Feeding a Toddler
You might hear people say that ‘feeding a toddler is all for your own benefit’ or ‘there is no nutritional benefit to feeding a child once they have teeth’ or perhaps even ‘the World Health Organisation guideline for breastfeeding for 2 years and beyond is just for 3rd world countries!’
Well, I feed a toddler, and I can honestly say it’s not for my benefit! Yes I love to feed her, mostly, the look in her eyes as she’s falling asleep, the smile and the eye roll as she drifts off, but it goes much further than that!
Every time she puts her fingers into my ear, mouth or up my nose, pulls on my necklace and twists and turns to make herself comfortable, I know that each mouthful of milk is tailor made for her, and depending on what we have been exposed to that day, the milk will already start to contain the antibodies she will need to fight the infections she has come into contact with.
Toddlerobics is one name for all the twisting, fiddling and pulling, who knew a nipple could stretch so far! Twiddling the other nipple to make the milk flow faster, twisting so she can see what is on the telly or what daddy is doing or just to make sure she is as comfortable as possible, nevermind the fact that she is still attached to my body!
My goal was to try breastfeeding and see how we went. At about 6 weeks I was more than happy to stop when I had a tear on my nipple, mastitis and thrush one after the other! If it wasn’t for the Breastfeeding support group at Hillview I think I would have given up! The advice and support I received from a Peer Supporter and a Health Visitor helped me to continue with breastfeeding my daughter and 6 weeks rolled into 6 months, then a year, 18 months and somehow we’re now at 30 months already!
I didn’t set out to feed a toddler, it just kind of happened and at the moment I can’t see an end to it, although unlike one member of my family thinks, I know she won’t still be breastfeeding when she’s doing her GCSEs!