I am officially one of those women. I am nursing a toddler.
Ewan just turned 13 months and he has recently started eating more and more solid food. His eating habits are not regular, but he usually has three meals and two snacks every day. How much food ends up in his mouth and how much ends up on the floor varies from day to day.
How much milk he drinks also varies from day to day.
If he doesn't eat very much at a meal, he will want to nurse about 20 minutes later just to top off his tummy. I let him nurse after meals if he wants to because it's more important for him to be full and satisfied than than for him to be made to eat what he was served. He's only 13 months, for goodness sake! We can work on eating what mommy serves me when he is older.
He climbs into my lap and wants to nurse whenever he is hungry, but sometimes instead of nursing him on his cue, I have been offering food. If he wants to nurse, but it is time for a meal or snack, I will ask him if he wants to get in the high chair and eat some food. If he protests getting in the chair, I'll nurse him, but if he gets in the chair willingly, I'll give him food.
How many times during the day does he nurse? I have no idea. I don't count because there is no reason to count. Does it really matter? Not really.
If he is really hungry, alot of times he will drain one breast, drain the other breast, and then switch back to the first one. He does this if he doesn't feel well or really didn't eat much at his meal. The great thing about him eating food is that I don't have to worry about my milk supply anymore. I know I don't have enough milk for him to survive on completely, but it's ok! He eats food too! I know his favorite foods and if he is hungry for a snack and I don't have enough milk for him, I break out a sure-thing like strawberries or crunchy bread sticks.
I'm not trying to wean him yet because I am interested in baby-led weaning. The goal is to work on increasing the food and decreasing the breastfeeding until your toddler is no longer breastfeeding. It is apparently a slow process that will end sometime before the child turns 4. I've also been told that you will see your toddler progress and regress multiple times before he or she completely weans. We'll see how it goes.
Ewan nurses down for naps and to sleep at night. It has been the most reliable way to get him to sleep since his birth. I am a believer in nursing to sleep. It has made it hard for anyone else to get him down for a nap, but not impossible. He will often climb into my lap to nurse when he is tired. He also likes to nurse in the evenings after dinner but before bed.
I do want to get pregnant sometime in the next year or so we'll see how nursing while pregnant goes. I've heard that sometimes toddlers will stop nursing when the mother is pregnant because the milk decreases and can taste different.
If any of that happens, I'll be sure to blog about it!