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The Ins and Outs of Breastfeeding a Toddler

Although breastfeeding a toddler may come as a shock to some people, it is a wonderful accomplishment for many women. Breastfeeding is a choice for each individual mother, and whether she chooses to breastfeed and when she chooses to stop is a personal choice between her and her child.


Should You Breastfeed Your Toddler?

This article assumes you have already decided to breastfeed your toddler or, at the very least, that you are seriously considering it. We're not going to address the often-debated argument about whether breastfeeding a toddler is weird or wonderful (at least not here, anyway).
We think it's wonderful, but we also appreciate that breastfeeding decisions are highly personal, and we respect the fact that for some women, breastfeeding a toddler is simply impractical, impossible, or undesirable. We want to applaud women for their breastfeeding efforts, no matter how short or long those efforts lasted, not make them feel guilty for not breastfeeding longer.

An Evolving Routine

Typically, after solids are introduced, most babies begin to nurse less. It is common to eventually settle into a routine where baby nurses around naps and bedtimes only. This is particularly common with mobile toddlers, as they're simply too "busy" to stop and nurse during waking hours. However, as naptime or bedtime approaches, even the busiest toddler will likely be willing to slow down to enjoy a cuddle and a nursing session. If you don't like the idea of nursing your baby before naps and bedtimes, consider nursing right after your baby wakes up.
You can expect another big change in routine once your toddler starts drinking cow's milk around one year of age or later. If your toddler takes cow's milk well, you may find that he or she now nurses mostly for comfort, not for nutrition anymore (some mothers like to call this "recreational nursing"). Your toddler may nurse for just a minute or two before falling asleep. This is a wonderful, comforting routine for many toddlers, and there's no reason to stop just because your toddler is not getting much breast milk.
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Breastfeeeding Overview Information

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