Thursday, March 7, 2013

Breastfeeding a toddler

click to enlarge or download it to read the details

This is a summary of my nursing experience with my daughter. Every baby is different. This is not for moms to compare, but to encourage moms to continue nursing as long as possible!

As a newborn our daughter nursed for an hour at every sitting. She had acid reflux with projectile vomiting so she'd often throw everything up. After which we'd nurse an other hour or so. Moms with newborns with out reflux feel they are constantly nursing, but mom's of reflux babies really are constantly nursing! Here's a post I wrote about it.

Once we resolved the reflux it spaced out to every 2-4 hrs around the clock till around 16 months. That is when she started walking. Now that she has more to do, is more independent, she doesn't nurse as long though still 24/7. 

During the day it's a few minutes here & there, with cluster feeding before we get out of bed & at night. Have I had chronic sleep deprivation for 2 years because of this? Not at all, since we co-sleep/bedshare I've got plenty of rest from day 1 :) I can't imagine it any other way!

This post was started to answer a friends question.

Q: A is almost 14 months and eats everything I do. Lately she seems to want to nurse even more...

Our daughter almost 2y/o eats everything we do too. People who see her eat say she has a good appetite. Those who say this often don't know she nursed before the meal or will STILL nurse after!

Seems quite appropriate that she is nursing while I type :-D

Possible reasons toddlers nurse more is the same as babies... growth spurt, illness, pain, change of environment, people in their lives, low milk supply in mom.

Here are some resources
Kelly Mom 

Research to back up some of the reasons I chose to nurse as long as possible:

The longer you nurse the higher your baby's IQ

"Our data suggest that a longer duration of breast feeding benefits cognitive development." from this study 

from National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine 

still compiling links to studies so check back for more reasons...

Update: Now she is 3 & I am so thankful she is still a voracious nurser! 

She heals from cuts & scratches like a superhero! It astonishes me how fast.

I'm not just a proud mama...

I've checked with other people, teachers, moms etc. She is smart! Others notice she is advanced for her age. 

She has clear, healthy, baby soft skin. 

The average sickness for the 1st year is 12x! Add that plus the 2-3 weeks it takes to get over a cold/cough and that calculates to an almost constantly sick baby. Yet dear daughter had only several full blown cold/coughs, several mild sniffles & 1 stomach virus in 3 years. 

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