Still Breast Feeding at 20 months !!?!?!!!

Jaimi - posted on 12/11/2010 ( 27 moms have responded )

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Ok, So dispite all my family input, I am on my very last baby, Who will be two in March and it's very quickly approaching. I have kept the breastfeeding going and was really hoping he would self ween. He seems to have been BF more now a days then the previous months. I am ready for it to be over, It's nice to have the bonding time, But he's actually out wearing the welcome asking for "boob" when I'm pushing him in the cart at the store to in the middle of a wedding, And I'm slightly embarrassed to be feeding an almost 2 yr old in front of other. So the thing is, I just don't know how to go about denying it !! I really tried to cut out night time feedings and that stopped for awhile, but since we co sleep, I'm sort of at his request. It always falls back into play after we kick it a few weeks. Is cold turkey best when you have a very attached momma's boy ?! I do not work and I am his only care taker, Other then my husband no one watches him and he is constintly with me. I am dreading this, Yet I am ready ! Any help would be appreciated. He also does not eat food. He will snack on grapes, yogurt and cheese, and eat a few bites of what I have, but is not interested in meals and I feel like nursing him is his main nutrition. Which I am sure he would eat more if nursing less. Help !!
He is my third, unexpected world. After having two at a younger age, he was a surprise that must be the best mistake in my life so I just don't want to upset him !!

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Sammie - posted on 12/12/2010

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I would definitely not recommend cold turkey. That is just so hard and stressful on them, and mom. I really dont know any easy way out, weaning should be a very gradual thing. I know it gets tiresome,(i have a 4yr old still nursing) but remember, it will not last forever its only a short period in a childs life. And it is so beneficial to him and you.
Good luck.

Tobi - posted on 12/19/2010

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while i'm up for nursing till your baby self-weans. i had to wean my 20 month old 2 months ago because i am pregnant again and she wanted it ALL the time, it was draining me and she was biting me very badly.she was an extremely picky eater and only ate tiny bits of yoghurt and trust me i tried all kinds of food to tempt her to eat.anyway, i felt really guilty weaning her but at the end of the day she forgot about it within a few days and now eats very well and gained weight nicely. i know nursing is not supposed to affect a baby's appetite for other food but it seemed to in my baby's case.plus from nursing every 30 minutes all night, within a week of weaning my baby started sleeping through the night. she only wakes the odd night to ask for water if she's thirsty so i wish you good luck whatever works for you.

Celeste - posted on 12/13/2010

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I totally understand, Jami. My family was horrible and very unsupportive. My sister would say that my boys would have a boob fetish. My mom would make snide comments about them nursing and them being too old. I'm the only one on both sides of my family to nurse past a few weeks. It's OK to continue to nurse. It's not like there's an expiration date stamped on our boobs LOL The more I researched it, the more educated I got, the less I cared about what they said.



BTW, my twin boys were weaned at 3 1/2 and 4!



Hang in there, I know it's hard!

Cat - posted on 12/13/2010

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You do know that the WHO recommends nursing for a minimum of two years, right? The US is pretty much the only place where it's not the norm to nurse until the child is done.
You can check out books like Mothering the Nursing Toddler for info on this :)

Sarah - posted on 12/11/2010

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The book Mothering Your Nursing Toddler has a section on weaning. It also has a lot of info on how to manage a nursing relationship with a toddler if you opt to continue.

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Christie - posted on 12/20/2010

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Firstly, toddlers are picky eaters, that's just nature. So don't be concerned/guilty thinking that your nursing is causing him to eat less. It's likely making very little difference to his general appetite. If you don't want to wean, don't do so just because of family members or random strangers. They can go take a long walk off a short pier if they don't want to support what you and your son are happy with. But if you are looking to encourage the weaning process then perhaps firstly look at distraction for his least demanded feeds. If he wants a feed as you cuddle on the couch in the morning, then get out and about doing something fun where he'll hopefully be too caught up in what he's doing to want to waste time sitting down to nurse. I would usually say implement "never offer, never refuse" but it sounds like you aren't doing much offering *lol*. Another option is to set guidelines for him about when it's ok to nurse and just keep repeating them. If you are ok with feeds before sleep then make a simple statement, "no boobies are only for sleep times" You aren't taking away his world, but you are beginning to draw a boundary like you would for anything else that is in his/your best interest. Wearing clothing when you are out that is not easily accessible and/or your breasts aren't on display at all might also be helpful. All the best with whatever you decide to do :) HTH

[deleted account]

Do you really have to wean? I'm feeding my 20mth old daughter and will be happy to go to about 3 and 1/2 years. WHO (World Health Organisation) recommends breastfeeding until about 2, whether you're in a developed country or not!
I fed one of my previous kids until 3 1/2 and I was able to reason with him more about weaning at that age as he could talk well.
If you don't make it out to be a big deal, then others won't, at least in front of you. I used to say, "In Bible times, they used to feed til the child was 4 so I'm not doing anything unusual really."

