Question for all those that are still breastfeeding their toddler 2-3yo.

Aleks - posted on 09/01/2011 ( 29 moms have responded )

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How often or how many times does your toddler still breastfeed during a 24 hour period, pleaseinclude any night time habbits.

My 2.5yo still bf and her times of day are (typically) upon waking up, before afternoon nap and before bed time. She then feeds aroun 1am, and probably around 3-4am.....

I guess I am wondering how normal and common this type of behaviour is? Or is my missy super attached to the boob?

Anyway,... thanks in advance for your responses :-)

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Renee - posted on 09/03/2011

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The rule in our house is that it's either for bedtime (nap and nighttime) and for waking up (nap and mornings) and any major ouchies, so it's generally four times a day. I night weaned my daughter when she was around 18 months because it was still almost on a newborn schedule and I couldn't handle being woken up every two to three hours anymore.

Ricki - posted on 09/04/2011

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That doesn't sound super attached to me. Sounds like a 'normal' amount. I'm currently bf'ing my 19 month old and he is feeding what feels like constantly at the moment. But I don't think he is feeling a 100% to be honest.
All my children have nursed varying amounts as toddlers. My eldest breastfed till 2yrs old (self-weaned a month before her sister was born) she nursed upon waking, nap time, bedtime and no feeds during the night. Also if she fell over or something she'd have a quick nurse. If memory serves correctly her feeds would only last about 5-10 minutes. Now my second daughter is a completely different story. She nursed till she was 3yrs old and was permanently attached to my breast. There was no specific time she'd feed but her feeds would last 30minutes to 2 hrs!!! And she nursed all night long!!!!! Which is why I ended up weaning her as it was too much for me to cope with.
My third child and first son nursed until 20-21 months. He stopped a week before his brother was born and then nursed a few times afterwards. He was pretty good and nursed a few times a day and had maybe one feed during the night. And his feeding would go anywhere from 30secs to 20 minutes.
Each child is different and each day is different so however many a times a day your little one nurses is right for her :-)

NAOMI - posted on 09/03/2011

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My 33/4 yr old is still feeding between 2 and five times during the day. Recently he has missed his bedtime feed of his own accord a couple of times so I think that's slowly on it's way out. He was still feeding every 2 or 3 hours at night when he was 3 and I stopped night feeds - just couldn't do it anymore. Felt terrible about it - it was just awful for him but at least we both sleep at night now; even though he still misses his night feeds. I remember when he was 21/2 he was almost feeding constantly at night for a while when we were travelling and about every 3 ours during the day. I make sure he isn't hungry or thirsty before he has a feed now (except for his wake up feed) but he definitely still needs the regular feeds emotionally and I'd be letting him have the night feeds still also if I could keep going without sleep.

Sally - posted on 09/03/2011

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Your missy sounds perfectly normal to me.
I nurse mine on demand until they wean themselves.
The older really stopped just before her 4th birthday, but didn't admit it until about 4 1/2.
My younger is still going strong at 22 months. She gave up night feeds this week, but I don't know if that's permanent yet and she still sips early morning, before and after nap, bedtime, whenever she hurts herself, and whenever she's hungry or thirsty and I don't have anything else available.

Celeste - posted on 09/05/2011

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Normal is variable :)

My twin sons nursed 1-2x's a day, because I put limits on them. It was just beginning to be very taxing on me, so I put limits on them..

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[deleted account]

My 2.5 year old nurses basically on demand still- it end up being about 5 times a day or so but not during the night! Wake up, before and after nap, before dinner and before bed. She sleeps through the night without nursing. I think - it's all normal and natural as long as it's working for everyone involved. If your not into it any more- then its time to make a new plan.

Karen - posted on 11/27/2011

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That is exactly how my 3.5 year old is. He nurses when he wakes up (if there is time and I am not running around getting his siblings ready for school or him), then at nap, and then at bed time. He has nursed to sleep since he was born so I don't expect those times to change. Sometimes he will go without first thing in the morning or will wait until things calm down and then just come down and sit on my lap and nurse for a while to cuddle. Otherwise, all the nursing he does is in bed.

Aleks - posted on 11/24/2011

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Thanks ladies for your responses. It has given me a bit of comfort knowing this. When you are the only person you know to be breastfeeding a child nearing 3yo and one of only a couple to have ever gone this far, you tend to sometimes doubt yourself , your parenting skills and your sanity...lol
So thanks.

