My Unexpected Extended Breastfeeding Journey

extended breastfeeding journey
Well, it’s round two for my breastfeeding journey. A completely different experience than my first time as a new mom. I’m not sure if it’s just me but the second time around was definitely easier. I had less anxiety because I knew what to expect. Also, I wasn’t afraid to ask for help especially from the lactation specialist at the hospital.
extended breastfeeding journey

My Journey

I’m still going strong at 21 months with my toddler. So proud of what I have accomplished. This extended breastfeeding journey had some tough moments but still easier than my first experience as a new mom. I prayed that I would be able to nurse my son until he was at least one. As you can see, I have exceeded that goal. I’ll be honest, I had no intentions of breastfeeding beyond a few months after my son’s first birthday. Yet, here we are with no end in sight. Ha!

I know there are challenges when it comes to breastfeeding and a lack of support for moms especially Black mothers. August is National Breastfeeding Month and the last week of the month marks Black Breastfeeding Week. I wanted to share my journey with extended breastfeeding to give other moms hope and encouragement. It’s also important to show that there are Black mothers who breastfeed because there’s still a sigma within the community. If you want to learn more about Black Breastfeeding Week, check out my blog post with Tampa Bay Moms.

breastfeeding journey with toddler as a Black mom

As soon as my son was born I was able to nurse him. I’ll be honest, I cringed a little because I remembered the pain of my first experience. I was so thankful to have nurses who helped me find a comfortable position to breastfeed my baby. After being released, I kept in touch with the lactation specialist at the hospital. I urge all new moms to check with their hospitals or birthing centers to make sure they have a lactation specialist available. They can answer any questions and offer support. Thankfully, I was able to schedule an appointment whenever I had any issues at no additional charge.

In the beginning, I dealt with latching issues, engorgement and cracked nipples (take the nipple cream from the hospital or order this balm). I had engorgement issues with my first son too but I exclusively pumped with him. Here’s some tips for new moms dealing with this painful problem. Feed baby often and try to empty breast. Also, make sure you are wearing the right size nursing bra or top. I made the mistake of wearing a top that was too tight. If you brought home that small bin from the hospital, use it whenever you have engorgement issues. Fill it with warm water and dip your breasts inside for a few minutes. You can also take a warm shower and massage your breasts to help stimulate the flow of the milk. Another thing, I recommend purchasing these breast therapy pads to help with the pain. They were a lifesaver!

I did things differently this time around. The lactation specialist told me not to pump as often since I was exclusively nursing my son. When I needed to pump, it was only to relieve my breast from being too full. I fed my son on-demand which helps with milk production. Drinking plenty of water also helped with maintaining my supply. I would only recommend a schedule if you’re going back to work or exclusively pumping. Since I was strictly nursing my son, I had to get comfortable feeding him in public or around family. I always used a cover unless I was home or around other females. However, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty if you choose not to cover up. I nursed at playgrounds, in my car, at football games, theme parks and anywhere he was hungry.

Now that Kaisen is older, things are quite wild. Breastfeeding a toddler is completely different than breastfeeding a newborn. He no longer lays down nicely or latch on like a baby. Kaisen enjoys twisting and turning while my nipple is still in his mouth. Don’t worry. It’s not as painful as it sounds. Fortunately, I am not dealing with a biting toddler. It only happened once when his teeth came in but I unlatched immediately. He realized that biting equals no milk and it stopped.

This extended breastfeeding journey has some testing moments. I wish I could say he’s no longer nursing at night but that’s not the case. Things were going well until the pandemic happened. He wasn’t nursing as often because he was eating more table food and we were always out on an adventure. Since being home more than usual, he became clingy and increased his daily and nightly feeding. He decided on his own to stop using his pacifier. I guess it’s because I became the replacement. We’re working on keeping him busy so that he’s not thinking about breastfeeding all day. However, I’m going to enjoy this extended breastfeeding journey because it won’t last forever. We have formed an amazing bond and I’m incredibly blessed.

Do you breastfeed your toddler? Do you face any challenges or negative remarks from family? Let me know in the comments!

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