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Why BF a toddler?

861 Views 16 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  UrbanPlanter
Hi mamas
I don't post here very bfing my 18 month old and need a bit of advice.

We are a very happy nursing couple and I plan to have dd lead in the weaning process (no signs of that yet
) So far our families have been supportive or at least quiet about this. However, we are having several members of dh's family staying with us this summer who have not seen us in about a year. I have a strong feeling that someone will say something (probably along the lines "you are STILL bfing?) and I can not think on my feet, kwim? I just never know what to say in the moment.

See my reasons for bfing are simple, heart felt ones. we like to bf. it's good for her. forcibly taking something away from her that she loves would be wrong. i know there are health benefits as well.

anyhow, sorry for the rambling, its been kinda
around here. my reason for this post is to ask : why breastfeed a toddler? gimme reasons, heart felt, scientific, funny. I need to have something on hand in my brain to say when the inevitable moment arises. thanks!
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I think it's wonderful the way you recognize her needs. How about something along the lines of, "the benefits continue as long as she is nursing." "It helps soothe those toddler ups and downs". Or what you said, "I don't want to take away something so important to her."

Simply, "Why not??" Baby crying.....
I usually just say, "because she isn't ready to wean yet" or "because she can't have cow milk"
If pressed, I will say, "because she would make my life hell if I weren't still nursing her. Sometimes nursing is the only way I can calm her down when she's in a mood" (everyone who really knows my DD, knows about her moods)
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Originally Posted by Mom4tot
I think it's wonderful the way you recognize her needs.


Originally Posted by punkprincessmama
my reasons for bfing are simple, heart felt ones. we like to bf. it's good for her. forcibly taking something away from her that she loves would be wrong.
This is beautiful! I'm sure this is what kept our ancestors breastfeeding. You sound so in touch with your dd. What you said was just so refreshing.

Oh as for something constructive and helpful...

You could mention the WHO recommendation and stretch it as needed. :LOL For example, you could say, "The World Health Organization recommends a bare minimum of two years but the longer you go the better." (Can you tell I've said that before?

You could mention things about her health, IQ, emotional benefits (more confident and secure etc.) You could mention the health benefits to you (less risk of cancer, osteoporosis, etc.).

It's just too bad that people need to hear that a doctor or a scientist recommended or approved of something. That a mother feels it's important and natural for her child should be enough, yk?
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I think for dd and I, I think about how this is the first very important relationship that will have a beginning, a middle and an end that is based on trust. Dd trusted me to fully sustain her as a babe, as a early toddler and now as a toddler. She has learned ( and I too) so many important life lessons via the breastfeeding relationship such as trust, respect, personal space, kindness, gentleness etc.

The ending should be just as positive as the beginning but now dd is vocal and aware of her world. She has a role in the ending that needs to be respected and nutured thus we will childled wean.

To end on a positive note is vital to me. I have stopped listening to well meaning but misinformed family and friends.

This is a personal desision. One that is held close to ones heart.
You never know what the relatives will do - I just came back from Florida expecting comments, and I got none. Maybe they were being polite, but no one said anything about me bfing a 38lb toddler. (Although my bil did leave whenever ds latched on...).

I hope you can maintain the integrity of your bfing relationship with your dc while the family is visiting!

Sometimes my dh answers these questions for me (to his side of the family, in particular), which I LOVE!!! Maybe your dh can have some pre-thought answers on hand in case the questions do get asked.
DD just turned one, so I haven't had any trouble yet, but if/when I do, I plan to say, "Why not? Michael Jordan nursed until he was three..."

Pele nursed until he was five. Most people who give you trouble probably don't care about the real benefits. I figure this is a good, short, stubborn answer that mainstreamers and idiots can understand.
I like to point out the health benefits. Like how, when we all had stomach flu (honestly I thought I was going to die) Ds only vomitted once, had no diarreah and although he didn't eat solids for two days, kept his bm down just fine. Or how right now Dh and I have terrible head colds and Ds just has the sniffles. Or how Dd (now 6, but who was bf till 2 1/2) catches viruses and flu bugs, but always a milder version (she's only had a bit of a sore throat right now - and when we had the flu she, like Ds, only vomitted once).

There is also nothing that works better to calm an upset toddler - whether it be from a tantrum, a bump or a bruise, or just overtiredness. There is no easier way to lull them to sleep at night or comfort them when they wake up in the night.

There is something so magical when your toddler is in the middle of a nursing session then pauses, locks eyes with you and starts giggling.

