Sometimes my toddler becomes very moody and clingy, doesn't want to play, and is nearly impossible to cheer up. At times like this, I've discovered something that helps remedy the situation. After I do this, he's like a completely different child. Agreeable, cheerful, ready to play, laughing and chattering. Plenty of parents don't do this with their toddlers, but I can't imagine not doing it with mine.
No, I'm not talking about any kind of punishment. I'm talking about nursing. I've realized that most of the time when Isaac becomes fussy, clingy, and irritable, it's because he needs something in that moment. Perhaps he's hungry or tired, or maybe he just needs to be in the comfort of his mama's arms. Nursing is a perfect solution; it puts him close to me, in a nurturing place that he has known and taken comfort in his entire life, and provides him with needed nourishment at the same time. After just a few minutes, he feels "right" again.
And I feel right again too. In the busyness of keeping up with a very active and curious little explorer, it's easy to get tired and frustrated. Nursing provides me with a few minutes to relax and quietly cuddle with my little boy, who's growing up so much but is still a baby in so many ways. Obviously we don't nurse as frequently as we once did; he's very interested in eating what the rest of us eat, and he only nurses a couple times a day now. Sometimes he even pushes me away and shakes his head no with a grin when I ask him if he wants to nurse.
But in those moments when we do nurse, it is still such a beautiful time of bonding and nurturing. Most people will agree that nursing is mutually beneficial for moms and babies, but it is also mutually beneficial for moms and toddlers. I feel so blessed to have these times with Isaac.