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Why is bf past one year so uncommon?

(56 Posts)
BimbaBirba Thu 24-Jan-13 13:57:28

Rant alert!
I stayed with DS at nursery for his first settling in session today and all the nursery workers were truly shock that I'm still bf! And even more shock when I said that he never had a bottle and never tried formula.
They looked at each other and sneered, then I heard one ask a colleague, who has children, how long was it ok to bf for? She replied "about 7 months". So I said that actually the WHO recommends at least two years. Her face dropped, silly cow angry (--probably she's never even heard of WHO anyway--)
So I'm left wondering why on earth it's so "weird" that a little boy is still bf at one?
I'm quite annoyed too!

MolotovCocktail Thu 24-Jan-13 14:02:44

I don't think it's weird - lots of my mummy friends have bf up to and over 24 months. I think it's unfortunate you encountered such ignorance and lack of sensitivity. Fuck 'em - it's none of their business anyway.

marzipananimal Thu 24-Jan-13 14:06:21

Poor you, how annoying. I guess it varies from area to area but I know quite a lot of people who have fed past 1 (including me). Try not to let them get to you!

MummyPig24 Thu 24-Jan-13 14:08:10

A lot of people I know have bf past 1, most stop by 2 though. My aunt bf her ds till he was 4. I personally don't see the problem and why others would think its ok to comment on someone's choice to bf to whatever age they want.

MolotovCocktail Thu 24-Jan-13 14:11:53

To be fair, if I were you, I'd be inclined to reconsider which nursery I sent my LO to if this was their attitude. It seems that there is a huge chasm between their values and yours and I'd be suspicious as to where else this might evidence itself.

Jenny70 Thu 24-Jan-13 14:21:08

I did extended breastfeeding and noticed this sharp dropoff in acceptability at 1yr old (exactly, not "around 1").

I put it down to 3 things. Cows milk, work and TTC.

12 months is the recommended age for cows milk being acceptable for bottles etc. So most people believe that cows milk is as good as breastmilk, so no point to breastfeeding. This belief is mistaken, there are many benefits in continuing to breastfeed, as the WHO has taken into consideration in their 2yr recommendation.

Secondly, many mums are heading back to work at 12months, having used up maternity allowances, annual leave etc. So having the baby on cows milk or formula is much less stressful when negotiating childcare etc. Of course older babies don't often need milk as often during the day, so many mums heading back to work could express one feed for the childminder and not miss that closeness and bond they have with breastfeeding - after being away from baby part of the day, I would have thought snuggles and breastfeed together would be bliss for both mum and bub.

And some friends stopped at 12m because they wanted their cycle back to conceive the next child.

Many people shy away from the concept of breastfeeding infants with teeth and/or speech. The idea that babies could ask for boobies seems to freak people out.

For me, they were still my baby when they turned 1 - there was no day I decided that I needed to stop breastfeeding because they were too big for it. If you'd told me I'd breastfeed my children until nearly 3yrs I'd tell you that was bonkers, I was a professional woman, who had no lurking hippie gene in her body. Alas, it isn't a hippie gene, but a happening of circumstance, my first was very sick at 1yr old and weaning him when he was very ill seemed wrong on many levels, at least he was getting the food he needed in a digestable form, as well as comfort when he felt lousy. Then by the time he was fully recovered, I guess I had realised there was no reason to stop until he was ready to.

Snusmumriken Thu 24-Jan-13 14:27:48

I second Molotov's suggestion. I wouldn't want DS to be cared for by people who felt and/or expressed such views.

BimbaBirba Thu 24-Jan-13 14:30:14

Totally Molotov.
I was not impressed by other things too that these girls did but I'm wondering if my standards are too high regarding childcare and maybe I'm a bit out of touch with reality! For example, the girls were not organising any group activities to keep the children entertained (they're all aged between 8 and 18 months so they can all sit up well and are mobile). I would have liked to see them play parachute or sing songs with the children sat around a circle for example. Instead these girls were going about their business and not really interacting with the children unless they were upset for some reason. So, a lot of the time, these little kiddies were play individually and after a while they got bored and started crying. There was a lot of crying going on! Even when they cuddled the upset ones it was a bit, how can I put it, down to business.
Some little kiddies woke up from their naps or wouldn't go to sleep and they were left to cry for quite a while.
I think perhaps it's me and my standards are too high but I'm really not sure about this one!

MaMaPo Thu 24-Jan-13 14:31:35

I have no idea. I am currently bfing my firstborn, who is 7 weeks, and as its going fine I have every intention of continuing until she or I want to stop - I'm perfectly happy for that to be at 6 months or 2 years. So I was a bit hmm when my MiL said matter of factly to me, 'so you'll stop bfing at 9 months?'

Why? Why 9 months? What on earth is she on about? I have no idea why 8 months is fine but 10 months is scandalous.

marzipananimal Thu 24-Jan-13 14:36:20

Hm, doesn't sound great to me bimba. I think having high standards about childcare is fine!

BimbaBirba Thu 24-Jan-13 14:37:16

Oh I forgot that the girl who said it was ok to bf until about 7 months then went on to add that she started giving her DD formula at 4 months because she was too hungry and formula was much more "satisfying" than her bm.
What total and utter tosh!

badguider Thu 24-Jan-13 14:37:30

I think it's about work for a lot - but it doesn't mean bf stops, just that it becomes invisible/private as most people i know only bf at bedtime and sometimes in the morning after going back to work but not through the day.

LoonyRationalist Thu 24-Jan-13 14:42:43

Bimba as others have said I'd be seriously reconsidering sending my child to that nursery, there is lots of provision out there which would have no problem living up to your rightly high standards.