One thing I don't bring up is how Ds, at 21mths, is an unstoppable nipple twiddler and thinks nothing of shouting 'Booby' (I've tried and am still trying to get him to say nurse) whenever he wants to nurse no matter where we are lol.
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There's this UtaH Philips CD called the Past Didn't Go Anywhere. Its totally not a kid's CD or anything but there's this story on it that explains the difference between normal and average. It always makes my laugh. Whenever I get bummed and feel like a freak because of my parenting I remember the story and smile. I don't believe that I feel or outwardly act superior because we let out dd sleep with us until she wanted her own bed and are still nursing (okay less than she would like, but still multiple times a day..), cloth diaper, let her use a real cup, carry her in a backpack... but sometimes when I get tired i get jealous of those toddlers idlilly sitting toddlers in strollers with sippies and blank stares are AVERAGE. and what I'm doing is NORMAL.
Sometimes I will say, "Look at these breasts. If you were a baby, would you want to give them up?" That usually gets a stunned look, then sheepish grin or laughter, because I am comfortably endowed, from a kid's point of view. "Lucky baby!" End of conversation.

Sometimes I mention that my moods are much better, less PMS, delayed menses, etc. so I feel better, and everyone around here finds me easier to live with.

I weaned my first one at age 3. I'm still nursing my 22 month old with no end in sight. She isn't feeling well today. I think she's getting a tooth, and is nursing frequently.
You mamas are so awesome
Thank you for all the ideas, and please do keep 'em coming. I am thinking a lot about this, mostly because I would like to have an assortment of things to say in different situations as they may arise. I really liked what you said chrysgee, and I agree. That is why I haven't really pursued this topic more. What my dd and I are doing is normal, it's biology, its no big deal (please don't misunderstand me here, i have a beautiful nursing relationship with my dd that i treasure and cherish).

Maybe that is the angle I will take with family this summer. I would also like to inform them, and I do think that just by living with us (mil for six weeks, great grandma for one) they will see how beautiful and beneficial the relationship is.

Somebody mentioned how bfing keeps them sane (or something to that effect) and how calming it is for the child. I have often remarked of this to dh, but I was weary of saying that to others. I thought that it might sound selfish and I would get the whole "you're only doing this for your benefit" speech..... Has that been your experience? I am just curious.

Thank you all for your responses. This is such a warm forum, you ladies have really made me feel welcome. I feel funny posting here though, when I read "Extended Breastfeeding" I think to myself "but i've only been bfing for 18mos.... :LOL that used to seem soooo long to me when dd was three months old...the time has really flown by... Okay, sorry for the ramble
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Thanks so much for starting this thread! I rarely post on this part of MDC, but I came here just now so that I could ask the very same question. We are visiting dh's family for a week very soon. The first time we visited, I was nursing Maddie and his cousin began telling me about her friend who also had a baby. She said "I can't believe she is still nursing that baby at 9 months! That's gross!" The second time we visited them, Maddie was about 8 months old at the time and just as I was sitting down to nurse, the same cousin casually asked "So, do you ever give her a bottle?" I replied "Oh No, that's disgusting, I'll never give that garbage to my baby!"

Now that Maddie is 15 months, I'm pretty sure I will get a comment or two from that cousin and possibly and aunt and grandma. I'd like to have two or three scientific facts on hand and maybe some clever responses.

It's funny how people dismiss the WHO as some unimportant organization. When I mention that the WHO recommends bfing for two years people don't seem to care. I wonder if the reaction would be the same if I mentioned the AAP. Now that I think about it, why doesn't the AAP recommend the same? Do they not think it's important?
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Great thread! thank you!

My favorite line (which I dish out with a huge smile) is something like, "Wow! That's a big topic. Would you like to make some time to sit down and talk about it?" That usually is the end of the conversation.

The truth is, it is a huge topic, which can't be properly summed up with one or two lines. One could spend an hour or more educating someone about this. :LOL

This is, by the way, the same line I used when people asked me about homebirthing my first child, or having them sleep in the same bed with me. It's honest, respectful, and it works great

good luck!
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Has no one shared this link yet? Breastfeed a Toddler-Why on Earth? One of my favorites
. Sorry can't write more, my 2.5 year old is nursing at the keyboard:boy:.
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Originally Posted by Fiddlemom
My favorite line (which I dish out with a huge smile) is something like, "Wow! That's a big topic. Would you like to make some time to sit down and talk about it?"
I love that! Will definitely be remembering it for the future. :-D
Wow, that's a great reply!

Another one might be, "Would you like me to keep you abreast of how it's going?"

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