Tag Archives: Babywearing

Baby Turns One: You Are Now Breastfeeding a Toddler

IMG_5949 By Cassandra Okamoto, Blog Contributor

It does not feel like I have a toddler. While my son is not actually toddling around quite yet, his first birthday has come & gone and left us staring the unchartered waters of toddlerhood in the face. We both don’t quite know what to expect.

We did pass that first birthday mark without a consideration of weaning from the breast though, which I almost always forget is “unconventional”. Like I said, he still very much seems like a baby in many senses and babies want mama’s milk, same as toddlers do to it seems 🙂

Our choice to continue nursing past the one-year mark involves many factors, below are three of the bigger ones:

1) We have not received any vaccines *yet* and I am most comfortable with this path as long as we are still nursing and do so until at least 2 years of age. This is also the recommendation from Dr. Sears if you are choosing not to vaccinate. Source: The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child, By Dr. Sears

2) Nutritionally there is still a requirement for “milk” until age 2. The majority of children start receiving cow’s milk at one year, the AAP recommends 16 oz of whole milk until the age of 2. Source Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics) Logically, if my child still requires milk why would I take him off of my milk and switch him to milk from a cow?


3) It isn’t time. Motherhood has taught me WAY too many things to be honest, but the biggest ones are to trust myself, and go with the flow (no pun intended!). I will know when it is time for both of us. It might not happen at the same time, maybe it will, but right now neither of us are there. We both are in fact ready to night wean though, more on this in a little bit.

So we have decided to continue on in our breastfeeding journey, but feeding a little baby at the breast is NOT the same as feeding a toddler at the breast. Personally, it has been a very hard transition for me. Breastfeeding actually did NOT come easy to us after birth, once my son was finally feeding at the breast we dealt with horrific reactions to proteins from many different foods in my milk and crazy elimination diets for me that lasted until he was 4 ½ months old.

Then it was the snacking. My son has always been a “snacker” at the breast and I was filled with constant worry and anxiety that he was not getting enough because he never fed longer than a couple of minutes, if that. Then it was distracted nursing, then it was only nursing at night, then it was the other nipple twiddling that would NOT STOP, and then we went through this period where he would lay calmly and take his time and nursing was oh my gosh BLISSFUL!

It was what everyone had been talking about this whole time and I felt relaxed and full of love, and then, it ended. And we entered into toddler breastfeeding, which although may not be the hardest of them all is definitely very difficult, especially when it seems more of a longer-term reality as opposed to “just a phase” like the other frustrations I mentioned. After a little bit of research, some trial and error, talking with other mamas, and attending a La Leche League meeting I put together some things that I think will make breastfeeding a toddler a little easier.

Boundaries: Discipline has such a negative connotation, especially when gentle parenting is involved. But I have learned that productive, respectful boundaries and discipline are really going to be essential for us. My doula says that “nursing a tiny baby on demand is entirely different than nursing a demanding toddler” and it is something I find myself repeating daily!

My son pulls down my shirt whenever/wherever, throws himself backwards or kicks when he wants milk NOW, will point and cry whenever I am changing clothes, throws huge fits because he wants to go back and forth nursing off of each breast (I still don’t know why this is?) and all of these things have put a huge strain on our nursing relationship. It makes me resentful, frustrated, consider weaning completely, and overall just feel very out of control. After I recognized it was time for us to set boundaries I turned again to Dr. Sears and ordered The Discipline Book: How to Have a Better-Behaved Child From Birth to Age Ten. I have not started reading it yet and am not sure exactly how I am going to go about setting boundaries as it relates to nursing but I know for us there will be no more “self serving”, or hitting and kicking mama for milk, nursing during meal times while simultaneously wanting to eat solid food, and no more pacifying at the breast throughout the entire night. I mentioned it earlier, and it is my next main point…

Night Weaning: I am not suggesting that as soon as your baby turns one he/she needs to be night weaned, not at all. Here are some other reasons why a mom might wean: mom is pregnant, Mom wants to increase fertility & become pregnant, Mom goes back to work outside the home and needs more sleep, etc.

In addition to the strains on our nursing relationship I mentioned above, my son wakes every 45 to 60 minutes throughout the entire night to nurse. He spends a lot of his time “sleeping” while still sucking at the breast and no matter how deep of a sleep I think he may be in, protests whenever I try to unlatch him. Teething has made this even worse and because he is half (or more) asleep while using his breast pacifier his latch becomes shallow and he bites with his top teeth so the nipple won’t sneak out, I am often half sleeping too and it will often go on for hours. This has caused a huge injury to my left nipple that is taking weeks to heal and is making all feedings very painful! Recently I have gone through long periods where I “hate” nursing and when I stop to really think about it and consider what not nursing my son at all anymore looks like I realize it isn’t nursing that I dislike, it is nursing all throughout the night.

