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.
This week has been seriously rough.
Peanut, who previously has loved sleep, is now fighting it horribly. . .
He is having a very hard time settling down to sleep at night. He breastfeeds and then cries and thrashes around and then breastfeeds some more and then cries and thrashes, and, well, you get the picture. This can go on for 10 minutes or it can go on for an hour.
I guess it just depends on how crazy his day was.
Being a toddler is hard work. I understand this. I do. Really.
Toddlers are working on finding words to communicate. They have hundreds of things to climb on. Lots of running to do. Millions of bugs to discover. Cars, dinosaurs, stuffed animals and blocks galore. Pages, tables, and walls to color. Chickens , cats, dogs, and goats to chase. Leaves, flowers, and dirt to taste. Food to toss everywhere, but your mouth. After all, they already filled up on flora and dirt 😉 A big brother to follow around and imitate. Then survive attacks by said big brother. And of course make sure the adults think you are too cute to get mad at.
See? Very busy. It can be hard to wind down from all that.
So, anyway. Once he finally gets to sleep, he will sleep for 3 – 4 hours. Then the fun really begins.
Near the end of this 3 or 4 hour stretch is usually when I want to crawl in bed and go to sleep. In “normal” land, I would crawl in give him the boob and we would both pass out until morning (give or take a boob session or two). Alas, we are not in “normal” land anymore. We are now in “Let’s deprive Mama of all sleep” land. Way more fun here. . . .
In this new land, we wake up at midnight and thrash around, and whine, and play with the stuffed animals, and pop on and off of my breast a million times. This goes on for hours. We end up only getting a few hours of broken sleep. Not enough to be super productive during the day. I only end up being somewhat productive. I got diapers washed today. Yay! Go me! Oh, and I got instructions on how to use the ride on mower.
I hope my sleep loving toddler returns to me soon. I am not sure how many more nights of not sleeping I can take before I crack. So if you happen to see him, can you please send him back home?
How is sleep going in your land?
The Big Latch On is an event where a bunch of mamas get together with their nurslings and try to get them latched on at a specified time for one minute. There are people there to count how many children are latched. It is a fun way to try to break a record and more importantly, raise breastfeeding awareness.
The event takes place today, August 3rd (sorry about the late post) and tomorrow, August 4th, in various locations around the globe. The count takes place at 10:30 am, so you are encouraged to get there a half hour before to register and get settled. Check here to see if there is an event in your area.
The Big Latch On originated in New Zealand as an event to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week in 2005. It spread to the US, specifically Portland, Oregon in 2010. Last year, it spread to the rest of the US.
Last year 5687 women participated in the event! Let’s see if we can beat that number this year.
Will you be participating?
Today marks the start of World Breastfeeding Week. Yay! Be prepared for all things breastfeeding 🙂
World Breastfeeding Week started 20 years ago in an effort to educate and bring up the number of breastfeeders. It started with a campaign for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.
|“The BFHI [Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative] assists hospitals in giving mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies or feeding formula safely, and gives special recognition to hospitals that have done so.” ~from BFHI USA|
Here are those 10 steps (again from BFHI USA)
The Ten Steps To Successful Breastfeeding
The BFHI promotes, protects, and supports breastfeeding through The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for Hospitals, as outlined by UNICEF/WHO. The steps for the United States are:
|1 –||Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.|
|2 –||Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.|
|3 –||Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.|
|4 –||Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.|
|5 –||Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.|
|6 –||Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated.|
|7 –||Practice “rooming in”– allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.|
|8 –||Encourage breastfeeding on demand.|
|9 –||Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.|
|10 –||Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic|
If you want to see the complete history of WBW and the topics focused on each year, go here
Why does breastfeeding get so much attention?
Some may wonder why breastfeeding needs a whole week dedicated to it, but breastfeeding women need support. Breastfeeding is a learned behavior. Yes, some mamas and babies take to it no problem, but for others it requires patience and help.
