“Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (February). For this month, we focus on back to basics. Participants will share advices – either the best breastfeeding advice they received OR/AND the best breastfeeding advice they can give to new moms. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.”
My original post appeared over at Generally Crispy. I wrote that post when Tiny was 28 months old. Now she is a month shy of 3 years old and I thought that this would be a great time to update it!
In addition to my post, I am including a long list of links to some of the best breastfeeding posts around which should help both new and experienced breastfeeding mothers alike! Be sure to read through to the end for those.
I am a huge supporter of breastfeeding. I will be the first person in line to offer encouragement, gentle advice, and snippets of my experiences as a breastfeeding mom. The road has not always been smooth but I have always mustered the strength to persevere. I really do love breastfeeding. I also really love lists. And what better than a post which discusses breastfeeding advice and my experiences through a series of lists? I mean, don't you get rather bored with reading paragraph after paragraph and paragraph? I thought so!
And now…my lists!
Top 10 Reasons Why I Breastfeed My Toddler (35 months old)
- From everything I have read, the general consensus is that breast milk continues to provide substantial amounts of key nutrients well beyond the first two years of life, especially protein, fat, and most vitamins. I want to do everything to protect my daughter from illness and disease and I see no better way to do this than through breast milk.
- Breast fed toddlers and preschoolers are sick less often. I will vouch for that. My daughter has only gotten sick a handful of times and even then, she has been able to quickly recover from the illness.
- I have no idea how mothers of non-breastfed children keep their babes hydrated during illness. When my daughter has been ill and refuses all other food and drink, I can count on her breast feeding to stay hydrated.
- I love the closeness that we share as a result of extended breastfeeding. Our mother-daughter bond grows stronger each day.
- I am beyond happy that I can provide my daughter with a source of comfort that she enjoys as much as I do. I want nothing more than to be able to soothe and relax her through my nourishing milk.
- Selfishly, there are a lot of health benefits for me. I have a reduced risk of breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, as well as osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- It's eco-conscious. More breast milk = less cups to wash which = less water used.
- My daughter has some eating challenges (not related to normal toddler food preferences) so I know she is getting all of the nutrition that she needs through frequent nursing.
- It is a way for us both to reconnect after a short separation (i.e. a couple of hours with Papa and Grandma) or after a particularly busy or trying day.
- It just feels right and it is what both my daughter and I enjoy. I'm not one to stop a good thing!
Top 9 Ways That Breastfeeding My Toddler is Different Than Breastfeeding Her as an Infant
- Babies tend to nurse peacefully. There is not a lot of moving around. Toddlers are practically trying out for the circus every time they get on the boob. Trying to keep my daughter's flailing body parts in check while breastfeeding can be tricky!
- Babies get down to business. They are hungry, they eat, the often fall asleep while breastfeeding, and there is no funny business. Toddlers try to nurse and talk, they play the “latch on, latch off” game, they grab mommy's available body parts, and they are easily distracted.
- Toddlers and babies with teeth can both bite (accidentally or not). It seems to hurt less when a little baby does it.
- You can tell a toddler to relatch if the initial attempt is a poor one. Babies require physical delatching which can be upsetting to them.
- Babies can breastfeed for hours at a time. Toddlers are in and out. They have other things to attend to!
- No one gave me a second glance if I was breastfeeding my baby in public. Everyone stares when I breastfeed my toddler in public.
- I was able to do other things while breastfeeding my daughter as a baby. Not possible now! My focus better be on my daughter and not on my cell phone, laptop, etc…
- I do not have as many worries about breastfeeding my toddler as I did about breastfeeding her as a baby. I always wondered if she was getting enough milk, if she would suddenly dislike breastfeeding, if it would not be something soothing for her, etc… I consider extended breastfeeding to be icing on the cake so it is a lot less stressful now.
- You can pretty much breastfeed in any position and in any location with ease when you are dealing with a baby. Not so much when it comes to breastfeeding a toddler. Her size, tendency to squirm and wiggle, and general cute antics limit where I am physically comfortable breastfeeding her.
The 8 Best Online Breastfeeding Support Sites That I Found And Received Support From
The 7 Most Important Foods I Consume as a Breastfeeding Mother
- Water. Yes, this is technically not a food but keeping hydrated is vital to successful breastfeeding as well as the health of the mother. Water is far superior to any other beverage out there. Coconut water is a close second due to its electrolytes and low sugar content as compared to fruit juices and other sweetened beverages.
- Cod Liver Oil. Again, technically not a food but it supplies 20,000 IU vitamin A and 2000 IU vitamin D per day which is critical for breastfeeding moms. No multivitamin can compare.
- Eggs. I eat three eggs every day! Forget what you have heard about eggs and cholesterol. Studies have found that the cholesterol in eggs does not contribute to high cholesterol. Eggs are the most nutritionally complete food available with one yolk providing an entire day's supply of vitamins.
