Extended breastfeeding is usually defined as nursing a baby past his or her first birthday. And while a lot of information is out there about nursing a newborn, very little information is available on the unique situations that occur when practicing extended breastfeeding. For instance, you should probably be prepared for regressions.
Regressions can occur somewhere between 18 months of age and two years of age your little one may start increasing his or her need to breastfeed. Some parents believe that this is a sure sign that you are no longer making enough milk to support your toddler, but this isn’t necessarily the case.
Toddlers who have a healthy diet outside of breastfeeding are usually starting these marathon breastfeeding sessions for emotional reasons. There may be frequent short nursings or longer more extended nursings. Here is what is happening.
At this age, your little one is very interested in exploring but isn’t quite ready to become more independent. Nursing acts as a sort of home base for your child, providing the comfort that he or she needs to go on his or her adventures once again. It is a way for your baby to be reassured that everything is okay and can make transitioning into more independence easier.
The constant desire to nurse can be taxing on the mom, but there is a good reason to try and accommodate these sessions. As your baby becomes more secure, the sessions will drop off. If you tend to avoid frequent feedings and offer nursing only at certain times, your baby may latch on and then hold on for dear life, extending nursing into lengthy sessions. This happened to me with my first child, until I caught on to what was happening. Weaning during this regression phase can be pretty tough on both baby and mother, so if you can, you might want to wait a week or two for the current regression to pass.
Mary Ann Romans writes about everything related to saving money in the Frugal Blog, creating a home in the Home Blog, caring for little ones in the Baby Blog and now relationships in the Marriage Blog. You can read more of her articles by clicking here or subscribe to the blog using the subscription box on the right.