Toddler Routines: Breastfeeding

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby on. Posted in BABY, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, Parenting, TODDLER

OUR DAY OF BREASTFEEDING:

Here’s what our routine looks like:

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She wakes up around 6-7 am after a final nursing session. If she had a bad night or went to bed late, I try to sleep in, while Andrew takes care of her in the morning. Most of the time, she runs into her bedroom where we sleep asking for boo-boo-boo at least every hour. It’s mostly due to the fact that she wants me to be up and with her. If I am not sleeping in, she doesn’t need to nurse till about 10-11am.

Then she doesn’t breastfeed until about 11 am, unless we are out at a class and she feels like she needs some comfort ( it happens).

At 12-1pm, I try to put her to sleep which means she’s nursing to sleep. If she’s tired, she will actually willingly run to our bedroom saying “boo-boo-boo” and climb into her toddler bed (yes, we’ve sort of transitioned) while hugging bears.

More often than not she will wake up after an hour and I’d have to put her back to sleep through nursing. When she’s done sleeping, we nurse again. Mostly all of that is for comfort, kind of like an enhanced version of snuggling with mommy.

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{breastfeeding break during a baby photoshoot. lol}

5-6 pm she asks to be breastfed again.

Around 8 we do our bath where she likes to nurse as well. Something about running water, warmth and mommy probably reminds her of the womb.

Then 9-10pm bedtime nursing to sleep.

So overall, we have about 3-6 breastfeeding sessions a day, no more than 5 minutes each.

I don’t know how much actual milk she is getting at each nursing session, it doesn’t seem like a lot since she nurses often, but since it’s all baby led, she clearly gets what she needs in terms of comfort and nutrition.

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OUR NIGHT OF BREASTFEEDING:

At night, everything depends on what’s going on in her world. Her quality sleep has a direct correlation with teething or her development, as well as bedtime/naptimes  ( and I will definitely be writing about it, but in short she has a sleep quota which she will not exceed no matter what.).

While co-sleeping: On a good night when nothing special is happening, she will wake up 1-3 times a night, turn over to me to breastfeed and then turn away and go to bed. As simple and as un-disturbing as that.

On a bad night when she is teething and waking up in pain, she might wake up 6-10 times a night and nurses each time, mostly for comfort and pain relief.

Now that she’s sleeping in a toddler bed, it’s exactly the same except for I have to bring her onto my bed to nurse, which means I have to actually wake up more than I did when we co-slept.

BREASTFEEDING IN PUBLIC:

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At first breastfeeding in public was almost cool. {We’ve never once used a cover out of principle, because breastfeeding should not be something that needs to be hidden unless the woman herself feels self-conscious.}

I’m gonna do it and don’t you dare say anything” was my attitude after hearing horrible stories of rude strangers and family.

At this point, it’s not even given a second thought and people’s reactions are not judged or noticed. Because noone seems to care and that is exactly the way it should be.

It’s something that we do all the time. She nurses when she wants to. She isn’t showy when it comes to that, doesn’t pull at my shirt or demand it (unless you count the leg which gets everyone to crack up), which helps. So when she needs to eat or comfort, she gets it.

I’ve breastfed everywhere I’ve gone. We breastfeed at the music class, all over Disney, in hotel lobbies, at the pools, at the zoo, the mall, parties, dinners, restaurants, even during photoshoots and group photos (see below) and I have never had anyone say anything or look disapproving. Granted, I don’t really care or pay attention, but noone has ever gotten in my face about it, except on one occasion and that was pretty low key.

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Everyone whose opinion is important to me has been incredibly supportive. I will continue to breastfeed whenever, wherever for as long as I feel comfortable and as long as Lexi wants it. I don’t know what it’s like to have a 3 or 4 year old who’s still breastfeeding. Will I feel weird? Right now I don’t think so, but we’ll see.

PEOPLE’S REACTIONS

Mostly, everyone just smiles warmly when they see her nursing. The question that I get the most is “How long are you planning on breastfeeding?”. My answer is “Till she weans” or “18-19 years” depending on who I am talking to. This is usually met with a blank face, a smile or a hint of confusion. But noone has EVER said anything disapproving.  So I’ll take that. I am either surrounded by progressive people, or the world isn’t as jaded and scared of nude breasts in a non-sexual context as everyone seems to think.