Catalina - posted on 12/18/2010

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My two and a half year old is still nursing to my surprise since both my other children weaned naturally, no fuss, no muss at right about 18 months. I didn't offer they didn't ask and that was that. But this one is different right about that age when it would have been easy he caught his first major cold and we were nursing around the clock all of a sudden. After that was over he was more attached than ever. For awhile it was driving me crazy since a nursing toddler can be very demanding and possessive. In the end, I haven't had the heart to go cold turkey on him but I have set very, very firm limits which make nursing doable for me at this age. Absolutely no nursing btwn bedtime and 5:00 AM, no nursing outside the house, and when I don't feel like it he has to take no for an answer sometimes. Essentially he just nurses one or twice a day and some days not at all unless he is sick in which case we go back to on demand. This was not so easy to establish at first. For a bout a week it was a struggle as he tested the rules but now we are cool and I enjoy nursing him once more now that it is more on my terms and I don't feel like I don't own my own breasts.

Everyone is different. Examine what it is about nursing him now that bugs you. Is it other people's opinions? Is it being grabbed at? Is it the demanding attitude where you don't feel you have a say? depending on your reasons for wanting or not wanting to wean your response will be different.

Good luck! My third was also a happy accident - YAY!!

Megan - posted on 12/18/2010

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No one should pressure you to stop, just like no one should pressure you to keep going. Definitely stop one feed at a time, maybe offer him a 'special' cup with water in it instead of breastfeeding him, that worked for me. We have a very special cup for times like that! Also, with his feeding, don't be at wits end that he doesn't eat. My 2 year old eats when she wants to, although sometimes it really frustrates me, but if he's hungry he'll eat.

Caroline - posted on 12/18/2010

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I found that I didn't ever offer the boob and had set times to start the weaning. I'd say "no it's not time for 'milk' yet" and then wait until the right time. The first few times I'd tell him that it was time for 'milk' and he'd feed then after a while I'd not mention it, only giving it to him if it was during the time and saying 'no it's not time yet' when it wasn't an appropriate time. Eventually he just forgot about it.

Lauren - posted on 12/18/2010

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My daughter still nurses at nearly 3. I definitely wish she'd wean, but she is clearly not ready, so I have simply made some rules that keep it tolerable for me. She only nurses before nap and bed, no other times. Did she fight it? Yes. But this keeps us both happy. It's a tough call. Good luck.

Kat - posted on 12/15/2010

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Jonell, I love your statement:

"We are the odd country who actually discourages what God has given us to nourish our babies and encourages us to give our baby some other animals milk...just picture your two year old laying underneath a cow or a goat???"

It's so true!

[deleted account]

After reading the comments...I think you have a lot of good advice Jamie. try several things and see what works best for you and your precious little blessing.

I totally feel you on the non supportive family stuff. Like I said it is a lack of understanding...and breastfeeding past 12 months old is definately not a NEW thing. We are the odd country who actually discourages what God has given us to nourish our babies and encourages us to give our baby some other animals milk...just picture your two year old laying underneath a cow or a goat??? What do you think God intended? lol

I also don't agree with the breast milk alone is not enough nourishment...girl if you are eating well and nursing as much as you say you are that boy is not being underfed and malnutritioned. It is good to introduce him to a variety of different tastes and textures now so his pallet develops into a non picky eater...it starts now. The more you offer (not force) now while they are growing wildly will most definitely determine how he eats through life. I am giving birth to my 7th child next month...my oldest are 14 and 15. I am around tons of children and have been for more than 20 years...my children and others who feed theirs similarly are the least picky eaters I've ever seen! It makes life so much easier...My famous phrase for the older ones is that I'm not a restaurant. They can eat what I prepare or wait until their next meal to eat. : ) Be strong but loving. Kudos to your husband for being supportive...that is really all you need...well and God of course. He supports you too, after all he created you to make the perfect nourishment for your son!

