Breastfeeding a 2-year old

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed, I just didn’t realise how difficult it would be to wean off. Everyone describes breastfeeding as the most beautiful natural bond with your baby. YES, when you have a newborn nursing, it’s adorable and precious but when you have a 2-year old biting on your nipple the entire night, all you want to do is SCREAM!

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed breastfeeding Kitana especially when she was a newborn. It was amazing, I loved every second of it but now…. I can’t handle it anymore! I feel like I went on for too long even though it is recommended to breastfeed till 2 years. No one tells you how difficult it is to wean a toddler of the breast, my cousin is still breastfeeding her 4-year old daughter. Yes, you saw right. At 2, Kitana has become even more addicted to the breast which makes it difficult for her to let go. When I tell people I’m still breastfeeding, I get the raised eyebrow look…

Breast feeding, mommy blogger, breast, 2 year old, toddler, cons of breastfeeding a toddler, motherhood, lifestyle, baby, sleep

To be honest, a lot of this is my fault…As a stay at home mom, I became lazy especially for night feeds. Instead of expressing, I just gave her the breast direct. It was so easy and simple. Kitana never really took to formula, she always used to throw up so we decided to stick to breastfeeding exclusively.

Right now, I think I wake up at least 5 times a night because she wants to open my top and suck on the nipple (my nipple is her dummy). We co-sleeping, I hardly sleep and I know she’s not having the best sleep either. Routine is so important, I tried to stick to mine but when everyone else gives you advice, it just ends up confusing you when you a first time mom. I breastfed on demand and still do. I used to laugh at moms who breastfed like every 2 hours or so (depending on your baby’s age). I always thought they were starving the baby but that’s not true, they were setting a routine which would help in a later stage.

I’m tired physically and emotionally. Its become overwhelming for me. I know its my fault but I’m not sure how to fix it. Where do I start? Should I sleep train again? Can I even go through that again? Kitana is such a happy chappy, every time I look into those big black eyes, I melt. I give in.

Her paediatrician prescribed a tablet for me to take for 3 days to stop breastfeeding completely but that means I need to leave her and go.. Honestly I can’t find it in me to do that. I wish I could, I really do… but I can’t. I even tried a very bitter powder but that didn’t even work with her.

My cons about breastfeeding a toddler: 

1. I have stretched tops and bra’s.

2. A clingy toddler who wants to nurse all day.

3. I get limited sleep or no sleep.

4. She’s a fussy eater and snacks on breast milk most of the time.

5. She opens my top in public for a quick sip.

6. She falls asleep with the nipple between her teeth (eeeek, that hurts!)

Moms, I’m not trying to scare you or put you off on breastfeeding, all I’m saying is learn from my mistakes.. Keep a schedule and stick with it, don’t let others tell you how to raise your child. You know your baby better than anyone else.

To those moms who have the patience to do this, I admire you! Well done, I wish I could be more like you.

This blog post was featured on Huffington Parents:

toddler breastfeeding

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Hi, I’m Shan. I’m an entrepreneur and a sucker for good adventures. I was listed in Forbes Africa 30 under 30 2019 and just recently launched my start-up – MomSays.

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  1. Shan
    2014-09-15 / 10:45

    Sumayya Lambey on Facebook says:
    Well I was forced to wean my then 18 month old as I was pregnant with no2 And my supply was dwindling. Anyway I started with night feeds instead of feeding I held him and pacified him till he was asleep. Next to go was afternoon feed when I got home from work those were easy as we’d just play a game of distraction the last to go were the early morning feeds. I use to express milk daily for the next day as I work so I had to introduce a milk during the day he only likes the parmalat first growth after much taste testing others he would point to his tongue and shake his head! As I look back at time I felt guilty for not feeding until 2 but when I see his development and talking I think it would have been even harder. I had a five month break and now I’m feeding my newborn. Goodluck

  2. Shan
    2014-09-15 / 10:46

    Victoria Katie on Twitter says:
    Still feeding my 13 month old. It’s tough. I hear you mumma, well done xx

  3. 2014-09-15 / 10:46

    Good on you for putting this out there. Breastfeeding is not as rosy as it’s made out to be. Best of luck to you for the next few days. <3

    • Shan
      2014-09-15 / 10:48

      Thank you, it was one of the hardest post I had to do thus far.