MolotovCocktail Thu 24-Jan-13 14:43:04

Hmm, the nursery doesn't sound like it's the most stimulating, Bimbra - are there any others that you could check out? If your standards are too high, then so are mine because I'd expect nothing less than what you ideally described.

And I think the expectation to stop bf somewhere between 6-12mo is the norm. My friend whose baby has just turned 12mo stopped bf the baby at 7mo when her Dad said to her 'You really should put E on a bottle now. She's too big to be having her milk like that'. It really shook my friend, and she stopped bf thinking it was inappropriate - and has regretted it ever since.

I'm an advocate for doing whatever suits Mum and Baby. I don't concern myself about whether it's breast or bottle - I think mothers can do without the judgement either way.

I'm really surprised you encountered such negativity. Really, really horrible because it must I've felt like such a personal sleight.

Spiritedwolf Thu 24-Jan-13 14:45:39

Are you set on sending your baby there? I know that people have different ideas about feeding their own babies but it was very rude for them to suggest it wasn't 'ok' for you to still breastfeed beyond 7 months.

They should know better if they are dealing with young babies and I wouldn't have confidence in their knowledge being up to date or their respect for your parenting choices after that encounter.

I don't think its weird - I'm coming up to 6 months of ebf and intend to feed for as long as my little one needs. However in fairness, they maybe don't know many 1 year olds who breastfeed. Ebf rates aren't great at 6 months, and by a year, many bfed babies will be down to a smaller number of feeds, so may just be having water and food, or formula or cows milk as daytime alternatives when they are in childcare. That doesn't mean you have to, but maybe explains why they are so unaware of it, many babies aren't bf at 1, and those who are might be used to alternatives during the day so the mums don't mention it.

juneau Thu 24-Jan-13 14:47:08

It doesn't sound like a good nursery at all and I don't think it's wrong to have high standards. I know no one would care for my child exactly as I would, but I pulled DS2 out of nursery because it was like you describe and I'm sorry, but that's not good enough for him. He's 20 months, btw, and still BF. I BF his brother until he was 21 months.

SuiGeneris Thu 24-Jan-13 14:55:25

BimbaBirba, that sounds awful. Would seriously reconsider childcare arrangements if possible (though it might be too late by now if you are going back to work). If they are so ignorant on the basics of infant nutrition I would wonder what else they ignore/do not understand. And I would explain to the manager your concerns (but only once you have alternative arrangements in place).

Fwiiw, I bf'd DS1 until 23 months and am aiming for 2+ with DS2.

BimbaBirba Thu 24-Jan-13 15:27:05

Spiritedwolf, my DS doesn't even bf that much during the day either. It's just that he got very jealous because I was holding another baby (who was crying his eyes out but then calmed down with me) and so when I picked him up the first thing he wanted to do was to nurse, bless him!
Suigeneris, this nursery has a good reputation so I was very surprised that it's like this. Admittedly the people who recommended it have older children. It may be ok for other age groups, perhaps it's only this group of girls in the baby room who aren't very good.
The other nurseries in the area are all full. The only other option would be to use the sister nursery of this one which is only a couple of miles away and hope that it's a bit better hmm

EauRouge Thu 24-Jan-13 16:00:20

I think the cow's milk thing is a big part of it. I've had people ask me when DD1 was about 1 why I wasn't just giving her cow's milk, as though I was still breastfeeding because for some reason she couldn't have other milk.

I think breastfeeding is often seen as a chore or something that you have to do rather than a healthy mother/child relationship that can be enjoyed. Sad really, it shouldn't be a chore sad but a lot of mothers do have difficulties that they don't get enough support with.

Also there is still a detachment mentality that goes back a couple of hundred years. It is seen by a fair chunk of society as detrimental to a child that he relies on one person so much and isn't encouraged to be independent, sleep for 8 straight hours etc.

Basically, breastfeeding is blamed for a lot of problems that are not really problems. OP, if you haven't read The Politics of Breastfeeding then I highly recommend it!!

nickelbabe Thu 24-Jan-13 16:08:22

among a lot of people I know, past 6 months is weird.
but that's family.

everyone else seems to be of the mind that it happens when it happens.
a lot of them went to formula because they were going back to work because they didn't want to/felt they couldn't express.

DD is 13.5mo and still BFing. I can't see her stopping any time soon, as she sees it as "real" food and the other stuff is just a fob-off. wink
she also uses it to get to sleep.

I'm going by the WHO recommendation of "at least 2 years and then as mutually agreeable."

and doing it in my shop to show people that it's normal, acceptable and good.

nickelbabe Thu 24-Jan-13 16:10:08

the HV asked if she was "on cow's milk yet" and I said "ooh, no, she doesn't need that", to which she replied she was pleased that I was still BFing.

(obv she has cow's milk on porridge/muesli and cheese)

EauRouge Thu 24-Jan-13 16:12:38

Nickel, I can't believe your DD is 13.5mo already!

givemeaclue Thu 24-Jan-13 16:12:42

This, nursery doesn't sound very good at all. I would look at some others

nickelbabe Thu 24-Jan-13 16:15:51

i know! shock

BimbaBirba Thu 24-Jan-13 16:18:50

eaurouge what you say makes a lot of sense.
I don't mind too much people who don't have children being ignorant, it's only when mothers dish out a lot of crap about bf that it makes my blood boil and I feel I need to say something. I never thought I'd get to this point but, now that I am, I don't see why I would choose to stop considering it's extremely convenient and simple and lovely too. There isn't a negative about it anymore, long are the days of engorgement, pain, etc...It fulfils a need and it's good for his health. It saddens me that people can't see it this way - including my DM!

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