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As your baby gets older, have you noticed extended breastfeeders coming out of the woodwork?

(17 Posts)
RitaMorgan Mon 01-Aug-11 22:01:54

A few years ago I saw an episode of Supernanny where the mother's "problem" was that she still breastfed her 3 year old on demand. Before that it had never occurred to me that people breastfed 3 year olds grin

Now my ds is almost 12 months. In the last couple of weeks two different friends of mine have asked if I am still feeding him - and then have revealed that they were breastfed until around 18 months/toddler age. And this was working class families in England in the 1980s, so not the stereotype of extended breastfeeding. It makes me wonder how many people do it in secret?

Are any stats collected on breastfeeding beyond 6/12 months in the UK, does anyone know?

EauRouge Tue 02-Aug-11 10:17:26

Supernanny can fuck the fuck off (another sleepless night for me last night grin )

I have been actively seeking out more extended breastfeeders but I also found out that one of my friends that I have known for years through another forum breastfed both her girls until they were 4 years old. I had no idea until DD1 was about 2 and we were talking about it via PM. It must be more common than everyone thinks.

I don't know if there have been any official stats, I think there's something about it in BFOC.

BertieBotts Tue 02-Aug-11 10:20:30

Yes! I fed DS in public until he was about 16 months and I had a few people say "Oh I'm so glad to see you feeding, I fed my daughter until 2.5" or "I'm still feeding my daughter and she's 3."

I go to a La Leche League group now and DS is the oldest nursling there, but it's so nice to have a little safe space where I'm not considered weird for doing it. In actual fact most of my friends have been fine about it, those who I have told, anyway - even those without children.

EauRouge Tue 02-Aug-11 10:38:30

I found that to be true as well, I don't think I've ever had any direct criticism, quite a lot of curiosity which I don't mind at all, but no criticism. Not to my face anyway grin

auntmargaret Tue 02-Aug-11 11:47:13

I bf DD1 until she was 25 months old. I found people were curious but not critical. TBH though, I didn`t do it in public once she was past the baby stage. DD2 is now 5.5 months old, I am much more confident feeding her in public and if she bfs as long as DD1 then I think I will do it then too.

RitaMorgan Tue 02-Aug-11 12:13:43

My MIL also told me recently that her mother fed all her 7 of her children for at least a year - and she remembers her feeding one of her younger brothers through a pregnancy and then tandem feeding for a while afterwards. This would have been in the 50s I think.

I certainly felt when ds was about 6 months old and everyone from my ante-natal had stopped breastfeeding that no one fed beyond the first few months - but loads of people must do it secretly. I was at a baby group when ds was tiny and the woman running it had had to bring her toddler with her for some reason. The kid was really tired and grumpy so the mum started breastfeeding her but was so apologetic about it, saying she usually only did it at bedtime and not during the day but it was the only way she'd be able to get through the group etc.

midori1999 Tue 02-Aug-11 18:28:09

Bizarrely, the episode of Supernanny where the Mother was BF hger 3 yr old was on last night whilst I was up BF my DD. What a co-incidence!

I barely know anyone who BF, let alone extended BF, but I did recently find out someone I know BF all her DC until they were 2. I knew she BF them all, but have never once seen her feed, despite having spent quite a bit of time with her even when her DC were young. Not sure how she managed that even with a newborn, I am impressed!

TheRealMBJ Tue 02-Aug-11 19:46:30

I find I also notice more natural term breastfeeders than I think I otherwise would. I saw someone feeding their 3/4 year old on the common I the village the other day and realised that before I fed DS as long as I have, I wouldn't have realised that she was feeding him.

SnarkHunt Wed 03-Aug-11 16:46:37

Where would they get the stats from? As far as I know the last time they officially record whether baby is still breastfeeding is at the 8 month checkup round here. I naively thought people stopped at 6 months until I had a baby and realised you need bm or formula till a year - since then loads of people have tentatively asked me if I'm still feeding, then asked a few more leading questions before revealing that they fed for a year. I know a year isn't much compared with lots of people but it's a lot longer than I'd envisaged at the start!

Woodlands Wed 03-Aug-11 21:51:57

I know what you mean - suddenly now that my DS has turned one I find people comment when I feed him in public, nearly always positively, but it's odd! He had his one year check last week where one of the boxes on the page in the red book says "date of last breastfeed". My goal had always been to breastfeed until that time so that when asked that question I could say "About two hours ago"... as it was the HV just said "Still breastfeeding?" and when I said yes, didn't express any surprise and just wrote down 'ongoing'. Maybe I look like an extended BFing type...

ellmum Wed 03-Aug-11 22:44:23

TheRealMBJ this might sound a bit weird, but can you tell me what sort of hold/position that lady had her child in? Only, my DD (nearly 20 months) still wants to bf a lot, which is fine at home. But when we're out I do think people will think it's strange (and I know it's not, but I can't help feeling anxious about it). I'd love to be able to feed her inconspicuously (she does tend to fiddle about though so that may make it harder...) I love that we're still bf'ing but I know no one else who has gone beyond 12 months so I don't really have anyone to talk about it with any more sad

TheRealMBJ Wed 03-Aug-11 22:57:18

She had him in a sort of cradle hold.

Ellmum My DS is 19 months old and still likes to bf a lot (although, thankfully asks less in public nowadays) but as I'm also 29 weeks pregnant, the cradle hold (his preferred poition) is impossible. People definitely do look t me like this hmm when I whip a boob out in public now. grin But I figure it is better than the alternative.

Not had a negative comment yet though. Perhaps I look too scary. gringrin

TheRealMBJ Wed 03-Aug-11 22:59:09

Oh, do you have a La Lehe League group near you? You're bound to find someone there to talk to, or MN is pretty good for natural term breastfeeders too. smile

organiccarrotcake Wed 03-Aug-11 23:18:54

Yes, I thought this too. I BF DS1 until 15 months but can't remember when I stopped in public - prob around 1 ish - just because we dropped to morning and night rather than deliberately hiding.

DS2 is nearly 13 months and I BF him anywhere he wants to. Lots of people talk to me about it - all positively - and lots of people tell me about their term BFing experiences. It's lovely smile

ellmum Thu 04-Aug-11 07:35:50

TheRealMBJ I wish I looked a bit scarier grin. I need to toughen up, I think. DD asks pretty much wherever we are and it would make life so much easier if I felt I could feed her anywhere. I know the local bf support group has a natural term feeder amongst its ranks, maybe I can try speaking to her. Or, as you say, look up LLL. Thanks for the tip. smile

EauRouge Thu 04-Aug-11 09:52:06

Here you go. smile

ellmum Thu 04-Aug-11 10:02:52

EauRouge - thanks for that, it's very kind of you. I'll see what's going on near me. DD will thank you too grin she is more committed to bf'ing than anyone I have ever met in my life!

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