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Comments (47)

  • Verna

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    Good for you!!

    Reply

  • Suzanne Duffy

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    I am still breastfeeding my just turned 5 yr old , this wasn’t something I ever anticipated happening – I’m sure she will wean eventually and it really doesn’t bother me – why do other people care so much !!!

    Reply

  • Elena C.

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    My cousin Maya was breastfed till she was over 3 years old :)
    Then she weaned :)

    Reply

  • Danielle

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    I didn’t breastfeed (not by choice, I wish I could have), but I don’t see anything wrong with extended nursing as long as the kid is also eating solid meals and not just relying on breast milk for food. My 15 month old gets water or sometimes milk during the day in his sippy. To me, breastfeeding is the same thing. The child is just getting some liquid throughout the day when he or she needs it!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I don’t think there are many of us who nurse beyond a year who think that BM is a substitute for food. It’s considered more as a hydrating snack and a lovey :)

      Reply

      • Jess

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        RE Breastmilk as a food, we feel that is a critical source of nutrition during the second year, but as you mentioned, not as a substitute for meals, but in addition to. When our son turned one, I thought to myself, ‘So food before one is for fun, but what next?’ And I found what we considered to be a reasonable guide to calorie breakdown on Kellymom. At 12 months 25% food, 75% breastmilk; at 18 months 50% food, 50% breastmilk; and at 24 months 75% food, 25% breastmilk. We nurse in much the same pattern as you, which I reckon puts us right on track with our little man turning 18 months next week. Love your blog BTW, it has been a really positive and timely source of info for us, seeing as Lexi is a week older than our son. Thanks.

        Reply

        • Jess

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          PS Happy 1 1/2 years Birthday Lexi! :)

          Reply

        • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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          Oh it’s great to know about the percentages ( i didn’t look that stuff up, because we do what is natural and what Lexi knows, but I am glad you did). 50% is exactly how I feel she eats and that explains why she doesn’t eat as much as I want her to sometimes.

          I often find that she prefers milk when she is hungry, rather than solid food, and then solid food 30 minutes later.

          Reply

    • Anna

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      Breastmilk is not just some liquid. It’s far more nutrient that any drink and kids diet should actually consist of over 50% of BM at 18 months.

      Reply

  • Elizabeth

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    You go girl! You are feeding and hydrating your child, and if that bothers anyone else, it is their problem. I’m lucky to live in Portland, where everyone nurses in public (although it’s a little sad that bottles are frowned upon as some women cannot help not supplying enough), and I think that when women in cities where it’s less common nurse in public they are doing a service to all women. :) I still nurse my 14-month-old, though she has naturally weened down to 3 short sessions a day and so my supply is dropping in tandem.

    I do feel badly that you are still waking so much at night. Every child is different, for sure, and it sounds like Lexi has always woken a lot, but our neighbor had a daughter that way and when they stopped going into her room at 8 months she eventually slept through the night. Same thing with our daughter, and she now sleeps 12 hours without a peep (8 to 8). I think this really only works if the child sleeps in his or her own room; I’ve noticed with all my friends who cosleep the child still wakes regularly as s/he hasn’t learned to self-soothe and needs the boob or snuggles to get back to sleep. It sounds like you don’t want to sleep separately, but if the waking is bothering you, I recommend you try it! It seems better for the kid as well to get a solid night’s sleep and learn to fall back asleep on her own, as eventually she’ll stay asleep better and be more rested throughout the day.

    Reply

  • Amy B

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    Hi Elena,

    I just stumbled on this cute Dr. Seuss inspired poem about BFing and thought of you. Timely considering your latest post!

    One Breast, Two Breast, Left Breast, Right Breast:
    A Dr. Seuss Parody for Breastfeeding Mothers
    by Dyan Robson

    “One breast
    Two breast
    Left breast
    Right breast.

    Which one did
    I nurse with last?
    Which one will
    have a letdown fast?

    This one feels uncomfortable.
    This one feels more pliable.
    Say! both my breasts are capable.

    Yes. Some are big. And some are small.
    Some nurse freely. And some under a shawl.

