Breastfeeding a toddler is hard work. Anyone who says a mother does it for her own benefit, has obviously never done it. Between the acrobatics and the tantrums because you don’t/can’t let them nurse exactly when they want to, it isn’t easy. These days, it seems that is all Peanut wants to do. I feel like I am breastfeeding a newborn again. A 26lb newborn, Yikes! Imagine pushing that out? Don’t really want to.
It is, however, oh so worth it. If Peanut is upset or just needs a moment to reconnect, I just pop out a boob and all is good in the world again.
It is very useful for treating any kind of ailment. Fall down and get a boo boo? Give it a breastmilk rinse. Stuffy nose? Squirt some breastmilk in there. Ouchy bug bite or sting? Yep, breastmilk. Pink eye? Ear infection? Burn? Breastmilk will fix it. The list goes on forever.
The nutritional benefits of breastmilk are fantastic as well. A toddler’s eating habits can be a bit erratic. Breastmilk helps fill in those gaps. From Kellymom :
In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk 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 requirements
– Dewey 2001
Immune properties are more concentrated at this point as well. Yes, your kiddo will still get that cold from the child at the playground who sneezed on him, but it won’t be as severe or last as long. As soon as your little latches on, your bodies start communicating. His body tells yours that he was exposed to a bug. Your body starts producing antibodies and he starts receiving them the next time he latches on.
The longer you breastfeed, the more you and your little benefit.
Here in the states it is seen as some crazed parenting trend, but in reality, the normal weaning age worldwide is between 2 and 7 years old. If you are breastfeeding, be proud of it. Don’t let looks or words from others get you down. Know that you are doing what is right for you and your babe. The more we do it and don’t hide that we are doing it, the more normal it will become. Someone said on a thread I recently read, that breastfeeding needs to become as normal as walking your dog down the street. I thought that was great.
Our bodies are seriously awesome. It is still hard for me to wrap my head around sometimes. We grow a human inside our bodies and then are able to completely nourish them from our bodies. Can you say AMAZING?
Here is more information about breastfeeding past a year from Kellymom (seriously a fantastic resource).
*I need to make sure to include my disclaimer that if you formula feed that is okay too. Everyone has to do what is right for them. As long as your babe is thriving and everyone is happy, that is what matters.