A child’s breastfeeding patterns and behaviour are unique. They vary with the child’s needs and personality and the mother’s availability and preferences. These change as the child grows. Past 12 months of age, children may breastfeed eight times in one day and others only a few times as they slowly wean themselves. Most feeds are short and children are very distractible. Before-bed and night-time feeds tend to be a little longer and more settled.
Feeds also vary based on the reason for the feed, and can include hunger, thirst, fear, boredom, feeling cold or tired, and pain.
1) Breastfeeding the one-year-old
A one-year-old child will have a word they use for breastfeeding. Examples include num-num, mimi, or milky. Some mothers will teach the child a code name to avoid having the child scream for “boobies” when in public. It’s up to the two of you!
If the mother has resumed working outside of the house, entering child care can be a startling experience for a child, and arriving home to snuggle and breastfeed can ease the transition.
2) Breastfeeding the two-year-old
At two years, children will speak about breastfeeding. They will:
- Ask to breastfeed.
- Bring up breastfeeding in conversation.
- Comment on breastfeeding.
All of these are normal.
3) Breastfeeding the three-year-old and beyond
Children who are three years or older are very busy, but breastfeeding provides a great opportunity for mothers to snuggle their babies.
If your child is older and breastfeeding is working for both of you, there is no reason to stop.