Experience (good or bad) of Extended Breastfeeding

(30 Posts)
dragonflymama Sun 06-Oct-13 21:00:45

I'm currently EBF dd2 at 4m & plan to bf until at least 12m. I bf dd1 until 13/14m. I planned to stop around the 1 yr mark (as cultural norm), but had to for medical reasons. I'm very pro the benefits of b/f and better informed this time so considering trying to feed to around 2yrs, provided dd2 wants to. I'd be v grateful if anyone can share their experience - good or bad. Main concerns are feeding older child in public (whilst I'm v happy with public feeding of a baby, I feel less comfortable about a toddler & associated hostility), how often a 1-2 yr old will feed (morn & night fine plus occasional extras e.g. sick, hurt etc) combining feeding with returning to work 3 days per wk. many thanks!

nextphase Sun 06-Oct-13 21:08:43

By the time I got to 10ish months, feeds could be delayed by food/snack til we were home at majority of the time (knocks and bumps excluded).
tbf, those who thought I was mad to ebf at any point past about 6 weeks still thought I was mad, and noone else was really bothered.
But both of mine were food monsters rather than boob monsters.

dragonflymama Sun 06-Oct-13 21:11:33

Thanks nextphase, my dd1 did great transition to food too so maybe allowing baby to bf beyond 12m will result in calm, natural weaning.

Willdoitinaminute Sun 06-Oct-13 21:28:27

I bf Ds until 22mnths. I went back to work at 6mnths (part time) and apart from the odd time when I had to express when it became uncomfortable. I'm not sure I intended to go on so long but it felt right. I didn't have to worry about feeding in public because after 12mnths he really only fed am and pm. If we were at home I let him feed during the day but this tended to be when he was ready for a nap.
I really missed it when we stopped.

InsultingBadger Sun 06-Oct-13 21:36:56

I am currently bf dd who is almost 3. At about 2 she stopped asking for milk in public and I just said that it was only for mornings and bed time. This works well and she generally has milk 3 of 7 days, and is slowly weaning herself.

dragonflymama Sun 06-Oct-13 21:37:13

Thanks willdoitinaminute! Sounds like more am / pm for a good food eating 1 yr old, which seems both easy & pleasureable to that mother / child relationship. Here's hoping!

littleoaktree Sun 06-Oct-13 21:43:19

I bf ds1 to 18mths, ds2 is 17mths and still bfing, no idea when we'll stop.

With ds1 I introduced formula in the day at 11mo when I was going back to work and I couldn't express enough. I continued to bf am/pm til about 15mo when he dropped down to 1 feed a day and was sleeping through the night then. I didn't need to feed him when out and about. By 18mths I felt that it was time to stop and did the 'don't offer don't refuse' and he didn't ask after I stopped offering so that was it.

With ds2 he refuses to drink any other milk, I expressed (better pump this time round) when I went back to work (3 days) and was feeding him about 3-4 times in the daytime and 3-4 times in the night at 12 mths old. He now (17mo) bfs am/pm when I'm working and I no longer express, on days I don't work he also bfs before his afternoon nap. He also doesn't sleep through and bfs 2-4 times overnight. I have bf him when out since he turned 1 and since he started walking and no one has bothered in the slightest.

I've no idea when we'll stop, probably by the time he is 2 but he's definitely not ready to stop yet.

NomDeClavier Sun 06-Oct-13 21:43:19

I stopped milk in public around 15months unless we were on a train, plane, ferry or in church. I reasoned they could be judge or they could have a child making a scene.

He was pretty much morning and night from 18m, I fed reasonably on demand until then including nights but they were often snack/comfort feeds or feeding to nap. I worked from 4m and expressed so on demand boob wash mired to when I was at home and he had no problem with that.

We fed up to 26m when he self weaned due to my being pregnant with DC2.

ReallyGoodDrawer Sun 06-Oct-13 21:44:05

I bf dd2 until she was 2 and a half. As a toddler she wasn't bothered about feeding while we were out and about unless she got over tired. She usually had a morning and night feed and would quite often ask for a feed if I was sitting on the sofa. She pretty much weaned herself (with a bit of gentle encouragement, in the form of me not sitting on the sofa if she was in the room!).

marzipananimal Sun 06-Oct-13 21:45:00

I fed DS til 2.3. For a long while it was just at naptime and bedtime, then just first thing in the morning for a while, but it was great to have it in reserve for teething/illness etc. Also great for calming both him and me down if he was being difficult and I'd got cross, I actually really miss that now. I encouraged him to wean as I was pregnant with dc2 but it happened very gradually and easily

SummerHoliDidi Sun 06-Oct-13 21:50:50

I bfed dd2 til 2y5m. I stopped feeding in public at around 18 months because I started to feel uncomfortable about it and she could be delayed with snacks. By 2yo she was down to just bedtime, which was good because I was pg again (I mc but that was nothing to do with the bf). I was ready to stop around then, just after she turned 2, so I started talking to her about how big girls didn't have booby and one day she would be a big girl, then one day she took me by surprise and told me she was a big girl so she didn't need booby. That was that. She still wants to hold it to go to sleep though and she's now 3.5 hmm

I'd been back at work since she was 6mo, and we'd had a LOT of issues around then because she reverse-cycled and I spent 8 months feeding every 2 hours through the night and then going to work for a full day. I wish I'd known she wouldn't take a bottle for anyone other than me or dp.

