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Have you BF for a year or more? Wondering when to stop...

(35 Posts)
lucidlady Sat 13-Oct-12 22:31:01

DD is 2 weeks shy of her first birthday. She is still BF, and has 2 feeds a day during the week, with 1 bottle. At weekends, she has 3. I'm starting to get comments from DH, DM etc about "turning off the taps", and it seems that everyone has assumed I'll go cold turkey on BF once she turns 1. But I'm not sure I want to?! I love BF. I love the closeness of it, especially at bedtime, after a day at work. I've managed to do it for so much longer than I ever expected (we had so many problems at first) and I feel really quite tearful at the thought of stopping.

I don't know anyone who has BF past one year. Is it possible? Does it still benefit the little one? And do they ever self-wean?

DuelingFanjo Sat 13-Oct-12 22:34:12

I am still breastfeeding at 22 months and thought I would do it for a year. My son feeds several times a day even now, when he's with me. I hope he will self-wean soon but somehow I doubt it.

RE what to say, have you tried telling them the WHO recommends at least 2 years? Or you could say 'everytime anyone aks me how much longer I'll breastfeed for I extend it by one month' and smile sweetly.

lucamom Sat 13-Oct-12 22:42:21

The benefits of breast feeding (for baby, and for your own health) are cumulative, so every feed makes a difference and is worthwhile.

If there is no reason why you 'need' to give up feeding, then try not to feel pressurised by comments. I'm at the same stage as you currently, my daughter will also be one in a couple of weeks, and I've had a couple of remarks from my well-meaning MIL (I've been run down & she reckons stopping bf will improve my health).

I'm going to carry on until it feels right to stop. I cherish very feed as she's my last. With my first I gave up at 9 months so I could get my periods back for conceiving, second son was 13 months. Many, many women bf for a lot longer, so go with what feels right for you (if your detractors are impressed with medical info, just remind them of the WHO-& therefore the NHS too-guidelines which recommend bf to age two and beyond)

Keep up the good work x

newbielisa Sat 13-Oct-12 22:42:37

I Breastfed dd till 21 months, I was always hoping she would self wean so that it came to a natural end. Well nature did play a part as my milk dried up when pregnant with soon to be here DC2.

Don't listen to anyone else although it must be hard if your DH is alluding to stopping. If you're still happy and she's still happy ..... well I don't even need to complete that sentence.

Manda472 Sat 13-Oct-12 22:46:41

My dd is 19 months and is still b/f, my son was 21 months when I stopped and that was only because I was going to a wedding in Ireland and didn't want to bring him so figured it was the perfect opportunity.
At the moment I have no intention of stopping and will carry on until either of us decides to call it a day sad. I too really enjoy it and she loves it smile. It fixes all manner of problems so why would I rush to stop.
Don't worry what anyone says, this time with them will be over too soon so just enjoy your special cuddles while you can

rednellie Sat 13-Oct-12 22:52:30

Carried on till DD was 21 months and it just seemed so totally normal. Don't stop if you don't want/need to.

(My mum bf me till I was 3 and I'm completely marvelous! grin)

stinkymice Sat 13-Oct-12 22:56:35

I stopped BF DS1 at a year on the dot as I thought it was the done thing. Then I watched my baby group friends keep going and I felt quite sad. DS2 I fed for 2years then DS3 2.5 years. You only have to stop when you want to. Enjoy it while it lasts.

There's every reason you can continue, if she's happy and so are you why not?

Some benefits are listed here - as mum of a breastfed 20 month old and with another baby due in less than a week I would add

* brilliant for calming/preventing tantrums
* easy & free snack (although I've only fed in public a few times since about 14 months, he rarely asks)
* great excuse for cuddles
* good for a sit down when they're showing no signs of chilling out
* bonding continues way beyond the first few months

I also struggled with many difficulties in the first couple of months, it's made me want to continue until DS is ready to stop (I do have a rough idea in mind of my own boundaries but am flexible to change them at a later date if we're both still happy)

I know (vaguely) people in real life still BFing babies a couple of months younger who intend to continue but nobody with a toddler DS's age. I know they must be out there and I chat to them on these boards, but basically as long as we're happy I see no issue.

I love the response of adding an extra month every time someone asks when you'll stop. I have often been asked why I choose to continue when 'they can have cows milk at 12 months' - my answer is "but that's meant for a cow, my milk is specifically meant for my child" - I also keep a poker straight face and say "hopefully before he starts university" - I'm sure people are just curious but it's really nobody's business but yours.

Congratulations for getting this far, and may you continue to breastfeed as long as you and your LO want!

Llareggub Sat 13-Oct-12 23:02:47

DS is 3.5 years and is still breastfeeding. It has been a godsend over the years when he has been ill, or upset, or tired. At the end of this month I'll have been breastfeeding for 6 consecutive years, and it only felt hard in those early newborn days. Now I barely notice him feeding as we only do it in bed. Carry on for as long as you both want. DS told me he will feed until he grows boobs of his own!

