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Breastfeeding after 1yr, shared experiences please!

(12 Posts)
GGgowiththeflow Mon 19-Sep-11 19:20:06

My little boy has just turned 1 and is still breastfed.

He feeds to sleep, which i am ok with as it's easy, but I would like to get him to fall asleep for his nap/s in his buggy or rucksack (you can get a special pillow i think) from when he's 18 months and I think i'll be comfortable with a bedtime feed until 2yrs. Then i plan (theoretically) to wean him in as seamless, gentle a way possible.

But i'm at that point where i don't know what the future will actually hold, and much as I'd like to be super confident i can't help hearing the little voice in my head saying "he'll still be breastfeeding when he's 12, you'll never be able to let go, stop mollycoddling him, blah,blah blah". So, any real-life experiences and tips would be good.

He eats well, and enjoys a variety of food, so i don't think he's filling up on milk to the detrement of his diet; he's on the large side, and has good weight gain.

Also, recently he seems to be comfort feeding more. When he was between about 9 months and until a few weeks ago he only fed before sleeping (so 4-5 times a day including a quick one on waking in the morning), now he asks for a short feed about 3-4 extra times a day - is he thirsty? Am i not offering water often enough? Is breastmilk an ok substitute (although i am trying to offer water instead now) has he been dehydrated?

I have always demand fed so I don't want to say "no" if he really does want to feed, although i do distract him at times when I'm busy, or not comfortable with it (e.g. on a bus) and he seems ok with that.

Any advice, experiences would be very welcome (no horror stories please! I can't handle that! I get easily paranoid as it is!)


Iggly Mon 19-Sep-11 19:27:26

DS is nearly 2. Still BF. He's happy to not be feed to sleep for a nap or bedtime (in fact it doesn't work at bedtime anymore!).

He's in a routine as in he naps at the same time every day so falls asleep in the pushchair and car etc and has done for months.

He goes through phases where he wants a feed - usually for comfort really. I give plenty of water anyway so know he's not thirsty!

I think weaning fully will be fine - I have DH to put him to bed too plus his nanny does naps when I'm not there so he's used not being fed all the time.

EauRouge Mon 19-Sep-11 19:32:48

First of all, well done grin 1 year is a major milestone and you've done so well to get there. It sounds like he's doing really well with his eating solid food.

I don't think there's much to say apart from as long as you and your DS are happy then you can carry on. Don't worry about him BF when he's 12, children naturally lose the ability to nurse and they will self-wean. If you want to read up more on self-weaning then Kathy Dettwyler's website has some useful info and there is a book called Breastfeeding Older Children by Ann Sinnott that is really good.

If you want anecdotes then I'm 'still' BF my eldest daughter who will be 3 in a few weeks. I've never had any negative comments from anyone (aside from my grannie mentioning weaning a few times grin ), I have had lots of support from friends and my local LLL group. If there's a group near you then it's well worth checking them out.

Yes, I do still BF her in public although as they get older I think they tend to ask less because they are distracted. You can also negotiate with them if you're not comfortable, DD1 is usually fine if I ask her to wait until we get home or wait until I've finished cooking dinner. I think when I do nurse her in public people don't notice because it doesn't occur to them that I might be BF a toddler.

I think it can vary how much they ask for it, it's not just for food/drink, it can comfort them when they are sad or scared and it's great for if they hurt themselves, they are magically better in seconds grin Also it's an incredibly valuable parenting tool, many a tantrum has been averted by a quick BF. DD1 asks to be fed way more than DD2 who is only 7 mo.

I hope that helps a bit, there are a lot of extended BF around so I'm sure you'll get lots of replies.

yesterfandango Mon 19-Sep-11 19:41:26

Hi, my son is over 2 now and still bf-ing.

In moments of despair I log on to the la leche league website as they have lots of lovely forums. This is very helpful when you get grief from other people.

My son has a vague routine but I am not a very routine person, he still naps in the day but this moves around dependent on what I'm doing/ what time he woke up. i feed him to sleep if we're at home (or if I want to get him to sleep at a specific time, how I love the irresistable sleep power of bf-ing!!) but other times he drops off in p-chair/carseat or in bed if partner has him.

My son doesn't feed to sleep at night, he is happy to drop off with partner.

He does still have days where he feeds like mad, when I get very frustrated, wonder what is wrong & then he gets ill next day or has teething trouble.

I am able now to say to my son 'not yet' or 'when we get home' and this is fine. I don't feed at night and I don't feed outside the house anymore.

I love bf-ing still, most of the time. There are really hard days, but overall I'm glad I carried on. I can feel it dwindling now though, he has asked only once today. I think its very varied day to day, sometimes once, sometimes five times but overall its on a downward path.

