So I nursed my now 4 year old until she was 2 and it was great! She is growing up a very healthy happy child and I am very happy she was breastfed for that long. I also wish I knew that it will be much harder to wean a toddler and had prepared myself for it. It seemed impossible at times. I truly was often worried about not being able to wean her by 2. And back then I really did not feel the need to continue any longer, as at that time I have developed a health issue that was totally unrelated, but if I were to go along with the doctors’ advise I would have to be using huge amounts of cortisone and steroid meds. I would never subject a nursing baby to meds through the breast milk. I ended up finding alternative ways to work with my disorder, but that is a whole other post 🙂
Back to weaning. As baby grows, they learn that being at the breast is a safe, comforting environment, and so even when older, they will ask for it just to be comforted after a fall, a scare, a disappointment. One thing that helped me with nursing a toddler is that I taught her a Russian word for “boob”, and so when she would ask for it in public no one could understand but me. It indeed was very helpful to have a “code” word for when she was able to speak and would ask to be nursed in public, we were able to address it discreetly and without any unnecessary discomfort.
Although, I did not nurse in public places, just did not see the need. At the stores, I sometimes used mother’s room like the one Nordstrom stores have, but only when she was a newborn and nursed often. As a toddler she was eating age appropriate foods and nursed only before, after sleep and at night. I would always carry tons of healthy snacks and tried to avoid getting her hungry.
She did often ask to nurse outside of home, when uncomfortable, or in unfamiliar situation, scared or hurt. I used distraction to avoid nursing in public, as I really did not want her to get used to the idea. I preferred for her to be nursed at home and it worked.
My goal was to nurse her for as long as both of us were comfortable and happy. I did not want to make it too complicated or too involved, our life was very busy as it is, always out and about with her older sister, so and being flexible and yet setting up some good “habits” around feeding schedule, really helped and kept us going until she was two.
To your and your little one’s health 🙂
Image source: http://vis362artwiki.wikispaces.com/Lorena+Perez