[deleted account]

My little guy is 25 months old and I am still nursing him...consider it a blessing however if you want to start on the self weening you will have to be strong but loving and set some ground rules. Associate nursing with nap time and bed time...if he has a cold though, I wouldn't deny him. Babies get their antibodies from our milk so he will get over his illnesses much sooner if he nurses more. Make meal time fun for him by allowing him to be independent and messy if need be. He needs to eat off his plate and or high chair instead of his mama's. make small snacks for the two of you and sit at the table when you eat. Eat together but off of different plates. He needs to experience the different tastes and textures of foods. He needs to feel it in his own hands and feel like he's doing something cool. I don't tell my 2 year old no when he asks for "chi chi milk" I ask him if he's ready to go to sleep? If he says yes than I take I nurse him and lay him down for 1-2 hours...even if he doesn't sleep the entire time. It has helped me a lot. He tells me no now if he's not ready to go to sleep and I tell him, " Okay you can have chi chi milk later when you're ready for bed." Whatever you decide, know that it is still the best nourishment for him hands down and it will make him a smarter and healthier baby boy despite what anyone who doesn't quite understand may say. They are just uncomfortable. You don't ever want to go cold turkey, especially with a baby who sounds so very attached. I did that with one of my children and she was most definitely traumatized by it. They feel like they are being punished or aren't loved as much. My daughter is 12 and sees a counselor about the effects of that traumatic experience...she was almost one year old...but she and the one I'm nursing now were the most attached. Good luck. Let me know how things go.
Jonnie

Sammie - posted on 12/14/2010

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Jaimie,
Im glad that you aren't going the cold turkey route. Nursing is very comforting to them, and its something they have done since they were born. To have that just ripped away from them is very traumatizing. I just hate when someone says they are weaning cold turkey, its such a sad thing for the child.
Good luck hun, you will get there.

Tallia - posted on 12/14/2010

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omg...i have 3 kids...i breastfed my daughter till she was 16 months...its been 2 weeks now and some how she still wants it...my breast got so big and hard i forgot how painful it is when your breast milk is drying up...i did it cold turkey but it was so hard i think you should just pump your milk for awhile and give it to him in a bottle...hopefully that work

Kyle - posted on 12/13/2010

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My son is also going to be 2 in March (9th) and still BF. I love the bond we have and feel that neither one of us is ready to call it quits. I also stay at home with him and I am his main caregiver as well. I was going to ween him when I went to Colorado for 5 days but when I came back I just didn't realize how much I would miss it. don't get me wrong, he missed it too, when I came back I wasn't even with him for 5 minutes before he was trying to tear away at my shirt to get'em. What I have started doing now that he is old enought to understand is, when we are out in public or at someone's house and he starts tugging at me, then I just tell him no, not right now but we will be home in a little bit and he can have some in a little bit. Every once in a while I have to remind him a couple times but he gets the point and is normally okay with it.

Kristin - posted on 12/13/2010

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Take one feeding at a time and leave the night time stuff for last. I would suggest starting with his mealtime feeds. He does his solids first then one breast, more solids, then the other. How is he doing with a cup? You could possibly pump or just give reg milk and fill him a bit that way. Once he's given up the meal feeds, take the snacks. Also, these should be done one at a time, maybe a week or so apart. Be patient, he will stop. Just offer a different snack and a distraction. And above all else, be consistent. When you are done with that particular feeding, do not give in again.

You've done wonderfully with BFing. But, if it isn't working for both of you, it's time to be done.

Savona - posted on 12/13/2010

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Your sons nutrition isn't being met with breastmilk alone as a main. Especially at 2 years old. My doctor said most 2 year olds that DO still breastfeed do so only 1 or 2 times a day.
Kudos to you though for lasting so long. I know many mothers who have stopped breastfeeding before the baby was 3 months -.-!
Cold Turkey could cause some problems for you in my opinion. I believe you should be trying to introduce other foods and drinks to him.
My daughter had tantrums when she couldnt have breastmilk when she wanted and when I started weaning her it didnt happen just like that. You have to be strong, take it one step at a time and remember that it can be a very strenuous process.
After having 2 previously Im sure you havent forgotten everything youve learned from them =) Even though every child is different you can still integrate what you know from the previous babies to this one too.
Best of luck to you =)

Sylvia - posted on 12/13/2010

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He probably wouldn't be eating more if he were nursing less, if that makes you feel any better :)

The LLL line for weaning is "don't offer, don't refuse". But I found at a certain point (quite a bit later than 20 months LOL -- mine didn't wean till she was 4) that, yes, it was okay to refuse sometimes. I found that "not now" worked a lot better than "no" ;^)

Cold turkey is horrible for everyone -- don't do it! But at this age it's definitely okay to offer something else sometimes if you think he's actually hungry or thirsty. (If he is, then he may well take the alternative snack.) And it's okay to say, hey, you can have some boobie later, but right now we're doing ... I think it was around this age that I started telling DD that we needed to wait until we got home, or to wherever we happened to be going, when she wanted to nurse at inconvenient times or in inconvenient places (I found there are a lot of places where I hadn't felt at all awkward nursing a baby, but nursing a walking, talking person was not quite the same!). It's okay to tell him that the boobies are sleeping right now, or something like that. Or that he can nurse for X minutes but then it's time to stop.

