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Breastfeeding at 12mo - feeling like a freak

(51 Posts)
RubyrooUK Sun 21-Aug-11 19:35:15


I just need a bit of moral support really. My DS is 12 months old. He still breastfeeds a lot and loves it. But I've noticed recently that a lot of friends/workmates seem to think it is mental he is still feeding. Let me explain.

Since birth he has been a rabid breastfeeder. He has never slept more than 3 hours without a feed, ever. I went back to work full time when he was 9 months and he has always shunned bottles or cups of milk (gags on formula or now cow's milk) but happily drinks water. So he has yoghurts and cheese by day and breastfeeds at night.

This is all ok but he still wants an evening breastfeed, two or three feeds in the night and then an early morning feed too. This kills me a bit but I just figure he will grow out of it eventually.

When I go out at night - which happens relatively regularly for work - he usually cries himself to sleep which can take up to three hours. This is with his dad. If he discovers I'm gone when he wakes up, he won't go back to sleep and just sits sobbing and staring at the door till I return and feed him. My husband is amazing with him so this is no reflection on his care.

So basically I don't feel I can give up feeding him yet. He seems to need it so much. But friends and work put a lot of pressure on me to be out more at night. When I say it's difficult because he needs me for feeds (although I do go out to all birthdays/work events/anything organised but just not to the pub a lot during the week) people react like it's crazy that I'm still doing it.

Recent comments:

Friend: don't you feel trapped?
Another friend: don't you miss your freedom?
Work: He is a big boy now - he doesn't need night feeds.

Help! Any moral support? Should I be tougher and wean him now or does it matter if I let him keep feeding until it matters less to him?

squiggleywiggler Sun 21-Aug-11 20:13:15

I think you know what the answers will be on here! But here goes anyway

1. If you are happy to carry on as is then brilliant. As you know, breastmilk is wonderful for children - WHO recommends feeding until at least 2 years, there are health benefits for him, for you not to mention the comfort and emotional side of feeding. Woo hoo, well done you and your boobs grin

2. While in the general population breastfeeding at 12 months and beyond isn't the norm there are loads of us that do it and for much, much longer too. If you find a La Leche meeting you can meet some like-minded people. I'm feeding my 18 month old during the day and occasionally at night.

3. If you are happy as is then the answers to friends are many-fold:
'Do I tell you how to parent?' 'I appreciate that you are trying to help, but the only thing making me feel trapped at the moment is the implicit judgement in your comments' 'Mind your own business' 'Would you like me to tell you about all the benefits of breastfeeding - it'll take a long time' etc

4. Work are behaving badly - they have no right to comment on your feeding him. I suggest, if they are really pressurising you, then a word with your manager, asking if they know that there are various protections for breastfeeding mothers in the sex discrimination act and explaining that you are already doing what you can in the evenings. Involve HR if they don't listen.

5. If the night feeds are making your life tricky and him not settling with his Dad is difficult then, and only then, should you consider changing things. This doesn't mean stopping breastfeeding, but perhaps thinking about gentle ways of settling him without the breast. The 'No Cry Sleep Solution' might be useful. But if it doesn't bother you then carry on as you are - loads of little ones still need night feeds after 12 months

I know how it feels - there are people in my life who would find it weird that I still feed my daughter and it is hard not to take that to heart. But it is only you that knows what's right for your family and you are well within your rights to tell anyone else to (insert preferred expletive) off!

LaVitaBellissima Sun 21-Aug-11 20:18:21

No advice but some support from me, I am still breastfeeding my 10 month old twins, I get the impression that everyone thinks I'm nuts sad


milkyjo Sun 21-Aug-11 20:19:53

If you want to breastfeed still then its completely your prerogative. I highly commend you for sticking with it. Its obviously a benefit to both you and your son. I would love to breastfeed my DS until 2 but I know this won't happen as I go back to work when he is 12 months and work shifts so there will be a few days with no morning feeds and a few days with no evening feeds and I wouldn't have time (or patience) to express and I really don't fancy doing it at work. Have your work colleagues breastfed their children? If so then surely they can understand how lovely it is, and why give up a good thing? If they haven't or don't have children then they have no right to comment on it. Also could you talk to your friends and tell them that their persistence is grating on you and surely it is up to you about how you bring up your son. You wouldn't tell your friend how to feed her child or what time they should go to bed, why should it be different for breastfeeding. It sounds hard, but I would either say something in reply or let the comment wash over you. Sounds like you have it sussed and know what you want. Well done again for not cracking under the pressure, you stop when either you or your son want to xx

Iggly Sun 21-Aug-11 20:24:16

Stop BF when you and he are ready not when society expects you to.

FWIW, DS is 22 months and I still feed him. I don't talk about it much or when I do, say it in a way that brokers no arguments. He is dairy intolerant so that's my main reason plus it gives him loads of comfort.

rubyslippers Sun 21-Aug-11 20:29:50

Wait till you feed a nearly 2 year old grin

You are unusual but not a freak - breast feeding rates are really low in the UK, so it is out of the ordinary to see a woman breastfeeding a baby never mind a toddler

My DD is a real fan of breatsfeeding - she won't self wean am sure ... I meant to wean at various poitns and never did and I'm glad in many ways

When she was very poorly at 15 months she would only have the boob

It's an instant comfort

When she has been teething or out of sorts it's a comfort

If I stop, I will have to replace it with something else and what's the point?

