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Anyone else breastfeeding an 18 month old or older?

(20 Posts)
elliejjtiny Mon 28-Dec-15 04:14:49

I'm breastfeeding my 18 month old. Now he's got to 18 months I'm getting grief from family members about how it's weird and I should stop, I'm being lazy, I'm babying him, I'm making him dependant on me etc. I don't want to and nor does he. Our local breastfeeding group only allows babies up to 4 months and I don't know anyone else feeding a baby this age. I'm proud of myself for getting this far (he is my 5th baby but the 2nd I've breastfed this long) and some encouragement and praise would be nice. We had a rough start with him in NICU for 5 days and I was very poorly too so I think it's fantastic that we managed to get breastfeeding established at all really.

My 2.5 year old is meant to be having an operation next summer, staying overnight in hospital. My family keep going on about how I won't be able to carry on breastfeeding then, as if it isn't hard enough knowing my 2 year old will have to go through that without them bringing it up all the time and going on about me giving up breastfeeding too.

2LittleMonkeysJumpingOnMyHead Mon 28-Dec-15 05:45:22

Next summer is a long way away.
I BF DC1 to past 2 and DC2 is also past 2. It wasn't something I expected, they just got a day older each day.
I'm getting comments from DMIL, and sometimes feel fed up with it, but generally plan to carry on for as long as DC2 and I are happy.
I wouldn't worry about time away, either. IME they will BF if you're there but happily go without if you're not.

metimeisforwimps Mon 28-Dec-15 06:14:03

I am breastfeeding my 20 month old, and also bf my older child til he was 2.5. I think you're doing great, congratulations. Early attachment is so important and I really feel that extended bf must help to establish their sense of personal well being and security. its also a great way to help them through teething/colds. I had a couple of hospital stays overnight when ds1 was over 1 year. It was fine, he just fed when he came to see me in visiting hours. I would hold your head up high with the people who are questioning what you are doing. Oh and their is also a lot of evidence for the enormous health benefits for mother and child for extended bf.

metimeisforwimps Mon 28-Dec-15 06:15:42

There not their, sorry.

spillyobeans Mon 28-Dec-15 06:24:42

Weird that the group only allows babies up to four months, i wonder why that is??

I think honestly just smile nod and do what you want and what you feel is right anyway. My ds is 6 month and ive had it since he was 8 weeks, mostly from inlaws how hes 'not getting enough' (hes HUGE, 95th centile up from 50th from birth so god knows where their getting that from) 'hes just comfort sucking and not feeding' (how comfort is of less importance to being fed i do not know) 'you cant see how much hes getting' (so??) And hes 'too relliant on you' (thats the whole point of being a mum surely?). Youve done amazingly well to get this far, and i think unless someone has breastfed themselves they just dont get it. I have to admit, before my ds the idea of breastfeeding longer than 12 months didnt apeal, couldnt put my finger on it but just didnt like the idea of an older baby/child/toddler breastfeeding. Now my ds is here and ive breastfed for 6 months, i dont know when i will stop/i like the idea of carrying on untill 2. Plus feeding until later does have benefits for their imune system and you still keep the bonding time together etc.

Nanofone Mon 28-Dec-15 07:20:26

My DD bf my DGD for 22 months until my DGD finally lost interest - I don't think she ever intended to, but it suited them both. I can understand that it's hard to find support in real life - can you find an online breast feeding support group?

Fraggled Mon 28-Dec-15 07:25:54

Yes I'm feeding my 23 month old, and I fed her brother until around 2.5 years. Just do what is right for you and your child. I think I must have made it clear to family members that it's none of their business how long I feed my children as they no longer comment! I seem to remember calmly citing the WHO advice to my FIL when he made a snide comment a few years ago about me STILL feeding 18 month old DS.

SmileAndNod Mon 28-Dec-15 07:31:59

Agree that it's strange that the bf group only allows babies to 4 months.