I have considered night weaning in the past because of just plain sleep deprivation but it never felt right, after a year I had a complete shift in my heart. I just felt it was time. My son needs his own space, he has made that very clear to me and he also needs more sleep. Nursing throughout the night is just as distracting to him as it is comforting.  More and more, he is waking up cranky in the mornings. It took me awhile to come to peace with this transition, but a nursing relationship is just that – a relationship involving two parties, both of which need to be happy in order for the relationship to continue harmoniously. Not only will night weaning hopefully afford me more sleep and subsequently more energy and patience but it will bring more peace into our nursing relationship that will allow it to continue much longer.

Nursing Space: Having a single dedicated place to nurse is not that practical with an active toddler that is probably breastfeeding at home, in the car, in public, in bed, etc. but I have found for us that going into a more quiet, dimly lit room with less distractions does help. I plan on creating a little “nursing corner” in my son’s room, where we sit down, get comfortable, relax and always nurse in while at home.  When we are out and about if it is possible I will go into another less crowded or empty room, if that isn’t an option I like snuggling into the back seat of the car before we arrive or before we leave. My hope is that having to stop whatever activity my son is currently engaged with and leave it behind to go nurse will possibly change to having more nursing “sessions” than drive-by-just-a-couple-sips between ball throwing and block building.

 Babywear: My Ergobaby has been my single most used piece of “baby” equipment and I still use it at least once every day. I can unbuckle the back, loosen one shoulder strap and nurse my son comfortably, discreetly, hands free and ultra conveniently.  He nurses his longest stretches while being worn, and being outside and often walking allows for enough simulation that he relaxes in his pack and takes his time feeding. I see our baby wearing/breastfeeding time continuing well into the second year.

I will continue to share about our breastfeeding journey through year two as I put more of these into practice in our daily lives and look forward to hearing about how your breastfeeding relationships change and evolve over time too.

What all have you experienced with an older nursling? Do you have any other tips to continue the breastfeeding relationship successfully into the second year and beyond?


Wordless Wednesday: Earth Baby

In honor of Earth Day, here are some fun images from our students and our family images from last summer…cloth diapers, hiking, extended breastfeeding past the first birthday…see how we interpret the phrase “Earth Baby”

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WW: Babywearing

It’s been a pretty Peas-Y Spring for us!!  We are busy bees – taking advantage of the weather in AZ before it hits sweltering…I included images of our faves since my model is snoozing right now.  When she wakes, we will get her into the carriers and do pics 🙂  I will leave the instructional videos up for the woven wrap and the rebozo.

Two Favorites:

Ring Sling – easiest to grab and go and put baby in a hip carry for in-and-out errands

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Beco Butterfly – love it for two free hands at the zoo or Farmer’s Market – use it for both front and back carrries

This is how you get three kiddos (in five different costumes) dressed for a Christmas show when Coach is in the audience.  Thank you #beco #butterfly for being a mama-sanity saver once again!

This is how you get three kiddos (in five different costumes) dressed for a Christmas show when Coach is in the audience. Thank you #beco #butterfly for being a mama-sanity saver once again!

Find yours here: http://www.becobabycarrier.com/

On Reserve:

Woven Wrap – still getting the hang of this – favorite for a secure back carry now that baby has a taller seat in the soft-structured carrier


Tutorials here: www.wrapyourbaby.com

Retired and still loved:

Rebozo – this only had limited time since our babies were born big and they outgrew the length of my rebozo by about 6-9 months.

Tutorial Video:

Monday Musing: Within These Walls


Image credit https://www.facebook.com/childrensmovementFL

We have been under a lot of pressure at The Bowman House lately…the same things that probably add stress in your life…lots to do and not enough time, planning our budget, growing pains, work commitments…both Bruss and I noticed that the volume has been going up again.  We both value a gentle, peaceful house, and we have been making a pointed effort to be gentle parents despite the pressures we feel.

We had a presentation on babywearing for our Peas & Pods group last Friday.  One of the benefits of babywearing is that you learn to read your Sweet Pea – you learn their cues, their body language, their facial expressions.  Conversely, your Sweet Pea learns to read you.

As I have been close to losing my cool lately, Otter (our 2yo) has been the first to say, “Mommy, take a deep breath.”  The first time she said it, it actually took my breath away and I asked Daddy Bruss if he had heard the same thing I had heard.  She had seen my face and could tell I was stressed.

The other thing that she does is help me to make a joke.  Before I lost my cool, one of my tricks is to ask the kiddos, “You don’t want to see my angry face, right?” To which they answer, “Yes we do, Mommy!”  Then, I proceed to make an angry, growly face with some sound effects and it diffuses the tension as we all burst into peals of laughter as everyone else starts making angry faces and growling.  Once we are in a good space, we can talk about what was happening and solve problems with Peaceful Mama.

