Yes I’m Still Nursing My Toddler to Sleep, And No I Don’t Hope She’ll Stop

Photography: Serina Crinis

By Mallory Richardson

Every day twice a day I nurse my nearly 2.5-year-old to sleep. Sometimes she doesn’t fall asleep while nursing, and she can put herself to sleep, but 95% of the time she falls asleep while I’m nursing her.

I do it because it’s peaceful and it’s easy.

Because it’s not about the milk.

Because it’s what she needs from me right now. 

Because I made the commitment to put her needs first.

I do it because part of the magic of breastfeeding is its ability to put babies and toddlers to sleep.

I do it because this time I have with her is so limited.

Because I don’t want to push her into independence.

I do it because it’s what she desires and I don’t want to watch her struggle.

I do it because it would crush her if I stopped.

The connection I have with her was built at the breast. I have watched her grow and physically change at the breast. I loved her from the moment I first laid my eyes on her, but I fell deeply in love with her through nursing. She comes back to me again and again because of the bond that breastfeeding built.

The connection I have with her was built at the breast. I have watched her grow and physically change at the breast. I loved her from the moment I first laid my eyes on her, but I fell deeply in love with her through nursing.

I am everything to her, as she is to me.

Our breastfeeding relationship has never been just about the milk. It took me about two days into motherhood to realize nursing solved everything. This continued to be true at two months, six months, one year, and beyond. Two-year-olds have huge emotions. Nursing is soothing to her soul and to mine. 

I do it because it’s the most effective way for me to reconnect with her on an especially hard day.

Because sometimes my patience runs too thin.

Sometimes I don’t resist the urge to hurry her along, to help her with everything.

Sometimes my frustration gets the better of me.

Some days we clash more than we connect.

Sometimes I forget she’s just a small soul trying to learn how the world works, and where she fits into it all. 

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