Extended Breast Feeding

[deleted account] ( 103 moms have responded )

Hi All,

I want to kinow what people think about extended breastfeeding. I breastfed my first child for 17 months and he self-weaned. I am currently breastfeeding my second child, but she is 31 months and shows no sign of wanting to wean herself off the breast. She doesn't feed all day, usually at night and before naps. She is not a clingy child and can be left with others including a regular 2-hour nursery session once a week. She is self-confident and a happy child, but when it comes to sleep, she still wants her mother. I don't really mind, but I feel a bit uneasy, I guess wondering when it will end and whether it is okay to breastfeed a three-year old. My husband and my parents don't understand and wonder when I will get her to stop. It would be eaiser if my husband were around but he unfortunately has to work away most nights. I was away one night recently for an emergency and she did sleep for him, even though she did wake through the night. We tried it again the weekend later with me in another room, but she knew I was in the house and she cried her eyes out until I gave in. Is it alright to keep feeding her despite the approach of her third birthday? Will she just stop on her own once she starts pre-school in September (1/2 days, 5 days a week)? Or should I be more insistant on stopping her from feeding? I don't know what to do.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Angela - posted on 03/27/2011

4

22

0

Nicole, Your doctor was wrong on this one. It was already mentioned that at a year your baby needs food in addition to breastmilk but the breastmilk is still extremely beneficial to your baby and you for that matter. Breastmilk is constantly changing to meet the needs of your growing child and when your child is a toddler the immuno -protective properties actually increase. You could think of it as if it were slowly reverting to colostrum which is what your baby needs now that she is out and about exploring the world.



It sounds like you were having a hard time getting your child to eat and I wonder if something else was going on. A friend of mine had a similar situation where her child refused food for a long time and was actually malnurished. It turned out she had gluten allergies and may have some additional challenges with digesting certain foods. My friend was able to increase her ability to digest food by changing her diet and supplementing her with vitamins and minerals. None of this was a problem with the breastfeeding though. If you think about it, most doctors recommend toddlers drinking a cup of cows milk a day for nutritional reasons. Why would the cows milk be better for a human baby than human milk?



This is an excerpt from a study referenced on Kellymom

In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides:

29% of energy requirements

43% of protein requirements

36% of calcium requirements

75% of vitamin A requirements

76% of folate requirements

94% of vitamin B12 requirements

60% of vitamin C requirements

-- Dewey 2001



You can read the full article here

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/eb...

Claire - posted on 03/24/2011

118

10

9

I think if you continue to bf her to sleep, she's going to be ok. No one bfs at college, haha! Don't worry. She will eventually wean when the time is right for her. Just because she is turning three and people around you are misinformed and unaccepting doesn't mean you should stop or feel bad.

Aleks - posted on 03/27/2011

546

0

45

Nicole, I second what Angela said. My baby was also very little and not keen on "solid" food for a long time. Was what you would call a very picky eater and a little eater, infact her pediatritian posted that horrible little label in her baby health book: "Failure to Thrive"!!!!!!! (from 6mths of age she dropped from the 17th percentile in her weight to may be the 1stpercentile) But she was very much wanting to nurse a lot. Everybody, including GPs and her pediatritian (along with her recommended dietician) said that she isn't hungry and hence doesn't eat cos she is nursing too much and to cut down on nursing. That should increase her solids intake and get her to grow and "put some of that weight on her". THEY WERE SOOOOOO WRONG. She was nursing so much because she was having digestive problems and tummy aches and silent reflux. All because we didn't know she was soy intollerant (which we were using because of her dairy intollerance) and then later still suspected yeast intollerance. Once soy was eliminated her eating improved and so did her weight. Her frequent demands for nursing also subsided. Later when we also eliminated yeast things have got even better with her eating!!! She now eats 3 solid meals a day (and sometimes even a snack in there too) where during that horrible period from around 1 year of age we were lucky if she ate 1 solid meal in a day.