Again, over the weekend, Otter was pre-empting me…she’d ask me, “Mommy, are you angry?”, or she would ask me to make my angry face, just as she could see that I was hitting a breaking point.

I think one of of my favorite things about attachment parenting is the give and take as your children come into their own.  As much as I love to teach and nurture our children, it is so amazing to learn from and be nurtured by them.

We can directly influence the tone within the walls of our home.  We can choose do the mental and emotional work it takes to be in a good space so that we can be gentle in spite of the pressures.  So while attachment parenting certainly takes more time than the cause-and-effect approach, it is proving to be SO SO worth it.

Wordless Wednesday: 5 Favorites

WE have had so many neat submissions on different topics that are important to creating a healthy family…here are five that demonstrate a different value we have:


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Babywearing on a hike

Babywearing on a hike

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Whole Food (and french fries!)

Night Owl eating out - nothing on the menu appealed to him, so he ordered his own smorgasbord for lunch!

Night Owl eating out – nothing on the menu appealed to him, so he ordered his own smorgasbord for lunch!



Wordless Wednesday: A Kiss For Luck

I picked this title as a reminder that when you wear your Sweet Pea, one of the safety checks is that they are “close enough to kiss” <3  Read more about safe babywearing HERE from The School of Babywearing™.

So sorry that the posts that were supposed to be #wordlesswednesdays are a little late this week…I have been under the weather and being #1 for the kiddos has been my priority.  Being a gentle parent is definitely a worthy goal…and letting go of other things helps me do that 🙂  I will announce this month’s submission contest winners tomorrow!

So, here are the lovely submissions for the Babywearing Theme of the Month.  Be sure to check out our post on Sweet Pea Births to see this month’s Breastfeeding Theme: Lucky Charms.

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Have you heard of the “Snugli”? I remember that this is what we used to call carriers “back in the day” when my brothers were babies 25 years ago!

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Soft-structured carrier

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Woven wrap

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Ring sling

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Soft-structured carrier

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Woven wrap


Babywearing: Kiss To Build A Dream On

This is our last love-month-theme…a reminder that when you wear your Sweet Pea, one of the safety checks is that they are “close enough to kiss” <3  Read more about safe babywearing HERE from The School of Babywearing™.

What you will see in today’s images:

  • A mama making the transition from one Sweet Pea to two
  • A mama’s progression to different carriers
  • A wrap carrier or two
  • A soft-structured carrier

Babywearing can pretty much be done with any size infant or toddler, in pretty much any setting – enjoy!  Keep scrolling down to see who won our first contest!!

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Here is one of our lovely Cassandra and T:

thanks aquar

Thank you to everyone who sent submissions for our first contest!  Random.Org did our selection for us.  Each featured image was numbered in the order it was received…and our winner is….

Kendra Campbell – Congratulations!

Please email me at sweetpeafamilies@gmail.com to claim your prize 🙂


Wordless Wednesday: Daddy and Me – Babywearing Edition

One of the fringe benefits of The Bradley Method® is that most partners continue to be involved in caring for their children as they grow.  These partners continue to be committed to loving and nurturing their kiddos long after their original birth-day.

Here are some fan shares of babywearing daddies, plus a shot of Coach Bruss teaching our kiddos some Argentine tango basics.

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Wordless Wednesday: Babywearing Fashion Show

Get ready for all the action from the MommyConLA stage, including some first looks.  I am slightly embarrassed that the phone on my camera was fuzzy…but not embarrassed enough not to share 🙂


lilliebaby “first look” at the Ty Pennington


the Moby(R) stretch wrap in white & gray…with a babywearing Grandma 🙂


Ergo(R) Stowaway – the carrier rolls up and fits into the little pouch!


The Maya Wrap in Mommy-Con Xza colors – fuschia & gray


The Beco Soleil


Beco Gemini


“First Look” at the Ergo pink gray chevron – will be sold exclusively by Babies R’ Us


“First Look” at the MobyGo in eggplant


Dolcino woven wrap


Onya Baby


Nuroo Pocket


Xza & The Baby Guy NYC Jamie Grayson


The line-up: Photo ©2013 Jared Cleary http://jaredcleary.com/ shown here as a courtesy of MommyCon & their event photographer. Thank you for sharing because mine was not pretty, as if you couldn’t tell from the fuzzy shots above!!

International Babywearing Week 2013

It’s International Babywearing Week!  Time to have carrier envy over here!!  There is just no possible way to have one of every beautiful carrier we saw at MommyCon yesterday…O My Gosh!  Talk about incredible and eye candy…awesome products by awesome people!!

If you are in the Phoenix area, be sure to check out our Upcoming Events list on Sweet Pea Births this week – Babywearing International of Phoenix has events planned all week long.  The Sweet Pea group donated logo wear and an autographed copy of Natural Childbirth Exercises by Rhondda Hartman, RN for The Main Event! raffle…hope to see you there!

Why do you babywear??