When to stop breastfeeding?

(36 Posts)
ThatsNotEvenAWord Sun 12-Jul-15 20:45:05

First post smile

My DS is just over a year old. Currently we feed 3-4 times a day, when he's just woken, at nap times and before bed. Generally speaking we don't feed through the night at all unless he's really unsettled.

Until recently, giving up has not crossed my mind as he feeds to sleep (which I am happy to do). However I went out over the weekend and DH was able to put him to bed with a drink of cows milk with no trouble. He suggested tonight that we do the same as he doesn't 'need' my milk any more sad

Just wondering how you 'know' it's time to stop. DS does sometimes stick his hand down my top or grab at me which I suppose will get worse as he gets older. I love feeding him so much which makes me wonder am I doing it for him or me?

Thanks for any ideas

callamia Sun 12-Jul-15 20:51:40

My son is 21m, and I am breastfeeding him.

We dded anything between once to several times a day, but I find it useful for calming him down and providing him with decent food when he's sick or fussy.

My husband can put him to bed with warm milk when I'm working late, and I can usually offer him something else if he wants to feed while it's inconvenient. I'm definitely not doing this for me. I'm feeding a busy toddler who uses milk with me as a way of calming down. I often wonder how/when we will stop, but I imagine that things will decrease at some point soon. It's great that you still enjoy feeding him - carry on, and don't feel weird about it.

geekaMaxima Sun 12-Jul-15 21:05:26

The time to stop is when you or your DS definitely want to stop, not when you're worried you "should", or if someone else wants you to.

For what it's worth, I was still bfing by 12-mo about 4-5 times a day. He's now 23 mo and still bfs once a day at bedtime (and occasionally at other times like long-haul flights or major upsets). It naturally cut down in frequency as he didn't come looking during the day and I didn't offer. My DP is very involved in bedtime and manages fine when I sometimes have to go away overnight for work. DS goes to sleep okay when I'm not there and has only been upset by my absence one time, but it happened at breakfast as well so I don't think it's related to bfing, iyswim.

Btw, my ds never tries to pull up my top or put his hand down my bra in public. I think it's a behavioural thing like any other - he was always (gently) stopped from pulling on my clothes even when at hone and he eventually got the message. It's not an inevitable consequence of bfing a toddler.

ThatsNotEvenAWord Sun 12-Jul-15 21:13:08

Thanks for your replies. I just needed to hear from some other extended bfeeders I think.

I'll definitely make sure to discourage DS from the grabbing, I didn't mean to imply that all children do it and certainly the older he gets hopefully the better he'll understand bfeeding 'etiquette' grin

In a way this is the part that makes up for cluster feeding isn't it!

MrsNuckyThompson Sun 12-Jul-15 21:17:51

I exclusively breast fed til DS was 12 months when I went back to work. He then had a bottle of cows milk for his lunchtime nap but I fed him morning and evening til around 20 months then one feed only in the morning til aged 2.

It's great he likes cows milk because it means you can go away or have a big night out or whatever but I don't think it has to spell the end of bf'ing!

NotWithoutMyMerkin Sun 12-Jul-15 21:36:13

I'm breastfeeding at 15 months although it was initially never my intention to become an extended breastfeeder. Ive night weaned and we don't have any formal feeding times - some days it's only when she wakes, some days it's 2 or three times. My husband can put her to bed with cows milk, and I can often give her cows milk at bedtime and she will choose not to breastfeed. Despite numerous people asking when I intend to stop I have no end date in sight - it works for us and I see no urgent reason to stop. It's obviously a comfort to her and I believe still of benefit in terms of her immune system still being immature and the comfort it provides her. Based on how much things have changed in 3 months (at a year she was still feeding 4-5 times a day and multiple times overnight) I believe there will be a natural end when she is ready. Stop when you want to.

ThatsNotEvenAWord Sun 12-Jul-15 21:50:56

Thank you, reading this has helped so much. I think it doesn't help I'm the only person I know 'in real life' who's still bfeeding an older baby. It shouldn't matter but sometimes I feel like I'm doing something a bit deviant by still feeding him. No one has said anything, it's all in my head! It works for us so you're right the reasons to carry on vastly outweigh those to stop smile

MrsNuckyThompson Mon 13-Jul-15 12:09:44

The thing you have to remember is that the whole idea of 12 months being 'an older baby' for breastfeeding is a really new phenomenon. Believe the average age globally for stopping is something like 4 years because in many cultures breastfeeding naturally continues.

The WHO recommends feeding til 2. I have no idea why the NHS insists on normalising stopping at 6 months!

ThatsNotEvenAWord Mon 13-Jul-15 12:37:24

The WHO recommends feeding til 2. I have no idea why the NHS insists on normalising stopping at 6 months!

Yes the NHS words it really badly doesn't it. I think they mean it as in, exclusively bfeed until 6 months (ie don't wean onto solids) but it comes across as exclusively bfeed until 6 months and then you can stop.

lavendersun Mon 13-Jul-15 14:19:29

I carried on until 2 years and 10 months - didn't really think about it tbh, we just kept going. DD was born at 29 weeks and took 5 months to get the hang of it so if I had stopped at 6 months we would only just have started smile.

DD was neutropenic and had an epipen for a dairy and egg allergy so it just seemed easier to carry on tbh.

I didn't know anyone else doing it either and it sort of became my secret, I didn't ever mention it to anyone else tbh - didn't want their opinion or that conversation.

I was ready to stop though by the time we got there!

geekaMaxima Mon 13-Jul-15 18:20:30

Hardly anyone I know is aware I'm bfing my 23 month old. People rarely ask... and they're not there in the evening when I put ds to bed.

