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As you know, the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until 2 years old. Today, I want to share some tips for nursing that really helped me. I was lucky enough to be able to breastfeed both Leighton and Grayson. I made it 14 months with Leighton until she self-weaned, and I have saved up breastmilk that lasted her until she was 18 months old. This time around with Grayson, we made it 20 months breastfeeding.
Shortly after he turned 1, he cut down to 2-3 times a day, and a few months later, he cut down to 1 time a day. He would only breastfeed for about 5 minutes each morning after that, but I was just glad that he was still getting all the benefits from breastmilk, while also offering comfort for him at such a tough age.
Tips for Nursing an Infant or Toddler
There is definitely a huge difference between nursing an infant and nursing a toddler. First of all, infants breastfeed multiple times a day and night, usually going no more than 2 hours at first. For the first 6 years of life, it is their only nutrition. Food before 1 is just for fun. After you have a toddler, food comes first and milk just accompanies it.
As a child gets older, they become busier and they become distracted more easily. They also become more skilled at nursing, and sessions get shorter and shorter. The biggest tip that helped me with nursing a toddler was to still offer milk and let your toddler decide. If they decline, then that is just fine. But let them have the say.
The second tip that helped me was to still nurse in a quiet, dark room. It helped him not to get so distracted. I also loved nursing him first thing in the morning. It was the first thing before he saw food in the kitchen, his toys in the living room, and anything else to get him excited and distracted by anything and everything.
If your toddler is into acrobatics, you might be able to distract them with a small toy that will keep their attention. Sometimes they like to sit in your lap or even stand up. Grayson still loved to lay on his poppy pillow and would even grab it for me in the morning.
Luckily, I only had Leighton and Grayson both bite me once. When they did, I stopped immediately and set them down. They learned after that one time not to bite again if they wanted their milk. They also cannot bite while nursing because their mouth will be in completely different positions. If you sense them just playing around and not nursing, they might be done and just be bored and testing the waters at that point.
If you’re nursing and looking for tips, I also have a great guide here on nursing newborns and 9 tips here. However, if you feed your baby, be proud of your accomplishment. Being a mother (or parent) is incredibly hard, tiring, and all-encompassing. Be proud of every single milestone! They are special, and they will quickly pass by. For more breastfeeding tips, feel free to leave me a comment below and ask. I’ll be happy to share my best advice. = ) Happy Breastfeeding Month!