Breastfeeding A Toddler

Congrats mom! You have made it past the one year mark with breastfeeding, what a feat! For many moms, it is a proud milestone to reach and is extra encouragement to keep on going. Breastfeeding a toddler however is very different from breastfeeding a baby, so you will notice some changes!

Extended breastfeeding is breastfeeding a baby beyond the first year. It is an incredible sign of dedication from a mom, and it will be met by a very happy toddler who is boob-crazy as well. Breastfeeding a toddler becomes a little more interesting over time, your baby can now voice a couple of their own opinions, be bossy when it comes to wanting milk, and can squirm in and out of
your reach easily.
While it will still feel completely natural breastfeeding your toddler, it does become a little tricky at times. You might receive some negative comments from others who think extended breastfeeding is strange, and you might want to pull your hair out at times with a tantruming toddler who just can't wait for their milk.
Through these tough times, it is important to remember the benefits of extended breastfeeding, many of which have long-lasting effects.

Immune boosting – Past the first year, your milk will continue to build your toddler’s immune system, making them less prone to infections, allergies, colds, and other illnesses. If your child does get sick, your breast milk will be the best comfort, and sometimes the only thing they are able to keep down with an upset tummy.

Healthier future – Breastfed babies and toddlers benefit from all different types of health perks as they grow, including lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Breastfed toddlers are also less likely to be overweight or develop type-2 diabetes.

Independence – While many people think breastfeeding makes toddlers more clingy, the opposite actually happens. A breastfed toddler often feels more comfortable exploring alone, knowing that they have their safe space of your breast to return to.

Comforting – Your breast is the best way to comfort an upset or anxious toddler, leaving out the need for a pacifier or blanky.

Safe space – Toddlers are incredibly busy. They are tasked with exploring the big world around them and dealing with all these new emotions they experience daily. Your breast will be the perfect safe space for them, giving them some peace and calm during a very busy day.
                                                 Benefits for Mom
Toddlers aren’t the only ones who benefit from extended breastfeeding, moms do as well! Moms who breastfeed beyond a year have a reduced risk of certain cancers like breast and ovarian cancer, and extended breastfeeding also helps moms to maintain a healthy weight as breastfeeding a toddler can take mountain of energy!

Breastfeeding a toddler does also mean you have less time for yourself. While you might have to push your social calendar out a bit, in the bigger scheme of things it is actually such a short period of time. Take this opportunity to bond with your toddler, knowing you are providing them with the best possible nutrients, comfort and calm, and hold on to this very special time for as long as you need. And don't forget to give yourself a break now and then- you deserve it!

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