InspectorMagnet Sun 06-Oct-13 21:53:52

Depends on the baby.

DC1 stopped feeding in public around 8-9 months old. They couldn't concentrate on feeding with "stuff" happening around them so we did the distraction with a snack thing if they were hungry. By 12 months, they were just having morning and evening feeds anyway.

DC2 was a real comfort feeder and was still feeding occasionally in public when they were 3. Fortunately, I have a lot of hippy friends who didn't bat an eyelid at extended breastfeeding but even when I was out in general, I never had any negative reactions. DC2 also woke at night for feeding until he was 2 1/2ish whcih wasn't much fun but I'm not sure if that would have been any different if he wasn't breastfed.

YoniBottsBumgina Sun 06-Oct-13 21:53:57

I fed until DS self weaned at 4.

Pros:
Didn't have to go through any weaning process
Useful for illnesses etc - didn't have to worry about him not eating, and kept him hydrated. Also for food strikes I knew he was getting calories and nutrients anyway.
Easy way to get him to sleep if necessary
After about 2 they stop asking to feed in public anyway, so you don't have to tell anybody.
After a certain age they only want it morning and night so you don't need to bother about wearing special clothes etc.

Cons:
Age between about 1 and 1+9m - you can't get them to wait and you can feel a bit awkward about it in public. I only ever had one person do a double take though, no comments, no looks other than that.
DS is 5 and still obsessed with my boobs. Not sure if this is due to EBF.
Did feel a bit awkward about it towards the end. DP wasn't keen. Am glad overall that we did it though.
DS got loads of colds when he stopped. (I suppose would happen any time)

I didn't have any more DC (well, not yet anyway) so tandem feeding didn't come into it, nor did TTC, you may wish to consider these issues.

senioroafdog Sun 06-Oct-13 22:03:11

BF DD2 still at almost 13 months. She only ever really feeds am and pm as others have said, I really don't feel like I want to stop it, would rather her take the lead. I quite like it, and she does too, however she will easily go to sleep/ wake up without it if at grandparents or im busy with work.

DD1 self weaned at 9 months so this is new territory for me, although 13 mths doesn't seem that extended compared to others on the thread!

I only really ever get a positive response when people find out I still BF DD2, but then again it's not something I really publicise. Before I had kids I was a bit judgy about extended BF but now I'm all for doing what's best for you smile

Balloonist Sun 06-Oct-13 22:06:24

I've breastfed for a long time (though SB beats me) and tandem fed for almost 3 years. I think I stopped feeding in public after about 18 months with first DC and possibly earlier with second DC. After that point they rarely asked or if they did I asked them to wait until we got home.

I did explain the concepts of public and private early on.
I did once briefly tandem feed a baby and 3 year old at a children's centre but tandem feeding is not at all discreet and I didn't feel comfortable.

Now some of my family know and some don't. Most people would have no idea I'm still breastfeeding.

As for how much they feed, my almost 3 year old will have days when she's asking me constantly if she's at home and bored/tired or under the weather. Other day's it's once or twice in the day (and then more during the night).

Bear in mind your DD might continue to wake in the night for a long time if you continue to breastfeed in the night.

I returned to work when my DD was a year, it was never an issue. She just drank water in the day and I fed her morning and evening. They can have cows milk from a year but if she won't take it or you don't want her to have it water is fine.

Balloonist Sun 06-Oct-13 22:08:31

Oh yes. If your DD continues to feed until 2 it may be a long long time until she self weans. I am so ready for my eldest to self-wean. She says she'll do it when her milk teeth fall out!

happydutchmummy Sun 06-Oct-13 22:15:51

I fed dd till she was 3- it was one of the best parenting tools I had (she self weaned when I became pregnant, but was hardly feeding at all by then anyway.)

It offered instant comfort for any bump or scrape, stopped tantrums, I never worried about her food intake when she was ill,I used the milk to cure gloopy eye infections and it helped to get her to sleep. The main thing was the comfort though.

On the negative list I'd put not wearing an underwired bra for years and years and the feeling of my body not being totally my own as dd still depended on me.

Timpani Sun 06-Oct-13 22:19:42

I'm currently still bf 18mo DC1 and am expecting DC2! I am planning on tandem feeding if dc1 is still feeding then (baby due Jan/Feb). But he only feeds on a morning and sometimes at night and very very rarely in public. Can't remember the last time we did.