I am sooooooooooo glad I did not eliminate the nursing sessions!!! It was the only nutrient rich foods she could eat at the time! It was all instinct for her. Which at the time we adults did not understand! This was all happening between 1yr until around 2yrs of age. A whole year of dietary and food stress at our house! I still happily nurse her pretty much on demand (within reason...lol) as she still does not get neither soy nor dairy milk (thought we use almond/rice/oat milk for her cereal in the mornings or chocolate milk which she loves - cos she gets to eat like her big brother, but these do not have any of the required fats for growing her a healthy body and brain).

Actually what made me feel ok in nursing so much was the Kellymom.com site and its information which Angela posted :-) It was heaven sent, as nearly everybody was telling me to wean (friends, family and doctors/health professionals). Shows you how little they can know. :-)

[deleted account]

I apologise for offending Lyanda with my previous post, I did not intend to attack her in my comment. I have since edited it to reflect that.



I feel that it is unfortunate that "some mothers" would think the only reason a mother would extend BFing for a child is for the mothers own need. Since I don't know about any other mothers here, but have you ever tried to get your child to BF when they didn't want to? I know with Aurora, she is VERY clear with her head turning away when she is done. So I don't see how you could even bf for yourself if your child wasn't still wanting to.



IMO and based on things I have read based on factual evidence, extended bfing is a good thing, one of the many reason, directly relating to the child is because children don't have a fully developed immune system until they are around 6-7 years old (around the same time the milk teeth start falling out usually) and continuing to bf through those years is so important to help their little bodies stay up to snuff, so to speak, since your milk contains all kinds of antibiotic properties and immunities.



It is unfortunate that a lot of generally well meaning mothers/healtcare providers/people are so unsupportive of mother's who choose to bf well past their children being 18 months, 2yrs and beyond. There is so much information out there indicating why it is so important. Instead of following social stygma with extended bfing and discouraging these moms, they should be encouraging them and letting them know that they are doing a good thing, regardless of what the well meaning individuals own feelings are about it, It seems to not be the case, in certain areas as Lyanda pointed out with regards to the home visits.



In response to the comment about poor countries children only getting nutrients through their mother's BM. BM is not made by magic, the mother still needs to be able to eat food to make the milk. So from the nutrition being better/worse so you should or should not extend breastfeeding simply because you have more or less food, is really a moot point.



After spending 9 months (give or take) growing this precious little person inside you, I would think a mom would want to give them the BEST chance of survival, not just the least they can possibly do for them before kicking them out of the "BF" nest so to speak. Afterall, it is our Choice to bring these children into the world, not theirs, so if they want to BF then they should be allowed to, for however long they want to.



Just food for thought and totally MY opinion.

Celeste - posted on 03/22/2011

3,000

30

853

As a mother who is nursing her 4 year old, and his twin brother weaned at 3 1/2, do what you feel comfortable with. If you are OK with continuing to nurse her, then continue! The World Health Organization and UNICEF recommend "2 *OR* beyond".

This conversation has been closed to further comments

103 Comments

View replies by

Cindy - posted on 06/10/2013

1

0

0

To any of you that posted on The View page months ago and were given a very hard time. One of the ladies that ran you out now post constantly on the page about animals. Constant pics of animals, her name is V. K. Just thought you should know.

OhJessie - posted on 04/26/2011

318

0

13

Of course it's ok; and she'll wean when she's ready, if you let her get to that point. No one goes off to college hooked up to the breast, don't worry.

Catherine - posted on 04/26/2011

10

0

1

i breast fed all three in rural Ireland in mass.shopping centre,everywhere.It all about practice,start by going some where wher no one knows you.You will get more confident and less likely to fluster.most people dont know.Ifound best a top you can lift and a light scarf around my neck.It is a sill you really have to master if you want to continue feeding ,and take advantage of the fact you have a no fuss verrrrrry portable feeding system .hell it one of the big advantages of B.F.

[deleted account]

Many cultures practice extended breastfeeding. Unfortunately, our culture is not one of them. It seems to forget that this is what breasts were made to do and make those whom are comfortable with it seem perverted or weird for doing what is natural. Personally, I have started to wean my daughter at 2 and am having a bit of guilt, because she still wants to, but it is mostly for comfort. I say, do what is right for you and your baby. Every child is different and every relationship unique. Trust your instincts. You will know when it is time for you two to be done.