  4. Liz
    2014-09-15 / 11:06

    Thank U Shaney for just telling it the way it is….. The hardest job I have done to date is breastfeed my first born for 24 months. I can so relate to what you are saying… The sleepless nites, the bites, the pacifier my nipple was, everything…. I thought I would never be able to wean him. The paed had mentioned to me about this antibiotic. But even I didnt have it in me to take it and then let him cry!!!!! On his 2 year check up with the paed, I mentioned to her how breastfeeding was not fun anymore. She looked into my son’s eye and she told him that he is a BIG BOY now and that he must drink milk from the cup. That nite, he came to me as usual for his nite-drink before sleep. I asked him if he remembered what the paed had said the morning. He just stared at me and turned the other way and slept in my arms. That week, I cut the nite feeds. There was not a single tear shed on his part. The following week, I stopped giving him his morn feeds. And that was that! I do not know how it happened but this is what happened! And beleive me, I started having proper sleeps. He started sleeping through the nites. But we continued to co-sleep. Just hang in there. I dont want to give you any advice. It will happen. She will be weaned.

    • Shan
      2014-09-15 / 11:46

      Liz, you just made me feel so much better! I expected a lot of hate for this post but now I realise there is moms who went through the same thing as me. Thank you for sharing for story with me. Its great knowing someone understands you.

  5. Liz
    2014-09-15 / 11:07

    And yes, you are an awesome mommy!

  6. 2014-09-15 / 11:09

    Good luck 🙂 Weirdest thing, my son has been weaned for 4 months and I kind of miss breastfeeding now 🙂

    • Shan
      2014-09-15 / 11:47

      Thanks Ella, how old is he? Hehe I’m sure I will miss it when I stop… The journey of motherhood is crazy but amazing!

  7. 2014-09-15 / 13:12

    Can really relate to you Shan.. I felt irritated when feeding my little one even at 3-4 am and my office hours the next day .. Uff times were difficult .. But am happy now looking back at those times..

  8. Heather
    2014-09-15 / 13:37

    I am going through the exact same thing and I am just as exhausted as you are. At least he is not nursing in the day but just to sleep and nap. I have no answers! I am reading books. Nothing is helping and I am so tired of being the dummy to get him to sleep. So it really helps to know I’m not the only one.

    • Shan
      2014-09-19 / 21:39

      Hugs to you mommy, you doing great :).

  9. 2014-09-15 / 15:54

    I weaned my son off at 11 months. I had decided we’d go one year, but one month before we could reach his birthday – I was fed up. I wasn’t sleeping, and neither was he. He was just sucking the entire night! Literally the whole night. I realised it’s not a selfish decision, since I was exhausted – and he wasn’t getting any rest either! He had already been taking formula during the day, so I didn’t have any concern that he’d starve (although, even if he wasn’t taking formula yet – if he is hungry, he’ll take formula I discovered early on) BUT he did love the breast. I took the prescribed tablet to dry up my milk, and just stopped. I was so worried. I thought we’d have to send him to my mom! I thought he’d cry for the breast, and refuse the bottle – but when time came for his feed, I just gave him the bottle and that was that. Done. No more boob, no asking for boob. I was shocked. I thought he’d have a tantrum or a few! Read my tips for weaning here:

    My point is: maybe you’re more anxious about weaning her off than she’d actually miss it. Just take the boob off the table. Good luck, and well done on going this long. You should be proud 🙂

    • Shan
      2014-09-19 / 21:39

      Lovely post! Thanks for sharing your story with us. Maybe I am lol, we shall see!

  10. 2014-09-16 / 10:44

    I breastfed each of my girls for a year. I loved it, but enough was enough. Kudos to you for sticking to it so long, and good luck for when you finally wean her.

