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Anyone feeding toddlers and older dc, please come here, I need you!

(20 Posts)
WilfredToadflax Tue 09-Oct-12 09:46:38

I'm still feeding 20mo ds, and I'm starting to get comments.
Strangely, the comments are all from the friends who I thought would be the last ones to be uncomfortable with it - the attachment parenting, baby carrying type.
Other friends are really lovely about it, and will ask questions about it, and seem to be fine with it.
I'm not constantly feeding him, I'm not "militant" (sorry, I hate that term, but it's fitting here, as certain friends think I have an agenda by still feeding ds), I don't flash my boobs at everyone, I don't feed him to make others feel guilty, I don't feed him to keep him a mummy's boy, I'm not keeping him a baby for as long as possible, I'm not keeping him dependent on me, I simply feed my little boy. He likes it, I like it, and I (and dh) don't see the big deal, and certainly don't feel the need to stop any time soon.

So what can I say to them that doesn't sound arsey and defensive? How do I say mind your own business without offending them?
I have mentioned that I find their comments hurtful and undermining, but apparently that's because I feel guilty because I'm feeding ds longer than is necessary hmm

CMOTDibbler Tue 09-Oct-12 09:51:06

Depends what they say - if its 'gosh are you still feeding him', it was something like 'yes, I'm working towards the WHO recommendation of 2 years and beyond', 'when are you going to stop' got 'I'm sure he'll stop before uni'.
I found just not rising to things was the best tack - I fed till 23 months, having gone back to work ft at 4.5 months, so I was considered well weird by all groups tbh

Goldmandra Tue 09-Oct-12 09:54:56

I was even told by a paediatrician when DD2 was 2.5 years that I didn't need to carry on. What he didn't seem to get was that I didn't need to stop either. There was no reason to upset her by withdrawing something which is perfectly natural, comforting and nutritious just because our society only expects us to BF for a certain length of time.

Friends looked positively revolted by the time my girls were 2 years old if they found out I was still feeding her. They kept asking my why I carried on. My response was that there was no reason to stop and didn't they give their toddlers milk?

TBH there was no reason for most people to know for much of that time because they only wanted to feed at breakfast and bedtime unless they were upset or hurt. I didn't make a big thing about it but it wasn't a secret either.

Both of my girls stopped of their own accord around their third birthdays.

I would ask them what they thought was wrong with my breastmilk and why they thought milk produced for calves would be better for my child now he's over a year old.

NimChimpsky Tue 09-Oct-12 09:57:09

I fed dd until she self weaned at 3.4. Mostly it didn't come up because dd didn't feed in public past about 12 months and I just didn't mention it to people. Not because I purposely concealed it but because it never crossed my mind to even mention it. In fact the only negative comments I had were from MIL (she was around at bedtimes sometimes) who thinks feeding past 2 is weird and the hv who was anti feeding past 6 months. I largely ignored their comments as my child/my choice and dd actually answered back herself in the end. If I did feel like engaging, I would point out some facts to them about extended bfing and then offer a smile with a 'you seem very interested in my breasts, how strange'.

WilfredToadflax Tue 09-Oct-12 10:01:46

The comments I've had are in the second paragraph.

Ds rarely feeds in public - the few times I've fed in front of them have been when we've been at home (mine or one of theirs) and because we've always had similar parenting styles, it didn't cross my mind that they'd have a problem with it.

Wisteria36 Tue 09-Oct-12 10:08:37

I'm feeding ds (3.3) still, mostly just at night but occasionally in the day when he's tired. We only feed at home though and mostly only in his bedroom unless he's really exhausted when he sometimes has some downstairs. I have one other friend feeding her son of the same age and she's the only one I discuss it with. Having said that very few people I've told, including hvs at 2yr check, have had anything awful to say but even so I'm wary of saying anything now. He hates cows milk and refuses it at nursery school so they give him water but he told them that, I didn't get involved. The upside (anecdotal I know) is that he rarely gets ill beyond a common cold and has only ever had one d&v bug when he was about 10 months. I have actually wanted to wean since he was two but he has other ideas!

I don't think you need to defend yourself at all. You are doing what's right for your child - its nothing to do with anyone else. I had lots of comments about weaning when I was suffering awful nursing aversion and the odd "can't you give him milk in a cup?" (Yes but if he wants my milk he's not going to take it) and "can't you put your little finger in his mouth for him to such instead?" (Erm no he's not a newborn and he's also not stupid) - but on the whole I think I'm just too scary to challenge on the subject. I don't need anyone else's permission or approval. If I did come across the rude comments that you have I think I'd just say "well this is what works for us" and refuse to discuss it further.

My DS is 20 months too and I'm due DC2 next week, I hope to tandem feed. I'm proud I've fed longer than all my friends, it's not a competition but equally there's no set age that everyone 'should' give up. Our children are only 1 day older than yesterday and it worked for both of us then... I wish there were more women in RL feeding beyond 6 or 12 months but in the meantime its great to have support here.

You know what you're doing is right for you, who gives a stuff what anyone else thinks?!

blackteaplease Tue 09-Oct-12 10:37:27

I fed dd until 24 months and must radiate don't mess with me vibes as i got very few comments. Fil dd once say "isn't it time you stopped" to which i said no. But i dd nearly fall out with best friend when she took it upon herself to give advice on stopping and wouldn't listen to any of my reasoning. Most people just kept their opinions to themselves.

