3 year old showing no signs of wanting stop breastfeeding

(31 Posts)
bookwormthatturned Tue 06-May-14 22:50:18

3 yo DS2 still has a feed at bedtime and first thing in the morning. I'd never set out to breastfeed for this long and always assumed he'd self wean and lose interest at some stage. ..... but now I'm beginning to have my doubts!

I'm not desperate to stop bf but am wondering if it will just get harder to do, the later I leave it. DS2 is fine 'going without' during the daytime if I'm at work but it does mean he won't settle if I'm out and DH tries to put him to bed at night, with an hour of crying and wailing this is stressful for both of them.

How did you wean your toddler / pre-schooler?

TIA

Flexiblefriend Wed 07-May-14 18:37:36

I can't imagine it would get any harder to stop. He won't still be wanting to BF at 18, of that I am certain. If you want to stop though, at least at 3 you can talk to him, and explain things in a way you couldn't with a baby. Can you make a big deal of how grown up he is now, and introduce a bed time cup of milk and a snuggle as an alternative.

Feel free to ignore me though. I managed a grand total of 5 days of breast feeding before it all went horribly wrong so I am certainly no expert!

Pabboo Wed 07-May-14 19:21:07

Flexiblefriend gives good advise - it won't get harder. He won't be bf at 18. The average "natural term" bf seems to stop is between 2 and 4.

You could try a "don't offer, don't refuse" approach. Or, as above, sit and explain that this is something that you will be stopping (altogether, or just at bedtime), and a snuggle and glass of milk will be the replacement.
You could partially wean - the agreement could be that you will not feed before bed but still bf first thing in the morning.

Personally, I found it easier to have morning and evening feeds as the last two to go (we weaned about about 2.5yrs, when DS just stopped asking for it, the bedtime one was the last to go. It did get earlier though so I could go out in the evenings!)

Kellymom has some articles about it kellymom.com/ages/weaning/considering-weaning/how_weaning_happens/

But to answer what appears to be your main question....no it will not get harder. There will be a time when he just settles without it and you will either jump for joy, or, like me, have a little cry....

Twobusyboys Wed 07-May-14 19:41:01

Oh i know where you are coming from. My ds2 is 2.2 and still "needs" bf for sleeping. I just go along with it for an easy life. But no idea how i will get him to stop. Would quite like my boobs back now really! I have been wondering about trying him with a bottle even though he has never taken one!

OnaPromise Wed 07-May-14 19:48:14

No it doesn't get harder because you get to a stage where you can discuss it with them. I 'swapped' it for Christmas presents when dd was 3.5. I said something along the lines of 'how about on Christmas morning you just have your presents instead of bfing?' She was fine with that.

DS1 is 3.7 and still asks for booboo first thing in the morning, because he see's his younger brother feeding. I do 'don't ask don't refuse' and it helps to a certain extent because he does go a day or two in between now if he's busy doing other stuff that early in the morning. I also started time-limiting the feed to 30 secs with a countdown so he knows its time to stop.

He turns 4 in September and I feel we have reached the right time to stop now so I'm aiming to gradually stop by the summer. I want it to be his choice but I'd rather he just stopped asking rather than having some big song and dance about it being the Last Feed.

Don't know if it will work though confused

Wisteria36 Thu 08-May-14 17:12:24

I did "don't offer, don't refuse" for ages with ds1to no effect but eventually he announced himself that he would stop when he was four, and I did replace the last bedtime feed with cuddles just before his fourth birthday. I was pregnant and had really had enough with the soreness so I did persuade him quite strongly!! Well done for bfing for so long, it's always lovely to hear of others who did long term feeding.

LilyBobtail Fri 09-May-14 12:41:40

Still BFing here my 23 month old. He's a milk monster, throws his head back and gurgles with happiness before latching on. I never expected to feed this long but he gets a lot from it. I feel pretty awkward about BF now though and only do it in private, especially as he's on and off a lot and would leave me very exposed.

I'm hoping for a natural wean - wondering it it's happening now. He last fed at tea time yesterday and for the first time in his life he hasn't had any night milk. My boobs are like massive rocks! Is this the end?

bookwormthatturned Fri 09-May-14 22:06:53

'don't offer don't refuse' would be a great approach to be able to use - unfortunately DS2 is also a milk monster and loves bedtime 'feedies' and comes hurtling in to our bed anytime from 5.30 onwards asking if it's feedy-time yet! (His big brother keeps an eye on the clock for him and tells him when it's 6:30 at which point there's no stopping him!

He has got to the point where these are the only times for a feed (unless he's poorly / hurt when it's still a great comforter).

I know we won't be having any more children and so part of me doesn't want the lovely bond that comes with bf to end but it just seems a bit unfair on him on nights / mornings when I can't be around and he's without his comfort. I've tried always giving him the same cuddly toy to hold while he's feeding to see if we can turn this into a comforter but to be honest he's not that interested (as our nanny said why would he be - you're his comforter!)

Keep the tips and insights coming, it's great to be able to talk this through with people who understand.

hellymelly Fri 09-May-14 22:14:30

My dd2 was still happily feeding at five, although it dropped to just the bedtime one. At four it was morning and bed. She really really didn't want to stop, she was a terribly tantrummy child at that age, and bf seemed to be a great comfort to her while she was finding life difficult. I had fed for so long by then (8 years without a break) that I wasn't too bothered either way really. In the end I needed some nasty antibiotics for a kidney infection that weren't safe for her, so we talked about it and she stopped. She did have a bit of a cry for a few nights, and wanted to start again when I came off the meds, but although I let her feed, there was so little milk (I think because I had been really unwell) by then that she did then just give up. I wish it had been more her choice to stop. I felt sad that it was under bad circumstances, but I was feeling so ghastly that I only really felt upset a while later.

hellymelly Fri 09-May-14 22:15:36

Oh and I imagined I would feed until about 2, not five and a half!

