Gah, I'm turning into a secret extended breastfeeder

(55 Posts)
coldcupoftea Fri 25-Jan-13 21:49:07

DD2 is 2.7 and still breastfeeding- recently I'm realising more and more that actually I enjoy it, I genuinely don't care how long it goes on for, it is a lovely feeling to give DD the one thing that totally gives her comfort and relaxes her.

So how come I feel embarrassed to mention it to people (and never really do) , if close friends ask 'you're not still feeding her are you??" in an incredulous voice I usually come over all sheepish and say something like "well yeah, I know, but it's only at bedtime and we're going to stop soon..." and quickly change the subject.

DH really wants me to stop ( apart from when she occasionally wakes up in the night, in which case he's kicking me out of bed to go and feed her). He keeps telling her things like "mummy's milk is going to stop soon, you're a big girl".

I never thought I'd end up BF an older child, but she loves it so much I can't see her stopping anytime soon.

And why should she stop?? And how come I'm feeling all this pressure that I shouldn't be doing it anymore? She is happy, healthy, bright, just a normal lovely little girl. It is the one thing that gives her comfort when she is sad or tired. She's never had a dummy, or a favourite teddy, just mummy. I think it's cute that she asks for 'milky' (though I cringe when she says it in front of anyone else). I think it's a bit sad that she has realised it isn't something we do in public, and she usually only asks for it at home, when we are alone.

No reason for this post other than the fact I can't talk to anyone in real life about this- even my most 'hardcore' breastfeeding friends stopped by 18 months. And I'm feeling a bit crap because DH wants me to stop.

coldcupoftea Fri 25-Jan-13 23:14:52

Cross post with everyone, it's funny, I never would have imagined feeding a 4 or 5 year old, but actually my 4yo DD1 (who stopped BF at 5 months) is so cuddly and likes to sometimes cuddle in my lap while DD2 is feeding, that I can imagine DD2 at the same age would probably still be carrying on.

KatherinaMinola Fri 25-Jan-13 23:17:15

x-post Zappo. I think there are more than we think. I don't actually see that many bfing toddlers and older children, but quite a few have come up to me to comment when they see me bfing - I suppose to encourage. I think some older ones only feed at bedtime.

Gandalf - I also had the primal instinct take over.

FunnysInLaJardin Fri 25-Jan-13 23:18:57

do you know this isn't much different to my DS2 who will not give up bottles. He won't drink milk out of anything else and although we have tried to wean him off he LOVES his bottle of milk.

So we have decided that he can stop when he wants to. Part of me/us thinks he is too old at nearly 3 to still have bottles but really because he only does it at home, who really cares. I think small children love having something to suck. FC took away his dummies, so I think well leave the boy some comfort!

TheSecondComing Fri 25-Jan-13 23:23:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LakeFlyPie Fri 25-Jan-13 23:30:46

I'm another one who never saw myself as becoming an 'extended' bf; DS1 (now in reception) has bedtime bf and DS2 (2.2) is still going strong 3-4 x day when I'm at home (work P/T) and all night

DP voiced an short lived opinion that DS1 should stop before he started school, but think he has realised what a lovely comfort / bond it is for both DC and that it won't last forever.

I don't know anyone in RL who bf older children and feel a bit ashamed that I'm not open about DS1 bf (family do know) anymore.
TBH I don't think twice about bf DS2 and the fact he's 'quite old' for it now, suppose it's all relative.

