It’s A (Booby) Trap!: The Unexpected Benefits of Nursing a Toddler

Is he off the boob yet?
“Noooo, Dad. He’s still nursing.”

This conversation has officially become the norm for my dad and me these days. I love my dad – he’s a wiseass and a teddy bear. While he’s half joking when he asks this question, I know he’s also judging. Actually, he’s more like the American Airlines flight attendant who offered the nursing mom a “blanket to cover up.” My dad’s more concerned with “accidentally” seeing his daughter’s breast than he is with his grandson’s milk preference.

My dad’s jokes aside, nursing a toddler can be a real pain in the tush. Unlike the newborn days, covering up is virtually impossible. I’m not that modest, but every time we’re out with my husband, he too brings the dreadful blanket out and it turns into a National Lampoon’s episode. My husband’s trying to cover me with the blanket up, down and around as he tries to avoid my son’s flailing hands and feet. Finally—snatch! My son grabs the blanket from our grips and tosses it. My husband frantically resorts to using his own body as a shield to cover me. Bham! My son whacks him in the junk and it’s game over. Evren 1. Daddy 0. Mommy’s just sore since Evren’s STILL LATCHED!

Like I said, it’s not easy nursing a toddler. Here’s why:

  1. Incessant whining for milk before I’ve even had breakfast
  2. Random boob grabs and hands in my shirt in public
  3. I’m often greeted with “Miiiilllk” instead of “Mama”
  4. Toddler “snuggling” can be rough with feet in my face, hands in my mouth or nose and constant whacking of my breasts (because he believes this will magically produce more milk)
  5. My breasts are still off limits for my hubby (sorry, TMI!)
Evren 21 months

Still loves mama’s milk.

I never thought I’d be nursing a 21-month-old toddler. In fact, I used to think it was weird to nurse a child who could walk. When I started nursing, I committed to 12 months. Then he started teething and I couldn’t take away the perfect remedy to his pain. Then I blinked and when he turned 16 months we dealt with a few illnesses, so I couldn’t remove his source of hydration. Now he’s approaching two-years-old and I honestly can’t see myself forcefully weaning him.

I’ve read the research linking breastfeeding to higher cognitive developmentimproved immune function and lower risk for diseases like asthma or cancer. I’ve also read the opinions of moms for and against breastfeeding toddlers. Through all this, I’ve learned that there’s more good and virtually no harm in continuing to nurse a two-year-old. So instead I like to focus on the positive benefits of nursing my older child.

Top 5 Reasons Why I’m Happy to Be Nursing My Toddler:

  1. Breastmilk is the perfect rehydration solution – Thanks to nursing, we avoided the hospital two times this winter when Evren went on a food/drink strike during a case of pneumonia and Croup.
  2. His immune system rocksLike the studies show, aside from the sicknesses above and a couple of one-day viruses, he’s been pretty dang healthy.
  3. I’ve got a built-in boo boo healer We typically nurse 1-3x/day, but if I see blood from a fall, mom’s milk can ease those tears.
  4. Our special bond supports his social development – He’s become quite the independent little boy and I like to think our special relationship supports his growth
  5. I actually get snuggle time – Ever try snuggling with a rambunctious 2-year-old boy? Usually doesn’t last more than a minute. Nursing provides at least 10 minutes of snuggle time!

I’m confident that my independent little guy will stop nursing when he’s ready, but until then I’m okay with the questions, the jokes and the blanket wrestling matches. My feathers don’t get ruffled very easily so I can deal with the criticism. American society makes it downright difficult for mothers to continue nursing after returning to work, so breastfeeding after 12 months can be a challenge for most families. I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to prolong the typical nursing period, but I also understand that for most mamas this isn’t always the reality. At the end of the day, we do what we can to be the best mommies to our little ones.

Did you nurse your children longer than the proverbial 12 months? Tell us in the comments about your funniest or most stressful moments when nursing an older child.

A Healthy Way to Start Solids

Starting your infant on solid foods is a whole new journey that can bring mixed emotions. Fear. Excitement. Relief. Giddiness. Anxiety. What feelings do you associate with this experience?

As a family nutrition coach, I was frantic to get it right! I read research studies, spoke with experts and scoured books to identify a handful of evidence-informed guidelines to starting my boy on solid food the most healthy way possible. The early days of food introduction are so important that I even created a class to share the latest research and make it simple for parents to tackle this new journey. For some simple tips, check out my latest blog post on the Bright Horizons Family Blog on “Tips for Introducing Babies to Solid Foods

Contact me for info on an upcoming class or with any questions or issues you are having. Enjoy!

Starting Solid Food - Avocado

A favorite first food – avocado!



Nutritious Bars for the Busy Family

While I love to cook, as a busy mom I don’t have time to whip up every meal. Of course, it’s important to focus on whole foods prepared at home because they’re the most nutritious fuel for our bodies. But let’s get real – we all need those packaged foods we can turn to in a pinch. Only problem: which ones actually contain wholesome ingredients?

 I don’t know a single family who doesn’t have “bars” as a pantry staple. Though convenient, most commercially manufactured bars are loaded with refined sugars, artificial colors/flavors and other ingredients that provide no nutritional value.

We turn to bars for nourishment more often than we realize. Truth be told, I’ll snack on bars 3-5 times during a hectic week. Every time we eat these unhealthy, “junky” bars, we’re taking on a pile of empty calories and unhealthy ingredients. That quickly adds up to a whole lot of extra weight on my hips and junk in my trunk! Plus, a junky bar gives me what I’d call the “bar hangover” – heartburn, sluggishness, plus I’m starving again 30 minutes later.

Avoid the bar hangover! Check out my favorite brands:


pure organic blueberry

cherry pie lara

Why do I love them?

Whole food ingredients: What are whole foods? They’re foods that haven’t been chemically altered and are consumed in their most natural state. This means they’re packed with nutrients. To test if an ingredient is a whole food, ask yourself “would my great great great grandma recognize this food?” If so, your body will too.

Non-GMO: GMO foods come from crops that are made in a laboratory. They can be less nutritious and pose higher allergy risks. They aren’t natural and wouldn’t be recognized by the farmers who lived during our great great great grandma’s life.

No added sugar: The only sugar in these bars comes from fruit. Processed sugar such as cane sugar is empty calories void of all nutritional value, whereas fruit has fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Our diets are overloaded with sugar and most bars are the culprit – except my favorites!

Nutritious: Most bars are just a messy mix of sugar and flour. These bars contain nutrient-dense, plant-based ingredients that provide macronutrients (protein and healthy fats), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and phytonutrients!

Here are a  few runners-up that I also love, but consume in moderation because they have added sugar:

Have you tried these bars? Are there any healthy brands out there that I missed? Tell us in the comments.