Courtney - posted on 04/04/2011

9

21

0

My oldest self weaned at 3.5. He was mostly weaned at 2 when I was pregnant and my milk dried up. But then when there was milk again he went back to nursing. At first several times a day but then less and less getting to the point of once every few days until eventually he just didn't ask anymore. I never thought I would nurse that long, but I didn't want to force weaning at 2 (which can be a tough time) and then we had a new baby and I thought letting him nurse would help with sibling rivalry (which I think it did btw).
anyway, what i'm saying is that I do believe kids will self wean when ready. that being said, I didn't encourage nursing and i put some limits on it as I felt comfortable with. Personally I wouldn't see anything wrong with night weaning (if that is what you want to do) and encouraging nursing first thing in the morning instead. good luck!

Linda - posted on 04/04/2011

49

4

4

My son only weaned at 3 1/2 because I was pregnant again and the milk dried up. He was mostly done by then anyway, going sometimes a week or more between nursings. It was just for comfort more than anything and an occasional top up on his immune system. That was 7+ months ago. I'm expecting his sibling any day now and he still tells me he's going to have one side and the baby will have the other. lol I'm really hoping he forgets this idea or loses interest so it's not a fight for my boobs!

Kids tend to adapt pretty well to school or daycare, but especially when they know that safety net of love and comfort is there for them (whether that be BFing or just a hug from mom). If you are truly uncomfortable nursing, then find a gentle way to wean. Just be sure it's your voice you are listening to and not everyone else filling your head with doubts. Try not to let her impending birthday be a crucial mile stone in ending BFing, though... it really doesn't mean anything to kids, emotionally. I thought the same thing when my son turned 3, and it was a week of hell trying to convince him to be done. He just wasn't ready. Not being in the house and letting dad take over bedtime routines sounds like it might be the least traumatic. (Even if you say you're going out for a walk, give them 5 minutes to get upstairs and sneak back in the back door while baths or bedtime stories go on without your presence.)

I've seen moms nursing 5 year olds... yeah it was a little odd for me because I hadn't done that, but it worked for them. September is a long way off yet (in terms of how far BFing may go!). Maybe a busy summer will be enough to distract her from nursing. But if she's not ready to stop and you're content to continue (rather than fight it which is exhausting), then don't let other people tell you what to do with YOUR family. Listen to your heart....that's all.
Good Luck! :)

Dhanya - posted on 04/03/2011

10

13

0

Hi! My son turned 3 about 4 days ago. I just weaned him about two months ago. So don't worry you're not alone. In my case my inlaws and hubby where in full support. They believe that breast milk is best for a child and that it gives them a better immune system compared to babies given formula. In all honesty, I believe that to be true. I was breast fed till 2.5, I never had an ear infection in my life or a diaper rash.
My sister was breast fed till she was 1 at which point my mom contracted chicken pox and had to stop.
Thankfully, my son who is 3 now has never had an Ear infection till date. The first time was ever really sick was when he got it from Daycare at 2yrs old. And that was something all the kids got !

So you are doing the best fir your child!!!
As to how to wean, you need to start talking to her about her being a big girl now. Put her to sleep with a bottle of 2% milk at first, then slowly stop that too. It has to be a step by step transition. Yes the first few days there will be crying, ask her if she wants a bottle instead. And let her know that this is stopping very soon. Well, it took my close to two months!
Good luck. Let us know how it goes!

Jay - posted on 04/01/2011

19

0

28

aw thank you everyone,

had a chat with my mum about BF till he is 2 and she was completly against it but I am still very much thinking about it! And I told her I will be going until he is nine months at least and she was even against that! but she didnt even talk to my husband till we where about 5/6 months pregnant with McKenzie, now they get on great, so she does come around!! haha xxx

Angela - posted on 03/31/2011

4

22

0

Hi Jane,
Hang in there. You're giving your little boy the best gift a mother can give. Breastfeeding can be challenging in the beginning, especially if you don't have support. Laura already mentioned Kellymom which is a great site. I also found this article which talks about boys benefiting academically from breastfeeding. There are so many other reasons to nurse but this might be a good place to start if your husband is a sceptic. Good luck!