    Some get sore.
    And some make more.
    And some have even nursed before.

    Why are they
    sore, make more, and nursed before?
    I do not know.
    Go ask a lactation educator.

    Some nurse one babe.
    And some nurse more.
    Tandem nursing sometimes
    feels like quite a chore.

    From there to here,
    From here to there,
    I will nurse
    my baby everywhere.

    Here are nursing pads
    to absorb leaking milk.
    They absorb leaking milk,
    both hind and foremilk.

    Oh me! Oh my!
    Oh me! Oh my!
    I leaked and now
    my shirt’s no longer dry.

    Some nurse for days
    and some for weeks.
    Some nurse for months
    and some for longer streaks.

    When do you know when you should stop? I can’t say.
    But a minimum of two years is what
    the WHO recommends today.

    We see them engorge.
    We see them grow.
    Some letdown fast.
    And some letdown slow.
    Some get plugged ducts.
    And some do not know
    The pain of mastitis when you feed ‘er.
    Don’t ask us why.
    Go ask your La Leche League Leader.

    Reply

  • Cilla

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    It seems like she is starting to nurse a little less often? Isabelle weaned at 11 months. She just started losing interest until she completely stopped one day. She has been extremely easygoing though. She took a bottle pretty early and has had no problem transitioning to a cup. I do wish she would have nursed a little longer but that’s not what she wanted!

    Reply

  • Mrs Loquacious

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    Your schedule sounds very very similar to ours, except that I am still co-sleeping and haven’t transitioned to a toddler bed yet. Can you post about what you did, and how it’s working? We want to transition to a toddler bed in her own room (from our bedroom, where her crib currently sits unoccupied), but I think that will mean I have to nurse on the baby mattress on the floor. Not really into sleeping on a single mattress on the floor though, but not yet sure what direction we want to go with it. Any tips?

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Yeah I can do a post about that. It’s gonna be in the sleeping routines one.
      But we didn’t fully transition because it’s in a side car position next to our bed.

      Reply

  • Simone

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    Thank you so much for your breastfeeding stories and updates. they are an inspiration.

    I did not exclusively breastfeed my daughter although I think I tried everything to do so… I don’t regret persevering for as long as I did and would do it all again in an instant. By reading your blog I am learning more and I hope to breastfeed exclusively if I am blessed with a second child.

    Thanks again x

    Reply

  • Sarah

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    Wow – this is awesome…. an incredible commitment!! I breastfed my son for a year and loved it, but then weaned him on to a bottle. He seemed totally happy with that, and has never again ‘asked’ for boob (surprising because he loved breastfeeding). My main reason for weaning was that we are now trying for #2 and I didn’t have my period while breastfeeding. I was also hoping for just a couple of months between breastfeeding and pregnancy to give my body a break. Are you guys thinking you’ll try for another wee one sometime soon? Would you keep breastfeeding Lexi with another babe?

    Reply

  • Haley

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    Wow – you guys are amazing. I feel for you with that schedule, you look just exhausted!

    Reply

  • Angie

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    De lurking to say you are truly at your most beautiful in these pictures Elena! A peaceful serenity and a truly natural smile come over your face when you nurse Alexis. Hope we’ll have a nursing relationship as long as yours!

    Reply

    • Marissa

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      Great post! I myself am waiting until my daughter decides to wean. It’s comfort, security, and love to them! My daughter doesn’t have to scream or yell because she is hungry, she knows I will nurture her by her cues (she signs by hitting twice when she is hungry, or a certain coo.). I hope your journey stays great and successful!

      Reply

  • Chelsea

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    What I love most about your blog is your attitude toward breastfeeding. I am a firm believer that one of the best ways to make public breastfeeding a normal sight is to act like it already is as normal as it should be. I just wanted to thank you for spreading this message to so many.

    When my daughter was born seven months ago I was prepared to have to “fight” for my right to feed my child in public. However, like you, I have never encountered any problems. On the contrary, I have actually had men and women come up to me after I have finished feeding Eveline to congratulate me for proudly breastfeeding in public and to tell me what a beautiful and wonderful gift I am giving my daughter.

