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Live webchat with Ann Sinnott, author of Breastfeeding Older Children, Friday 26 Mar, noon-1pm

(125 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 22-Mar-10 09:58:04

By popular demand we have Ann Sinnott joining us for a webchat this Friday at noon.

Ann is a former magazine and newspaper journalist, who went freelance when her daughter was born. She breastfed her daughter until she was six and a half, and spent two years researching and writing Breastfeeding Older Children.

Hope you can join us on Friday 26 March. If you can't, please post your question here as usual, and Ann will do her best to get through as many as possible.

Thanks

Spoof Mon 22-Mar-10 11:27:07

How would you (other than with your book) actively promote natural-term breastfeeding across the country, and who would you target, in particular?

rubyslippers Mon 22-Mar-10 13:02:41

When you started feeding your daughter did you imagine you would feed her for so long?

I am feeding DD who is just about 6 months - when she was 6 weeks i couldn't imagine feeding her even at this point never mind 6 years!

What did you like most about (extended) feeding?

Obviously your DD can remember being fed - can you share anything about what she felt about feeding?

Sophina Mon 22-Mar-10 14:43:52

I've come to Mumsnet for the first time because I am desperate for advice. My health visitor was horrified to see that I was breastfeeding my 16 month old baby at the clinic and started asking if I was depressed and would harm the children. Now social services are involved.

I asked my GP for his take on it. He was calmer but advised me to stop "now". He said it would be OK for me to express into bottles but I should move the baby off the breast as I was infantilising her.

This is going to make my baby very unhappy and I'm worried that the advice may be coming from Victorian male hang-ups about women's breasts. (The GP said the baby's growth and general health seemed fine, by the way, and she eats OK although I admit this could be better.) What shall I do???

becksydee Mon 22-Mar-10 15:11:57

sophina - might be an idea for you to start a new thread in breast & bottle feeding & copy & paste what you've written here - more people will see it & be able to offer advice, & Ann herself presumably won't be replying to anything until Friday.

your HV & GP are completely out of order of course - WHO recommends that babies are breastfed until they are at least 2 years old & the idea of 'infantilising' at 16mo has got to be one of the most ridiculous things i've heard in a long while.

take this over to breast & bottle feeding & i'm sure people there will have lots of advice on what you should do.

fidelma Mon 22-Mar-10 15:56:47

sophina i breast fed all mine until they were 2

In my sons nursery class there are 4 41/2 year olds being breast fed out of 12 children.

Is it more common than we think?

shock sophina
hopefully SS will laugh at him
He is going against the WHO guidelines for bf to at least 2 years, which is reflected in NHS Guidance - maybe you could print off some stuff from NICE?

AnnSinnott Mon 22-Mar-10 19:00:36

Hello! Just popped in to have a quick look at your questions. Look forward to chatting!

Sophina

Though WHO recommends 2yrs or beyond, in this country the recommendation is 6mths exclusive and then as long as mother and child want.

It's clear from the survey I ran for Breastfeeding Older Children that very many children (my daughter included) have a varying need for solid food – though always want breastmilk. Your daughter is in good health, so you have no need to worry.

It may help you to know that there not been any psychosocial adjustment studies on children breastfed for longer than ONE year - there is therefore no evidence-base for ANYONE to stay stop. What on earth does your GP mean by 'infantalising'? - a 16mo old IS an infant! You might ask for their evidence.

However, since social services are already involved, suggest you contact this excellent advocacy group immediately.
http://www.nursingmatters.org.uk/

Good luck.

essenceofSES Mon 22-Mar-10 20:54:03

sophina - shock
Hopefully your GP and HV will learn and live to eat their words.

I will be at work on Friday but would like to ask Ann if she has any info about ttc whilst BFing. I am BFing 10mo DS and would like to start to think about ttc DC2 but haven't had my periods return yet. I'm 37yo and would ideally like to have 3 or 4 DC so don't want to hang on too long ttc#2.
I know that if I stop BF my periods will return but I don't really want to stop BF DS and he is still v keen on BFing. He currently feeds at 6am on waking, once during the day (time dependant on my working hours), 7pm at bedtime and sometimes once in the night.

TIA

PuzzleRocks Tue 23-Mar-10 13:05:38

Oh fab, this is up. "See" you Friday.

Clarissimo Wed 24-Mar-10 10:54:44

Hi

I am still feeding my ds4 who is 2 next month, I fed my other sons for varying times between 4 weeks and 16 months.

