To ask if you think breast milk after 12 months is very beneficial?(161 Posts)
Dd is nearly 14 months and I'm starting to feel like I'm going to have to stop giving her breast milk soon for my own sake. I spoke to my dr about it and she said that really all the benefits would have happened by now.
I just feel selfish stopping something which may benefit dd for my own sake. But does it make much difference now? Does it ever make much difference in reality?
It does not matter what anybody else thinks, if you want to stop then stop.
It is still beneficial, yes - but that is not the issue. You need to make choices which are right for you, and feel supported in those choices.
It isn't an either/or proposition.
You don't have to convince yourself that bf after 12 months is lacking in benefits to give yourself permission to stop. You can stop at any time without needing to justify it.
You have done a tremendous thing. There are no breastfeeding olympics here. Go as far on this journey as you want to and then stop when you want to. Others will make different choices to you and that's ok.
You really, really don't need to justify your decision!
If you need / want to finish then do. I'm sure there are some benefits still but assuming you're providing a nutritious diet they'll be minor. I'm sure the vast majority of children are not breast fed at that age and they do fine
If you want to stop, go ahead and stop. I weaned my two oldest at 18mths and 2years respectively, They benefited from breastfeeding past a year as it was part of their normal diet and was very handy when they got sick and weren't eating much as babies do.
Completely what barracker said.
This will turn into a thread of bf vs ff though, I guarantee it.
I would be more inclined to carry on if I felt it was still beneficial.
I have googled it and looked at some studies and I know the WHO recommends until 2 but they are also taking into account developing countries where formula may not be made up as easily.
I suppose I have seen no difference personally between babies who were formula fed from the start to babies who were breast fed for up to 3 years. The children seem equally healthy.
I know this is anecdotal rather than scientific though.
Most of the nutritional benefit I believe happens quite significantly before one year old (assuming the child has no social or medical issues that prevent them getting a good diet).
After that the benefit is mainly the emotional connection - how important that is to the child and how easy it is to get it another way depends child to child (obviously most people don't breastfeed past 1 and still have great emotional connections with their kids - it's just one way of many to have lovely bonding time with a child).
I would say that breastfeeding is great for when a child is ill too - helps massively when my DD had a tummy bug and couldn't tolerate anything else. You have to weight it up though against how draining it is for you - I would never continue if you feel yourself becoming resentful and doing it through gritted teeth.
Very few mums breastfeed beyond 12 months so you've done very well to be feeding at this point. And what you said above, there's no difference between the kids whose mums did and those who didn't. If you want to stop then just do it.
Sorry my dd is climbing all over me, anyway I will be continuing bf until she is ready to stop.
But I would never judge anyone for stopping at anytime.
It's your body, your child your decision.
There are definitely benefits past 1 and it's really disappointing that your GP either isn't aware or just didn't think it was worth discussing with you. It's not just benefits for the child, but also evidence that your risk of breast cancer decreases as you feed for 2 years. I'll try and find some links. I read a lot about it and wanted to carry on to 2 but stopped when I was getting bitten repeatedly and DS wasn't feeding. I completely sympathise with wanting to make an informed decision about whether to carry on but it's really hard to get impartial information. La Leche League were incredible though and really supportive.
I don't see why this has to be FF vs BF - no formula required after 1 anyway, so it's BF vs. No-BF or just cow's milk!
It is slightly different for us asy daughter is having only expressed milk after I wasn't able to feed her properly.
I think if I was properly breast feeding I would carry on until she wanted to stop.
I am finding the expressing 6 times a day very draining now and have an older dc. I get about 800mls a day and dd drinks it all. I think this is probably too much milk at this stage although she eats well.
Here's a great place to start
I don't think the benefits disappear but I do think that by 1 they're getting lots of nutrition from solid food, their immune system is much more developed and they don't actually need BF or formula anymore. I do think it's a very handy way to comfort and feed a sick child.
It sounds like that was a Doctors attempt at being supportive of you ending breastfeeding if you feel you are ready to move on (as in they were saying 'you've provided loads of benefit, don't worry'.
However in answer to your question there are actually continued nutritional and immunological benefits if you do continue. This is a really interesting website. worth looking around and this link is specifically about the benefits of longer term breastfeeding:
However, if you are ready to finish breastfeeding then don't feel guilty ending - doing it for you is no bad thing, especially when you've managed it this far, it sounds like you have done a great job & your baby will have benefited enormously (other areas of that website will make you feel great about benefits you have already provided, it is brilliantly informative and encouraging).
Also - am not in any way trying to be controversial by saying a baby will have benefited from breastfeeding. This is always an emotive subject - especially on MN & quite often descends into a bunfight and I am supportive of everyone having a right to decide how they feed their baby etc etc - have friends who have done ff from day one and friends who have breastfeed for years and everything in between. OP was just asking for personal opinions/experience and information & that is mine.
I do believe it is beneficial for as long as it is done. I have three long-term-bf children - one for four and a half years, one for three years and no. 3 for 16 months and counting - and while this is obviously anecdata I do believe it has made a difference to their immune systems in the short and long term and probably shortened the durations of baby and toddler infections as well as aiding recovery because it made nutrition/hydration simple when they were otherwise off food.
But my opinion and experience shouldn't determine yours. I myself would be incredibly reluctant to stop at this stage but if you are really struggling with it and can't see any way to make it easier for yourself, nobody, least of all you yourself, should make you feel bad for stopping.
Comparatively, you have been going a long time.
I did 1 year with both of mine, was 3 months pregnant with dd2 when I stopped bf dd1, I just wanted my boobs back for a bit before it all started again. Dd1 stopped quite happily but I think dd2 would still be going now at 3 if she could have!
12 months bf is excellent, whatever your decision, do it for you, it's not selfish if you're ready to stop
You have exclusively expressed all this time? Wow.
I agree that if you're ready to stop, then stop.
However, in the same way that people carrying on giving formula after 1 because of the vitamins etc, most research proves that there is benefit to BF beyond 1. It might not be as great as EBF to 6 months and then BF to 1, but the changing nature of breastmilk to meet a toddlers needs means that there is a benefit.
But I wonder if because she is bottle fed with expressed milk would she get the comfort thing when ill?
It's not exactly the same. I don't know. I want her to have breast milk but equally I want to stop expressing. I want to get a night's sleep!
Just read about you expressing- amazing effort! No wonder you're ready to stop!
Your doctor was giving you 'permission' to stop. Just stop if you've have enough.
Kudos to expressing. I couldn't barely get a drop after about 4 months into it.
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