5 Tips for Breastfeeding an Active Toddler

Breastfeeding a Toddler

Breastfeeding a Toddler

Breastfeeding Can Be a Challenge…

My tiny newborn has become a rambunctious toddler in what seems like the blink of an eye. Our breastfeeding relationship is still going strong, but it has certainly changed. I’ve compiled my top tips for breastfeeding a toddler based on our recent experience. 

Breastfeeding my son as a newborn went something like this:

Cry. Breastfeed. Sleep. Poop. Cry. Breastfeed. Sleep. Poop. Cry. Breastfeed. Sleep. Poop. (To be clear, he was the one crying… most of the time)

Once we’d introduced solids and actually had him eating 2-3 times a day, we breastfed like this:

Breastfeed several times at night. Wake and breastfeed. Breakfast – solids. Play. Breastfeed. Nap. Wake and breastfeed. Play. Breastfeed. Play. Breastfeed. Play. Dinner – solids. Breastfeed and sleep.

And now that we are at the toddler stage, it is mostly the same as the above, just picture it with a child that Never. Stops. Moving.

Now that I’m trying to feed a child who mostly resembles a hyperactive chimpanzee, these are tips I’ll share with anyone trying to do the same.

toddler breastfeeding tips

5 Tips for Breastfeeding an Active Toddler

1) Be prepared for rejection

For the first 9 or so months, if I offered to nurse, my son accepted. Without even realizing it, I became accustomed to the gratification of always being wanted when I offered to nurse. As my son gained a bit of independence and ate more solid foods, he didn’t always want the breast. It is still hard for me to accept that even when i know he’s hungry and thirsty, he chooses playing the dirty tissue he found under the couch over my milk.

2) Be prepared for distractions

I heard that it could be challenging to nurse a distractible toddler but didn’t understand how hard it would be. Even when my son wants to nurse, he is so easily distracted. Anything distracts him. The sound of the washing machine entering the spin cycle. The feather poking out of the sofa pillow. The clasp on my nursing bra, which he has literally seen 8-20 times a day since he was born. Something different will work for everyone, but the best way for me to keep my distractible toddler focused while nursing is to sing to him. This way he can’t hear random ambient noise and he tends to maintain eye contact with me. This only works at home, though. If we’re out and about, I nurse him in the carrier.

3) Remember it is more than physical nutrition – nursing has emotional benefits for your toddler

Of course, by breastfeeding your toddler you are providing an excellent nutritional benefit, but your toddler won’t always nurse purely out of hunger. I’ve been grateful that I breastfeed as my son has started to throw small tantrums or stumbles and hurts himself. Nursing is like a magical reset button – it soothes him quickly and lets me get in a cuddle since otherwise he’s always on the move.

4) Don’t worry about shorter feeding times

As my son grew his marathon nursing sessions became shorter and shorter. For us, a full feed became 7 minutes per breast. However, the more active he became, the shorter his nursing sessions. 2-3 minute breastfeeding sessions throughout the day have become the norm for us, with slightly more time spent during his night feeds or if he nurses to sleep.

5) Mind your latch

After months of blissful pain-free breastfeeding, my son’s latch became shallower and suddenly I was running for my lanolin and silverettes. I am not sure what changed his latch – it could have been his molars, confusion with his sippy cup and straw bottle, or even a bit of laziness. I have often had to relatch him several times in one feeding to make it more comfortable.

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Simple & Healthy Green Lactation Smoothie Recipe

green lactation smoothie

Disclosure: this recipe contains affiliate links for the ingredients I use. If you click the link and choose to purchase, I may receive a small commission. This does not increase the cost to you and helps me keep this community active.

Green Lactation Smoothie

This simple and healthy green lactation smoothie is one of my favorite lactation recipes. It is quick and easy to make, tastes super healthy, and helps boost your milk supply. This smoothie is great for breakfast, or any time of day. When I’m really pressed for time I add in some protein powder and have it as a meal.  

green lactation smoothie

The ingredients for this smoothie are straightforward and all it only takes a couple of minutes to make with your blender/ food processor of choice.