That's why I love threads like this grin

NoBusinessLikeSnowBusiness Fri 25-Jan-13 23:40:07

ColdCupofTea, if I can give you another perspective - I ENVY you! Does that make you feel better? I always took it as red that I would breast feed any children as my mother and both sisters had done. However I had terrible problems bfing ds who was born 2 months prematurely and despite my struggles had to be mostly bottle fed in the end as he was losing weight when I tried to ebf and that's a very, very serious issue with a prem baby. My nipples also bled every time he fed in the end bar twice and that was for five months as I carried on with that and expressing for as long as I could stand it. He was much later diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which may have affected his ability to latch properly. With DD, also premature by five weeks, it was a bit better but then she lost loads of weight when I tried ebfing against advice and went from 75th to nearly off the bottom of the centile chart and was dangerously close to failing to thrive. I still managed to breast feed her with the aid of high calorie formula top ups, and carried on to some degree until 13 months when she flat out refused to latch as she was probably getting drops if that from me. I have a number of conditions which almost definitely impaired my ability to produce enough breast milk no matter what I tried never mind the prematurity issue both times. I always dreamed of just bfing my children until they were toddlers or more but it did not happen. So my message is bf with pride until whatever age you and she want to - you are lucky and so is your DD.

coldcupoftea Fri 25-Jan-13 23:46:33

Aww wow SnowBusiness it sounds like you did amazingly well to BF at all, you should be proud.

I wish I knew all these BF 4yos in real life! <considers asking round at school...>

Startail Fri 25-Jan-13 23:49:52

Zappo You really aren't alone, As I say I know at least 2 DDs who fed to around 5. DSIL fed her DC to at least 3 and I don't see her often enough to know when they stopped. She's a very private soul, I wouldn't ask.

DD2 forbids me to say how long she fed for, suffice to say she said she'd give up when she started infant school and didn't.

Then she said she'd give up when she started juniors and forgot.

It was never a big deal. She'd only fed at night and odd weekend morning for so long, neither of us thought about it.

Neither DH or DD1 have ever worried. If DD1 had been jealous I'd have stopped, but she didn't.

I think she sensed feeding was important to DD2 from her being a tiny baby. DD1 is 3 years older, never EBF and just accepted it was DD2's special thing from the day DD2 was born.

Iburntthecakes Sat 26-Jan-13 00:02:36

I'm planning to breast feed for a significant length if time. I was breast fed myself until I was 18 months when my mother weaned me 'early' as she didn't realise she could tandem feed and my brother was on the way. He was breastfed until he was nearly 4. Until I got pregnant I just thought that was normal and zappo you can tell your DP it certainly didn't bother either of us - I never had a negative comment ever. DD has a cows milk allergy so I've got another good reason to carry on when the time comes (she's only 6months). The only thing that does concern me is that we want another child soon in an ideal world. Hopefully my periods won't stay away too long.

Zappo Sat 26-Jan-13 00:18:58

I know, I'm sure she'll think it a cool thing to do. I tandem feed, still am actually, one on each side. (Been tandem feeding for 2yrs). To anyone who wants to do it it's fab!

One of the reasons I was happy keep going was so DD1 didn't feel jealous.

sanam2010 Sat 26-Jan-13 09:29:54

Of course your DD loves it! You're doing great! I had to wean DD1 at 19 months when I was pregnant and too exhausted, but there's been many a "terrible twos"-tantrum where I thought "how easy it would be if I could still bf her!". I think lot of the toddler meltdowns wouldn't exist if more people bf for longer - they really need it to calm down and relax, the world is very confusing for them.

I always found it funny how the same people who found it weird i "still!!" Bf'ed my baby, completely unrelated, would always comment on how chilled and happy my daughter was. The same parents who were so proud how early their children slept through and how independent they were, at the same time would always envy me for how "easy" our daughter was. The fact was she was actually super demanding from birth and the only way I managed to keep her happy was to bf on demand as often as possible.

Now i have DD2 and since i am not planning to have more children, I am happy to keep going till she's 2 for sure. I think it is slowly becoming more normal! We're just not there yet. But there's more and more mums continuing till 1 or 15months now and I think doing it till 2 will be normal in a few years. And so on!

Loislane78 Sat 26-Jan-13 13:48:45

I'm a 23-weeker so a mere babe of a BFeeder in comparison grin. Things going well so planning to get to 9-10 mo and see how we go. Will be back at work FT by 11 mo so hoping to have weaned to morning/evening/night feeds only by then as unlikely to have time to express.

