This post is for the "This is What Nursing a Toddler Looks Like" Carnival. Welcome carnival readers!
Originally, I was going to spend the weekend taking pictures of all the ways Margaret nurses and post them all here. Margaret can nurse standing up, in a mei tai, upside-down, lying down, and squooshed up in the couch:
All my good intentions were lost when Margaret got a fever that lasted 3 days. It has now broken, and there are a couple of swollen areas in her mouth where molars are waiting and taunting us.
On the first day, Margaret refused any solids. I felt reassured in nursing her; I knew she would stay hydrated on my breastmilk and get the comfort she needed. Then on the afternoon of the second day, she started refusing any form of food. My breasts were engorged and I expressed some milk in a cup for her. Maybe the sippy cup would have enough novelty that she would drink? No. Maybe a straw? No. We even tried to get some into her with an eye dropper and I tried to show her how to suck on a soaked washcloth for fluids. Nope. I kept offering the breast and she kept turning away. Occasionally she would take a couple of sips, but they really were just a couple of sips.
Somehow, she started nursing again. Those couple of sips turned into more sips. Breastmilk is very easily digested. I was confident that her body was taking the little nutrition she was receiving and maximizing its potential. I was still engorged and I spent some time after McKay and Margaret went to bed Sunday night expressing a couple of ounces into a bowl. The result was the most watery foremilk I have ever seen. My body knew Margaret needed water and it was successfully producing what she needed. I was engorged most of the day Monday despite the fact that she was now nursing more regularly.
It's not unusal for children to stop eating solids for various reasons: growth spurts, illnesses, major life changes. I knew a couple last summer who worried about their 1 year old who spent a week only wanting her bottle. This is totally normal. Some children eat lots of solids at a year, some children don't eat regular solids until they are almost 2. By continuing to nurse into the toddler years and beyond, you'll find that breastmilk picks up the slack where the solids are lacking in nutrition.
I don't know how long Margaret will nurse. At the moment the plan is to let her decide when she'll wean. I look forward to nursing her through more illnesses and bumps and scrapes. I have seen my friends calm tantrums with the breast. As Margaret gets older her nursing sessions are more than just food: they bridge the language gap. She has feelings she wants to express, but she is not yet talking and she doesn't yet understand my explanations of her world, "Margaret we can't go outside right now, it's raining." We can nurse, though, and the lack of words is filled with the calming time spent with each other.
When Margaret gets better this week, I'll see if I can't get more of those fun, "I can't believe she can nurse in that position" pictures.
Seagal's This is What Nursing a Toddler Looks Like
Melissa's Nursing A (and Around A) Toddler Creates Cute Stories
Destiny's I Never Thought I'd Nurse a Toddler
Brightonwoman's Nursing an [Older] Toddler
PhDinParenting's Nursing a Toddler in a Ring Sling
Melodie's Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding a Toddler
Sam's My Nursing Toddler Story
Threegirlpileup's This is What Nursing a Toddler Looks Like
Alisa's A Breastfeeding Toddler's Photoshoot
Permission to Mother's This is What a Nursing Toddler Looks Like