Book Review: Amie, A Nursing Toddler Story

By Sarah W.

One of my favorite books ever – and I mean ever – is Amie by Terry Stafford. It was actually originally published by La Leche League International in 1983! It’s hard to find in print, now, unfortunately. It is a loving story of a nursing toddler, around three years old.

The story is a series of vignettes in Amie’s life. It includes bed sharing, breastfeeding, play, time with her parents, understanding that sometimes nursing has to be discreet, and seeing other families with nursing toddlers. I always particularly enjoyed the picture where she’s smiling while nursing and is barely still hanging on. I’ve definitely seen my son do that (he’s nearly four)!

The book opens with Amie introducing herself. She shows the readers her room, introduces us to her family, and talks about how nursing is an integral part of the start of her day. The illustrations are soft and loving pencil illustrations.

Throughout the book, we see Amie leading a friend to get “milky” from his mom when he hurts himself. The stories also cover learning about how to nurse discreetly. We see Amie nursing and snuggling at the start and end of her day. Non-nursing events are included too, like playing dress up, with playdough, in the sandbox, and other special experiences with family. Every page is sweet and non-judgmental. It presents breastfeeding as simply a part of Amie’s day and a part of her family dynamic.

I can quote nearly the entire book and fondly remember my dad reading it to me when I was a nursing toddler! It’s lovely to see breastfeeding beyond infancy and toddlerhood normalized and simply part of the life of a child in this book. It really was formative for me, having a book “about me” that I could identify so strongly with. And when I was growing up in the late 1980s, there really weren’t many books showing nursing, much less nursing toddlers! Breastfeeding was a core value for our whole family, and Amie helped us feel seen.

My son likes Amie, but he doesn’t seem to feel a need to identify with it. Maybe we’re starting to enter an era where books can be useful for representing normalized nursing for several years, but do not need to be the lifeline they once were. I sure hope so! Nursing, for my son and me, has definitely been a critical point of calm and connection in his hectic toddler and preschooler life. I am very glad that I am not experiencing the kind of side-eye and criticism I remember seeing when I was a kid.

Amie did also influence some of the language that we chose when we started our nursing journey. In the book, Amie says, “Milky, milky, milky it’s my best!” Milky, while not the term that was primarily used in my childhood, was certainly present in our family too, as a quote and reference we all knew. When I started nursing my son, I used the same vocabulary I grew up with (nursing and “mommy milk”, which turned into “mama milk”). But when we called it “milky”, my kiddo knows exactly what I mean and exactly what I’m quoting!

Just the other day, I was repairing our copy of the book (the cover had come loose from too many loving readings, I suppose!), and my son came up and asked me to read it to him. I told him it was one of my favorite books, and he said, “It’s my favorite book, too! It goes in my room, so it’s mine.” It warms my heart to see him enjoy the book that means so much to me. Even if he never hears a negative word about extended breastfeeding or doesn’t need that representation, he still loves the book, the story, and the mama milk snuggles he often gets while I read to him – just like Amie!

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