The major difference that I’ve noticed between nursing a newborn and nursing a toddler is that Joshua no longer lies quietly in my arms as he nurses. He wiggles all around, managing to kick me in the face with one foot and in the belly with the other. He pokes me in the eyes, mouth, nose. He pops off whenever he hears an interesting noise. He rolls around to change positions while still latched on. He wants to nurse while standing, sitting, or upside down. He holds onto his favorite toy or a sippy cup, then intermittently stops nursing to chew on it or drink his water.
It’s not nearly as relaxing to nurse Joshua as it used to be, but it's a break from chasing him. A friend once told me that we evolved to nurse our babies so moms could get a chance to sit down and rest, and I might just agree! Lately, it seems that the only time my active little boy isn’t on the go is when he’s nursing, and even then it's pretty clear that while he's nursing, he's thinking about all of the other places he could be going.
I am getting to experience another benefit of nursing a toddler: managing tantrums.
Here's what will go down in the annals of his early childhood: Joshua’s new favorite spot to nurse is sitting on the lawnmower in the garage. He calls it a “Tac-ta!” and loves to sit on it and pretend to drive, to the point that he’ll throw a tantrum when we get off. One day when he was extremely over-tired, screaming when I tried to take him off the lawnmower, I decided to go ahead and try to nurse him to sleep right there. I’m pretty sure Joshua loved nursing while turning the steering wheel and while he didn’t actually nurse to sleep, I was able to avoid a huge tantrum when we did (finally!) get off the Tac-ta.
We've nursed in lots of other locations I could have predicted: pretty much everywhere! We’ve had nursing sessions on the couch, on the rug surrounded by toys, in the yard while both of us were soaked from playing with the water table, on the kitchen floor in between stirring spaghetti sauce, all night long in the big bed.
My favorite nursing sessions these days happen in the wee hours of the morning when the house is quiet, the windows are open and breeze blows through the room, and my sleepy little boy lies quietly and nurses, all snuggled in between his Daddy and me. This is such a peaceful time, listening to my toddler gulping milk and thinking of how amazing it is that my body is still able to nourish him after over a year.