The title says it all in this case. Parents with infants and toddlers may find themselves nursing frequently with no end in sight. I am one of those parents (raises hand)! As I am writing, my three year old has asked for milk for the hundredth time. She switched it up by using the Baby Shark melody (“I want my milk do, do, do, do, do, do…”) this time around. Someone, please send me a lifeline asap.
In these instances I am forced to revert back to what I know about breast / chestfeeding. It is natural for our little ones to choose human milk. The breast / chest represents safety and a sense of security to our little ones. The request to nurse isn’t always about hunger. The following diagram lists a variety of reasons why our little ones nurse.
“Mothers breastfeed their toddlers for many of the same reasons they breastfeed their babies: they recognize their children’s needs, they enjoy the closeness, they want to offer comfort, and they understand the health benefits.”La Leche League International
The breast / chest can be a source of connection for the parent and infant in the midst of uncertainty and a changing routine. Additionally, human milk is magic and there are several studies which prove that it is key in helping babies and toddlers to remain healthy and free of common illnesses.
“One of the most amazing qualities of human milk is how it adapts. As mother and baby are exposed to bacteria and viruses, milk includes antibodies specific to those antigens. It also contains more general disease-fighting substances that provide help in preventing many common illnesses. A mother will pass antibodies to her baby through her milk, which can actually destroy bacteria in the infant’s gastrointestinal tract before they have a chance to make baby sick.”BreastfeedUSA
Access to human milk is invaluable during natural disasters and other emergencies as highlighted by the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC). COVID-19 has certainly presented unique challenges in that shelves containing infant feeding products are often empty. This is a valid reason why one would choose to continue producing human milk for their little one. There are several ways to make this happen – directly nursing from the breast / chest, securing human milk from a reputable human milk bank and bottle feeding expressed milk.
Life has changed as our daily routines are impacted given COVID-19. States have implemented a shelter in place mandate which has resulted in many remaining home. Jobs are remote in some cases. Schools and day care centers are closed causing parents to keep children engaged at home. Work schedules have shifted and some may find themselves working shorter or longer than normal hours. Grief may be present as many cope with loss. Our daily lives are different and our little ones are also experiencing the impact of a sudden change in routine. Indeed parents and little ones deserve a bit of self-compassion during these challenging times.
My toddler has not verbalized it, but I sincerely believe that nursing is her preferred form of self-care just as music serves the same purpose for me. This does not diminish the fact that parents may find this time to be challenging. This is a normal response. Several factors can be true at the same time. Breast / chestfeeding is normal. It is also healthy, yet exhausting at times. Admitting this does not make one a bad parent. It shows that we are human! But yes, please send us all a lifeline and help asap.
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love & Breastmilk
The Maziwa Tribe blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Content from Maziwa Tribe’s blog is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. The information provided on this blog is intended for general consumer understanding. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please contact your family doctor or other medical professional to obtain medical advice.