Formula is shoved in our faces day in and day out. I had coupons and whole cans of formula show up in my mail box when I was pregnant with Munchkin and I had never expressed an interest in using formula. There are ads everywhere touting that formula is just what your baby needs.
Formula isn’t horrible (and neither are the mamas who choose to feed it), but the formula companies, well, they are rather horrible. New mamas are very susceptible to doubts. All those hormones flying around, not getting enough sleep, trying to sync with the new baby and balance the rest of life, all wear on a mama. Formula companies take advantage of this.
This is where breastfeeding support comes in. When mamas are experiencing these doubts, they need breastfeeding advocates there to support them. No offense meant to formula feeding mamas, but you haven’t experienced it. When I was having problems with Munchkin, I would get advice all the time from formula feeding mamas telling me to just give formula . That wasn’t the advice I wanted or needed.
Breastfeeding needs to be seen as normal as formula or bottle feeding. It is the biologically normal way of feeding our children. Formula is artificial, not normal. A baby’s GI system isn’t meant to digest artificial ingredients. Heck, our systems as adults aren’t designed to digest them either.
Breastmilk provides our babies with everything they need. It is chock full of vitamins, minerals, fats, protein, antibodies, and everything else their little bodies require for growing.
Did you know that if/when your baby is exposed to an illness that your baby’s body communicates with your body via mouth to nipple? By the next feeding, your body is already developing antibodies for them. Here is a really interesting article by Dr Jack Newman on antibodies in breastmilk.
Did you know that the composition of breastmilk changes according to your baby’s needs? The milk your newborn gets is different from the milk your infant gets, is different from the milk you toddler gets. Milk changes from the beginning of a feed to the end of a feed. The first bit of milk contains more water to quench thirst and then it becomes fattier to satiate hunger. Breastmilk also changes in composition from morning to night. You produce less at night, but it is higher in fat content to help baby sleep. It also produces sleep inducing hormones.
Just because baby is cranky and wants to nurse frequently does not mean you aren’t producing enough milk. Babies go through growth spurts where they nurse more to tell your body to produce more milk. Babies also go through a period at the end of the day where they are cranky. They want to be held and to nurse almost constantly. They are taking in milk, but it is also for comfort and to help them unwind from all the stimulation of the day. The percentage of women who actually can’t breastfeed or don’t produce enough milk (due to things like IGT and PCOS) is actually pretty small. There are many places to get help if you are having problems, all you have to do is ask 🙂
Breastmilk is seriously amazing. I have a combined lactating experience of 35 months (between both boys) and I am still amazed that my body is responsible for growing and nourishing living beings.
Making informed decisions is the most important thing you can do for children and yourself. Make sure you have all the information. Don’t take just one person’s word for it. Your pediatrician/family dr/OB/GYN can’t possibly know everything there is to know about everything. There is a lot of misinformation out there, on most topics. Educate yourself as much as you can.
Remember, just because you didn’t/couldn’t breastfeed one baby, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do so with the next.
We need to Understand our Past so that we can Plan for our Future.
I linked up with the Breastfeeding Blog Hop this week. (see patch to the right) It is now being hosted by the wonderful ladies at Sisters N’ Cloth. Go check them out and read some of the other blog hop participants blogs as well.
Bedtime with Peanut is pretty relaxed. I either sit on the couch and nurse him to sleep or we lie in bed together and I nurse him to sleep. Or sometimes it’s a little of both. We start on the couch and then move to the bed.
Tonight, I was on the couch breastfeeding him and he started getting cranky and stretching out. This is his cue that he wants to get in bed and finish up there. I brought him in and laid down with him. Except instead of snuggling up and latching on, he rolled over onto his belly and didn’t move for a few minutes. Then he looked up at me and did a silly laugh and smiled at me and put his head back down. Then he rolled over a few times and that was it.
He was sleeping.
No nursing to sleep tonight.
Not sure how I feel about that.
Just as I was finishing up this post, he woke up and needed some “milkies” to get back to sleep.