Green Lactation Smoothie Ingredients:

2 Cups Spinach or Kale
1 Banana (ripe is good so it is sweeter!)
1-2 Cups Milk of Choice
1 tsp Brewer’s Yeast*
1 tbsp Ground Flaxseed or Wheat Germ
Optional – 1 tbsp Honey or Sweetener of Choice

Method:

1) Combine greens, banana, and milk (and sweetener if using) and blend together
2) Add the brewer’s yeast and flaxseed or wheat germ and blend once more
3) Enjoy!

green lactation smoothie

 

*A note on the brewer’s yeast – this is considered one of the most effective lactation-boosting ingredients (it worked for me!) but the taste isn’t great. I find that the green smoothie in particular masks the yeast flavor pretty well, but if you detect a hint of, oh I don’t know… beer, in the smoothie, don’t be alarmed. You can omit this ingredient and still support lactation with the high nutrient content of the greens, the calcium in the milk, and the ground flaxseed or wheat germ.

 

Not sure where to find Brewer’s Yeast? Click the image to buy!

Like this recipe? You might also like these Lactation Recipes:

very berry lactation smoothie Lactation Granola Bar recipe no bake lactation energy balls

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Very Berry Breakfast Lactation Smoothie Recipe

very berry lactation smoothie

Milk Supply Boosting Smoothie

The Very Berry Breakfast Lactation Smoothie is quick and easy to make, tastes delicious, and helps boost your milk supply. Since it includes yogurt, oats, and fruit, it is a whole meal in a glass. It is refreshing and filling, and feels like a nice treat to start the day.

very berry lactation smoothieThe lactation smoothie recipe is packed with milk-supply boosting ingredients (also known as galactagogues). One of the most effective is brewer’s yeast, so try not to leave that one out. If you can’t find it in your local supermarket it is available online. The oats, flaxseed and wheat germ, and calcium from the yogurt also support milk production.

I call this a breakfast smoothie, and before breastfeeding I would have been totally satisfied with this as breakfast. Now, as a breastfeeding mom, I’m hungry all the time. I’ll admit I usually have some scrambled eggs or whole wheat toast with peanut butter on the side so I can stay full and energized ’til lunchtime. Breastfeeding moms need a lot of calories! (Check out my healthy snack suggestions for ideas to satisfy that hunger.)

Lactation Smoothie Recipe

The ingredients for this smoothie are straightforward and all it takes is a moment to prepare with your blender/ food processor. You can use your berries of choice – I always use some raspberries and then see what else is available in my freezer, or I use fresh berries if it’s summer. (Disclosure: this recipe contains affiliate links.)

Very Berry Lactation Smoothie Ingredients:

2/3 Cup Fresh or Frozen Berries
1/2 Cup Yogurt (I use greek yogurt for extra protein)
1 Cup Milk of Choice
1/3 Cup Rolled Oats
1 tbsp Ground Flaxseed or Wheat Germ
1 tbsp Honey or Sweetener of Choice (Try Agave – so good!)
1 tsp Brewer’s Yeast*

Method:

1) Blend together berries, yogurt, and milk.
2) Add in oats, flaxseed/wheat germ, sweetener, and brewer’s yeast and blend again. You might need to blend a bit more than your average smoothie to get a smooth texture with the oats.
3) Enjoy!

breakfast lactation smoothie

*A note on the brewer’s yeast – this is considered one of the most effective lactation-boosting ingredients (it worked for me!) but the taste isn’t great. I find the taste of this smoothie in particular masks the yeast flavor pretty well, but if you detect a hint of, oh I don’t know… beer, in the smoothie, don’t be alarmed. You can omit this ingredient and still support lactation with the oats and high calcium content.

Not sure where to find Brewer’s Yeast? Click the image to buy!

 

Like this smoothie? You might also like these lactation recipes:

no bake lactation energy balls green lactation smoothie Lactation granola recipe

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Lactation Boosting Berry Cake

lactation cake recipe

lactation cake recipe

Eating to Support Lactation

This lactation recipe is one of my favorites because it is versatile, simple, and delicious. For me, it is easier to make than lactation cookies since you just pour the batter into a pan and bake.

Once I returned to work and had to pump daily, I would bake up one of these cakes every few weeks. The cake freezes well, so I would take a piece to work to enjoy as a snack during my afternoon pumping session. (It’s not weird to eat and pump, right?)

The rolled oats and brewer’s yeast can help boost your milk supply and provide a healthy source of fiber.   The coconut topping lends a unique texture and of course a delicious coconutty taste.

And the berries are just the right combination of bitter and sweet. You don’t even realize you’re eating something that isn’t purely indulgent and also has lactation boosting benefits! (Disclosure: this recipe contains affiliate links)

Recipe: Lactation Boosting Berry Cake 

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup boiling water
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp Brewer’s Yeast*
2 cups berries of choice
1/3 cup grated coconut (topping)
lactation cake recipe

Instructions/ Method:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9×11 or 9×9 inch pan.
  2. Soak oats in boiling water while preparing the batter (but do not drain the oats).
  3. In a large bowl, cream together sugar, egg, butter, and vanilla.
  4. Sift together dry ingredients.
  5. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
  6. Stir in the undrained soaked oats and berries.
  7. Pour batter into greased pan and bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and top with grated coconut. Cool before cutting/serving.

