So my babies grew into toddlers, and the whole breastfeeding on demand thing started to wear thin. Why? My kids demanded SO MUCH! And it felt like if I didn’t comply, they punished me. Kicking, scratching, slapping, squirming, pinching and twisting my skin became common.
You are in charge of your body. No one has the right to hurt you or do things that upset you. You don’t have to tolerate this from anyone. Not even your breastfed toddler.
There’s this misconception that breastfeeding requires constant sacrifice, and that you must make it all about your child’s demands. This is not true. Breastfeeding is a relationship. It involves two people. Like any relationship, if you make it all about one party and ignore the second person’s feelings and desires, resentment will inevitably build.
Creating boundaries is a big part of parenting. If parental submission was a good thing, then my kids would have eaten chocolate biscuits for breakfast this morning. Miss 15mo would have thrown all of our toilet paper into the toilet and Mr 4yo would have cut every shred of paper in the house into ribbons.
As your child grows, you will teach them about bodily autonomy. Now is the time to lead by example. You are in charge of your body. Not your toddler.
Forget “breastfeeding on demand” and instead “feed to need”. Your toddler doesn’t need to nurse eleventy billion times a day. You are not selfish. Saying “no” sometimes has saved our breastfeeding relationships. Compromising with how and when my kids can breastfeed has allowed me to continue breastfeeding them for longer than I thought I would. Creating some healthy boundaries within a breastfeeding relationship can benefit both mum and her baby.