DS4 is thriving, he is very high risk for a disability that two of my otehrs have and I am trying to maximise his nutrition, and I think breastmilk is part of it. However other people (not my DH) have big problems and I increasingly find it is harder to gfeed anywhere other than my sofa. That's fine when out for a bit- he can drink from a beaker quite well- but he is intolerant of cows and goats milk, and hates otehr milk replacements.

At the moment it is fine and this is better than enforced early weaning, however he is very keen on BM indeed and I struggle top get him to take solids when I am in the room, he just waves at me shouting booby (I never give him it around mealtimes though).

I would like to wean him in a year and wonderd if you ahd any tips towards dealing with the solid food and working towards a very gradual wean? Thank you

DownyEmerald Wed 24-Mar-10 13:07:45

I see a lot of references (presumably anecdotal) to extended bf children being confident and outgoing. My dd (just 4) is not! What am I doing wrong?

Donkeyswife Wed 24-Mar-10 13:10:13

Really pleased you are coming on for a chat on Friday. Presumably your daughter very much enjoyed being bf till she was six and a half. Did she get teased at school? Did you suffer any hostility from other parents?

I am still bf my dd1 - she's 20 months old and am getting constantly told by people, mostly my colleagues, that 20 months really is too old to be still bf! Of course I laught at this, but secretly despair at the appalling attitudes towards breastfeeding in this country.

Sophina, you have been treated disgracefully by your HV and doctor - getting social services involved? I nearly spluttered my coffee all over my keyboard! If it were me I'd report them to the Royal College of Nursing and possibly the GMC.

dawntigga Wed 24-Mar-10 16:47:31

how have you gotten past telling people without them thinking you're slightly bonkers? People give me odd looks and The Cub is only nearly 1! I fine myself rushing through the sentence - if it comes up.

EveryoneThinksI'mABitBonkersAnywayTiggaxx

Lorelai Wed 24-Mar-10 22:10:21

Do you think that there is an age at which breastfeeding an older child becomes odd/wrong? I mean, I would imagine that most people would agree that there would be something strange about breastfeeding a teenager for example, so do you have any thoughts about where that line is drawn? Or do you believe that such a situation would never come up, as the child would always naturally wean at some point?

AnnSinnott Wed 24-Mar-10 23:41:08

Hi Everyone

As you know, Caroline Lucas will be doing a webchat immediately after me on Friday, so there'll be no chance of running over.

If more of you post questions in advance, I've earmarked sometime Thurs evening to work on answers, which I'll quickly cut and paste in on Friday - thus time will be saved and I'll be able to answer more questions on the day.

'See' you on Friday!

AnnSinnott Wed 24-Mar-10 23:42:46

Goodness, just saw that many of you have already posted questions!

mawbroon Thu 25-Mar-10 08:36:56

Hi Anne, will try to keep this brief....

I have ds1 who is 4.5yo and ds2 who is just 3.5 weeks and we are currently tandem feeding.

ds1 has had a rough time of it for about the last 6 months. From Oct til Dec, there was at least one person in the house ill with various flus, stomach bugs, ear infections etc. Ds was looked after by various family members if I was too ill to look after him. He seemed to cope with this ok, and I was glad to still be nursing him.

Then at New Year, I fell and broke my ankle really badly. I had to have surgery on it and this brought about three nights where ds1 was apart from me, our first time ever. Again, because I was on crutches and heavily pregnant, I wasn't able to look after ds1 and his whole life turned upside down again with various people taking care of him, often with him being away all day. Again, I was glad to still be nursing him through this period.

On 1st March, ds2 arrived, and again ds1 and I were apart for a couple of nights, only briefly seeing each other at hospital visiting times.

Luckily, things are improving now and I can at least drive, but can't walk very far, so as far as ds1 is concerned, things are back to normal - even though they are not.

OK, now to the breastfeeding question. I absolutely know that with everything that has gone on, he really needs the security of nursing. However, I am having to restrict his nursing because I am becoming irrationally irritated by it. I think he might be losing his latch a bit and he is making slurping noises which irritate me further. I have tried feeding them both together, but I just can't stand it. I feel like I would be delighted if he weaned right now, but it seems that he just wants to feed more and more. How can I make this work for us both? I am upset that our nursing relationship which was always (mostly!) a pleasure has turned like this, and I would hate for it to end with bad feeling on ds1's part.