*A note on the brewer’s yeast – this ingredient is most likely to help boost your milk supply so try not to omit it. Sometimes it can be hard to find in stores but you can get it online! Brewer’s yeast always helps boost my milk supply – read about my success with it here.

You might also like these lactation recipes:

Lactation granola recipe no bake lactation energy balls very berry lactation smoothie

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Breastfeeding Pain: Vasospasm & Nipple Blanching

nipple blanching and vasospasm

manage breastfeeding pain vasospasm

Breastfeeding Pain is Not Uncommon

Breastfeeding pain is quite common among new nursing moms and comes in multiple forms. For me, a prolonged bout of nipple blanching and vasospasm nearly caused me to quit breastfeeding. I cringe as I write this and remember the pain I dealt with for three long months. (You can read about my painful start to breastfeeding here.)

What are Vasospasm and Nipple Blanching?

Nipple blanching and vasospasm are restricted blood flow in the nipple that can lead to intense breastfeeding pain. Nipple blanching typically happens during a feed due to compression from a bad latch, and nursing mom might feel sharp pain and notice her nipple has turned white after feeding. Vasospasm may happen during or between feeds and results from constriction of the blood vessel in the nipple. (For greater detail from professionals, check out this page on Kelly Mom.)

I suffered from vasospasm for several months, most likely triggered by my son’s bad latch. It was ridiculously painful. And also bizarre at first because a main symptom is that your nipple will turn completely white since blood flow is restricted. Talk about creepy! I thought my nipples were frozen and were going to fall off!

I’ve shared my tips below to manage and get through the pain associated with vasospasm/ nipple blanching. Please note, this is based solely on my experience, and I am not a medical professional. Do consult a doctor or lactation consultant if you are experiencing unusual pain associated with breastfeeding. Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links to products I used (and recommend) to handle vasospasm pain.

Here are my top tips to manage and recover from the pain of vasospasm.

Breastfeeding Pain: Tips to Manage Nipple Blanching & Vasospasm

    1. A good latch. My son’s bad latch most likely caused my vasospasms. His latch was really horrendous and I didn’t act soon enough to correct it because I was scared it would discourage him from feeding. Turns out that was a terrible idea that led to months of pain for me! Find a lactation consultant, talk to a breastfeeding friend, or get on youtube to work on that latch!
    2. Never get cold. Ok, that might be hard, but once you feel the pain of vasospasm, which can also be triggered by cold, you’ll go to great lengths to keep your nipples warm. Beyond the obvious of wearing an extra sweater, take care when exposing your breasts before and after a feed, or stepping out of a warm shower.
    3. Dry heat. Following the ‘never get cold’ advice, use dry heat as therapy for the pain. I had trouble in particular at night where the pain of vasospasm was too much so I couldn’t sleep. Applying dry heat really helped so I could catch a bit of shuteye. You can microwave breast pillows and wear them in your bra for great dry heat therapy.

4. Warm oil or lanolin massage. My doula suggested massaging my nipples with warm olive oil. I used lanolin salve instead and it was very therapeutic.

5. Ibuprofen. I tried to avoid medication as much as I could, but especially in order to be able to sleep or nurse my son without screaming in pain, I had to use ibuprofen. My doula reassured me by pointing out that Ibuprofen could actually help break the cycle of pain caused by the constricting blood vessels and allow me to recover. It really did help and I would take ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) on the most painful nights so I could sleep.

6. Be patient. Patience is the last piece of advice you want when you’re struggling with pain, but hearing other moms who had suffered from vasospasm tell me they recovered after 1-3 months was what I needed. I met a few other women who assured me they did get past the pain, so I was inspired to continue breastfeeding.

I Hope These Tips Helped!

I hope these tips help anyone suffering from nipple blanching and/or vasospasm. The most important thing to remember is, the pain will go away if the cause of the problem (e.g. a bad latch) is addressed. In the meantime, you can mitigate the pain with the tips shared above. Comment below with any questions or your own tips for overcoming breastfeeding pain.

You may also be interested in:

Common breastfeeding Questions quit breastfeeding breastfeeding and teething tips to prevent biting

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