DH and I struggling to agree on when to stop BF.(28 Posts)
Hi. My DH and I seem to be going round in circles about giving up BF our 15 month old DS. My first two DCs self weaned at 13 months and 11 months (tummy bug), and I just assumed this baby would too... I never learn about making assumptions about children!
He has happily been having just a morning and night feed since 12 months, with cows milk throughout the day. But my DH (who is a very supportive and involved DH indeed!) feels it's time for DS to stop feeding, and I don't. He believes DS doesn't need it anymore nutritionally, and if he's only doing it for comfort / reassurance then he should have other ways of being comforted. (This is a bit of a misnomer as it's not like I'm feeding him because he's crying, but I assume he likes it and gets comfort from it because he's always keen).
I feel like it's a lovely 20 mins or so where I spend some time with him alone, basically cuddling and having a love fest with my baby.
At which stage DH points out that I'm doing it more for me than DS!
DH has said he doesn't want me to stop if I don't want to, but it is his son too, so I'm trying to understand both points of view. Does anyone have any wise words to offer my confused mind?
I just can't see a good reason to stop, and then DH asks the logical question of 'well would you feed him if he liked it age 12?' And I say no, but can't definitively say at what age I would want to stop.
And on my rambling thoughts plod...
It's not a logical question. It's a slippery slope argument. You could apply it the other way. Was he happy for you to feed at 6 months? 7? 10? Which day does your son get to wake up and be told he's so much older than the day before.
The logical question is "what are the good reasons to stop?" Any answer involving ewww or bitty can safely be discounted.
That is one of those 'false logic' questions designed to trip you up. Put forward your situation extended to absurd limits, then imply that your own situation is the same. It's not a very fair discussion technique TBH.
Leaving that aside, I'd ask why he wants you to stop. Because I'd say that the person wanting to change a status quo that is working needs to be the one to articulate why it needs to change.
The argument about nutrition, well you can find articles on that. You've answered that he does have other means of comfort. Is his honest reason that he now finds it a bit icky? Because that is understandable in our culture, but it's not a very good reason. Or is there something else? Does he feel excluded from the bedtime routine - in which case there may be other solutions that don't require bfing to cease. If you don't want to, and your DS doesn't want to, then I think that a third party who wants you to needs to put forward quite a compelling case.
And why is anyone who is breast feeding a child over 6 months always ALWAYS asked to nominate the day at which they will officially find it a bit icky? What on earth does that have to do with you breast feeding right now? And just say you are breast feeding "for you" (which I highly doubt). He is asking you stop "for him" - how is that better?
Guessing your child eats food other than broccoli and gains comfort from toys other than his favourite? Is that a good reason for him never again to eat broccoli - he could survive and thrive without it surely?
Yes, good point Stealth. Your benefits are not relevant, but his benefits/preferences are.
At which stage DH points out that I'm doing it more for me than DS!
I think that doing it for both of your pleasure is ok! If you and DS are enjoying it, then that probably is indicative of there being no good reason to stop.
cuddling and having a love fest with my baby
It sounds so lovely OP!
As the owner if a DD who said she'd give up BFing when she started school, but who decided weekends and holidays didn't count, I can assure you your DH is talking balderdash.
No mother BFs a child (or even a baby) who doesn't choose to BF.
All a mother does is not say no.
Who cares if you are doing it 'for you'?
I'm guessing that D's is still happy to breast feed? Not pinning him down? Kicking and screaming?
Nope? Then what is the problem?
How about La Leche guidance, never offer, never refuse....
We did this, dd stopped on her third birthday.
Why does he say he wants you to stop? If everyone is happy bar him then I would say he has to be the one to either articulate a argument you agree with or accept that your youngest wants to wait a while before weaning.
The WHO guidelines suggest that minimum 2 years breast feeding is ideal. ( not saying whether this is right or wrong just may give your dh something to read if he wants to better understand how others view the issue)
My eldest ds self weaned at 4 with no issues, I for a moment was getting to the will he ever want to stop stage but he did, happily and naturally.
I would say, don't stress about it. There's no 'right' or 'wrong' answer. If you stop tomorrow, that's OK, if you carry on another 6 months or a year, that's OK too, if it's OK with you. It's a very personal decision. You can take his opinions into consideration, but it's your decision.