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/fam...

Alicia - posted on 03/31/2011

24

14

0

Jane even if your period does not return it is possible to get pregnant whilst BF. mine returned when my son was 6 mths and we got pregnant the second month we tried. he was 11 months. I'm also older 39 so you are a skippy young thing with jumping ovaries; so I would not think that BFing would impact your fertility all that much.
Also wanted to weigh in with the drinking and BFing. your breastmilk has the same alcohol content as your blood. so if you are .05 your milk will be .05 too. so just be sensible. I still drink, but i do my best to plan my benders around my feeding schedule. and there are many who believe that drinking beer and in particular stout, increases ones milk supply. It works for me. ;-) Good luck and I hope you get to feed for as long as you want to!

Merry - posted on 03/31/2011

9,274

169

248

Jane, if you check out Kellymom.com and kathydettwyler.org you can find tons of amazing and accurite facts about breastfeeding.I'm sure when your husband understands just how important your milk is for your son he will be your number one fan! Daddy's just want strong healthy sons, and once they learn that breastmilk makes them strong and healthy most will be more then happy to encourage mom to go for it!

Jay - posted on 03/31/2011

19

0

28

Thanks girls,
I will definatly have to see how long I can feed him for. It would be great for him! I wonder what my hubby will think (lol).. I really think its kinda up to the woman though! My hubby was kinda funny about me breastfeeding to begin with, asking me why don't I just give him formula anytime I say I'm tired or it's hard! He has stopped now, cos I snapped and said I'm not doing this for fun, I'm doing whats best for the baby!!
And then there is my brother who's wife is due next week and he could only convince her to give the 1st feed! He would love her to BF, but he knows he cant make her! x

Merry - posted on 03/31/2011

9,274

169

248

Many women get their period back when baby is between 9-18 months and once it's regular cycle you are fertile and good to go! Some have a harder time, but most find it pretty easy to conceive while breastfeeding. I did! I'm now breastfeeding my 2 year old and due in one month!

[deleted account]

I can only speak for myself - didn't affect my fertility. I was tandem feeding at one stage. But I know others have had difficulties falling pregnant while breastfeeding, so I don't think there's a definite answer to this question.

Celeste - posted on 03/31/2011

3,000

30

853

Jane, it can.. Maybe someone else can chime in since it was 4 years between my kids..

Celeste - posted on 03/31/2011

3,000

30

853

Jane, it gets better! Right now, you're in the thick of it. The first few weeks are so tough!

As far as drink, yes, you can drink! As long as you don't get sloshed. Sober to drive, sober to drink.

Nursing a toddler/preschooler is much different from a newborn. You're not their main source of nutrition, they're eating more food. Plus, as my boys got older, they didn't nurse as much. The boy that's still nursing nurses once a day

Jay - posted on 03/31/2011

19

0

28

gosh...
ive been breastfeeding for 5 weeks and it is hard work... fair play to ye all for keeping it up for so long!!
I am hoping to get to 6 months, and counting as 1 down how many more can mummy do?
I mean do you never drink, ever??
I have spent a great deal of time getting enough milk so I can go out and enjoy myself sat night.. I have got enough for 24hours so no alcohol is left!
I love my son, he was planned, but I am 21 and still might like to go out every now and then...
Anyway, well done all of you! I would love to get to 9 months! but lets see if I can make it to 6 first.,..
And I dont know about ye, but breastfeeding in public in Ireland is NOT accepted!!! so hard work... :) xxx

Claire - posted on 03/31/2011

12

27

0

I breastfed both my children until they were 5. It's no problem if it's no problem for either you or her. You are doing exactly the right thing, if she still needs to nurse, let her. You can set limits but no need to cut her off completely :)

