How long is too long to nurse?? Y R people unsupportive??

Nicole - posted on 02/28/2010 ( 12 moms have responded )

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I nursed my daughter for 14 months and my son is about to be 12 months and EVERYONE is bugging me to stop nursing him. My husband, my mom, friends....they all say when are you going to give him a bottle....like it is the normal to have a bottle. My daughter had a bottle but is was pumped. My son won't take a bottle because he has been solely breastfeed. I don't want to start him on cows milk yet...he still seems to be a baby to me. How long is too long to breastfeed??

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Erin - posted on 02/28/2010

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There is no 'too long to breastfeed'

1) World Health organization says it is best if baby nurses for a min of 2 years.



2) American academy of pediatrics says any amount of BF is great but recommends BF for at least 1 year and then as long as mother and baby desire.



3) Children do not develop a FULLY mature immune system until they are 5-6 years old. Until then they will still benefit from the antibodies and immunities provided by breastmilk wether they get it from breast or bottle. Our culture here in the US is not supportive of BF for an extended length of time - the longer BF continues the more opposition the mother might receive. But many other cultures (developed and undeveloped) in the world nursing till a child is 3 or longer is the norm. In many of the third world cultures to stop nursing before 2 or 3 can be fatal for a child b/c of poor water and food sanitation.



So if they keep pestering you I tell my students to tell them you are following doctors orders. Who could criticize you for that?

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Niki - posted on 03/09/2010

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oh my god 12 months and your getting hasseled - thats utterly rediculous

! in NZ the minimum age to stop is 2 years - and thats minimum, i know heaps of people thast have quite happily breastfeed their kids until 3 or 4. in my opinion the longer the better. these people around you are just ignorant and have been taken in by all the advertising for formula which is really sad! stand your ground and tell then to do some reasearch, look at some studies and proved to you that giving up breast so early is better, that formular is better etc etc i guarentee that they wont be able to, and they'll probably learn a lot in the process and hopfully stop hassling you.

Nicole - posted on 03/04/2010

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Thank you all for all of your great comments! I know I am doing the right thing....it just makes life very difficult sometimes when people, especially your husband and family imply that you are doing something wrong by breastfeeding...hello....isn't it the best thing for out babies?

Nicole - posted on 03/04/2010

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I tell people who make dumb comments that she'll wean by college :D My in laws are very pro nursing, so I don't get any crap from them. We are doing baby led weaning- 17 months and counting. Have they heard of the World Health Organization? 2 year minimum BFing... duh! ;)

Cynthia - posted on 03/04/2010

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Go to a le leche league meeting hun. When i felt pressure to wean when my son was around 1 year i went. At first i was nervous. After meeting all the other moms it was such a relief to have support from others who share your values. These meetngs are so laid back and fun. I look foward to them each month! Keep up the good work!

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My parents are constantly making jokes about how my daughter will call me during her lunch break st school so she can nurse, then I remind them that we are homeschooling so it wont be a problem lol. My daughter is 2 and I plan on self weaning.

Melissa - posted on 03/01/2010

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Hi i am not sure why people can not be supportive my daughter turned 2 on sept 5 2009 I thought when she was old enough to really start having conversations that we would just explain it was time to stop nursing. Unfortantly that has not happened. People are so judgmental. I dont know what to do either and how to get her to stop. You cant just hide your body like you can a bottle or paci. So just know do it as long as you are comfortable but remember that it is actually harder to get them to stop the older (at least in my case)

Ashley - posted on 03/01/2010

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Never! There's no such thing as too long. As long as you and your baby are happy, its ok! I was really pressured by my family to stop nursing simply so they could babysit my son, which is not a good reason to me to stop breastfeeding. I also didnt introduce bottles until 10 months, 1: because my son hated them, and 2: it was only to give him juice. My husband was very supportive and told me that it was my choice and I was the one doing all the work, not anyone else. He said I could nurse him into kindergarten if I wanted to, but he really made sure I knew the decision was up to me and not anyone else. I was able to ignore the rude and ridiculous comments and I proudly let my son self wean when he was 17 months old. Now Im due again in July and plan to exclusively breastfeed again!! Good luck, and happy feeding!

Nicole - posted on 02/28/2010

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Thanks everyone for all of your helpful advice! I am going to continue to bf him until we both decide it is time to wean....it is hard sometimes to ignore the complaints....but it is my body and my baby! Thanks for the support!

Justine - posted on 02/28/2010

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Thats a decision that you have to make without listening to people who disagree. Its your body and baby so you keep feeding for as long as you like. I have let all3 of my children wean themselves, my first did it quite early at about 7 1/2 months, my son feed for 16 months and im still feeding my 1 year old at the moment but she is just about off she only feeds for 2minutes first thing in the morning. Finish when you are ready too. I would avoid giving him a bottle go straight to a sippy cup with a little bit of milk when you are ready.

Bellamie - posted on 02/28/2010

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Wow! I'm sorry you haven't had a lot of support in your decision to breastfeed so let me say that I really applaud your resolve to do what you believe is right. Think about what you wanted to accomplish through breastfeeding. For me, I didn't want to have to pay for formula when what I could make was superior in every way and free. I planned to breastfeed at least until he was 12 months because then he wouldn't need formula but at 12 months we were still nursing 5 times a day so I slowly started replacing those feedings with snuggle/TV time. I later phased out the TV time with other activities and extra snuggles throughout the day. In all, I breastfed for 18 months and we both felt ready to stop but I don't think anyone else could have dictated to us when we would be ready.



I think it's the WHO that says that a child's immune system is only mature at 6 years and that the antibodies in your milk will still be nutritionally beneficial but that wouldn't be my personal preference.

Moni - posted on 02/28/2010

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I'm all for letting my daughter self wean. She is almost 16 months now and doesn't nurse much during the day, but she's not ready to stop yet. There are plenty of benefits for extended breastfeeding. For those unsupportive, let them know the WHO recommends breastfeeding for 2 years. The LLL has some great info on their website as well on benefits. Breastfeed as long as you feel comfortable with.

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