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breastfeeding a 14 month old

(10 Posts)
ljw777 Wed 13-Jul-11 21:55:41

I love breastfeeding and so does my daughter. It is just the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. I've had the comments about her 'not needing it', 'it might just be a comfort thing', 'when will you stop', 'there is no benefit to it' comments from a range of people - in-laws, friends DOCTORS and other health professionals and on one occasion when he was feeling particularly grumpy my husband. I have kept up my resilience and ignored it.

However, I have one area of feeding that I still swing wildly between two views on. She still wakes at about 11:00 and about 5/6:00 and I still feed her. Only for about 10 mins but on both boobs - a full feed. On occasion she goes without the 11:00 which is lovely for me but generally that is her pattern. About this I go between a) thinking I don't mind, its not for long, I am missing out on feeding her during the day because I am at work and I enjoy it and she will probably grow out of it to b) she needs to sleep through, she isn't settling herself, she doesn't need it... lets sleep train or some other technique it out of her.

She settles herself when she goes to sleep in the evening and for all her naps so she can do it. I also know that she does sometimes wake in between these times and settles herself alone...

Anyone else facing these dilemmas?? Have you felt similarly? Is there benefits to 'extended breastfeeding'? What are they so I can fire them back at people!!

Thanks

mawbroon Wed 13-Jul-11 22:13:00

ljw777 - I would have been DELIGHTED if ds1 slept as well as that. She will grow out of it and if you enjoy it then where's the problem?

Personally, i would just go with it. It is probably way easier than the alternatives (believe you me, I tried and none of them worked for us sad)

CantSleepWontSleep Wed 13-Jul-11 22:24:14

Reasons to be proud

If she's just feeding for 10 mins and then going back to sleep without a fuss then I'd roll with it tbh - messing with things could backfire!

Very bad that docs said no benefit given that WHO recommend a MINIMUM of 2 years feeding.

(I am feeding a 12 month old and a 2.9yr old btw, and fed my dd until she was 4, but only the 12 month old still feeds in the night, so they do grow out of it smile)

EauRouge Wed 13-Jul-11 22:52:45

ExBF benefits

Kathy Dettwyler

Those might help smile

I tried night-weaned 2.9yo DD1, it made sod all difference to her sleeping. DD2 is only 4 mo and wakes up less than her sister does. It's just their different personalities.

If you want to do some reading then The Politics of Breastfeeding and Breastfeeding Older Children (although that's mainly about 2 years+) are interesting reads.

IamtheSnorkMaiden Wed 13-Jul-11 22:58:59

I feel the same as you ljw777 - I get asked often when I'll stop breastfeeding. My twins are 13 months. I continued until nearly 20 months last time and when we stopped it felt like the right time.

It doesn't feel like the right time to stop yet but my little girl (second twin) is very dependent on the boob to settle her to sleep and as such she part-time co-sleeps with me. In some ways I don't mind because I know it won't be forever, but I'm tired, very tired and sometimes I get sick of being used as a dummy. Especially at the moment as my daughter is cutting her top front teeth adn has made my nipple mega-sore.

My take on it is this though: all kids learn to go to sleep without a prop/boob/dummy etc eventually. Some do it earlier than others. I fed my first two babies to sleep (and if they woke during the night) until they were well over a year and it hasn't had any detrimental effect on their sleeping now. We didn't do any sleep training but they both go to bed happily and stay in the their beds all night long 99% of the time.

I don't look at breastfeeding beyond the first year as 'extended'; WHO suggest two years as the minimum length of time and I think globally the average age of children weaning from the breast is about five years. I don't htink that's for me, but I certainly would be happy to keep going for two years and then we'll see. As for the benefits, too many people (doctors, health visitors etc) focus too much on the nutritional value of breastmilk and ignore the other benefits, not least the comfort and emotional security it provides.

KD0706 Wed 13-Jul-11 23:05:54

Hi ljw777
I'm also 'still' feeding my 14 mo DD
It really hacks me off that people have no issues at all with banging on about how important cows milk is in a human toddler diet, but those same people think it's weird or unimportant for the human toddler to have human milk.

The links others have posted are fab.
My personal thoughts are:
1 bf is more than just nutrition, it's comfort and skin on skin and connecting between mum and child. My DD sometimes just pops on fir a v quick feed then goes about her business again, seeming much more confident and happy. Why deprive your child of that just because of other people's prejudices
2 I view bf as kind of a multivitamin super drink for DD. Of course I ensure she gets a balanced good diet, but I'm always confident that she gets a super booster shot of all the stuff she needs through her bf
3 if anything, I think toddlers are more in need of the antibodies that bf provides, as they go out exploring more (eg my DD who yesterday I caught eating mud!) I'm sure I read somewhere that the antibody quotient in bm actually goes up as baby reaches toddlerhood.

Bottom line, you do what you want to do and what you think us best for you and your baby/toddler. I wonder whether maybe these nighttime bfs are a way of reconnecting after you've been at work during the day. And what a lovely way to reconnect. If he's just taking a feed and going straight off to sleep I personally would just go with it.

All children are different, but just for comparison, my DD has feeds bedtime and first thing in the morning, plus usually a mid morning snack and a little feed to sleep for her 2pm nap. She is still demand fed though and sometimes just likes a little nurse at random times. She eats solids fairly well, and in fact has four meals (she goes to bed late so has an early tea and a late tea), plus two snacks. I doubt she nutritionally needs her daytime feeds, but I choose to just roll with it.

I realise I've rambled a bit (as I tend to do) but hope it's been of some help

ljw777 Thu 14-Jul-11 12:40:22

WOW that was like a little bit of medicine. I haven't posted before but so glad I have. Sometimes it feels like your going it alone but that was so helpful! I will continue for as long as we want! smile xxx

organiccarrotcake Thu 14-Jul-11 12:46:40

When we were approaching a year I went to a LLL toddler meet. That was lovely, seeing much older children being fed "IRL!". Made it feel very normal.

It does sometimes feel like you're going it alone, but I promise, you're not smile

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Thu 14-Jul-11 14:04:56

op i think you've had some great advice above. But i'll still briefly share our story! smile

Ds is 17m. I've always fed to sleep/on demand etc. At around 15m he went through (another) sleep rough patch (known developmental spurt). He'd wake in the night, sometimes settleing for bf...sometimes for a sandwich! So i was always happy if i could get away with a bf in bed.

He came out of that patch sleeping through. This was of his own accord and very reliable (till very recently...but think there is another spurt around the corner)

So i am confident that he is learning to settle himself at his own pace. It might involve the odd step backwards, but hey, that's life. As long as we get there in the end...

It is understandable that people want to night wean, but it doesn't work for everyone and isn't necessary in order for the lo to "learn". Not everything they learn needs to be taught...if that makes sense! smile

leeloo1 Thu 14-Jul-11 14:30:49

My DS (now BFing at 2.9) didn't sleep through til 19 months. I got the No Cry Sleep Solution book and kept plugging away at that (from about 14/15 months onwards) - mainly I found getting him to self settle when I first put him down at night seemed to help a lot. But one day he just slept through (thank heavens! Before that he was up 2-5 times per night), so maybe it was part me pushing and part he was ready to do so.

He now usually feeds twice per day, but if he's ill feeds loads and its great knowing he's still getting nutrition and comfort from it. smile

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