One tip is to take off an older child's shoes as it makes them look more like a baby rather than a small child if you get me.

NachoAddict Sun 06-Oct-13 22:21:23

I am still feeding ds3 who is almost 15 months, we never get any looks if we feed in public but it doesn't really happen often. He is usually more interested in whats happening. Unless we are in the supermarket, sitting in a trolley with my breasts in front of his face seems too tempting for him.

I went back to work 4 full days when he was 10 months and he just drank water through the day and had a good long feed when I got home. I only work short days now, till 3 and he still has a good feed when I get home.

He feeds at about 5am, 3.30 then maybe a quick feed before bed, again when I go to bed about 10ish and once or twice during the night.

I bottle fed ds1 & dd and they didn't sleep through either so not sure it is the breastfeeding.

Trying2bMindful Sun 06-Oct-13 22:29:39

Still bf PFB at 16mo. Not really extended, yet, but certainly longer than modern society expects in the UK.
Tbh PFB does not ask for it during the day so we are usually down to am & pm feeds in bed. He started to sleep through around 12mo but until then he fed once or twice over night. Now he only does that if he has had a nightmare or something else is going on (like a growth spurt or illness).
I went back to work when he was 10mo and didn't bother expressing. He would not take any other milk so just drank water and ate normal food during the day. We did blw too so he was used to solid food.
At 16mo his rugby heritage is showing. He loves his food, is v active and well built (muscle not fat!).
I'm not sure I originally intended to bf this long but we have no immediate plans to stop.
Most f&f don't dare say anything against it. I have had a few comments about it being time to wean and I just ask "why...?"
That usually shuts them up.
We have had no comments out & about when I have bf in public recently. Most people don't realise what you are doing tbh.
Good luck - go with the flow grin & do what comes naturally.

harverina Sun 06-Oct-13 22:30:57

I fed dd until she was 2.5 grin she stopped of her own accord because we moved in with my in laws for a few months while we waited for our new house to be ready and she was just so distracted by this that she lost interest - instead of coming in to waken me in the morning to have a feed she would waken my mil grin and instead of wanting me to feed her to sleep at night she wanted grandma to read her a story! So it all came to an end quite suddenly but also quite naturally.

I had no experience of negative comments in public when feeding dd. the negative comments came from family members - "are you still feeding dd?!" "She doesn't need it, the works health advice is for third work countries!" shockhmm

We didn't feed in public once dd was 1+ because she ate solids during the day and only bf morning and night and occasionally when I came home from work. The exception to this was when she was unwell.

I am pregnant with dc2 and hope to be able to bf until they self wean too. Not sure it will be as easy this time having a toddler too but will give it a go.

I firmly believe that my dd has benefited significantly from extended bf...when she is unwell she never seems to get any virus as bad as her friends. Everything seems to be on a milder scale, or she won't catch things at all.

Good luck op hope it all works our ok grin

harverina Sun 06-Oct-13 22:32:13

*work = world smile

dragonflymama Sun 06-Oct-13 22:36:07

Some really interesting replies, thanks all! There is 4 yrs between my 2dc so a lot of the weaning details are hazey, especially as I'm in full sleep deprivation mode atm! Dd1 did great with baby led weaning, was sleeping through at 6m & eating great by 8-9m. Like many she b/f morn & night only & moved onto cow's milk quite easily at 12/13m. And whilst she was a model baby, she was a challenging toddler & has grown into a shy, yet strong willed girl. I often wonder if I'd bf her longer, would it have helped the toddler years. We don't plan on having any more children, so feeding while preg or tandem feeding isn't really an issue. As many say, the best way is really for dc to self wean. Thanks again!

cairnterrier Sun 06-Oct-13 22:41:31

DS1 fed until he was 2 and then self- weaned but I was also 22/40 at the time.

DS2 is now 17 months. Days that I'm working all day, he can go all day without a feed. He usually wakes up at about 4am and I usually bring him into bed for a feed so I can go back to sleep as soon as possible! Today has been unusual as he had a feed mid-morning but I think his molars are coming through. He also had one this afternoon after banging his head and just now when he had an attack of the farts in his sleep.

I can't remember the last time that we fed when out and about. There's usually too much else going on and he's rather partial to a piece of cake instead nowadays anyway!

Overall I'd guess we're down to about 1 feed every 24 hours and it's usually in the early hours.

PS I went back to work when Ds1 and DS2 were both around 9 months. I spent ages building up stocks of expressed milk. Within a week, neither of them took any at all whilst at the childminder, GRRRR!!!! They were perfectly happy with water to drink during the day and made up for it when we were back together.

I found that returning to work made no difference to me continuing to feed them at all. HTH!

dragonflymama Sun 06-Oct-13 22:41:43

And love the taking shoes off in public tip!!!!!

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