SteamMopLover Fri 09-May-14 22:17:42

Marking my place here....

I am feeding my almost 22 months old. I love it and she loves t. If let her she will feed all day every day. I limit her to two three awake feeds a day and she has free reign at night. It is uncomfortable and restrictive. But I am tearing up imaging her stop. I can't imagine her crying if I force her to stop. I am trying to talk her into reducing feeds but isn't working.

So basically I have no answers sorry op as in similar dilemma as you.

By the way, hoping I am not highjacking the thread. How do other children react to the fact that your little one is breasted and is older than other breasted babies? Don't they get bullied? That is one of my concerns for my daughter.

I was poorly and when i got out of hospital I told her that my boobies were broken. My DD4 was almost 3 yrs old. She kept asking me to go back to hospital and get them fixed. But I felt that she had managed without me for a week so was ready to give up. Not ideal but worked.

deepinthewoods Fri 09-May-14 22:28:30

Steam- other children don't know. I breastfed until 4 and 5 years, but by that age it was usually only at night and at home in private. That was my children's choice. So friends would visit etc, but my children instinctively felt that it wasn't something they wanted to share.
I followed their lead, there was no collusion or even my suggestion, but by that age they are themselves becoming aware of public attitudes towards "extended" breastfeeding, and felt it was a private thing.

LilyBobtail Fri 09-May-14 22:56:55

This thread is lovely. I feel very alone in my extended feeding.

So it's not the end for us - yet. After having boobs like aching swedes all day, DS had a big feed before bed. Maybe he's slowing down though? Dropping night feeds would be good, although we co-sleep so not a problem really.

I feed in front of a (very) few close friends, DH and my mum and the children are completely accepting of it and actually interested in breastfeeding.

I feel so glad I've been able to do it this long but increasingly want it to be totally private. Between us two it makes sense... to the wider world, not so. I hope attitudes will change in the future.

LilyBobtail Fri 09-May-14 22:58:10

And Snowball bless your DD asking to get them fixed.

gamerchick Fri 09-May-14 23:02:07

Natural term breastfeeders don't get bullied.. or i've never known it ever anyroad, if they come across it it's usually just curiosity more than anything.. they don't have adult prejudices. Usually it's just morning and night by the 3s anyway.

deepinthewoods Fri 09-May-14 23:05:21

lily- do you have a La Leche League group near you? They very often run breastfeeding groups for tollers and older children, our group was a breath of fresh air and well attended. A lot of discussion focussed on other's attitudes too, so was helpful.

Even if you don't have a specific toddler group you would be welcome at the usual breastfeeding support groups. You would usually find a few mothers feeding toddlers or tandem feeding. Having experienced breastfeeders like you is always a welcome thing as you have wealth of information to share. Many of the LLL group leaders are "extended" breastfeeders too, either currently or in the past. Don't feel these groups are only for Mums with young babies- you would meet other like minded women. LLL seems to gather the extended breastfeeders!!

deepinthewoods Fri 09-May-14 23:06:16

Toddlers- not tollers!!

SaveTheMockingBird Fri 09-May-14 23:10:22

I still feed my 3.9yr old DD. She can go without for a day or two, although if I am around she will always ask- only at bedtime though. If I go out before her bedtime ( I go to an exercise class twice a week) she grudgingly accepts a cup of milk instead. I love feeding her still, it'sa lovely bonding thing, a chance to cuddle her really close and stroke her hair as she is always on the go otherwise.

InvaderZim Fri 09-May-14 23:20:24

I had to stop my DD when she was 2.5 as her latch got too painful for me to continue. We did a really gradual reduction of the amount of time she spent feeding - I started limiting it to 20 mins and when she got used to not falling asleep on the boob, reduced it by 1 min each night.

We finally got down to the count if 19 and then she just wanted to he silly and not even latch so we stopped and she didn't mind a bit

I was the dance of joy sort. smile

LilyBobtail Fri 09-May-14 23:23:45

I agree Save it's a lovely bit of quiet in the otherwise hectic day of my DS.

Deep I've not really thought about LLL - I work four days a week so don't have a lot of time but it's a good idea. I just wish it was more common/accepted generally in society.

bookwormthatturned Fri 09-May-14 23:56:21

Hi Steam, DS2 mostly only bf at bedtime / when waking up now so we haven't had the issue of other people's reactions. When I have bf when we're out and about it hasn't been an issue - though thinking on it this is mostly in child-friendly settings. It's certainly something I'd think twice about before doing in a more mixed setting / when with extended family - I can imagine some varying views and would prefer not to get in to the debate with them!

But, though DS2 rarely bf in public nowadays he frequently points out his own 'feedies' and he and his older brother will play at bf one another in the middle of a wrestling match! So, it's still something he's v open about and certainly doesn't feel it's something to be hidden.

Is anyone still bf once their LO has started school? That's the point when I can imagine them being sensitive to other people's opinions

deepinthewoods Sat 10-May-14 07:56:58

I was still feeding my children at 4 years when they started pre-school ( same as reception in England) Yes they were sensitive to other's opinions, but none of their classmates or mothers knew they were still having breastfeeds.
It was done indoors and in private, and very unlikely to come up in conversation. Children by nature can be quite private creatures, there are lots of family things that are not discussed.

I found extended family more difficult to deal with.

Pabboo Sat 10-May-14 08:51:08

My favourite article on breastfeeding ever, and especially extended breastfeeding for you who feel alone, unsure if you should / will be able to stop, and just to make you feel good generally:
www.drmomma.org/2009/07/breastfeeding-in-land-of-genghis-khan.html

How I wish the attitude to bf was the same the world over as it is in
Mongolia.

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