Wean when you are ready. theres a great quote in a book called the "food of love" by Kate Evans which is "you feed until it does your head in"!

You'll know when that is ... Or your baby/toddler will let you know

DorisIsAPinkDragon Sun 21-Aug-11 20:32:25

Still bf my youndest dd who is 2 (never thought I would get this far, as I never did with the older two dd's) so you are NOT alone.

I think work have NOT adjusted to your new role as a MOTHER. Regardless of bf their expectations of you generally seem unrealistic. Your priority now (i presume) is to your ds NOT to ensure that you are down the pub with them after work, but at home or out with him. Until they accept that you HAVE changed (you would be very strange not to after the birth of a child) you will continue to have this interference in your life.

Practice some stock phrases "I am happy with the way things are ds is my priority now". I think you're letting them feel they can have too much say in how you parent when really they should be keeping their beaks well out. Which in turn won't help you feel secure in your parenting choices as no doubt they will have their views on that too?

Forgive me if I'm completely barking up the wrong tree but that's how it looks from here.

EauRouge Sun 21-Aug-11 20:33:15

I went through a similar crisis of confidence when DD1 was 12 months. Everyone I knew IRL had stopped BF and I was starting to get all the same questions as you are getting. I found lots of support here on MN and started going to LLL meetings and I'm still BF DD1 who is now 2.10 and her 5 mo sister.

You can find groups here. A lot more people than you think BF past a year, I'm sure you'll be able to find some support locally.

DecapitatedLegoman Sun 21-Aug-11 20:39:27

Why on earth would you wean your child because someone you see at work thinks he doesn't need night feeds now? Surely you can see how bizarre that sounds.

You don't sound like you want to wean. Your DS doesn't sound like he wants to wean. Nobody else matters. You aren't asking your workmates to feed him.

FWIW I went back to work when my youngest was 6 months old - I worked FT, usually a couple of 11 hour days a week, plus on call overnight and at weekends. He refused bottles so I expressed enough for a small feed a day (the only time I could express was in the evenings so it really was a small feed!), tried to get home at lunchtime if I could, and he just had to make do without me. He fed until he was 2.3 despite the weird schedule, lack of routine, whatever. As a working mum that connection is so important - and if it feels that important to us as mums, how vital must it be to a little baby?

Do what YOU want (we all know what that is!) grin

eaglewings Sun 21-Aug-11 20:40:48

Congratulations on having got to a year, if you want to continue and don't feel trapped then go for it.
DD2 was the same, I returned to work when she was 4 months and had a supportive boss. As your work friends are not supportive, do as others on here have said and find like minded people who will support you in rl
DD2 weaned at 4, not a problem she is a normal adjusted child of 9 now

DecapitatedLegoman Sun 21-Aug-11 20:41:25

Oh, and I'm also feeding a nearly-one-year-old. Practise repeating the WHO advice - soon shuts them up wink

I think you are doing really well to feed for so long, especially with the night feeds too. I am still bf at almost 15 months and pretty much everyone in my team know, partly because I am on decaf tea and they asked why and also because I have a slightly longer lunch so I can go home and express. Thankfully I have had no questions or negative comments but if I did I'd happily quote the WHO recommendations at then and tell them to mind their own bloody business. I intend to bf while DS wants it, but haven't really thought about how long it may last! Interestingly a few friends who did bf seem to think that they all stopped at the right time and that going on for longer would have been icky or wrong. I guess it may be how they handle their decision to stop? If you get any more negative questions/comments I would just look quizzically and say "I'm sorry, but that just sounded like you were questioning how I choose to bring up my child" and watch them squirm. Good luck with keeping on bf-ing!

tallulah Sun 21-Aug-11 21:07:06

I only stopped BF my 4 year old because i had to have chemotherapy. Otherwise she'd still be feeding. She misses it and keeps asking.

If you are happy with your situation ignore everyone else- it is none of their business.

RubyrooUK Sun 21-Aug-11 21:07:48

Thanks all. I just needed a bit of moral support. I had one of those moments where I thought maybe I was being mad to still keep breastfeeding so much. Even though I think DS still needs it and DH agrees totally.

I think it's because my husband's uncle told me at a wedding this weekend that DS was clingy and it was me making him that way (with my breastfeeding and trying to spend lots of time with him when not working) and I should give him to his gran more often because he needs to get by without me. You know how these things people say stick with you a bit. I felt really hurt that he was criticising my parenting when I'm trying so hard. That on top of the other comments obviously hit a nerve.

Not that I agree and even my MIL (the gran in question) thinks he is a breastfed baby who still loves being with his mum a lot and she says she will be happy to spend more time babysitting when he's a bit older. So obviously I'm being too sensitive!

