Looking Back: Moving With A Nursing Toddler

Cathy Hall, Alabama

Originally published in the January-February 1983 issue of La Leche League News.

Editor’s Note: The first issue of La Leche League News, the bimonthly publication for members, was published in 1958. The name changed to New Beginnings in 1985. New Beginnings continued to be published by La Leche League International until it was transferred to LLL USA in 2010. In 2014, it transitioned to its current blog format at www.lllusa.org/blog/.

Family with toddler resting on a couch amidst moving boxesJust before Josh’s second birthday, his papa got a new job in another state. At this point in our nursing relationship, Josh had started to wean from his already infrequent nursings. However, when his father had to leave for the new job before we sold our home, Josh, his big brother, Jason, and I stayed behind. Initially, Josh began to nurse more frequently but soon settled into his old routine, and even began the challenge of potty training.

Finally the big day arrived! We had talked about and prepared for this adventure for two months. Everyone was excited, even Josh. However, what was an adventure for everyone else turned out to be a frightening experience for our two-year-old. Josh’s recently discovered world and friends were left behind. His home with all its familiar and comfortable places was gone. Even though we had tried to prepare him, he just wasn’t ready.

Overnight, my independent, secure two-year-old became a clinging vine. He wouldn’t let anyone but me help him, and even his papa’s help sent him crying back to me. Joshua’s nursings leaped from once or twice to many times a day, and potty training totally ceased.

So often during those first months in our new home, I wanted to run away and hide. Many well-meaning people advised “not to put up with that nonsense” or “he nurses too much for his age.” Those frequent nursings became a familiar, comfortable time though, not just for Josh, but for me as well. Nursing was one thing that was “home” for Josh, and it provided moments of serenity during a hectic time for me.

Gradually, Josh became his old independent self again and 18 months later decided he was too big to “nootch” any more. Although there were times of doubt about what I was doing, I’m ever so grateful I followed my instincts and LLL’s philosophy of meeting the needs of the child. Every time Josh, now five, meets new challenges and adventures with such confidence, his father and I know we made the choice that was best for him.


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