- Healthy fats including whole milk, real butter, organic chicken with the skin on, red meat with fat, and coconut oil. We have been programmed to think fat is our enemy. Interested in learning more about fats? Visit, Let's Talk About Fats Baby, a post I wrote that should help you feel better about your fat intake.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables of all kinds, organic when possible.
- Lots of wild salmon, shellfish, and fish eggs.
- Homemade bone broth which I will either drink as is, use to make soup, or use to cook rice and other grains in. Bone broth has so many vital nutrients and minerals in it. Hugely important to consume as a breastfeeding mother.
The 6 Foods That I Avoid Like The Plague as a Breastfeeding Mother
- Sugar laden foods of all kinds. I will consume homemade treats so long as I use natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, stevia, or other unrefined sugars. There is no health benefit for your baby and no nutritional value for you when you eat sugary snacks.
- Supermarket breakfast cereals. These cleverly marketed pretend foods are the worst possible way that you could start your day and are top of the list of foods to avoid. They often have a glycemic index similar to or higher than pure glucose syrup. Eating these cereals for breakfast is not much better than having a chocolate bar.
- Low fat and non fat foods. Your baby and your body need healthy fats! See my above link for more information on fat.
- Alcohol and caffeine. I know, more beverages. Some moms fell ok about having these items in moderation. I tried it, felt guilty, and decided that I was going to limit my intake of both. I very rarely have a glass of wine and I steer clear of caffeine. I actually feel great without both!
- Soy products unless properly fermented (as in the case of miso or tempeh). Soy is now known to cause a host of health problems particularly related to hormone development. I steer clear of these now.
- Processed, packaged, convenience foods. Do I need to elaborate? I know that these are quick and easy, just what a new mommy needs in her life, but the nutritional value is nonexistent. Homemade using fresh ingredients is always best. Need some inspiration and support? Check out a guest post I wrote about time saving cooking tips and tricks.
The 5 Things I Wish I Did BEFORE Beginning My Breastfeeding Journey
- Attended A La Leche Meeting. It would have been helpful to have already created a relationship with our local chapter leader as well as other breastfeeding moms. It would also have provided some insight into breastfeeding that I did not have otherwise.
- Created a supportive network of 2-3 breastfeeding moms who I could call day or night to help me through some of the tougher breastfeeding moments.
- Learned more about some of the potential challenges that can occur with breastfeeding. Therefore, when they happened to me, I would not have been so shocked.
- Looked into online support communities. Although I found these after I began my breastfeeding journey, it would have been easier to already have them in place. One less thing for an anxious, overtired new mommy to do.
- Bought many different styles and sizes of nursing bras and tank tops. It would have been easier to return the ones that did not work than trying to send someone else out to find ones that fit.
The 4 Top Things I Wish I Knew About Breastfeeding
- That breastfeeding is apparently rocket science these days and that I would be made to feel like neither my baby nor I had any “natural instincts” about breastfeeding. We would both need to be “taught” how to do it but in teaching, breastfeeding would become more difficult than it needed to be.
- That it is possible for a baby to have a horrifically strong gag reflex which makes it impossible for her to latch properly. This means that said baby will have to adjust by becoming an efficient “nipple nurser” they very thing every lactation consultant cautions you against.
- That you can get blisters (called blebs) on your nipples from poor latch or an increased frequency in breastfeeding. You can also pop these on your own.
- That the best way to clear a clogged milk duct is to have your husband suck on your breast until it clears.
The 3 Most Common Activities I Engage(d) In While Breastfeeding
- Internet surfing
- Talking on the phone
The 2 Most Comical Locations I Have Breastfed In
- Sitting IN a tree.
- Sitting in a pasture watching sheep nurse their babies.
My #1 Relief for Nipple Pain, Cracked Nipples, Nipple Blisters, and General Nipple Discomfort
- Coconut oil! I recently posted 333 Uses for Coconut Oil on my blog. If you are interested in reading more about this godsend then please go check out that post. In addition, you can read all about how to use coconut oil on those nipples in my post Nipples, Lady Bits, and Coconut Oil – Oh My!
I hope that my lists have entertained, encouraged, and provided an honest insight into the adventures and journey of breastfeeding. I am proud to have successfully made it this far and hope to continue until my daughter decides that she no longer needs her “milkies.” Natural weaning will certainly be tougher on me than on my precious little one. But until then, I just go with the flow. (Pun intended!)
And now, those links:
5 Reasons Breastfeeding is the Ultimate Convenience
A Poem From the Middle of the Night With Baby
All About Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding and Galactogogues
Breastfeeding Troubles and How I Overcame Them
Breastmilk: It's Like Windex
Breastmilk Production – How Is Breastmilk Made?
Establishing breastfeeding in private
Helping a fellow BFing Mamma
I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without…
My Lactating Blurb – On Breastfeeding Support
Pumping in the Classroom
Starting breastfeeding right with a topless babymoon
What I Wish I Knew About Breastfeeding During Pregnancy