It’s World Breastfeeding Week, so this one’s for the breastfeeding mamas.
If you’ve breastfed a baby/toddler, you’ve likely had days or weeks when it feels like your child is breastfeeding constantly. I’m not sure if they remember it well when they’re older, but I imagine that there are so many things that are so awesome about breastfeeding for babies and toddlers and it makes sense that they would find a plethora of reasons to do so. Here are some reasons that your child might want to breastfeed:
2. He is tired. Babies get tired often. It’s a lot of work being new to the world. And so do toddlers as they’re so busy most of the time. Nursing is a great way to rest, relax, and recharge.
3. She is uncomfortable. Maybe she is cold or has a gassy belly, but she knows that your arms will keep her warm and proximity to you will help her care for what ails her.
4. He is overstimulated. Perhaps there’s a lot going on around you or you’re in a new place and your baby or toddler needs to take a time out and feel safe. Where better to do that than at the breast?
5. You’ve been busy. She could be feeling the effects of a busy day and looking for some time to slow down and reconnect.
For some mothers, frequent nursing is well and fine and you don’t mind it. For others, it’s a bit challenging and undesirable. In your baby’s early days, it’s a good idea to let him breastfeed as much as he asks. Feeding him on demand will help you establish a healthy level of milk production and teach him to trust that you’ll respond to his needs. If it’s challenging for you, I’ve shared some tips over here on New Mama Project. Once your child is a toddler, if she still nurses, it’s completely OK to set some boundaries if you need to. If preserving your nursing relationship is important to you, you might need those boundaries in order to make it manageable and not too demanding for you. You can talk with your toddler about good times for nursing and gently working on explaining when it’s not a good time. It’s good for him to understand that your body belongs to you and you have needs and limits too.
Rest assured that if your child seems to be breastfeeding a lot, it’s normal and OK! Breastfeeding isn’t just about eating for them and you’re giving them an amazing gift and contributing to growing a strong, healthy bond.