Sheila - posted on 11/24/2011

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I totally feel one mom who said it can be claustrophobic. I love bfing my 29 month old but she tends to "misuse" her feedings but stopping me in my tracks only to feed for two seconds. So I try to communicate to her that she does not need it as much as she used to and it is only at certain times when I'd be more than willing to give her, like at bedtime and before naps, or after "ouchies" as one mom pointed out. She's starting to understand it. I had weaned her but we did a big move so she lapsed. I enjoy feeding but I kinda step back when I'm tired and I'm glad she understands that (sometimes)...

Vanessa - posted on 10/11/2011

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My daughter is 26 months and she nurses when she first wakes up around 7am seldomly before her nap and when she is way over tired before bedtime (she falls asleep in like 2minutes!). I wonder sometimes if I even have any milk left but when she is nursing and we are both so quiet in the moment I can hear her swallowing, so that reassures me. And I love that special connection that we have. But it's hard when you get negative comments from people saying "You're STILL breastfeeding her!!!!"

Karen - posted on 09/05/2011

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Jenn, I was speaking to you. Thank you for the clarification. Do you co-sleep? We have for the past 9 1/2 years since my first was just a few months old and I had to go back to work. I found that waking every few hours to nurse then trying to settle down and back to sleep, was too hard on my body. I was not sleeping at all. I started to co-sleep out of necessity and then ended up loving it. I got sleep, she could nurse, and I didn't really even wake up when she was nursing. I continue co-sleeping even today with up to 5 of us in bed at the same time (me and the 4 kids). Most nights, at least 2 of the kids (my 3yo still co-sleeps with me as he has not transitioned to his own room and won't until he weans) sleep with me from the time I go to bed until the time my husband comes to bed. Then, he sometimes moves the older ones to their rooms so he has room in the bed to sleep. (He is not as supportive of co-sleeping as I am) But, anyway, back to my original purpose....co-sleeping has eliminated any of the lack of sleep I have from night nursing.

On to the original post - my 3yo nurses at least 2 times a day (naptime and night time) and at least 1-3 times during the night. However, he is starting to cuddle a lot at night instead of "needing" to latch on. He will also sometimes do what I call a "drive-thru" during the day where he just wants to nurse for a second because he either got hurt, needs a little comfort, sees my breasts open, or whatever. However, each child is different and will nurse differently all through their nursing life. Don't worry about what is normal for others, only worry about what is normal for your child. As long as you both still enjoy nursing, continue to do it. Believe me, it is such a short time that it lasts for each child that it will be missed when your child self-weans.

Jenn - posted on 09/05/2011

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I am not sure if Karen Kilpatrick meant her post for me but, as I am the only one expecting I am assuming it is. Please correct me if I am wrong :) First of all I am very sorry to hear about you premie, that must have been very difficult to deal with. Secondly I appreciate the advice and I agree with you. I never planned on weaning her completely I only ever planned on night weaning. My daughter wakes anywhere from every hour to every three and I can not deal with that and a newborn. My views are completely aligned with the tandem nursing, self-weaning, natural parenting philosophies. Thanks for your concern.

April - posted on 09/04/2011

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I also want to add that I didn't mean to imply that any more nursing and it wouldn't be age appropriate. That's not true. Even if she nursed every 2 hours, I'd still consider her normal! That's because every child has her/his own normal!!

April - posted on 09/04/2011

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Aleksandra, my son's nursing pattern is exactly the same as your daughter's! Seriously down the the 1 am and the 3 to 4 am! He will be 3 in December. I think your little girl is completely normal. She is basically only nursing for sleep/comfort like my son because she is just too busy to nurse during the day! Almost 3 year olds are very busy little people. Being busy is very age appropriate, so therefore, nursing for sleep/waking up from sleep purposes is very age appropriate too! She's fine!! :)

Tonya - posted on 09/04/2011

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I have a 3-year-old, just turned 3, we r on the exact same schedule. I want her to quit but her will is stronger than mine;) especially since I am so tired from waking up in the middle of the night:). Thanks for sharing, I feel better now:)

Karen - posted on 09/04/2011

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I would like to suggest that you not wean her. I tandem nursed all 4 of my children. My first weaned at 4 (just before I had my 3rd child), my second at 26 months (just before the 3rd child), my 3rd at 5 and I am nursing my 4th and he is 39 months. I have to suggest not weaning as your milk is there for the baby right away if you have another nursling. This would have been very helpful for me with my 3rd as he was a preemie. If I would not have encouraged my others to stop nursing, I would have had my milk anc could have nursed him the whole time in NICU and not had to have him supplemented. I know it gets hard sometimes to always have someone on you, but really it lasts such a short time in the scope of our lives and is the best for our children. You are blessing your child with nursing already, just hang in there and things will get easier and you will not regret the short time of discomfort.