IWipeArses Sat 13-Oct-12 23:05:13

I fed DS til he was 2 years and 10 months. We stopped because I was pregnant and the hormones were making it uncomfortable/painful. We were down to the morning feed by then, so it was only a day or two of him asking before we were into our new routine.
If he'd been younger I'd have grinned and beared it, and if I hadn't been pregnant I'd have carried on longer, but it was appropriate for us to stop then.

DD is 1 tomorrow. grin She isn't as much of a boob monster as DS was, but I'll aim to feed her til she's at least 2 and then probably through the winter. Ideally I'd like to let her self-wean. smile

When they've dropped most of the daytime feeds, there isn't really need for anyone else to know, I found anyway. So perhaps if you just get DH onboard you can ignore everyone else and they'll stop thinking about it when they don't see it.
Recommendation is to feed til at least two and there are many benefits to continuing.

congratulations on getting this far. I fed ds to 4 and dd is 3 and still feeding. Ds did not self wean but I weaned him without major trauma to either of us. Dd feeds when I'm there, doesn't when I'm not. I travel away for work, a night away a week. She has also been kn holiday with grandparents without me for a week at a time no problem.

If you're happy to carry on then why no try listing the reasons to stop?

beth12345 Sat 13-Oct-12 23:06:18

I am still breastfeeding DD3 who is nearly 1.
I BF DD2 until she was 16 months - that was not my own choice though, I tried her with formula when she was a few months old but she wasn't having any of it!
DD2 did self wean though - she gradually wound down BF until she was just having an evening BF. Then she developed a liking for bedtime stories, and at 16 months I swapped the BF for a bedtime book and she was very happy with the new arrangement.
With DD2 I also had comments from extended family about when I would be stopping. The comments did bother me a little with DD2, but this third time round I shall just smile and ignore.

steppemum Sat 13-Oct-12 23:07:25

I decided to stop at around 12 months. My reason was simply that after that point dcs could drink normal cows milk and didn't need formula.
I weaned them slowly, started offering milk in a cup (not bottle) at one feed time, and then once they were happy, then I dropped another feed and replaced it with milk or a meal. I kept bedtime feed til last, and I dropped slowly over a few weeks.

If you are still happy, then go for it. For me I think I was really ready to stop too, so it suited both of us.

I did it with 3 of them and I think ds would have self weaned if I offered him milk, as he went very easily onto cups. dd1 would still be drinking now if I hadn't stopped it.

nm123 Sat 13-Oct-12 23:17:22

Hi all, this thread caught my eye... DD is 10mo and we're still BFing - I'd hoped to do 6 months and then got there and didn't feel the need to stop... I still enjoy it and so does DD given she's still on 5 feeds a day (she tends to feed at 6-7am, 9am, 11am, 2-3pm, 6.30pm)! So the current "plan" is to get to 12mo.

I am starting to get a bit twitchy about how much she's still feeding... I'd expected her to be swapping milk for food by now and reducing her interest in the boob. We're doing BLW so I know I need to be patient, but I can't help but think she'll be BFing forever!

I go back to work 3 days a week just after she turns 1 in December, so I guess at that point I'd be happy to do the first and last feeds of the day only, but I've no real idea how to go about getting to that point - specially as she's still having so much from me - it seems like a lot to reduce.

Generally, I've followed her lead with everything this far, so it feels natural to do the same with BFing - just that going back to work means I need to have some kind of plan for what she'll have on the 3 days she'll be in nursery or with grandparents....

Any tips or advice for dropping feeds most welcome!

steppemum Sat 13-Oct-12 23:30:09

just seen the note up thread about cows milk. While I think it is great to go on as long as you like, why is it a problem to feed cows milk?

I fed them yoghurt and cheese and meat and vegetables. None of which come out of my boobs, so why is it such a drama that the milk does/doesn't

As I said it is great to feel you can go on as long as possible, and i was in a culture where everyone bf., and it makes me sad here that it is so unusual, but actually, letting my dh get up and give them breakfast so i could have a lie-in and not need to wake up for early morning feed, after a whole year, was pretty good feeling. Finally he could be in sole charge without me watching the clock too. Which is good for dcs and dh.

schroedingersdodo Sat 13-Oct-12 23:31:58

Breast milk will always be better than cows milk (for a thousand reasons, one of them being that it's made for human children, not calves) so it will benefit them for as long as you BF, even if it's once a day or even less.

The World Health Organization recommends BFing until 2 years old or longer (they say 'exclusive BF for 6 months and BF for 2 years or longer'. I don't know why people in this country ignore the bit about 2 yo)

Stop when you or the child think it's time. Don't let anyone else influence you! smile

I BF for over 2 years - I got pregnant shortly before DS was 2 and reduced the feeds, but didn't stop. Towards the end of pregnancy it got very uncomfortable, so I stopped altogether (DS didn't mind too much).