Alicia - posted on 03/31/2011

24

14

0

My 39 month son I think has just weaned. we have both been sick and i think he has finally given it up. I have been ready for him to give it up for about a year; but he has not been willing or ready to. So certainly not doing it for me!
I also have a 18 month who is still going strong. i get the feeling he will be the only one in his graduating university class to still be BF. He takes BM over regular food still. no matter what i give him he chooses BM.
it is a personal choice for each family to make; don't let ANYONE sway you. it is your body and your child's life.
Good luck and happy BF

Amy - posted on 03/30/2011

2

14

0

I'd let her continue. Did you notice that she is exceptionally smart?
My son is 28 months and he also nurses twice a day when he sleeps.
He is speaking in full sentences and is an expert with my iPhone! :)

Angie - posted on 03/30/2011

106

46

10

If you feel comfortable doing it longer then I would continue to do so hun. Remember the saying "There's no safer haven than being at Mother's Breast" There was one woman who breastfed her child right up until 8 years of age. (see video Watch all 5 parts hun. We should de-sexualise the breasts because let's face it, no other species in the world does so why us. They produce milk for a reason. I hope it helps hun to ease you up a bit. Forget what people say, they are all idiots when it comes to breastfeeding. The more extended breastfeeding happening and shown the more other people will feel more at ease with it. Good luck hun and remember it's entirely up to you if you continue on or not xx

Rebecca - posted on 03/30/2011

51

1

1

I feed my eldest till she was 3 years and 8 months when she self weaned. She is turning 20 years this year. She went to childcare at 15 months and I think it keep her healthy from all the bugs at childcare. I didn't find too much pressure once I researched and felt confident with my decision (the weren't game to argue). My youngest is still feeding at 2 years and 8 months. Don't expect him to wean at about the same time as my eldest. Stick with it if is right for you and bub. Don't give in to peer pressure as you will be the one to miss out. They are only little for such a short time. You realise this when they do go off to university!! Some really great posts on benefits of extended feeding. Good luck.

Stina - posted on 03/28/2011

1,055

19

108

it's ok for your dd to still be nursing. Sounds like she is almost weaned since she only nurses at bedtime. Your family doesn't understand because nursing past a year is not very common (yet). If you choose to continue nursing her till she gives it up on her own, you can answer their questions by explaining it's natural for her to keep nursing for 2-3 more years! Watch their mouths drop and then explain that she is on the road to weaning on her own already and will probably be done nursing before she leaves for college ;-)

Shannon - posted on 03/28/2011

3

15

0

My first was breastfed until she was 21 months old and she didnt want to stop. I had to be very stern with her. I would still lay there with her, but I wouldn't give her any breast milk. After a couple of days she completely forgot about it, but she hasnt taken a nap since I quit breastfeeding her. Good luck !!!!!!

[deleted account]

I've only read til Nicole's post on page 3. My son was almost entirely breastfed up to around a year (had solids on occasion, but not on a daily basis) and still had some days up to around 18 months where he would only nurse (though not too many). Obviously past the age of one solids are needed, but my son who turned 3 yesterday and is still breastfeeding actually weighs more than his cousin who will be 4 in about 5 weeks (and stopped breastfeeding by a year).

Breatfeeding does not hinder a child's growth. It may or may not HELP a child gain more in toddlerhood, but breastfeeding is not a hinderance.

Christine - posted on 03/28/2011

14

22

2

There is nothing wrong with nursing her at 3 as long as you are both still comfortable with it. That being said, it sounds like she is nursing mostly to be close to you. I suggest that you try alternate ways of calming and soothing her before sleep since you are usually the one who puts her to bed. Maybe start by not offering the breast or offering a special cuddle and a book or song instead. She may be willing to cut down if there is something else enjoyable. That is if you really want to stop. I weaned my first at 14 months because I was pregnant with #2 and my breasts were sensitive but I have always regretted it. I nursed my last 2 for over 2 years each & they stopped on their own. My sister nursed until she was 3.

