Kids Home > The Ins and Outs of Breastfeeding a Toddler
Maybe you always thought that you would nurse only until your baby turned one, but when that time came, you just kept on going. Now, suddenly you find yourself approaching your little nursling's second birthday, and you're feeling a bit panicked.
Keep in mind that your friends, relatives, your spouse, and certainly not strangers don't get to decide when you should wean. You and your child get to make that decision. If the two of you are still happy with your nursing relationship, by all means, don't worry about weaning yet. However, when you feel it's time, make sure to wean your child gently. Or better yet, let your child wean on his or her own.
What to do if your child is completely weaned, except for still needing the breast to fall asleep? If it doesn't bother you and your child is sleeping well, there's no need to change this practice just yet. However, if your child is not a great sleeper, you might consider making an effort to replace your bedtime nursing session with another soothing routine, such as a bath, a story, or cuddling with a special blanket. You might be quite surprised to discover that your child wasn't as attached to nursing as you might have thought. If all else fails, try having your spouse or someone else put the child to sleep.
Yes, it's absolutely wonderful that you are still breastfeeding your toddler. But try not to look down on other mothers who didn't or couldn't make that same choice. Try to congratulate every woman for whatever success they had in breastfeeding -- whether it was for weeks, months, or years.
Remember that your encouragement to another woman may mean the difference between trying again with the next baby or simply not even trying and going straight to formula. We need to support each other, not put each other down, in our efforts to do what is best for our children.