    • Shan
      2014-09-19 / 21:38

      Thank you, hoping it gets better.

  11. 2014-09-16 / 11:04

    Lovely honest post! It’s nice to know that other people have mixed emotions about breastfeeding, and stopping breastfeeding.
    My daughter is currently 9 months old and I am breastfeeding her, but with the fact that I have to return to work in a couple of months looming I am thinking about how that is going to change things for us, she currently feeds to sleep, for naps and at night as well as feeding for food (if that makes sense) she will have to go to nursery when I start work and so she is not going to be able to do this. I feel really sad, and guilty. I wish I didn’t have to return to work and change things, I wish I could follow my daughters lead so she could wean herself. I am already grieving the loss of breastfeeding before I have even stopped!! I am currently trying to find tips for making the change as least stressful for her as possible, but such a huge thing, and I really don’t know where to start!

    • Shan
      2014-09-19 / 21:37

      Breastfeeding as long as you can, just make sure you have a good routine. It’s a beautiful bond between mother and child but just not at 2 years for me :). Each mom handles it differently. Hope things work out for you, let me know.

  12. Shan
    2014-09-16 / 11:21

    Cara Eachus on Facebook says: I weaned at two and although extremely grateful that our circumstances allowed for extended breastfeeding I also felt like I had enough. It wasn’t working for me anymore. We did away with all day feeds first which was made easier by going out a lot during the day and having lots of distractions. He also fell asleep in the car eliminating the need to feed to sleep at nap time. Daddy started doing bedtime stories so that feed was also easy to drop. During the night I let him feed for a few seconds and then took him off slowly, cuddling him and explaining to him that there was no more milk if he protested. We also co slept. Loved the Elizabeth Pantley book! It was a transition that made for a few very early mornings until he got used to going back to sleep without a feed but we had no tears and no sleep training which I would never have done anyway. Soon after he started to prefer sleeping in his own bed and we have never looked back! I now have a 12 week old who is a totally different baby. He loves his routine, prefers his cot and is not as attached to the breast as the first. I don’t think it is your “fault” at all, you do what you need to do for your specific child. Good luck!

  13. 2014-09-16 / 21:00

    I can’t imagine still breastfeeding my 2 year old. Although, I have to say it may have made her a bit calmer since she would have to sit still to suck, but she was never a great latcher so we stopped earlier than I planned. Props to you for sticking with it though! And good luck with weening.

    • Shan
      2014-09-19 / 21:34

      Thank you Christine, lets hope it gets better sooooon!

  14. Lauren
    2014-09-22 / 13:27

    I am a working mom and only made it to 7 months before giving up on the endless expressing. Rosie stopped latching cos it was harder work (lazy little feeder!) so I had to express at night to keep up the supply. Anyway, long story short, I’ve been feeling so guilty. Your blog made me realise that there is no “right” amount of time. You just have to do what you can and hope that it works for your child. Big thank you!

    • Shan
      2014-09-23 / 22:25

      Thank you for reading Lauren! I just love reading your comments, you always so honest. Hope you and Rosie are well.

  15. robin
    2014-09-23 / 18:04

    I feel like I just read an account of my own life! I’m still breastfeeding and co sleeping with my 21 month old and feel just like you described. Most my tops have stretched necklines, I have flashed many a people in public when he catches me off guard and opens my top before I realize it. My son is a terribly picky eater and prefers breastmilk to food. I haven’t slept through the night since he was born, and have no idea how to start to wean. I just wanted to let you know you’re not alone, and also if you find a solution, send it my way!

    • Shan
      2014-09-23 / 22:22

      Wow Robin, it is great knowing someone understands what you going through. Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it. Lets hope we find a solution soon.

  16. 2014-10-07 / 09:44

    i also breastfeed but not looking forward to reach 2 years. i reached 1 yr 8months with my frist baby, 11 months with my second baby and i think i will try 6 months with my 3rd child

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