Now I'm waiting to see how DS1 will react when he sees me BFing DS2. I wonder if he'll want to start again.

schroedingersdodo Sat 13-Oct-12 23:37:14

Echoing another poster: when people used to ask me when I would stop BF I'd just say, very serious: when he goes to university. Works very well and people never ask again.

louisianablue2000 Sat 13-Oct-12 23:40:32

I BF DD1 until she was 15 months, I was 6 months pregnant at that point and she self weaned when my collostrum came in. It was all very straight forward, I enjoyed BFing while pregnant but she just refused a BF one night and so I offered her cows milk in a cup and she never asked for a BF again. DD2 was BF until she was 34 months. I went to Boston about a month after her second birthday, she was down to one BF a day by that point and I though she would stop after a few days with no BF. I got home and the first thing she did was ask for a BF. She continued having BFs a few times a week and I got pregnant when she was 30 months and continued BFing until my milk dried up which she was not happy about. DS is just 5 weeks so I am nowhere weaning him yet.

Agree with others that you reach a stage where people just assume you have weaned so don't ask any more so just work on your DH and ignore the rest.

bushymcbush Sat 13-Oct-12 23:48:03

I remember my DH getting twitchy when DD1 was approaching her 1st birthday. I think he got twitchy again when she was approaching her 2nd. By her 3rd birthday he had got used to it, in fact was 100% behind it. She self weaned at 3.5.

Currently 7 months in with DD2. Not expecting any twitches from DH this time.

GoblinGold Sat 13-Oct-12 23:49:11

I started out expecting/hoping to BF DC1 until he was 6mo. Then I said at least a year. He self-weaned when he was 2.4yo. It was a lovely way to reconnect with him when I got back from work. DC2 is now 15mo. I'd hope that I can continue to feed her until she self-weans too. Congratulations for getting this far, especially if you had a rocky start. So long as the pair of you are happy to continue there's absolutely no reason to stop.

If you're getting less than supportive comments from friends/family I'd try the old:
'I'm following the WHO advice, thank you.'
'it works for her and it works for me. Thank you for your interest. Oh look! A [insert random distraction]!'
Or perhaps if asked when you'll give up the 'I'm sure she'll stop before she goes to University.'

If your DH is less than supportive it's probably quite a good thing to let make him read the WHO advice. Often men haven't been exposed to natural term BFing because it usually happens 'behind closed doors' - as you've said - it's often only a morning and evening feed. Remind him that as she's teething/going through toddler tantrums/getting her bugs from nursery etc BFing is a brilliant way to help soothe her troubles away. Which makes everyone's life a little easier.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 14-Oct-12 08:53:52

I thought I would do it for just 6 months but once that had passed it was just so easy. Ended up feeding both of my DC until they were 2.8.

Agree with the others that you just smile sweetly and say "WHO recommend bfing for a minimum of 2 years". I used to get comments all the time about things like giving bottles with rusks in and used to say "well we are so lucky as mothers now, we have access to lots of research and things have just moved on so much". ie you are a dangerous loon and need to shut up grin.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 14-Oct-12 08:57:34

Oh and perhaps you should get DM and DH to read this smile

Nagoo Sun 14-Oct-12 09:00:58

I stopped at a year because I wanted to, and Baby Goo did not seem upset by stopping.

It must be your choice, and to carry on is your business and no one else's. I am fortunate that no one in my family ever expressed an opinion.

fraktion Sun 14-Oct-12 09:21:55

Still feeding at 18mo with no intention of stopping. DH was a bit surprised but he was easily convinced with science.

Everyone else gets told the WHO recommends exclusive feeding for 6 months and then at least 2 years. That mostly shuts them up and I hope it empowers other BFers in a country where feeding to 6 months is your duty and now you can wean.

lou4791 Sun 14-Oct-12 09:24:43

I breastfed DS1 for 15 months. In hindsight, I did feel quite pressurised to stop by those around me. I dearly wish I had followed my instincts and carried on.
I breastfed DS2 until around the time he turned 3. He would have happily carried on, but I had really had enough, it was getting quite uncomfortable, and I had been tandem feeding with DD for a while by then too. I only intended to feed him for between 1 and 2 years, mistakenly thinking that he would self wean in that time. But he enjoyed BF so much and it was so helpful as a way of reconnecting after absences, calming after a bump, buying a bit of a lie in, reducing sibling jealousy, helping prevent or soothe through illnesses, that I carried on to see him through another winter.
DD is 9 months and I envisage BF her until at least 2.
WHO advise is 2 years and beyond. I can't understand the 6 month or 12 month points which many people seem to think are evidence- based ages to stop. 6 months is the advised age to start to introduce solid foods, but in no way would this replace breastmilk at that point. 12 months is the age that giving cows milk can be given as a drink. But it is not the preferable milk at that age - breastmilk is.
Kate Evans (authorof the Food of Love) hits the nail on the head when she says the best idea is to continue until either mother or infant has completely had enough of it! :-)
I

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