Zimbah Mon 19-Sep-11 19:44:46

I bf'd DD1 until she was just over 2. The frequency of bf'ing petered (sp?) out naturally until she was having just wake-up and bedtime feeds. Then I fell pregnant and it got very painful and just too exhausting, so at around 8 weeks pg I weaned her. Weaned off the morning feed first with the help of DH on holiday who got her up in the mornings. Then off the bedtime feed, I offered her milk in a cup instead. It was all amazingly easy! She wasn't too fussed, a couple of times she got upset but not for long. A few weeks later we had a couple of bad evenings where she was really crying for milk, but that was all.

I found that it worked best if I didn't think too much about the future bf'ing as you don't know how you will feel. I started going to La Leche meetings and looked at 2 year olds feeding thinking it was a bit weird as they looked too old to bf (I don't think that anymore). But I found when my own DD was still bf'ing at that age it felt totally normal.

I don't have a plan in my head of how long I'd like to bf DD2 for, I really hope we can do it until she's 2 and then we'll just see how I and she feel.

GGgowiththeflow Tue 20-Sep-11 22:00:33

Thanks everyone, you've really calmed me down! more welcome! I am so eager to hear other's experiences. I will try to get to a la leche league meeting asap. Although they are right when DS naps at the moment, and a little bit far to walk so I'll wait til he drops his morning nap. I'm so eager to hang out with some kindred breast feeders! It feels right to me to be bfing in demand and you guys have helped me feel more confident, also that he won' always need it to go to sleep. Great!

ilikeyoursleeves Tue 20-Sep-11 22:09:00

Well done on still bfing! I say keep going, it's such a great experience both for you & baby. I am still bfing ds2 & he is 2.2 years old. Although tbh I have tried to wean him down a but but instead he just seems to demand more! He now pats the sofa & says ' mummy couch boobies!'. Not so good lol....

theboobmeister Tue 20-Sep-11 22:23:49

I BF my DD til she was 3 and had no regrets ever - it was sad to stop (though her decision) and we still talk about it now she is 6.

One big and underrated benefit of BFing toddlers is that it really helps them get through the emotional storms. Sod Supernanny - BF is the easiest, quickest and most effective tantrum-preventer ever!

Oh and also, you should know that you are definitely not alone. I was amazed to find that three friends had BF their toddlers (2, 2.5 and 4.5!!) without me even suspecting! Many of us don't tell anyone for fear of being thought weird, which is a shame since we never get to share our weirdo experiences with other fellow weirdos wink

AngelDog Tue 20-Sep-11 22:38:55

There's a thread a few pages back called the 'extended bf thread' which might be interesting reading.

Mothering Your Nursing Toddler by Norma Jane Bumgarner is definitely worth a read too.

YankNCock Tue 20-Sep-11 22:46:42

I second what theboobmeister said about not being alone. You probably know other people who are still feeding toddlers, but they just don't say so openly. I was really pleased to find out my childminder is still feeding her 2.5 y/o, and she said she only admitted it because I did!

DS was 2 last month and has no interest in stopping. I am going the 'don't offer, don't refuse' route with him. I sometimes find myself minimising the amount I feed him with people who are being a bit judgey. I say it's only the mornings really, when in actual fact it's probably still at least 3-4 times a day.

His longest feed tends to be the morning one right when he wakes up. The daytime ones tend to be quite short, maybe 5 minutes, 10 at very most. Unless he's ill, then he'd happily sit there all day with me like a newborn!

tsom Tue 20-Sep-11 22:51:16

Yes, lots of quiet extended BF around. I fed ds1 until 21 months, ds2 until 2.3 and currently feeding ds3 at 2.5 years. Ds1 and ds2 were weaned when I was ill, my mum settled them at night for a few days, but ds3 is still going. He isn't keen to give up night feeds, I think they get a lot of comfort from it ("just a little feed, mummy", hard to say no).

Enjoy your BF time together.

organiccarrotcake Tue 20-Sep-11 23:05:05

"mummy couch boobies" grin

My 6, nearly 7 YO asks to "snuggle down" on the sofa at night before bed time. No, that's not a euphemism - it is just a cuddle on the sofa, maybe with a book or just for a chat, but it's his version of nursing before bed - joining up if you like - before I "snuggle down" with DS2 (15 months) and actually get the boobs out. DS1 self weaned at about 15 months (waaaay before I was ready but I'd cut him down to just evenings and I suspect I stopped producing enough) but our "snuggle down" still happens and I am blessed that my big boy still wants to do this.

Planning to term feed this time round and I felt a bit isolated as I hit a year, until I started to talk about it a bit more and found so many people who had fed, or were feeding, toddlers and older children (including one mum feeding a 6 year old which was amazing). I feed DS2 in public whenever he asks and it's convenient, hoping that one or two people will be given the confidence to do the same thing and it will spread...

Good one, OP. It's all good smile

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