Toddler Nursing, Through Sickness and Health

Enjoying some time together at the park

Have you ever nursed a toddler? If you haven’t, just ask someone to poke your eyes, stick their fingers in your mouth, and repeatedly pinch you as their “soothing mechanism.” The only thing soothing about nursing a toddler is that when the wind is blowing just right and all the moons align, I can sometimes catch up on a half episode of “Property Virgins” on HGTV. Sometimes it still surprises me that we’re going strong with nursing at 15 months, an age when most little ones have ventured into cow’s milkland, never to return again. Alas, my little one is hooked on the boobjuice.

When my daughter was 7 months old, I experienced a nasty breast yeast infection (in medical terms, candida). Painful, raw skin was my burden and every nursing session was equal parts patience and mild torture. My husband said I should stop nursing. My mom, a lactation consultant, even gave me “permission” to supplement. I dreaded nursing, but hated the idea of giving up more. All I can say is that I pray my daughter doesn’t inherit too much of my stubborn streak.

After a couple of months (and a bout of mild eczema, thank you very much), it magically went away. OK, well it went away after I tried every natural and not-so-natural method under the sun. Let’s just say, if you experience thrush, let me know because I’ve got the lowdown. I sampled every method out there: elimination diets, coconut oil, grapefruit seed extract, antibiotics, garlic, APNO (all-purpose nipple ointment), prayer, etc. God help me if I ever get it again!

So we stuck with it, my little nipple biter and I. And it hasn’t been all “suffering.” Nursing a little one is a pretty sweet gig, and might I say a very useful tool when sickness invades your home as I found out all too recently. You see, my little peanut caught strep and a bacterial infection, one after another, and was sick for nearly two weeks. She was miserable, feverish, and crying for nearly that entire time. And there was one thing that was her nearly constant comfort. No, it wasn’t fruit popsicles (which did help, by the way) but nursing.

Good old mom and her battle wounded “nanees” (her word, not mine) saved the day. The combination of comfort, nutrition, and hydration helped heal my little girl (OK, along with some antibiotics). For a brief period, I felt like I was nursing an infant again with our round the clock sessions. I’ll admit, I felt slightly frustrated with the (nearly) nonstop nursing she needed over the past few weeks. But I am so grateful I didn’t give up on nursing months ago and could be there for her in such an intimate and loving way.

My little girl and I have come a long way in our nursing relationship, and I’m not sure when the ending point is. But really, does it matter? Every day with her gives me incentive to continue for now, pinching, giggles, and all.

 

 

Kate keeps a secret stash of APNO in her bathroom drawer “just in case” and will, without a doubt, attempt to nurse any future nipple pinchers that may or may not be in her future. When her little one isn’t nursing, they enjoy reading books together, making farm animal noises, and playing with the dogs.

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6 thoughts on “Toddler Nursing, Through Sickness and Health”

  1. So true! Being able to nurse my toddler through illnesses has been a life saver. She was never once sick until 14 months and between then and now (20 months ) she’s been sick 6 or 7 times. Each time she refused to eat or drink anything and would only nurse. Thank goodness that was still an option! Also, the two times I have gotten sick since she was born, she either didn’t get sick at all or only very mildly. Love those antibodies!

    1. That’s impressive that your daughter went so long without getting sick, how awesome is that!? Breastmilk is a super food, no doubt about it! I like to think of it as my secret weapon in the fight against illness and picky toddler eating habits. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  2. You are right. It doesn’t matter when the ending point is. What so many people fail to realize is that the one true answer to all “how to parent” questions is simple, the answer is “Whatever works best for you, your child, and your family.” My daughter got sick for the first time around 7 months, she had caught a nasty cold I had but lo and behold, because of her nursing and getting my antibodies beforehand, she had such a mild version of it that she didn’t miss a beat and was better in less than a week.

    http://taurusmom18.wordpress.com/

  3. I’m reading this as I nurse my 27 month old. I don’t know how we would have gotten through the two bouts of hand, foot and mouth disease without “chichi” as he’d go completely off food for a couple of weeks. Just this week it’s seen us through a cold.

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