    Reply

  • Sarah

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    I’m glad to hear you haven’t gotten any negative reactions to nursing in public. I never did either and all of my friends complained about it constantly. Maybe I just don’t pay attention? When I was pregnant and nursing my son, the most negative comment I ever got was “You must be exhausted!” And I was, so I can’t argue with that. I think it has more to do with your attitude and how you handle nursing in public than anything else. If it’s normal and natural to you, it usually is to everyone around you.

    Reply

  • Mona

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    I would love to hear what that one occasion was, where someone confronted you about breastfeeding!

    Reply

  • Tiffany

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    I’m happy for you that you are able to breastfeed and all that but some mothers are unable to. I think it’s unfair for you (and commenters) to always say how you’re giving your child the very best and such wonderful gift. I was unable to breastfeed due to health issues & in these cases – we don’t appreciate feeling like we didn’t provide for our children. They make formula for a reason & while you don’t want people to judge you while you’re breastfeeding – Mom’s feeding formula don’t want to be judged either. Bottom line – please be respectful of each Mom’s decision because everyone’s life and situation is different.

    Reply

    • Chelsea

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      Tiffany, I am not going up to formula feeding mothers and telling them that they aren’t providing for their children. I am sorry you aren’t able to breastfeed when you wanted to, but this is a post about breastfeeding. I am proud that I breastfeed. Nobody has said anything negative about fourmula. However, we have a right to talk about how we feed our children.

      Reply

  • simone

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    There’s a great support group on Facebook called “wait it out method support group” it’s for moms like you who are choosing to wait it out and assist their infants/toddlers to sleep, instead of sleep training/cryingitout/controlledcrying. My daughter was never a great sleeper and you/your blog was the only one I knew who parented this way. I’ve gotten a lot of support from these moms. There is also a sister group for breastfeeding with a lot of long term breastfeeding on it.

    Reply

  • Lauren

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    Did you mean 18-19 months?

    Reply

  • Kinny

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    Please do not think I am rude, just curious- if she wants to breastfeed let’s say 10 years, would you actually go on with that? That long?

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I honestly am not sure that it’s possible. But for the sake of an argument, if she is still BFing at 10 years, beyond 3or 4 years of age they don’t bf during the day. Just to sleep at night. In that case I would do it if she needed it. Though of course I would rather not bf for 10 years if you asked me.

      Reply

    • Kim

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      Children lose their ability to suckle (the breastfeeding suckle) at around 7 to 8 years of age and as a result the milk does not let down. That is the age that primates tend to stop breastfeeding anyway throughout history.

      So, no, children cannot breastfeed past that age in any case.

      Reply

  • Camille

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    Lexi is so cute with her crazy leg. I remember the toddler “gymnurstics” too, hahah. My first daughter breastfed until she was 3. :) It’s nice to see someone else waiting until their child self-weans, sometimes I feel like I’m the only one!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Definitely not the only one! That’s what I love about this blog is that I can always find people who are doing the same thing.

      Reply

  • Michelle

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    Her co-sleeping and bfing routine sound exactly like mine and my sons! Except he just turned 2 now. I like your response though when asked how long you’re going to bf: “18 or 19 yrs”. that should shut them up 😉

    I now am a bit worried b/c I think I may be pregnant and am not sure how I will bf 2. Have you thought about that at all?

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I thought of it hypothetically since we are not planning a second one any time soon.
      Many women make it work so I’m sure I would too. And you will as well.

      Reply

      • Anna

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        You are?? Can’t wait! I keep my fingers crossed for you guys!

        Reply

  • Anna

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    Haha maybe it was a subconscious slip :) :)

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I am planner. I don’t do subconscious. Haha :)
      The truth is I often miss the not part of sentences because my thought race faster than I can type.

      Reply

  • ellen

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    I’m still breastfeeding my 18 month old too, but I’m finding that my milk supply doesn’t really keep up with his demands. Have you experienced any drop in supply? Is there anything that you do to keep it up?

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Ellen, I can’t exactly tell.. I know I have much less than I used to and I can feel that, but I don’t really think about it because I know that her demand will regulate the supply. Just continue feeding on demand and if you’re worried, eat some supply boosting foods. :)

      Reply

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