Your dh is right - in so much there are benefits to you as you lower your risk of breast cancer whilst continuing to boost your child's immune system with species specific milk in a way that leaves you both relaxed and happy.
Can dh explain why he doesn't like this? Can he explain why bm for toddlers isn't nutritious when it obviously is and in fact adapts to suit toddlers? Can he explain why his arguments are hysterical and overly dramatic with no understanding of natural weaning ages?
Does your dh feel it is actually harmful for ds to be feeding still? And if so, in what ways?
My dh would, I think, have preferred me to stop bf dd at around 18 months, but didn't launch any particularly strong argument, so I carried on until she self-weaned at about 22 months. If he had had definite reasons why he thought it was having a negative impact on her (can't imagine what these would be, but still), I would obviously have considered them.
I would say that bf can potentially have a slightly negative or limiting influence on the intimacy of the couple, so could this be part of his concern? If so it is I think a valid thing to raise, though not necessarily reason enough to stop bf, if you feel strongly that it is right for your ds at the moment. Just a thought - this may not be relevant to your situation at all.
I don't understand why anyone would pick a specific time to stop. Why is it ok on Monday but not on Tuesday? Surely you just wait for it to naturally peter out, unless you as the breastfeeder wish to stop.
Benefits of BF past 1 :
Penguins - I threw his 'extreme' argument right back at him when he said it was almost cruel that i was happy to feed at morning and night, but dont offer it during the day by and asking if he thought one should never breast feed as then you'd never have to stop!
However, it really isn't a slanging match we're having, but a proper grown up chat. Like I said, he certainly isn't going to try to insist I stop. When I told him the thought of stopping made me sad he said he wouldn't want me to stop, but I really do just want to understand his position more.
I think he is coming more from society's view of ickiness at feeding a child over 1yr old, but it's different when it's you in the situation - societal norms don't matter a fig when it's the same child you've fed from hours old for months and months, it is weird to wake up one morning and say 'you're too old for it now'. Like waking up and saying 'you should be walking / talking / reading / shaving now'...
Thank you all for your responses, I knew a chat with MN might help me understand a little more.
Basically I'm right and he's wrong
" Basically I'm right and he's wrong "
What on earth gave you that idea? I thought my argument was very balanced
My argument with DD2 was just that she enjoys it, it's no hardship for me to do it, if I forced her to stop it would make her upset so why would I do that for no good reason?
I fed her until she was 3.5 It felt the right time to stop, she naturally stopped asking for it.
Absolutely, the 'only morning and night' thing makes no sense. I let DD1 have her teddy at night, but she's not allowed to take it out with her everywhere (ok, she's 5 now, but same rule has always applied). Children understand easily that certain things are for certain situations I think.
I can totally relate to what you mean. I thought I would feed to six months. I think I had it in my head as that's what you see in all the literature. Then I realised that a year would mean we could skip formula entirely. If you'd asked me when pregnant, I probably would have felt odd bfing past about one. Then I just never stopped. So I've fed both children to 2-ish (one a bit before, one a few months after). Both self weaned in my next pregnancy. Not sure what I'll do this time as it's definitely our last one so I'll be into new territory
Oh, and sorry, I didn't meant to imply you were having a slanging match, if you thought I did. The 'take one person's position, extend to absurd degree' thing is a common technique in debates. IIRC it has a latin name and everything
Why do you have to decide or agree? It happened naturally with your last 2 and it will again. I BF my 3rd for longer than my other 2 and gave up when I was ready. Ds was down to missing a feed every other day so the days just became weeks and that was that.
The big thing for me was that I honestly have no idea if DH knew I was still BF at that point. We were down to bedtime feeds and maybe an afternoon feed so DH was never around at those times.
Penguins - no I didn't think that's what you'd implied, but I've read enough threads on here that end in 'LTB' so I wanted to make clear to anyone reading this that I wasn't in need of that sort of advice!
Thank you again everyone for your replies. DS and I shall continue as normal until he (or I) decide otherwise.
The World Health Organisation recommends that all children should be breastfed for 2 years and beyond. Of course it doesn't suit everyone to do this, but if you do choose to carry on, then it is both normal and beneficial to your child.
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