Fawn - posted on 09/04/2011

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My 2.5 year old son typically nurses early in the morning (before waking ~7), then before his nap and at bedtime. He cut out night-time feedings a couple months ago and recently has been sleeping through the morning nurse. He will request it if he is very tired, hurt etc and I usually oblige, if I can.

Catherine - posted on 09/04/2011

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Mine is about to turn two, and he likes first thing in the morning, before nap, sometimes after nap, and before bed. Sometimes he'll skip first thing in the morning (if he has better things to do!), so I'd say we average 3x a day.

[deleted account]

My daughter just turned three. She still breastfeeds before bed and if she wakes in the night (though not every night). She feeds first thing in the morning. During the day, I try to put her off, but if she's tired, she's more likely to be persistant in wanting a feed. Every day is different. Some days we can get through most of the day without a feed. Other days, it's every few hours that she wants the comfort. I'm hoping that once she starts pre-school this month, she'll start wanting it less. Trying to discourage her seems to make her want it all the more. So I try to let her know that she can still get the comfort while at the same time trying to find other ways of comforting her.

Joy - posted on 09/03/2011

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My daughter turned 2 a couple of weeks ago. She typically nurses when she wakes up, before nap, after nap and before bed. There may be one or two more times in there depending on the day - if she's stressed or had a tumble. Lately she's also been waking once in the night to feed, but she's had a cold which disturbs her sleeping.

Heather - posted on 09/03/2011

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It's so nice to see others who are still BF their preschoolers! My daughter just turned 3 and still nurses twice a day and before the rare nap. She still nurses to sleep at night and wants to nurse around 5:30am when she crawls in bed with us. She's a very physical-touch oriented soul so I know that's the motivation behind the continued BF--also, I think it's the only time of day we get alone time. My oldest weaned herself at 22 months, no prompting from me, so I figured I would just wait and let my youngest do the same. It does get tiring at times, but she's so happy, it's worth it in the long run. My issue is family feeling they need to all have a negative opinion on the continued BF.

Brittany - posted on 09/03/2011

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My daughter will be 3 in a week and I was starting to feel like I was the only one still bf a toddler! Glad I'm not I feel a little better about the situation now. I would like to totally wean her since I am 22 weeks pregnant and I am really kinda just tired of having someone attached! I love her but sometimes I just feel claustrophobic. During the week since I am at work and she stays home with her pop pop she doesn't get morning or afternoon feedings anymore. We've been keeping it more at bedtime but on weekends and some days when I get home and she hasn't taken a nap she will feed. All in all I'm hoping she will be ready to wean very soon. Still was the best thing I have done for her though!

[deleted account]

I think there would be war here if I'd try to cut my daughter down to three breastfeeds a day lol... How on earth would you get away with that with a six months old?!

Merry - posted on 09/03/2011

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It makes me so sad to hear women say their 6 month old gets 3 bf a day! I see it on different threads, they wonder why their baby isn't gaining weight since it's eating 3 meals of baby food a day and 3 breastfeeds. Ugh I mean 3 times a day?!?! I couldn't believe that's ok for a baby!

[deleted account]

Just turned 2 and still nurses 6-10 times in a 24hr-cycle. I could do with a little less, but still consider it normal. Twice waking up, twice going to sleep, at least twice during the night - it's not actually that much if you break it down. Mind, that's the minimum in our house...

Michelle - posted on 09/03/2011

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Mine does nap bedtime and then 10 pm and 5 am but doesn't wake until 7 am. Are you planning to wean? I worry about naps. My friend has a toddler same age and nurses him more frequently.

Merry - posted on 09/03/2011

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Erics almost 2.5 and he averages about 7 times a day. Sometimes once in the early morning and then sleeps more but many nights he's sleeping through now!

I don't think there is a 'too much' but I'd be ok if he cut back a bit :D

Jenn - posted on 09/03/2011

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My 2 year old daughter still nurses anywhere from 4-6 time a day. I have been attempting to eliminate nigh-time nursing as I am pregnant and I want to slowly prepare her for when the baby comes but typically she will nurse at 5-6am, 11.30am (before nap), 1.30pm (waking up from nap), 8 pm (bedtime).

[deleted account]

Right before my 3.25 year old son weaned (cuz he was gone for 4 weeks) it was 1-5 times/day. He only nursed at home and we had some crazy busy days, so sometimes he only nursed at bedtime. If we were at home all day though... normal was first thing in the morning, before and after nap, and bedtime... sometimes he'd throw one or two other times in there. :)

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