We all know that breastfeeding is perfect for a baby, but did you know that breastmilk is also great for toddlers? In fact, the World Health Organisation and UNICEF recommend breastfeeding continue until at least the age of two and beyond. Breastmilk continues to provide vitamins and nutrition to toddlers, protection from illness, and comfort when they are poorly.
Breastfeeding a toddler is a whole different ball game to breastfeeding a baby though, so here are my top 5 tips.
1. Toddlers are all about instant gratification, they don’t understand how to be patient and generally aren’t verbal enough to ask for what they want. I taught my boys how to sign for milk, so that I wouldn’t have to deal with them tugging at my top or trying to help themselves. “Milk” is a tricky word for little ones to get to grips with pronouncing, however “boobies” is not, so some mums teach their little ones a code word to use when they want some milk, instead of shouting “BOOBIES!” across the supermarket aisle!
2. As your baby gets more active you may notice that they turn into a mini gymnast during feeds, wriggling and contorting into all sorts of poses. Go back to the basics and remember to hold them close, that way they are less able to wriggle into positions that you might find uncomfortable.
3. I didn’t use support cushions when my babies were younger, but a pillow has really helped to support J’s weight now that he is so heavy, especially his head! I use the Theraline Original Maternity & Nursing Pillow*, pictured above and below, for support. It is full of tiny lightweight beads which conform to your shape during pregnancy and also while breastfeeding, whatever position you are in. It is long and flexible meaning I can wrap it around myself to support my back, and it holds J’s weight too. It’s also machine washable, which is an absolute must for baby items!
4. Have snacks ready. There are times when I might not be able to let J have milk the moment he requests it, so I find it helpful to have a cracker or a biscuit handy to offer as a distraction when this happens. This gives me a bit more time and then I can nurse him a few minutes later.
5. Toddlers are very curious, and the world is full of interesting and exciting things. Quite often I find that J’s curiosity is piqued during a feed, so something to fiddle with has been really helpful during these times. I have a gorgeous teething necklace from Nibbling which doubles as a great fiddle necklace and I am giving one away here.
I hope you find this post helpful. Please share any other tips that you have!