Toddler Words for Breastfeeding

Children use many different words for breastfeeding

Encyclopaedia of Toddlers Breastfeeding Terms from Jane’s Breastfeeding & Childbirth Resources.


Since Jordan has become verbal, her word for nursing has evolved. This has been pretty interesting (to her mama, at least) to observe, so I’ve decided to record the progression of words. Nursing is still a pretty important part of this nursing toddler’s life, so we hear it mentioned all the time. I’m starting this little diary (of sorts) when Jordan is 18 months, and will add to it as needed.

about 10 months – Jordan starts talking (mama, kitty, rock).

12 months – She now says “bop-bop-bop” (for the boppy nursing pillow) when she wants to nurse.

13 months – Jordan occasionally says “nuggle” (snuggle is our word for nursing), but usually uses “bop” (or “bop-bop” or…).

around 14 months – regularly uses “nuggle” when she wants to nurse. It took me a week or so to be able to consistently distinguish this from “no”. “Bop” is still used if she wants to nurse while lying down on the boppy.

17 months – “nuggle-uggle” (Jordan likes to play with word sounds!). She started pretend-play and often wants her favorite stuffed animals to snuggle, too. When she wants to nurse on the other side, she says “ice” (I assume this is her take on “side”).

18 months – Jordan mutters “nuggle” in her sleep when she’s waking to nurse. If she doesn’t latch on pretty quickly, she keeps repeating it (louder each time) – she’s 98% asleep the whole time she’s doing this. She still often says “nuggle-uggle” instead of “nuggle” (when she’s awake). Jordan often hums while nursing – she’s done this for months. Recently, she nursed to let-down, them pulled off, looked, and said (with a big grin) “leak, leak, leak!”

26 months – “snuggle,” “snuggle-wuggle,” and “ice.” Jordan will say, “Mama, I need a snuggle!” or “Snuggle on the sofa” (or wherever strikes her fancy). Sometimes when I ask her if she wants the boppy (we still use it), she’ll say “No, just a snuggle!”

32 months – Jordan still uses all the words above, but now often just says “Mama, I’m tired!”

4 years old – Jordan has started calling it “nursing” part of the time now, but usually when she’s talking about, not when she wants to do it. She will still say “I’m tired,” when she wants to nurse, but she’s almost weaned (on her own) and I’m hearing it less and less nowadays.

4 1/2 years old – Jordan gradually cut out nursing before bed (she went to sleep without asking to nurse more and more), then gradually stopped asking to nurse when she woke up. In early June, when we visited her great-grandmother for a week, she only nursed twice. Then she nursed just a few last times about a week apart after we got back home. Since she’s weaned, she started back to calling nursing “snuggling” again (“I think Alex wants a snuggle!”), or sometimes simply “nursing.” Her toy animals are always giving birth and nursing their babies :).


Alex has been much slower talking than Jordan was, so now (at 17 months) he’s still saying very little. He started using a few words by 12 months (mama, more, kitty) and around 14 months he started to call nursing/snuggling “na” or “nana.” He occasionally says “na,” but usually when he wants a snuggle, Alex simply crawls into my lap and pulls at my shirt; when he wants to change sides, he pats the other side.

22 months – Not much change here, but I’ll update anyway :). At this point Alex often says “na” or “nana” when he wants to nurse. If I’m working at the computer, he will get a boppy pillow and bring it to me. Sometimes he brings me two and wants them stacked up – he thinks this is really funny!

36 months – Alex has been calling nursing “a” (like the ‘a’ sound in cat) for several months now. I’m not sure where this came from, but it seems to have stuck! I still use “na” and “snuggle” but he doesn’t usually use these words himself. By the way, he’s been talking much more in the past month or two – lots of sentences and a big vocabulary, but we still can’t understand much of it.

39 months – Alex’s language use has exploded and he’s using lots of words and long, long sentences (though he’s usually hard to understand still). He now usually uses his form of the word snuggle, which sounds like “hug ’em”. He likes to specify where he wants to nurse – I often hear “hug ’em on the bed, Mama” when he’s sleepy.

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