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Should I stop breastfeeding at 22 months?

(12 Posts)
FirmAndFruity Tue 26-May-15 15:54:53

I would be interested to hear from anyone who has been in a similar situation to the one I am in now.

My 22 month old daughter is very healthy, eats everything and sleeps 10 hours straight every night. I breastfeed first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Very occasionally, eg. if she is ill and not eating much, I might give an extra feed in the day. I never really had a plan for stopping breastfeeding, only a vague idea that one day, faced with the delights of chicken curry and chocolate brownies, she would get bored of my milk and stop. However, she is showing no sign of wanting to stop and I am now wondering whether to force the situation and put a plan in place to make her stop, or whether to carry on and see what happens. My worries are:

1. Will she ever stop by herself?

2. If I don't 'force' a stop, could I be waiting forever for something that isn't going to happen?

3. She is very calm and happy and doing so well in every aspect of development - could I mess it all up by stopping feeding her? ie. could the change be very unsettling for her?

4. Given she doesn't seem to want to stop, is it going to be very difficult if I decide to stop? Has anyone got ideas for providing comfort/activities to replace feeds (for both of us!)?

I do like breastfeeding and have no particular reason for needing to stop, but I have got her up and put her to bed every day of her life, and I'm quite tired (I've worked full-time since she was 7 months). It would be nice to have a night off occasionally, although I will miss the closeness.

cabbageleaf Tue 26-May-15 17:26:37

Hi FirmandFruity,
my DS is only 5.5 months so I have no direct experience of stopping bf, but I can answer your first question: yes, she will stop bf of her own accord - the question is just when. My elderly neighbour always proudly tells the story of how he decided to stop bf - he was six years old! So, seeing as you don't know when she will decide to stop, I think it will be up to you!

TinyTear Tue 26-May-15 17:32:32

When my daughter turned 2 we started don't offer don't refuse. And no outside feeding. So we were down to morning and bedtime only...

She weaned when her sister was born at 3y 2m

BertieBotts Tue 26-May-15 17:51:18

1. Yes she will. Self weaning tends to happen somewhere between 2 and 5 years, most commonly at around 3-4, but can be later or earlier.

2. You could be waiting a few years, but you certainly won't be waiting forever. Or, how many 30 year olds do you know who still haven't weaned? smile Anecdotally, the maximum age is about 6 years when the adult teeth begin to come through. I have heard stories of children feeding when older than this, around 7 or 8, but in all cases that I have heard of with children at this age, there have been some special needs or developmental delay. It's not your typical situation.

3. No. If you've had enough and you want to stop, it's fine to stop. It has to be working for both of you.

4. Difficult to say. There are slow weaning methods (don't offer, don't refuse), gentle encouragement can help, where you distract and replace activities and change routines, some children react okay to a simple "Baba is broken, all gone now". But others are more attached to it and it's harder to get them to cut down, so that might be distressing if that happens.

My thoughts added - at this age, it's most definitely not all or nothing. You will most likely find that she doesn't NEED it any more, which gives you a tremendous freedom. If you want to go out, get someone else to do bedtime, change the morning routine, say no once in a while, put limits on how she feeds (I used to count when I was feeling sore and then DS had to stop), introduce "nursing manners" (asking nicely, using a particular word or phrase, only asking/expecting it at home or even in a certain chair, in bed, whatever) or even go away for a weekend, or longer, without her - all of those are very possible, or if not quite yet, they will be in another 3-4 months. In fact, the limiting it to a specific chair (etc) is a nice way to set up weaning - you get her to associate BF with that chair and at first, you let her lead you to the chair any time, but over time you become in control of when you sit in the chair, and eventually you start avoiding it. Perhaps one day you block it off or remove it altogether, and then it's done, in a very gentle way.

It's nice, IMO. I fed DS until he stopped at 4.3 years old. By the end he was feeding very infrequently and I didn't notice until he was ill and he refused.

Tamar86 Tue 26-May-15 18:14:18

I was in your situation twice, and I stopped at 23 months and 25 months.

With DD1, I just decided I really really didn't want to carry any more one evening and just stopped there and then - I'd been intending to get to 2 years, but suddenly couldn't face it.

My DC didn't seem particularly bothered. DD1 never asked again. DD2 asked a couple of times, I fobbed her off, she didn't ask again. There was no upset, no tears, they both took it in their stride.

Alanna1 Tue 26-May-15 18:22:04

I stopped long before this, partly for this reason but a friend I had in your situation when away for a two days to her sister's house, popped back briefly in the day, then went away again for a two days. She expressed milk whilst away. All worked fine. I've also heard of someone who took their child to centerparcs and just said there was no milk at centreparcs and their daughter was so excited by centreparcs that it didn't bother her - but maybe that's urban myth!

BertieBotts Tue 26-May-15 19:40:58

No both of those sound plausible and typical of nursing at that age and stage smile

MerynFuckingTrant Tue 26-May-15 19:42:17

22 months is still very little. She will change a lot over the next year and sometimes it can be very sudden so while she may show no signs if stopping now she may just surprise you one day by not asking for her feed.
I have almost weaned ds2, he's 3yrs two months and just not ready to stop altogether yet. He has a short feed at bedtime.
I have had to say no to feeds and try and force it a bit, when he was two he still had 8-10 breastfeeds per 24hrs so I've cut down on his feeds a huge amount in the past year.
My aim is to have him completely weaned by age 4 at the latest.
He would not have been anywhere near ready to stop at 22 months but every child is different.

Mamab33 Tue 26-May-15 19:51:20

Sorry I've not got advice op but don't offer don't refuse gets good reports. How did you manage feeding and working full time from 7 months if you don't mind me asking?

MarysPrayer Tue 26-May-15 21:34:27

First of all, well done for breastfeeding for so long, especially after going back to work from 7 months.

I think you know yourself when you are ready and, as long as it is done gently, you can successfully wean before she is ready. My dd is 2.6 and has just weaned, a few days ago. We had gradually reduced her feeds and had been giving her lots of extra cuddles and attention. For example, at bedtime we lie down together and chat about her day and the story we have just read.
I do feel a little sad, but I'm also relieved that we've done it without any tears. I do feel a little sad but I don't feel like there has been any effect on the bond between us at all. I am very proud of my big little girl!

Good luck.

gubbinsy Fri 29-May-15 15:42:50

Reading with interest as DS is 18 months and we have morning and eve feeds. He had been put to bed by DH without though and occasionally skipped am with no issues. I had to go away for a family emergency last weekend and he was fine - first night away! Any hopes I had that he might have forgotten were dashed when he woke up and demanded milk!

jimijack Fri 29-May-15 15:52:02

My boy is 28 months and not showing any signs of wanting to stop.
It's fine for us, I don't offer, don't refuse. No bf while we are out.

We both love it, I am steadfast in my attitude that I don't give a flying fuck what any one else says/thinks & will continue for as long as we want.

We are just rolling with it at the moment, I don't think it will be a problem stopping when we are ready.

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