I suspect extended bfing might be a bit more common than appearances suggest, and a lot of people actually know an extended / natural term bfer without realising it.

Booboostoo Mon 13-Jul-15 19:20:15

I breastfed DD till 3yo and only stopped because my milk dried up during pregnancy. At that stage she only fed to sleep so it was not such a big deal. I don't think you should feel pressure to stop due to your child's age, he is still very young and bf continues to be of benefit. If he is happy and you are happy, keep going.

ThatsNotEvenAWord Mon 13-Jul-15 19:40:52

Thanks for all the replies. I've realised how much more hassle and discomfort it would cause to try and stop rather than continue. I joined an 'extended' bfeeding group on FB with a view to getting to know some other local mums. Feeding DS to sleep right now smile

Writerwannabe83 Mon 13-Jul-15 20:47:59

My DS is 15 months and when I'm home with him he breast feeds 3-4 times a day.

Due to shift patterns that I work for 3 nights a week my DH does bedtime as I'm not home and DS will take cow's milk from his beaker.

I have absolutely no intention to stop BF'ing.

Just because a baby can take cow's milk from a bottle it doesn't mean breast feeding has to stop. Breast milk should always be the favoured method of feeding over cow's milk where possible. My DH would never dare suggest to me that I stop grin

You have done wonderfully. You carry on for as long as you want to. I'm proud to still be feeding DS at this age and you should be too.

Toadsrevisited Mon 13-Jul-15 20:54:55

nice to hear others are bfing older babies too. I've been feeding overnight since I went back to work and still feed at around 2 and 6 am. DS is 17 months.

Silly question though. how do I know I'm.still producing milk? I.never get that full feeling any more... don't have anyone in.RL to.ask!

ThatsNotEvenAWord Mon 13-Jul-15 21:05:09

Thank you writer, I do feel proud smile there have been times where I've been very close to stopping but I'm actually enjoying this stage of feeding so much. Nice to be able to use cow's milk as a back up but so lovely to still have the feeding relationship.

Toads this sounds a bit silly but I guess if you weren't producing then your DS would stop feeding? I know what you mean about not feeling full any more.

Are you still wearing nursing bras? That's one thing I'm really fed up of and am slowly transitioning back to normal bras

YouCanDanceIfYouWantTo Mon 13-Jul-15 21:05:54

Thank you so much for this thread, I could have written it myself. I've been asked when I'm going to give up breastfeeding recently and I just don't know! It just seems so odd to me to put a firm stop date on it, am just imagining things decreasing naturally.

I feel like a bit of an oddity at times, barely anyone I know was still breastfeeding at 6 months so I get a few raised eyebrows that I'm still going past a year.

NotWithoutMyMerkin Mon 13-Jul-15 21:07:13

Same here - never feel full, in fact my boobs are deflated entirely. However she's feeding so I know there's milk! Amazing how our bodies adapt from the early days of feeding with huge rock hard boobs

YouCanDanceIfYouWantTo Mon 13-Jul-15 21:09:00

Just seen the updates since I posted, the not feeling full thing I've been questioning too, and wondered how much was comfort vs. getting the milk, but I was away from her for 24 hours recently, forgot the breastpump and boy did I realise that she must have been getting quite a bit of milk as I had to hand express several times in order to relieve the pain!

ThatsNotEvenAWord Mon 13-Jul-15 21:13:54

I had a day a couple of weeks ago when we missed our morning feed (thanks ofsted) and I was definitely... Aware of my boobs by the end of the day! dance I'm the last bfeeder standing out of the group of mum friends I made when DS was born. As I said up thread it just seems to be much more of an effort to stop than to carry on, and my general parenting ethos is 'take the path of least resistence' grin

I like this thread smile

Writerwannabe83 Mon 13-Jul-15 21:14:27

Due to my shifts I'm sometimes away from DS for 48 and bloody hell my boobs let me know about it. On my second day away from him I take a breast pump into work and after about 36 hours of being away from him I have to pump as my breasts are rock solid and absolutely straining against my uniform grin I take 10-15 minutes out to express and although I only express enough to just take away the pressure I easily get 4-5 oz.

When I'm feeding DS he will sometimes pull away and there's always milk dribbling own my boobs and dribbling down his face so I know he's definitely getting it grin

Aside from the whole 48 hours away from him issue I haven't felt 'full' since he was about 8 months old.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 13-Jul-15 21:16:35

yoycandance - I once forgot my breast pump and when I accepted that I couldn't cope with the discomfort anymore I had to lock myself in the toilet and hand express into the sink!! It was squirting everywhere and it was so messy. By the time I had finished I was wiping up milk off the mirror and the toilet seat grin grin

ThatsNotEvenAWord Mon 13-Jul-15 21:17:45

Oh durrr I've just thought as well, in the morning or when it's been a while I still leak out of whichever one he's not feeding from

YouCanDanceIfYouWantTo Mon 13-Jul-15 21:21:43

Writer I ended up expressing into loo paper in a portaloo at a wedding! Not my finest hour blush

And thatsnot I like this thread a lot too! Thank you so much for starting it, it's been weighing on my mind recently so I'm glad to have discovered that I'm not alone!

Writerwannabe83 Mon 13-Jul-15 21:37:16

Extended breast feeding is not understood very much in society I don't think. My grandparents weren't happy that I was breast feeding at all so I think they'd be horrified if they knew I still was. They don't ask about it and I certainly don't talk about it grin

I know of people who have raised their eyebrows and spoke negatively about a woman who was still BF'ing her two year old.

I tell people that it feels just as natural to feed DS now as it did when he was a young baby.

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