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Nursing a Toddler is Totally Normal

25 months and still nursing. One mom opens up about her breastfeeding journey.

Nursing a Toddler is Totally Normal

Here I am…that mom who is nursing a toddler. Even I can’t believe it sometimes, but now that I’m living it, it seems nothing but normal. Because it is normal.

Truth be told, our country is one of the only ones who is scared of this concept. Breast milk has an expiration date, people say, babies get too big and once they begin to ask for it, well…that’s weird. I get it, I do. But maybe it’s time to change our perspective on this one.

My nursing journey has been extraordinary. I’ve loved it, and it’s been easy for me, and I’m proud of that. I endured a crazy birth that I still have trouble coping with even today, so being able to have this sliver of normalcy, something that came easily and according to my plan is something I hold near and dear. I shout it from the rooftops and try to help others to have the positive experience that I have been lucky to have had.

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I am not even sure how I got on the right foot when it came to nursing. I had a lot of conflicting information from the hospital staff and, being my first born, everything was new and questionable. Thankfully, once we were home, I immersed myself in online blogs, websites and Facebook groups and made sure I was doing what was right. There was no way to overfeed her. Perfect! When in doubt, offer the breast. Check! Happy, gaining weight and enough soiled diapers? Then she’s getting plenty of milk! I felt like I conquered this.

We were two months in when some colicky symptoms started. Every night, from 9pm until about 2am, she was inconsolable and had more spit-up than normal. We, like any parents, Googled our lives away and found that maybe the dairy I was drinking (I love my chocolate milk!) was making her stomach upset and bloated. I cut out dairy, brought in almond milk, and the problem was solved.

At four months postpartum, I went back to work at a new job. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, and I struggle with it on occasion to this day. I threw my thoughts into the universe and accepted that, if I got this position, it was meant to be…and here I am. I carried that heavy pump with me to work every day and was in the lactation room constantly. I researched bottles to see which would be the best for going back and forth from breast to bottle (what worked for us: Comotomo) and even came home at lunch sometimes to nurse.

My milk supply skyrocketed and the stash was taking up our freezer. I donated around 400 oz. to the Mothers Milk Bank Northeast and was thrilled that I could provide milk to micro-preemie babies in need while still providing for my own.

When Ava was around 16 months old, I finally pump-weaned but continued to nurse whenever I was home. I thought about beginning to wean her at 18 months, but it just never happened. As a working mom, having those moments to nurse Ava and be extra close with her were so important to me.

We continued forward and here we are…25 months and still nursing. Yes, Ava eats real food, drinks almond milk, water, juices and whatever else she pleases. But being able to nurse her in the morning and at night is a special time for us.

What I love about nursing is that breast milk never outweighs its benefits and I’ve seen this first hand. Ava was sick with a cold when she was 10 months old, and that’s been it thus far. Her immune system has benefited greatly from breast milk and all of the antibodies that have been passed on to her. Some studies have even concluded that the longer you breastfeed a child, the smarter your child is likely to become. This is because the brain grows more during the first two years of life than any other time. Experts also have noted that children who are breastfed have improved vision, better hearing due to lower incidence of ear infections and even better dental health.

Still not convinced, and totally weirded out that a toddler who can walk, talk and scream at decibels that are ear-piercing is still nursing? The World Health Organization officially recommends that mothers breastfeed until at least two years of age. The American Academy of Pediatrics also has a recommendation along those lines, stating that “mothers should breastfeed until at least one year of age and then as long as mother and baby mutually want to.”

While whatever feeding relationship a mother chooses is up to her and her baby, nursing a toddler (and another societal issue here in America: nursing in public) is totally normal. We have become a very sexualized society, where showing cleavage and barely-legal clothing is ok, but feeding a child the way nature intended is shameful and not allowed. We are constantly working towards better societal norms, but we still have a long way to go.

I will continue nursing my daughter until we mutually agree to end this journey we have been on since birth, and that’s normal and OK.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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