Nya - posted on 03/28/2011

8

5

0

I tried to wean my now almost 31 month old son when he was 2 and did for a couple weeks. But I fought and fought with the decision. I had a lot of pressure from others around me. I am tandem nursing, because I have a 10 month old daughter. My son still likes to breastfeed, only at nighttime, and I've conceded that it is ok. He likes it as part of his bedtime routine and my son and daughter are very closely bonded, due in part I believe to the tandem nursing. It is common practice just about everywhere but the US to nurse at least 2 years, and even tandem nurse... so do what YOU are comfortable with. I do not talk about or tell anyone else that my son still nurses because I dealt with pressure from even family that it was ridiculous, and I got sick of hearing it. Do what YOU feel comfortable with, and nothing else. If it feels right and ok, it is......on the other hand, if you are ready to wean, then you need to wean her. Good luck.

Celeste - posted on 03/28/2011

3,000

30

853

Emily and Wendy, it is hard! My family isn't very supportive either. My mom and sister ganged up on me when my boys were 18 months old. It's humorous now, but at the time, I was really hurt. I think one of my favorite comments was that my boys are going to have a boob fetish LOL I guess my mom didn't nurse my brother long enough because he's gay!

My mom will make some snide comments about it, but she doesn't know I'm "still" nursing one of them and that the other one nursed til 3 1/2.

I ignore them because I have awesome support online, and I have friends that feel the same way about breastfeeding as I do (many of them are either IBCLC's, or LLL leaders). Plus, I have the WHO, UNICEF and other medical organizations on my side and all they have is their ignorant opinions.

My husband is supportive, though he wants R to be done. I know my stuff so he can't argue with me heh heh.

Hang in there ladies. We're doing what we feel is best for our children! They will not go to college nursing LOL

[deleted account]

Wendy, I know how you feel though I don't think my situation is as bad. My husband sleeps in another room when he is home, partly because he works shifts and partly because my daugher sleeps in with me. I feel I get more sleep when she is with me than if I tried to put her in her own bed. When I tried that, she was waking every hour and I was exhausted. She still wakes 2-3 times during the night, but I can cope with it because she is with me. My daughter as well is on the lower centiles (2nd) for weight but the charts used in the UK (although they are changing that) are based on weight gain for bottle fed babies. My daughter eats a range of food and enough for what she needs. She does not top up on breastmilk at the expense of food. I think you have to do the best for your son, but you will also need to explain how you feel to your husband. My husband keeps pushing me to wean my daughter. I think this is the where extended breastfeeding becomes hard. Without the support of your family, it becomes awkward. It shouldn't have to be that way, but this is where I am as well, how to explain it to the family.

Barbara - posted on 03/28/2011

7

27

0

I love the support that the women in this group provide with each other. I have had comments like, if she can ask for it, it's time to stop (she'll be 3 at the end of June). She is my 4th babe, with a 6 year gap between her and her next sister. I waited a long time for her and if she wants that little comfort and cuddle before bed and first thing in the day then I will hold onto it. (It's kinda like her coffee hit!) We have a rule that she has to be in her pjs... but if she is my last, I am going to enjoy that time in the day when I am forced to stop for a little while and hold her and love her. Cause lets face it, life gets busy and I don't know if I would otherwise stop! She is also the healthiest 2 year old I know!

Wendy - posted on 03/28/2011

1

45

0

My son is almost 22 months old and still nursing about 2-3 times during the day and about 2 times during the night. My husband also sleeps in another room because of the baby waking up. He sleeps next to my bed on a pallet til about 2am then gets in bed with me to nurse about 2 times. It is very exhausting not getting good sleep from 2am til 7am. My family is constantly telling me I need to STOP. My pediatrician has even told me I need to stop SEVERAL times. Which I have always been so against. My son has a heart condition, has had 2 open heart surgeries and will have one more before the age of 4. He is UNDER WEIGHT, according to all of their charts and stuff. He is under the 1st percentile. and has been. She tells me to stop so that he will eat more foods that will benefit his weight gain. But I believe he needs the bm to protect his immune system, which is weakened due to heart condition. I battle daily with people who think I am wrong. And my dad who thinks I do it for me. And that I am ruining my marriage by living in separate rooms. I totally disagree.

Tracy - posted on 03/28/2011

1

0

0

Good for you!! BF as long as you feel comfortable. I'm currently nursing my 21 mo. old. And my goal is atleast 2 years.