And I'm not going to pretend not to feed him (which I was considering) at work as that only makes people think it is weird to breastfeed for any length of time. I think most people at work just don't have kids or are like my boss, who found the idea of breastfeeding a bit uncomfortable and needed as the breadwinner to go back to work quick for the sake of her career. I am probably the second most senior woman after my boss in the business to have a kid, so it isn't very evolved yet. So I'm going to be honest so other people don't think it is weird to still breastfeed and work full time.

Thanks - just needed a bit of emotional backup there!! X

Clueless79 Sun 21-Aug-11 21:09:33

I haven't really got any advice since only at 4months with ds1 but I just wanted to say I really look up to women like you and only hope to be feeding my boy as long and hopefully longer. There are some weird cultural expectations surrounding parenting, and feeding in particular, that just seem contrary to nature and our biological 'design'.

Ignore people who have no idea what they're on about and good luck!

kellieb7 Sun 21-Aug-11 21:15:33

I find it insane that people seem to have such strong views in relation to breastfeeding. Boob, bottle or cup surely its the parents choice??? I am already having people asking me if "she is off the boob yet" and it makes me so bloody angry as DD is not even 8 months old yet - FFS. I have now started telling people that I intend to let DD self wean as I love seeing their faces when they start thinking of how to reply to that grin

OP, just carry on as you are, are these people going to come and sit with your LO when he is sobbing because he wants to nurse, I think not so bugger them all - Well done for getting this far and I hope you are your little one enjoy many more months of breastfeeding x x x

NorksAreMessy Sun 21-Aug-11 21:22:19

Well done OP, keep going for as long as you both want to.

It is nobody's business but yours.

I fed DD until she was over 2 and we both decided to stop. Not an uncle, not a work colleague, not a random stranger, DD and I decided to stop.

TheSecondComing Sun 21-Aug-11 21:24:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Paschaelina Sun 21-Aug-11 21:28:16

Boy is 11.5mths and feeds 4 times a day still, long may it continue. I may perhaps try and drop one of the two daytime feeds but other than that I am completely happy to carry on.

NovemberAli Sun 21-Aug-11 21:32:58

Here for moral support! Just wanted to add my support as another approaching a year of BF. DD 11.5mo and still feeding (although I am lucky and she will take a bottle of EBF)

I genuinely didn't think people would be so interested in what I fed my DD!

I express at work and on my way to the little photocopier room, which I have to use to express in, my boss (female, two children of her own) shrieked, "Don't you think it's time you stopped feeding that little girl?!" (this is in the middle of a busy corridor) I mumbled " No it's good for her" and ran in blush.

This is in addition to the constant questions of, "Are you still feeding?", "When are you going to stop?" from the world and it's mother.

I feel like I have to constantly justify myself - I'm afraid much more of this and I'm going in the closet smile

Whyriskit Sun 21-Aug-11 21:34:26

Not a freak at all! DS2 turned 1 yesterday and I'm still feeding him. He probably has 4 feeds a day when I'm not working. I'm really proud of myself and him because it hasn't been easy.
We have recently started night weaning him - I was getting so knackered and he wasn't settling after his night feed. I was sure he still needed the night feed, but it hasn't taken him long to adjust without it - he actually slept through last night!
Well done you!

TruthSweet Sun 21-Aug-11 21:47:33

Just another post of encouragement. I think you are doing fantastic thing for your little boy, and I hope you and he get to nurse for as long as you want to without interference of any kind.

FWIW I am bfing DD3 & DD2 'still'. DD3 is 22m and DD2 is <shock horror> nearly 4y. Everyone has given up asking me if I have stopped as they just assume they must have by now wink

mawbroon Sun 21-Aug-11 22:13:53

I second the posters that suggest LLL. It is always reassuring to meet other mums who are doing similar.

ds2 is 18months and I still think of him as a newcomer to breastfeeding compared to how long ds1 has been going!!

Don't wean him until you are ready!

rubyslippers - I love that feed until it does your head in quote! So true, am there just now with ds1

HappyAsASandboy Mon 22-Aug-11 06:07:59

It is very comforting to hear you all talking about your feeding so normally smile

I am feeding my 10 month old twins, and have started to notice that people's comments have shifted from suprise/admiration that you can EBF twins to quizzical eyebrows that I am still doing so. I am storing away all your replies to thecomments I'm sure to receive at work.

Thanks for the LLL recommendation too smile

Cosmosis Mon 22-Aug-11 12:24:51

Good on you smile I work ft and am feeding my ds who is 11.5m, I decided to stop expressing at work a few weeks ago and my hr lady said “do you think you’re doing it more for you now?” I was fuming. My stepmother has also started making comments as well about “still” bfing. All my team at work know that I am bfing and they are all great about it – I’ve had questions about teeth and stuff but curiosity no funny comments.

I think your work are being very unprofessional tbh. I think even if you weren’t bfing, surely you would still want to put your child to bed?

I had his 10 month check the other week, and the HV (who I wasn’t expecting great things from having heard all the stories on here) was so supportive and said well you just carry on feeding him until you want to stop, which was nice, so at least some people approve!

It might be worth, as per the suggestion about trying gentle ways to get him to settle without a feed, but I can sympathise as DH had a bad back and couldn’t pick DS up for about 6 weeks and now he won’t settle for Dh in the night at all anymore.

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