Tiddler is two. He’s a happy little person most of the time, but sometimes he has tantrums, especially when he’s tired. It’s normal. Often when this happens, I take the easiest option, which is to offer him a breastfeed. This evening, he was sitting on Granny’s lap listening to stories for a long time and was tired and ready to sleep. However, he didn’t think so, and when I tried to take him to bed he pulled out all the stops for the loudest tantrum ever. I offered to feed him as usual, and he refused which I knew he would until he started to calm down. So I sat with him and held him and when he paused for breath I offered the choice to feed or go to bed. I repeated the offer a couple of times before he decided to opt for the breastfeed. He did try his luck by asking for a lollipop (he had one at the hairdresser’s yesterday) before settling down to feed. Within five minutes he was fast asleep.
Being able to calm Tiddler down so quickly is good for me, and Suburban dad is an enthusiastic supporter of extended breastfeeding for the same reason. But more importantly it is good for Tiddler. He is the only one of my four babies to have continued breastfeeding after the age of two, and I feel sad when I look back on all the unnecessary tears and tantrums the others had at this stage. It’s normal that they happen, but with the benefit of breastfeeding, peace can be restored more easily and unnecessary distress is avoided.
I have mentioned extended breastfeeding in passing before, and thought I might get round to writing a more detailed post about it sometime. However, it’s late and I’m tired and I can’t organise my thoughts, so it turns out this is just another random musing on the topic again rather than anything more thorough. I suppose I just feel that I’m very very lucky, and so is Tiddler, and I wish that I’d known at the start of my parenting journey what I know now. I also feel sad that the prevailing view of our culture, which condemns breastfeeding older babies and toddlers, makes parenting harder than it needs to be.