Celeste - posted on 03/28/2011

3,000

30

853

I would say that many doctors aren't aware of the health benefits of nursing past 1.

Though, my boys' pediatrician wasn't one of them. She actually *encouraged* me to continue breastfeeding them. I remember one incident when one of my boys had to be hospitalized for dehydration (he couldn't even keep BM down). Dr. S came in and said that she was so glad I was nursing him because he'd be able to get out sooner. He was 2 at the time.

Ashley - posted on 03/27/2011

8

12

0

I quit breastfeeding my daughter right before she turned 2 years old. I don't understand why people act like its not normal to breastfeed that long. I think after we quit completly she asked for it for maybe a few more months. She will be 5 in July now, and she never talks about it or even remembers it. It sort of makes me sad :) She is very advanced for her age, and I really think part of it has to do with her being breastfed.

Diane - posted on 03/27/2011

293

0

1

It's totally okay and normal, if you are uncomfortable though you could try talking to her about it being time to give up a little nursing and ask her to pick a time of day that she would like to keep nursing (like if she wants to continue at bedtime) and then just give her cuddles at the other usual times and after a while ask her if she's ready to stop at bedtime and just have cuddles instead. Most people don't breastfeed their kids that long in the US (if that's where you are) but they used to and in most places in the world they still do, so while many people may not understand why you are doing it that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with it either. If you are okay with continuing and waiting for her to quit on her own then you can do that and there is nothing wrong with it at all.

Rebecca - posted on 03/27/2011

2

10

0

I have breast fed all of my children until they were three years old. She will wean herself when she is ready.

Rachel - posted on 03/27/2011

135

55

6

Another little note:
Along with lowered risk of uterine, breast, cervical cancer, women who breastfeed AT LEAST 1 year, have a lowered risk of depression, heart diseases, diabetes, stress, sleep disorders, etc. The list goes on!
So do they really want you to give up breastfeeding just to get sick because you're not? :-p Studies have been done. The one year mark is key! If you can do longer, go for it! :-) It's your baby's health at stake and YOUR health at stake.

Rachel - posted on 03/27/2011

135

55

6

Do what she needs. She won't be little forever. Cherish this time together. You're doing great! She's doing great! When she is ready, she will let you know. Until then, keep doing what you're doing. The world average for weaning is somewhere between 4-7 years old. This is usually when it completely stops, but it usually is just at night or naps or comfort for the last period of time. :-)
You're doing great!

Elsabie - posted on 03/27/2011

13

29

2

My daughter was 3 in Feb and she still wants her milk before bed and nap times and when she wakes in the morning. You need to do what feels right for you and her. Just taking it away is a bit harsh and might make her feel like she is being punished maybe.... Or that is how I see it and why I haven't just taken it away from my little one. Here is some helpful reading. Keep up the good work. :0

http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/wean-me-g...

http://www.drmomma.org/2010/06/toddler-a...

Jean - posted on 03/27/2011

8

0

0

If you are comfortable with it then go for it. With a little nudging I weaned my 17 month old. She was fine with it and we ended breastfeeding quite peacefully. But after I weaned her I realized that I did it because of pressure from other people. Doing it because of pressure from other people made me doubt that I was doing the right thing. I still feel it was the right thing for us to do just because she was ready for it and she didn't seem to mind when I offered her more books at bedtime instead of the breast. But anyway, you know what's best for you and your little one. If you are on the fence about the decision (like I was for a while) maybe you can try the "don't offer, don't refuse" method. That's what I did with my daughter and it went very smooth. Basically you pick a feeding (like nap time or bedtime) and don't offer the breast. Try to distract the baby with other bedtime rituals. If the little one starts pulling at your shirt then don't refuse her. If you find that she's pulling at your shirt no matter what other bedtime rituals you try then maybe she's just not ready and you can both carry on.



No matter what you decide, societal pressures and the typical "American culture" of weaning by a certain time should not have as much bearing as your personal feelings. Use your gut and follow your heart. You are the one that will have to live with the decision, not all your friends and family.