Can you just say you don't want to discuss it and leave it at that?

RillaBlythe Tue 09-Oct-12 10:37:35

I always went for a reference to the WHO guidelines.

RemindMeWhatSleepIs Tue 09-Oct-12 11:55:48

I'd quote the WHO guidelines, also "it works for us" followed by a quick and obvious change of subject. Maybe followed by a sarcastic very obvious change of subject if they carry on. grin

My DD stopped herself at 18 months when I was pregnant and it made my milk taste funny! I was quite relieved as only one side works and I didn't know if i could tandem feed off one breast?!confused

DS is 6 months now so already getting a few comments. I've not even thought about when we might stop.

EauRouge Tue 09-Oct-12 13:57:24

I only got a few comments when DD1 was around that age and I always quoted WHO guidelines (it's a global recommendation in case anyone tries the 'but we're not in Africa' approach). If people asked directly when I was going to stop I used to just point at DD1 and say 'ask her'. I found that people generally stopped asking when she was about 2 either because they assumed I'd stopped or because they figured I was a lost cause grin

A smile and a firm 'it might not be for everyone but it works for us' is usually pretty good for deflecting criticism. Also there is no evidence that breastfeeding past a certain age is harmful and if someone suggests that it is then the onus is on them to come up with some proof.

Are there any breastfeeding groups near you where you can meet other mothers that are breastfeeding toddlers?

Jakeyblueblue Tue 09-Oct-12 13:58:25

I'm still feeding ds at 15 months and have no plans to wean.
If im really pushed i always quote the WHO guidelines but tbh, I really don't care what anyone else thinks.
Someone told me the other week, that they thought it was weird and was likening my son to that one on little Britain who still bf as an adult. I just laughed. That same person was putting rusks into her ff babies bottle at 10 weeks so he'd sleep through. I think that's a bit weird but the difference is that I'm respectful that that's her choice with her child. Some people are just rude. Ignore them and carry on as long as you want smile

nickeldaisical Tue 09-Oct-12 14:06:16

Eau - i used to get that one from my mum - i'd say "in Africa they're recommended to do it as long as possible and it would make more sense to carry on until 6 or 7 out there"

she hasn't mentioned it for a few weeks.

funny, because sometimes i worry that people will comment (i have to feed her in public because i work in a shop), but the fact that DD wants my milk more than anything else says to me that i'm still doing the right thing.

it was strange when we got to 6months because i ffelt more self-conscious, but now we're 10months and i'm much more confident about it.

Jakeyblueblue Tue 09-Oct-12 14:33:22

I forgot to say too that I'm not sure why people think its ok to comment at all!
If I was to say 'you're formula feeding?' in the same tone of voice we get 'you're still bf?' Then I'd be accused of being a militant formula basher and trying to make people feel bad coz they didn't bf. Equally if I was to comment on the terrible food I see some children being fed, I'd be shot down In flames! But it's fine for everyone to have an opinion on extended breastfeeding and voice it! Seems its all a bit one sided to me!

WilfredToadflax Tue 09-Oct-12 14:37:26

Jakey - exactly! Why say anything?
I don't mind when friends ask about it, and ask if feeding a toddler is different to feeding a tiny baby, I get that it's different, and they are curious, and that's fine.
It's the assumption that I'm feeding ds for any number of negative reasons, even though I'm just feeding him.

Jakeyblueblue Tue 09-Oct-12 15:00:28

I've no idea!
I wasn't particularly militant before bf but guess I've turned a bit that way as the months have gone on! I really believe that it's what's best for me and ds and so am prepared to defend it if I'm challenged!
I'm actually very lucky, in the main most people around me, have no issue with it. I really thought my in laws may have thought it was odd, but they are really supportive and think its wonderful, as does dh. There are a few people at work who feel the need to comment but I always try to handle it with humour. In fact they bought me this for my birthday!
We co sleep and ds only feeds last thing and once or twice in the night now but I'm really proud to still be bf and so should you! Don't let anyone make you feel otherwise! grin

RemindMeWhatSleepIs Tue 09-Oct-12 19:12:00

Jakey that website is fab!!! I want a keyring- "still breastfeeding still none of your business". gringringrin

poppy283 Tue 09-Oct-12 19:25:58

I'm feeding Dd 2.1 and ds 8wks, the only people who are negative about it are my younger sisters (who have no dcs). I'd be very surprised if another mother questioned it. I always say nothing has prompted us to stop, I think that acknowledges that there are lots of reasons to stop and they're all valid.

otchayaniye Tue 09-Oct-12 20:29:43

do people actually comment, or do you think you could be overemphasising what are comments made in passing? i've fed two to an older age on demand, fed to sleep for every nap and to be honest no one gave a shit. oh MIL would raise an eyebrow and my best friend moaned it meant i couldn't get the whole night off, but beyond that can't recall anyone caring.

people gave much more of a shit that i never bought a pram/pushchair, even then it wasn't really that much of a shit

but then i don't socialise much with parents with babies or have a facebook so probably oblivious to all this hoo hah.

WilfredToadflax Tue 09-Oct-12 21:26:21

Otch - no, definitely not overemphasising, there's nothing veiled about the comments.
Think I'll go with the smile and "it works for us" whilst sipping tea out of my new "still breastfeeding, still none of your business" mug, when it arrives! ( thanks for the link!)

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