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To ask why some people are critical of breastfeeding past a year?

(154 Posts)
LazyJournalistsShouldPissOff Tue 08-Nov-16 09:04:00

I have a 15 month old DD who still breastfeeds in the morning, and for comfort at other times as needed, for example when teething. Fwiw, I never "preach" about bf, DD also had formula at times, nor do I bf in front of anyone except DH these days as most of the time DD is happy to go all day without it. However, family members do ask me if I'm still feeding. Up to DD's first birthday most people were supportive of me bf (with a few exceptions) and said what a good start I had given her. Since then I have had the same people asking again, then on hearing I'm still bf start telling DD she needs to grow up, she's too old for it etc. She doesn't understand, but I find it really uncomfortable as clearly the comments are aimed at me.
I never intended to bf this long but I honestly think DD would be distraught if we stopped now, and there are so many benefits to her health that if it wasn't for the criticism I would feel happy to carry on for longer. However, knowing that family think it's odd makes me feel bad about it, even though rationally I know that it's really good for her! I started defending why I still bf in as diplomatic a way as I could but it's hard because I really don't want to offend anyone or make out I'm a better mum or anything like that and I know my MIL in particular sees the mere act of bf as a criticism of her because she didn't do it, as if me bf is to spite her. Anything I say will be used to bitch about me, as though I'm demonising formula. Even though we did use formula sometimes! But when people are critical of something that's actually really good for my DD I do want to defend my choice because I don't see how they could argue with science!
Why is it that some people become critical after a year of bf? And how do I explain the continued benefits that are making me stick with it without offending family members who didn't bf?

Pineapplemilkshake Tue 08-Nov-16 09:06:03

I don't know why people have that attitude, but you certainly don't have to explain yourself to them. I would question why they were so over invested in your choices.

Trifleorbust Tue 08-Nov-16 09:09:30

It's nothing to do with them, but if you are seriously asking the question I think it is because they believe continuing to BF past the age of usual weaning is meeting a need in the mother, not the child. I think they see it as clingy parenting.

flutterbean Tue 08-Nov-16 09:10:57

World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends breastfeeding up to the age of two.
Your baby, your body, your choice smile

Trifleorbust Tue 08-Nov-16 09:11:04

And also I think you are right that it makes people feel defensive, as if you must think there is something wrong with how they did things - that is, of course, true of almost all parenting choices smile

Babyroobs Tue 08-Nov-16 09:11:13

I have no idea, but really it's none of anyone else's business. I bf 3 out of 4 of my children for well over a year. Ds 3 did not stop til he was 2 and dd was 3.5 years although the last year of that was just at night to get off to sleep.

alltouchedout Tue 08-Nov-16 09:15:10

Idk. Or care really. Ds3 will be 2 at the end of this month and is still feeding. I'd actually quite like him to stop but he's not having it. Ds1 was 2 and ds2 was 2.5 when they stopped. People seemed very surprised by my feeding past a few months but not really disapproving. You get crap whatever you do wrt feeding so if you're happy with your choice and your dc is healthy, ignore everyone and do what works for you.

Hufflepuffin Tue 08-Nov-16 09:16:28

I would breezily say that "these days" the world health organisation recommendation is to feed till two, but you'll stop before then if dd shows any sign of wanting to stop. The "these days" is to avoid seeming like you are criticising your mil and the "if she wants to" is to counter the idea that you are doing it for yourself. Obviously you don't have to explain but sometimes it's good to have a breezy response ready!

mouldycheesefan Tue 08-Nov-16 09:20:29

The world hewłth guidelines are nonsense anyway, one guideline for the whole world? Of course it makes sense to breastfeed till two inplaces where there isn't access to clean water, malnutrition is rife etc. Elsewhere, not so much.
You don't have to justify yourself to anyone but don't go quoting who guidelines it's cringey and makes it look like you cant make your own decisions.

LazyJournalistsShouldPissOff Tue 08-Nov-16 09:20:48

Huffle that's perfect and succinct. I tend to mention the WHO then waffle around almost apologising for still feeding anyway! However I do wish extended bf was promoted as it seems odd to be following guidelines but have most people think you are weird, doing it for yourself etc. If DD stopped tomorrow I would be a bit sad at it being the end of an era but would equally be pleased that I could have a break!

Owllady Tue 08-Nov-16 09:23:36

I carried on past one as it was free and it helped my weight stay stable
Is that shallow? grin I tend to think it's no one else's business!