Brittany - posted on 03/27/2011

2

11

0

Nicole I dont believe anyone here is talking about exclusively breast feeding a 2-3-4 year old , I think we all know they need extra nurishment, It is still nutritious for them , just wont sustain them and I am pretty sure all breast feeding mommys know that lol

Holly - posted on 03/27/2011

281

16

4

Nichole your doctor was flat out wrong. Breastmilk does not turn to water at one year :( Yes, the child needs other nutrients after a year of course, but they also continue to need breastmilk! My 16 month old eats anything that the rest of the family eats (including steak, chicken, pork.. ) but he also gets breastmilk. :) We use breastmilk to give him the healthy fats he needs for brain development (as opposed to whole milk which will aid in brain development but also has crap fat in it to add fat to the child's body that the child doesn't need) Breastmilk provides moms immunity to illness to the baby through antibodies. If formula companies make and push "toddler formula" then there is obviously a need for *something* other than cow milk... breastmilk changes in composition with baby's needs. As baby grows and nurses less frequently the milk becomes more nutrient rich Quality over Quantity! :) I urge you to do some research on the nutritional benefits rather than flat out saying that there are none. Yes, children at a year and above need *some* other foods but they still badly need momma's milk :)

Nicole - posted on 03/27/2011

3

60

0

I am personally opposed to extended breastfeeding because of a problem that arose with my own daughter's health. My pediatrician agrees with me for this one reason: after the age of one, there is no longer a nutritional benefit, and in fact, studies (as well as my daughter's own health) prove that after the age of one, children require food with substance as well as other forms of milk for necessary nutrients and minerals. My daughter was extremely small after the age of 1-1/2, but I could not get her to quit nursing until she was two. My doctor said it was because she was still nursing. So I finally put on some band-aids and told her I had two "owies." After two rough nights, it was all over. I still miss breastfeeding immensely, but I do have to say a full night's rest after that was quite nice. I did continue to breastfeed her until she was two because it was comforting for both of us, and I continued to push other forms of food more, particularly things with milk product in them to help her go to sleep without as much nighttime nursing. However, there is absolutely no credible "nutritional argument" for extended breastfeeding.

Brittany - posted on 03/27/2011

2

11

0

I am so glad youre talking about this my daughter just turned 3 on 3/14 and she is exactly the same way !!! I am not going to make her stop yet , I suppose its really all in what you feel , but theres nothing wrong with it and its hurting no one it really comforts my daughter so I see no reason to deprive her . If youd ever like to talk more about it you can email me FIVEHARTLEYZ@AOL.COM ~ BRITTANY

Katie - posted on 03/27/2011

37

10

0

I wouldn't worry too much about preschool. She'll slow down at that time if she hasn't done so already. Fall is still a ways away. I know moms that go away from their nursing 2 or 3 year olds for days without any problem and come back to a child sometimes that still wants to nurse and sometimes one that forgets about it. I also know plenty of nursing 3 year olds most are occasional nursers, Wake-up/bedtime. She will eventually stop. If you are still comfortable don't sweat it.

Vicki - posted on 03/27/2011

1,150

0

166

Kelly how old is your child? My boy was 17 months when I went back to work. He wouldn't drink expressed milk from bottle/cup/whatever. So he drinks water when I work and has boobmilk direct from the source the rest of the time.

Amanda - posted on 03/27/2011

1

60

0

There's no reason for you to force her to stop as long as you are still comfortable with it. She will eventually stop :) My son is 23 mos and shows no signs of stopping--similar circumstance to yours. I tell myself it's for such a short time in life, and I'm sure I'll miss it when it's over.

Merry - posted on 03/27/2011

9,274

169

248

Kelly, some kids have it easier doing a sippy cup or a straw cup during mims absence, and then breast when she is home. Also there's some bottles that are supposedly more breast shaped that some do well with. Depending on how old your son is he might be ok using a cup when you are at work.

Kelly - posted on 03/27/2011

2

20

0

how do you work and breastfeed my son is having problems switching from the bottles during the day to breast at night

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms