Breastfeeding a Toddler


When I was pregnant with Isabel, and I started looking into what was out there in the way of breastfeeding support etc, I read tale after tale of mums who’d been removed from buildings, asked to leave buses, told to cover up and so on, just for breastfeeding in public. I’ve read horrific stories of abuse aimed at mums who choose to breastfeed past 6 months, let alone past a year.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve never had any of that. Shropshire seems quite pro-breastfeeding, despite the seemingly low rates in and around Telford. Bar the stares from teenagers in Shrewsbury once (which, quite frankly could have been because of what I was wearing or eating, never mind anything else) I’ve been fortunate to avoid criticism. Still, I sense that as Isabel gets older — she’s currently fast approaching 17 months — the likelihood that I will hear the oft-repeated “she’s only doing it for herself” increases.

Which brings me to what inspired my post tonight. I am lounging in bed, nursing Isabel down to sleep. She’s kicking me in the leg, her sharp toenails (anyone know how to trim the nails of a toddler? please share) digging into my skin. She’s pinching my boob with her left hand, shoving a teddy in my mouth with her right hand and all whilst arsing about and generally fidgeting which means her latch — already uncomfortable because I’m ovulating — is slipping about all over the place.

It’s not until I slip slowly down the bed, bringing Isabel to a comfortable lying-down position, and she falls asleep that I can breathe a sigh of relief. Peace and quiet at last.

So should I get the words “she’s only doing it for herself” rasped at me by some barmy old bat, or tutted at by an old perv’ who things boobs are for the men in your life, well… I can’t wait to have a chuckle at that one.

Posted in Parenting

13 comments so far

  1. Vanessa said:
    On April 9, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    My bestfriend breastfed all of her kids until they were two. She has three by the way, the youngest being 2yrs and 5 months.

  2. Meggan said:
    On April 9, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Toddler nursing acrobatics are no joke! Mine can’t even walk and it’s insane – lots of weird sitting-up while still trying to nurse, etc. I’m certainly not doing it “only for myself,” haha.

  3. Kenna said:
    On April 9, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Elysia won’t let us clip her nails, period. She screams and throws a fit if she so much as sees clippers! I started filing her nails instead, with an emery board. She’s seen me use it on my nails, and thinks it’s oh-so-cool to do it on hers.

  4. Emsz said:
    On April 9, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Karl holds her down, and you clip her nails. Seems easy enough to me :P

  5. Amanda said:
    On April 10, 2011 at 12:25 am

    I’m advocating imbibing a whole bottle of hard spirits. By the time it gets to your milk, it should be strong enough to put her to a deep sleep. Then, as you’ll be too sloshed yourself, Karl can clip her nails.

    Or you know, don’t, cause it’s awfully stupid. :P

  6. Caasi said:
    On April 10, 2011 at 4:58 am

    To begin with I used those smaller nail clippers on DJ but as he got a bit older and I was less paranoid I started using normal nail scissors. That being said DJ is fascinated by things like that because I don’t do it very often. ‘Fraid I don’t have any advice when it comes to a toddler who doesn’t sit still. If he doesn’t sit still I just leave it until he comes to me with a broken nail and do it then while he sees the point…

    As for toddler breastfeeding? Oh, my, god… I miss breastfeeding but those moments where they are damn near beating you up while you ARE FEEDING THEM? There were many times I had to take DJ off and tell him to stop or he’s not getting any more. I would get so many bruises on my boobs and stomach from him >.<

  7. Mumblies said:
    On April 10, 2011 at 11:33 am

    As I’ve said before many times, she is your baby therefore you feed her until both of you are ready to stop – stuff what anyone else thinks outside. You have already noticed that she is more inclined to wander off more and more now to play and feed less and less and this will continue to wane until she just has the last thing at night snuggly feed with mummy just before sleep. (and possibly during the night if she is fretful with her teeth etc) As for the finger and toe nails, nibble them off while you feed her, far less sharp scratchy corners to scratch you and because you can do that while she is nursing she won’t bother about you do it.

  8. Stephanie said:
    On April 11, 2011 at 1:00 am

    So I’m a 20-year old, with very little knowledge of this area. I don’t really support or not support breastfeeding in public, but I certainly won’t shun anyone who chooses to.

    However, while a grown man can control whether he uses his teeth when sucking, a toddler probably can’t – so maybe when it starts hurting too much it’s time to stop? I think that both my brother and I weren’t breastfed by the time we started growing teeth. You’ll have to do some medical research and find the optimal time to stop. I don’t recommend listening to me. :P

  9. Melissa said:
    On April 11, 2011 at 1:23 am

    I’ve never been able to cut my sons nails. Everyone else can, but I can’t. I just resort to biting them off. Gross, I know, but it’s much quicker than getting out the clippers and then having to wrestle with an upset toddler (I mean alligator)!

  10. Jem said:
    On April 11, 2011 at 8:42 am

    @Stephanie: Isabel got her first teeth at just over 5 months old. Some babies are born with teeth. Some don’t get any until well over a year. Not really a particularly accurate way to define “the time to give up”.

    Medically, there is no “optimal time to stop”. The benefits continue for as long as you breastfeed.

  11. Bobbi-lee said:
    On April 13, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Pfft growing teeth is never an excuse to stop in my books. I breastfed for exactly 2 years, he stopped on his 2nd birthday. I would have kept going but we were desperate to conceive again and I hadn’t begun ovulating again until 3 months after I stopped breastfeeding.
    I always felt awkward after 18 months as people would make rude comments, but then I live in a city where it is common to receive lashings over bfing in public. Even my MIL and FIL both aid 18 months was absolute maximum and made me feel bad for continuing. I certainly wasn’t doing it for me!!

  12. Bobbi-lee said:
    On April 13, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Oh as for clipping toe nails, do her fingernails first and make it a game-with my son I always used to go “chop chop” and he’d laugh at the tone i was saying it then he’d watch me cut the nails. Then he wanted me to do his toes. it took a while but once he saw it a game he loves it, he even asks me to do it when they are short!

  13. Erin said:
    On April 18, 2011 at 6:12 am

    The pinching! Ugh, Cody does that and it drives me mad. I’ve resorted to holding his hand so that he won’t do it. I don’t usually have trouble clipping his nails because I do mine and Jas’s at the same time so I think he just feels SO COOL that we’re all getting mani pedi’s together. He’s reached for nail polish before but I’ve been holding off on that.

    As far as public breast feeding, I mostly avoid it these days. Mostly because over the past month or so he’s become obsessed with flapping my shirt up and playing with it. At home it’s not a big deal but I’m less inclined to do so in public venues.