Can I ask a question for those 'natural term' feeders - do your LOs drink cows milk as a drink or not necessary cos they feed from you?

Zappo Sat 26-Jan-13 13:53:48

My DD1 didn't really like cows milk until fairly recently. DD2 was offered it at night at 18 months when we were trying to night wean and often asks for it in the day.

But I didn't give cows milk to supplement their diet as they ate yoghurts and cheese daily.

EauRouge Sat 26-Jan-13 14:11:52

Neither of mine (DD1 4yo and DD2 almost 2yo) have cow's milk, they don't like it- they like yoghurt though. My HV was horrified by the lack of cow's milk, I don't think she could comprehend that I was still BF (and DD1 was not even 2yo then!).

With natural term feeding I think it is tough from 12mo-2yo because they really transition from a baby to a child during that time and you get a lot of comments. I found hardly anyone said anything after 2yo. Now that DD1 is 4yo I am getting more comments but as I've said before, after 4 years it is increasingly hard to summon up the enthusiasm to give a fuck what other people think grin

I don't really care what comments people make to me, but if they make them directly to DD1 or within ear shot then I have words because it is not fair on her.

I know this has been heavily debated before and that parenting decisions should be discussed but breastfeeding is a relationship between mother and child- it does not affect anyone else and OP, if your DH thinks that you should change your normal, healthy relationship with your DD2 then he'd better have a damn good reason- being 'too old' is not good enough! He really ought not to be making comments to your DD2 about it, that's not fair and he is passing on his hang-ups to her.

For anyone that hasn't read it, Breastfeeding Older Children is a very good book with lots of stories from mothers, fathers and adults who were BF past babyhood.

DoItToJulia Sat 26-Jan-13 14:35:32

Seriously jealous of lack of periods! I ebf ds1 for a year and my periods started immediately.

Ds2 is 10 weeks and my period came when he was 5 wo and I have just had anther one, so back to my regular cycle, despite EBF. Boo hiss!

Incidentally ds1 is 7 and still remembers breast feeding and has asked to try it again now that his little brother has come along and there is milk again (apparently its too salty and sour though). He also asked if he could go back inside my womb....bless him!

mummysmellsofsick Sat 26-Jan-13 14:42:24

I think this is why people go to AP groups/ sling meets, because 'mainstream' ideas about what's normal are just not normal and heavily influenced by both capitalism and the Victorians (cots were invented by Victorians I believe). After DS turned 1 people started asking me if I was still feeding 'even though there is no nutrition in it' - as if bm turns to water when they're 1 hmm I'm lucky though that dh sees the point of natural term bf- it makes his life so much easier that we have an instant remedy for tiredness, upset, pain, tantrums etc. I don't know how I'd manage those things without it

mummysmellsofsick Sat 26-Jan-13 14:47:04

loislane DS 14mo doesn't have cows milk but does have yogurt and cheese. He still has what I estimate to be around 500 ml bm per 24 hr.

KatherinaMinola Sat 26-Jan-13 15:48:34

"The fact was she was actually super demanding from birth and the only way I managed to keep her happy was to bf on demand as often as possible."

grin

DD has cow's milk in her breakfast cereal daily. And she sometimes has a little with her snack, though not every day - I'll offer it and sometimes she'll refuse it and want a bf or water instead. Most days she'll have a small serving of dairy during the day (cheese, milk or yoghurt) in addition to one serving at breakfast, but it's not something I stress about - I just make sure it's available and offered regularly in case she wants it. I do think it's a useful addition to her diet.