Clarissimo Thu 25-Mar-10 11:11:56

(mawbroom as a mother of 4, in all truth if you can keep at it a bit longer- even days are better- your child is less likely to perceive it as refusal becuase of sibling than age: important for sibling bonds. maybe start working towards something about how he is a big boy soon and will be at school, schoolboys don't BBF so it is gradual for him but with a fixed point for yourself also? and make out taht it is a positive step- am so proud of you growing up to be a big schoolboy, isn't it excitibg etc etc)

Babieseverywhere Thu 25-Mar-10 12:01:34

mawbroon, You are in the early days with your new baby, things will settle down in time.

Eventually your DS1 will tail off the seemingly endless request for milk. (Took my daughter several months mind)

The irritation you feel with your DS! nursing is likely to lessen in the coming weeks/months. I found the first few weeks hardest emotionally and the difference in my children's latches drove me mad. Having a newborn gentle tugging on one side and a strong practised 'pint of milk a minute' suck on the other, it is unnerving and very unexpected.

You need love, support, time and plenty of chocolate, it is very hard balancing the needs of two children and yourself. You are doing such a loving thing for your children, don't forget to look after yourself too. grin

I hope that with your book natural-term breastfeeding will become more 'normal' and have less freak value so that questions like MawBroon's are easier to ask.
I found that because breastfeeding an older child (ie 2-3 years, not 14!) was so out of the ordinary, and the people who I knew who did do it were so smug evangelical happy with it, there was nowhere I could talk about my ambivalence - I knew I wanted to be breastfeeding but I didn't particularly enjoy certain aspects of it, and I had a very similar situation to MawBroon where I had a two-year-old adamant he was not going to wean and a newborn who fed very often.

One thing that did work was getting the older one to feed for as long as it took for me to count to ten or recite the alphabet - he could understand that.

But I have to say I did feel very isolated and unable to voice my feelings.

I suppose my question is, do you think that with increasing acceptance of WHO 'two years and beyond' as a goal for breastfeeding, it will become more acceptable to be open about feeding older children and ambivalence or problems arising from this, or do you think that at least in the UK it will always be seen as a bit 'out there'?

Babieseverywhere Thu 25-Mar-10 17:23:53

I wanted to thank you for writing your book. I found it very informative and comforting to read other mothers in a similar situations.

I was especially interested in the woman who was nursing three children. As I may be doing this in 4 months if my oldest two don't wean before then....gulp.

My question
You have mentioned the lack of research into extended/natural term nursing. Do you think your book will encourage more scientific interest in this area ?

MrsSawdust Thu 25-Mar-10 17:24:51

I am still breast feeding my 20 month old DD. I have no intentions of stopping in the near future - we both love it. I have no idea when we will stop.

Increasingly I am finding that when I mention the fact that I breastfeed (to colleagues, with extended family etc,) lots of people react with the kind of suppressed shock that they might if I'd brought up, say, my sex life as a topic of conversation. It's becoming 'unmentionable'. Even my DH said he doesn't feel comfortable with me bfing anywhere but in private at home now that our DD is a toddler. When I asked him why, he said it made other people feel uncomfortable.

My question is: How do I handle the disapproval? Should I just not mention it at all and treat it as privately as sex? Or should I brazen it out and talk about it openly in the name of raising awareness and acceptance of extended bfing? The political animal within tells me to do the latter, but the nicely-brought-up social pleaser in me tells me to shut up and stop embarrassing everyone!

I guess, as you've written a book about it, that's about as outspoken as it gets! Did you meet with a lot of disapproval simply for talking about it while you were feeding your DD?

PuzzleRocks Thu 25-Mar-10 18:03:56

Ann

Thank you so much. You have given us a voice.

At what age did you stop feeding your daughter in public?
I fed my eldest until she was 2 and a half but was reluctant to do so publicly once she was older than 6 months.
I feel slightly ashamed about that and as my younger daughter approaches her first birthday I wonder if I will be have the confidence this time.

What do you think of the law protecting only mothers of babies younger than 6 months?

PuzzleRocks Thu 25-Mar-10 18:14:42

Also, I wonder if in the course of your research you saw any link between cessation of breastfeeding and sleeping through the night?

I often hear this given as a reason for switching to formula. My eldest continued to have a small hours breastfeed until she turned two so I have never been able to anecdotally rebut.

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