My dd is just shy of 10 months, and I've been thinking ahead to the end of her first year in terms of breastfeeding logistics. I'm already seeing some changes to "toddler nursing" like the gymnastics I am wondering what else to expect for the second year of nursing.
Right now, we nurse "on demand" which isn't really on demand the way it plays out. I offer quite often, and she is free to nurse in between as she wants. I offer first thing in the morning, before and after both naps, and at bedtime. She nurses some throughout the night. The thing is, she is not super interested in nursing, and it is not unusual for her to turn down one of these sessions. When she does that, I keep offering frequently until she does nurse. I'm trying to make sure that her intake of breast milk is a high percentage of her overall diet. Which is hard, because she likes solid food so much! I mean, seriously, if I offered her a choice between a milky boob and a slice of shepherd's pie with a cup of water, she'd go for the shepherd's pie! (And probably eat it all)
When do I stop worrying about how much milk she is getting? Many of her nursing sessions are super short. Feels like just a handful of seconds.
When do I stop trying to nurse before offering solids?
When do I, when she turns down a regular nursing session, just give her a snack instead?
How does nursing change after the first year?
Wife to my best friend, mama to DD (6/29/12)
My baby is 14mths old. I just nurse on demand, and feed her our meals on demand, ie, when meal preparation begins, she gets very excited! She pulls her high chair over to the table, and hands me her bib. Often i have to hand her little pieces of what i am preparing. At the table, she seems to eat even more than her 5yo brother, often she steals his food (her 7yo brother eats more than her...)
She still seems to nurse alot. In fact, i dont know how she eats so much and nurses so much. I dont count or really strategize. I dont prepare snacks for her especially, but she will often share her brothers snack (banana, apple) I prefer she nurse more in the day, in the hopes she will nurse less at night. I could give her more snacks, but they would be nutritionally inferior to breast milk, and she gets plenty of food at mealtime.
She nurses for her naps and through the night a couple of times. My other 2 nursed less at night (only about once or not at all, lucky me then) but had similar patterns for daytime nursing.
Im not in a hurry to wean her. Nursing is medicine as much as food. We both managed to have a quick nap on the subway because she was nursing to sleep and i was exhausted.
My others self weaned at 3 1/2 and at 5
But as to your questions about how nursing changes after the first year, I found it to be a nice change, over time of course. The more food she ate, the less urgently she needed to nurse, which gave us more flexibility in timing nursing...she could wait longer or have something else to eat or drink if it wasn't a convenient time or place to nurse. We also started sending her to day care with cow's milk instead of breast milk, which meant I didn't have to pump, which was nice. (she only went to day care 2x/ week anyway; can't imagine if I'd had to pump enough for her to be away 40 hours/week. Much respect to those mamas! I have plenty of milk, but do not love to pump.)
You already noted the gymnastics... That was a change as she got bigger, the different positions she got into.
I got pregnant with DS when DD was about 16 months old, but that didn't seem to faze her. She mostly nursed for naps and bedtime, and still does, though she comfort nurses too. It's a great tool for toddlerhood's "drama".
I'd say keep on doing what you're doing and see if there's a time of day when she's most interested in/willing to nurse... When she's just waking up in the morning, or right before or after a nap or at bedtime? They're so busy taking stuff in at that age that sometimes they just can't be bothered to slow down and nurse for a while. So, maybe also finding a quiet, boring place to nurse so she's not too distracted?
If you are worried about her not drinking enough breast milk, maybe pump some and put it in a sippy cup, if she is into those. So not as convenient as directly breastfeeding and misses the nurturing piece, but if the concern is to make sure she's getting the nutritional and immune benefits of BFing, it would help. I'm not suggesting it replace BFing by any means, but maybe once a day with a meal or at snack time.
My understanding is after they hit the one year mark you can start to offer solids first, or give her a snack first if she doesn't want to nurse. Consider yourself lucky, lol! My 15 month old is still all about nursing!
The biggest change for me after one year was the intensity with which she demands to nurse now. If she starts signing milk and my breast does not immediately pop out of my shirt we are rapidly headed for a melt down.
Married Since 4/05
Mom to the silliest girl since 1/12
And SUPRISE! expecting #2 in 12/15
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