EauRouge, my HV was horrified that I was still bf grin

Gorgeous1 Sun 27-Jan-13 23:13:00

How marvelous. I think you are all wonderful. I breast fed until my daughter was about 33-39 months. My son a shorter time cos he was a biter. But it was until he was about 2. My marvelous daughter is now giving her daughter all of the love and marvelous goodness that comes with breast feeding. She also loves people to ask how much longer she is going to breast feed for..... She has a well rehearsed answer... "oh for about another 20 mins" They normally look stupid for having asked. Well it makes me laugh. I find it so totally stupid that some of the very women who tut-tut are themselves wearing plunging necklines and heave them up bras. But dont approve of breasts being slightly on view for their natural purpose. I will finish by commenting on how discreet every mother I have seen is when breastfeeding in public, it is done with tact and privacy cos they want to be in a tender loving position with their little darling and not having a quick flash..........So keep going girls. And dads, well you should be very proud that your child is being so marvelously cared for and having the very best start in life for as long as possible.

hellymelly Sun 27-Jan-13 23:19:36

I only stopped recently, after 8 solid years, dd1 stopped as dd2 was born and dd2 has been fed until now, she is five and a half!! I would never have imagined feeding that long, but after a while there is no big reason to stop. I only stopped as I had a really nasty kidney infection and needed antibiotics that weren't great for dd. I told very few people after about two,as the reaction was usually horror, which I find very depressing. Strangely doctors were the most anti and old ladies the least bothered, quite the reverse of what one would imagine.
Just go on for as long as you and your child are happy and sod anyone else is my advice!

northlondonchoclover Mon 28-Jan-13 03:43:02

Question to the extended breastfeeding mums - when did your babies start to sleep through?

Firstly, congratulations, its a great achievement and a wonderful gift to your children. I'm very inspired and would love to continue breastfeeding for as long as possible. DS1 was breastfed for over a year, and I would love to breastfeed DD2 for at least a year if not longer.

TerrariaMum Mon 28-Jan-13 11:01:01

coldcupoftea, if you are happy and your DD is happy, there is no real reason to stop and numerous reasons to continue. BFing provides analgesia for teething pain, it can provide antibodies, with D&V sometimes bm is the only thing little ones can keep down and it prevents dehydration. And it benefits you too. There is some research that shows it reduces your risks of several types of cancer. And of course, the WHO recommends BFing for 2 years and beyond.

Do you have any LLL groups in your area? They often have meetings about natural term bfing and you can meet loads of other mummies who do it. I think, as evidenced by MN, there are more who do it than we think.

As to cow's milk, my DD is 2 and sometimes she has cow's milk and sometimes she bfs and sometimes she has water and sometimes she has juice so it is varied.

northlondonchoclover, that depends on what you count as sleeping through. I consider it sleeping through when I only have to get up once to resettle her. That she has been doing for two months so far, and then her last back molars started to push through and she stopped because she is woken by teething pain.

Zappo Mon 28-Jan-13 11:07:57

"Question to the extended breastfeeding mums - when did your babies start to sleep through?"

I nightweaned DD1 at 2.5. She slept through consistently at about 4 (waking once a night to get in our bed before that or calling out a couple of times to be reassured)

DD2 was temporarily nightweaned at 18months and slept through (maybe with a bit of verbal reassurance a couple of times a night) a few times.

Following a brief illness she is now co-sleeping with me again and wakes up 3-4 times a night. She is 2.

EauRouge Mon 28-Jan-13 11:08:18

Neither of mine sleep through but then I never do either and I'm 31 wink But yes, it does depend what you mean by sleeping through. Waking up is normal but they will get to an age where they can get back to sleep on their own and so won't disturb you. It's different for every child though.

Yes, LLL is fab for meeting other mums that are BF toddlers and older children. I started going when DD1 was about 18mo and all my friends had stopped BF.

Zappo Mon 28-Jan-13 11:13:46

Going slightly off on a tangent here- one of the very best and most fascinating things about feeding older children is the insight you get into breastfeeding and breastmilk. DD1 frequently used to tell me if the milk was tasting salty (blocked duct) or the flow was slow or fast.

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