And you might find that if you can set some limits on how long, how often, and/or where and when, you won't feel so nursed out and will feel better about continuing. Or he may decide it's not so vital as he thought it was, and end up weaning. (Don't be surprised if one last session goes on for a long time, though -- for us it was the first-thing-in-the-morning meh-mehs.)

RE: irritating unsupportive family members (and go you for persevering this long despite them!), since technically weaning begins as soon as solid foods are first introduced, you can always tell them you're in the process of weaning ;^)

Melanie - posted on 12/13/2010

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Jaimi, I think the important thing to note is that YOU are ready to be done and that's ok. I know you have lots of support on here to keep BF but if you want to be done then that's your choice. I disagree though aout your 20 month old not understanding..they understand sooo much at that age. If you explain what is going to happen, your child my not understand "why" but will understand what you mean.

Jaimi - posted on 12/13/2010

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Mealine, That's sort of how my mom tells me, It's just that I don't feel that you can reason with a 20 month old and that's why I have such a hard time, Because it's hard for me to make him understand the reason behind something that he has that makes him comforted and feel secure and trust me. I think the slow weaning is best for me. But thanks for your advice, I know many feel the same way.

Jaimi - posted on 12/13/2010

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Well, The embaressment comes from my family that were tought that you only BF up to 12 months and then you should stop. I was also brought up to believe that and only since I've been BF I have done all the research and found that things have changed, I also don't think I was ready at 12 months to stop. He is not ready now, And it's mostly family that I feel uncomfortable to nurse him around because they are asking haven't I stopped that yet ? Or isn't he too old for that, Like it's a BAD thing to be doing. I am going to try and wean slowly, As I think that would be best. Thanks for all the support. I have talked to my husband, Since he is the other man in my life, and he also said what does he care what I do, My family needs to keep there comments to themselves and I just need to stop caring what others think so much. I think I am going to set a month to cut out one nurse and then go from there and try to only nurse threw naptime and bedtimes. Which is when I enjoy the most as well. Thanks, You were all very helpful.

Merry - posted on 12/13/2010

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I think it's great that Eric asks for his 'boom'! It's so adorable, and in public I'm proud of the fact he is breastfeeding. He is also 20 months, born in April!
My goal is 4 years as this is the world average weaning age. 2years is my minimum because weaning before two puts them at increased risk of illness.
So, I will bf him until he stops himself!
I think it's his choice as the only reason I have boobs is for him!

Summer - posted on 12/13/2010

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Why would u feel embarrass my son is 2 yrs and still want his breast, and he asked for it in church, stores, taxi anywhere - i read it is recommended a child nurse till abt 5 so i dont have a problem when he is ready to stop he will, it have one to two days he never asked for it he wants food and tea so i am just going to leave him be.

Celeste - posted on 12/13/2010

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Go you for nursing for 20 months despite unsupportive people!

Keep in mind that weaning won't necessarily mean that he will eat more. Toddlers are notoriously picky, whether breastfed or not.

First, if you are absolutely ready, then I'd slowly wean. Breastfeeding is a 2 way relationship! Though, I wouldn't do it cold turkey. Here is a kellymom link about weaning techniques:
http://www.kellymom.com/bf/weaning/

I have twin boys that were total "nah nah" addicts. I found myself getting annoyed and ready to wean them. Someone suggested setting limits and it made a huge difference. I cut them down from 24/7 to twice a day. A few things that I did:
-Distractions. I'd offer something else in place of nursing, like water or milk. I'd avoid the place that we nursed, which for us, was the couch. I'd keep them busy to keep their minds off of it.
-Counting. I'd say "Ok, when I count to 10, nah nahs are all done!" It didn't work right away but after being consistent, they finally "got it".

Here's some info on nursing manners:
http://www.kellymom.com/bf/older-baby/nu...



Another issue it looks like is that you're ready to night wean. I used the Dr. Jay Gordon nightweaning method:
http://drjaygordon.com/attachment/sleepp...

Lise - posted on 12/12/2010

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Here is a good resource for weaning (offers different methods): http://www.kellymom.com/bf/weaning/weani...

Good job breastfeeding for so long! :-)

He may eat more, or he may not - some babies aren't ready to eat solids until older. Have you tried all kinds of solids? My daughter eats best when eating my food.

One thing to consider - totally up to you and what works for you - is not weaning, but setting limits. Telling him he can nurse at home, but not out in public, for example. That way he still gets the nutrition, and you lose the embarrassment. Again, up to you - I think it's so wonderful that you've made it to 20 months.

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