different, but no matter how it looks, I know it will be perfect for us!
World Breastfeeding Week
Yesterday I had the chance to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week and support my mom at her community baby shower event at the hospital she works at. I had to share some pictures of the amazing time had by all! I’m so proud of my mom and all the work she puts into what she is passionate about. This year we had over 200 people come through the event which is a 50+ person increase from last year!
A big thank you to everyone who helped put on the event by making burp cloths & breast pads, putting together raffle baskets and donating their time. Also thank you to my amazing friends for coming out to support my mom and this cause that she’s so passionate about. Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing. Feeding your baby is a beautiful thing. No matter how your baby receives nutrition, you’re doing a great thing as a momma. Just remember that!
Happy World Breastfeeding Week! Moms, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions. I have the answers to some, but I have the best resource to find the answers that I don’t have!