Breastfeeding your toddler is the gift for making it through the first year of feedings. It really, truly is.
The first few weeks and months of breastfeeding can be really tough for a lot of reasons. Nipple pain aside, there’s worry about feeding enough, pumping enough, being enough. There are concerns about growing a happy, healthy baby. There’s the unknown of returning to work or school. There are plenty of cuddles and hugs and kisses and bonding, but there is also a good deal of fragility there too.
Breastfeeding your toddler is just a completely different world. Your days aren’t measured by when the next feeding is coming. You’ve gotten to know your baby, and if even they aren’t talking yet, you KNOW what they need. Some of them might even be comfortably sleeping (or breastsleeping) through the night.
Breastfeeding your toddler is a way of giving them incredible nutrition, sure. But it’s also healing boo-boos, connecting after a long day, easing worries. There’s no schedule and less fear. Feedings aren’t (usually) marathons. If you are working, you may have already weaned from the pump. You can work all day or get away for a weekend, and you can also come home and breastfeed and bond with your precious little human.
When I tell families how much I love breastfeeding after the first year, their eyes are opened beyond those 1 and 2 and 3 am feedings of their teeny, tiny, new baby. They can see past the exhaustion of being a new parent and past the triple feedings and look forward to the ease they’ll have meeting their child’s needs.
So hang in there - Breastfeeding the older child is AWESOME. It’s love. It’s taking a minute to slow down during a busy day. It’s freedom. It’s funny. It’s a gift.