These 4 Moms Still Breastfeed Their Toddlers Because . . . Well, They Don't Have to Give a Reason

Every mom who chooses to breastfeed her child has a journey that looks completely different from any other mother's — and that's OK. However, for some moms, breastfeeding into toddlerhood, something that's often stigmatized, is something that bonds them together in a special way. In an attempt to normalize extended — or full-term — breastfeeding, four moms have shared with us the best and most challenging parts of nursing their toddlers.

From moms who have breastfed all of their kids into the toddler years to those going through the experience for the first time, see what each mom had to say about the ups and downs of extended breastfeeding.

Kali Centeno

"I honestly am not a fan of the term 'extended' breastfeeding. I think full-term breastfeeding is a better representation. Babies [are recommended] to be breastfed for at least two years, and personally I am going to let my son wean himself, even if that means going until he's 4 or so.

The best part of extended breastfeeding for me is the bonding time. My son is old enough to ask for his 'boos' and it's our little alone time since he's mostly running around now. I think the most challenging has been when he's wanted to nurse in public. I don't have an issue with it, but I notice we get a lot more dirty looks than when he was an infant nursing." — Kali Centeno (and Ollie, 2)

The Greatest Wonders

"In a society where full-term breastfeeding is rarely supported and often viewed as 'gross,' 'offensive,' 'weird,' etc., it means the world to me to take part in normalizing and raising awareness through my journey. Motherhood is a wild ride and I often find myself lost in the day-to-day. However, when my little babes crawl into my lap to nurse, whether for comfort or hunger, we have a moment to just be. The messy house, the never ending to-do list, the stress . . . it all fades to the background.

What has been the most challenging part of extended breastfeeding [is] the feeling of not being my own. It can be overwhelming and I sometimes find myself 'touched-out.' Healthy/reasonable boundary-setting, support, and perspective have helped tremendously during these times!" — Tamika Rascón (and Noah, 3, and Atlas, 18 months)

Instagram | hipsolomama

"Though he won't remember any of this, I hope he will always remember the feeling of safety and comfort from when he would lay in my arms and listen to my heart through my chest. As much as I am an advocate for breastfeeding, if that's what the mama-baby dyad chooses is best for them, I would be straight up full of sh*t if I said it was easy. Well, maybe it is, but it wasn't and hasn't been the easiest journey with either babe.

Being 'touched-out' after mothering all day, after giving up any semblance of personal space to a small human that can't really grasp the concept, has been hard for me to accept. But alas, we are still here. When I think about the first several years, sometimes I feel guilty that I couldn't 'give' or 'be present' as much, so I guess this time around, as a SAHM, I try to be more mindful and giving, and for me, that includes continuing to nurse and enjoy these quiet moments . . . thankfully, Netflix exists for when I'm trapped with a cranky-pants toddler." — Anna (and "Little G," 25 months)

Lovemade Handmade

"Breastfeeding for me is an opportunity to allow motherhood to take center stage and to submit to the process of life and embrace the experiences that occur during this stage of motherhood. The best part of extended breastfeeding has got to be the calming effect it delivers, for me and my child. It can stop tantrums dead in their tracks or help a tired little one fall asleep faster. It also forces me to take those much needed breaks from a to-do list that sometimes seem too long.

The most challenging part [centers] around people's concerns for when we will stop. Many times these individuals are just curious, but it bothers me that our society has become so unaccustomed to mothers providing physical nourishment and comfort to their child once they've reached a certain age." — Karina Moran (and Kari-Anna, 3)