Breastfeeding in the 2nd Year: The next 12 months
By Jennie Hawthorn Mayes, IBCLC
How might the breastfeeding relationship change after the first 12 months? What can mothers expect?
Mobility becomes a big issue! This cartoon sums it up. Nursing toddlers will find all sorts of interesting ways and positions to breastfeed in,it can make nursing in pubic a whole new experience for some families, and its totally normal.
Changes in frequency of nursing become more pronounced! Many toddlers will cut back on their daytime breastfeeding in favor of more frequent night nursing. Many individual factors will play into this depending on what works best for families. Once babies hit 12 months we sometimes expect their night nursing to slow down or stop, however many toddlers will increase their nighttime breastfeeding frequency in conjunction with taking much longer stretches between feeds during the day. Its normal!
Lets Talk About it! Nursing toddlers discover new ways to communicate about their need/desire to breastfeed. Mothers can utilize this opportunity in language development to discuss breastfeeding with their little ones. Laying down some verbal contracts, such as “Soft Mouth Please” or “No Thank You” if your breastfeeder is engaging in uncomfortable behaviors at breast. Also, naming the breastfeeding experience may happen independently from your toddler or with some guidance from mom helping language development, such as “Would you like to nurse?” toddler replies verbally by saying “nurse”.
Homebase/Check-in /Recharge Time!Toddlers are busy, engaged in the process of asserting their independence while acquiring new skills and mastering challenges. Its a lot of work for someone so young. Breastfeeding is a time for toddlers to check-in and have the safe, warm, supportive down-time they need to adjust to their busy and changing lives, all while eating perfect nutrition, mom’s breastmilk! Its Awesome!
We would LOVE to hear from you! Please comment on this post with your own experiences, advice and ideas for nursing children during the second 12 months of their lives. Please consider passing on any wisdom that helped you in your success breastfeeding a toddler, other Mamas would benefit from your experience. THANK YOU.
Special thanks to Mama Catherine for her valuable insight on this topic
We have included a link to a Kellymom article “Breastfeeding Your Toddler: What to expect”
(please click the graphic to link to the article)