Trifleorbust Tue 08-Nov-16 09:23:51

I think an NHS guideline of until two would, for most women, be so unachievable with the maternity provision they have, that it would actually be very counter productive. Nothing wrong with BF for as long as you want and it is your choice, but I think you should allow others their choice instead of calling for guidance to be changed to suit what you have decided to do, that very few women are able to do with any consistency.

LazyJournalistsShouldPissOff Tue 08-Nov-16 09:24:31

Mouldy- I imagine that when people quote the WHO, as I do, it's because when people are stating their opinion you want to be able to give them facts back. They might think it's weird, clingy, whatever but you are doing something backed up by science so their opinion is just that, but isn't based on facts.

ChasedByBees Tue 08-Nov-16 09:25:23

Because society has trained us that it's wrong and breasts are sexual first and functional second (and ideally for as little time as possible).

It's weird that people are keen for breastfeeders to stop and wean their children onto the milk of another species.

I think people just have a massive misconception about where food comes from and the function of our own bodies.

Notso Tue 08-Nov-16 09:26:39

This isn't my opinion but I think it's because people equate milk feeding with babies. Most people who bottle feed would be moving away from formula and bottles at around a year so it think it would be the same for breastfeeding. Many people would make similar comments about a two year old with a bottle or a dummy.

Elllicam Tue 08-Nov-16 09:30:12

Actually at least some of the NHS trusts do recommend feeding until 2. I got a parenting guide from the midwife the other day that said breastfeeding was recommended along with solid food until at least 2.

LazyJournalistsShouldPissOff Tue 08-Nov-16 09:30:22

Trifle- I don't think the NHS should say at least 2 years, but I think a lot of people think it's a bit weird to bf past a year when actually it has lots of benefits. I think it would be good if those benefits were more widely known so that rather than feeling like an aberration, women could continue past a year if they wanted without people thinking they were unhealthily attached to their kids, discouraging independence or doing it for their own gain. I just think a change in public opinion towards bf would be helpful.

MarianneSolong Tue 08-Nov-16 09:32:45

For me it made sense to stop once my daughter could not only drink cow's milk but eat a wide range of food.

The more teeth she had, and the heavier she became, the less convenient and comfortable feeding became.

She slept through the night better when other sources of nutrition took over from breast milk. And an increased proportion of solids in her diet, meant that changing wet (cloth) nappies became a little less frequent.

Having said all this, I understand that some would/will choose to carry on longer. But I wouldn't feel bound by WHO guidelines that apply to countries where there isn't clean water/good sanitation etc.

My issue with it is jealousy! Due to my health and medication I was unable to BF even though I desperately wanted to (and still do)

Just BF until you and your daughter are happy with stopping

EdmundCleverClogs Tue 08-Nov-16 09:34:37

I've had the opposite reaction (I know I'm in the minority). My child is one (12 months), and I'm slowly weaning from breast milk. We're trying for another, I have a biter, it's exhausting, I'm not losing weight - I have several reasons. However both my doctor and family have lectured me on the importance of breastfeeding until 'at least two'. My sanity can't take it confused.

I applaud those who can, especially with a squirming toddler who gets distracted/bored after two minutes, I don't think women should be judged whatever their choice.

MarianneSolong Tue 08-Nov-16 09:37:43

Yes, the squirming and the stopping every few seconds to walk off and so something else was what did it for me.

I was lucky to have a Health Visitor who said, 'She's just playing with you' and who told me it was okay to stop - rather than waiting for her to give up.

wenchystrumpet Tue 08-Nov-16 09:38:56

Because people worry that mothers may be feeding often at night and therefore not be getting enough sleep to be happy and healthy.

Edmund, I suspect you aren't the only one to confront that sort of pressure. It seems increasingly common.

Sparklingbrook Tue 08-Nov-16 09:40:48

I agree with Notso.

ToneDeafHamster Tue 08-Nov-16 09:41:06

I an still breastfeeding my toddler and she was two at the end of June. And she shows no signs of stopping. She has an ear infection at the moment and has been feeding like a newborn, my nipples sting!

I say crack on and ignore the naysayers, its no one else's businesd anyway, its between you and your LO.

Trifleorbust Tue 08-Nov-16 09:41:16

I get you, but I don't think that is necessarily a good enough reason to promote BF past one when babies don't actually need it for nutritional purposes. I think it would put too much pressure on people. Hopefully no-one actually makes you feel like an aberration?

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