I'm still feeding DD (she's 2 1/2). Only twice a day now - or once if she forgets! -, she has gradually dropped feeds when she has felt like it. I didn't have a set time in mind, am happy to feed until they decide to stop. DS was 19 months, DD1 was about 2 1/2, DD2. Have been feeding for years, and though it will be sad as she's our last baby, I think I'm ready to stop now when she decides.

I've just generally ignored other people's comments, smile and nod and inwardly tell them to bugger off.

Summer is a long time off, you will probably be able to manage overnight just fine by then. You've done amazingly well, don't let them put a downer on it.

confusedandemployed Mon 28-Dec-15 07:33:35

I didn't bf beyond 4 weeks for myriad reasons but my friend bf her DD1 til she was just over 2 and my friend had just given birth to DD2. DD1 weaned naturally shortly after her 2nd birthday. Her DD2 is 16 months now but showing very clear signs of weaning naturally now. My friend is mainly glad: after nearly 4 years solid of pregnancy /bf she would like her body back now!

Just carry on til he decides to stop himself. Or until you decide enough is enough. It only your decision after all. Everyone else can bleat as much as they like, you don't have to listen.

BondJayneBond Mon 28-Dec-15 07:59:17

DS2 is 2 yrs 3 months and still breastfeeding. He isn't ready to stop and there's no real reason I can see to wean him completely yet.

I found it useful to calmly tell family members the WHO guidance (they recommend continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods to 2 years and beyond) when they came out with comments about DS2 being too old.

I'm also on a local LLL Facebook group for mothers of toddlers which I find great for online support, you may find it useful to look for similar FB groups. I'm also surprised about your local breastfeeding support group not allowing babies over 4 months. Are there any breastfeeding groups a bit further out that allow older babies / toddlers?

Also, regarding the overnight stay in hospital - DS2 has occasionally gone overnight without a bedtime feed or an overnight feed when I've gone out in the evening and someone else has done bedtime. He'll take cow's milk from other people if I'm not around. One night away doesn't mean you have to stop breastfeeding forever if you don't want to.

Wilhamenawonka Mon 28-Dec-15 08:05:00

Yep, I still breastfeed my two year old and fed dd1 until she was three (but stopped feeding her in public after 2)
Like a pp didn't intend to long term feed they just got a little older every day.

Your little boy won't nurse forever and if both you and he are happy with it then try not to worry about other people.

DrRanjsRightEyebrow Mon 28-Dec-15 08:11:09

DS is 2 next week and still feeding voraciously! He can go all day without if he's busy but if we're at home it's a comfort thing/when he gets bored and is snacking all day long. (I never offer never refuse, unless it's inconvenient) At night he'll feed an average of 4 times, though he's got a cold so was on it all night long. Zzzzz. I get a lot of comments too but am skilled at brushing them off now. It makes far more sense to me to let him decide when he no longer needs it. And if he needs it for comfort emotionally then that's as valid to me as a physical need. The bf group is probably primarily a support group run by peer advisors so I guess they figure you won't need much support beyond 4 months. There's lots of closed facebook groups dedicated to feeders of older babies and toddlers if you'd like some supportive chat?

Elllicam Mon 28-Dec-15 08:12:23

If you are on Facebook there is a good breastfeeding older babies group

DrRanjsRightEyebrow Mon 28-Dec-15 08:13:00

Oh and DS has had 2 operations that meant I couldn't feed for most of the night and the following day. It wasn't pleasant but we both survived, it didn't affect feeding after at all (supply is well established!)

RatOnnaStick Mon 28-Dec-15 08:23:22

Ds2 is nearly 3 and still has some early morning. Ds1 was the same. He gave up at just about 4. Nobody apart from DH really knew about it though after about 18 months just because it was only ever first thing and last thing in bed by that point.

HarrysMummy17 Mon 28-Dec-15 08:37:03

I bf ds until he was 2.5. I stopped telling people. He fed at bedtime and sometimes first thing in the morning so no one else other than dp had to know!

boldlygoingsomewhere Mon 28-Dec-15 09:12:32

DD is just over 2 and still breastfeeding. It is mostly just briefly in morning and at bedtime - a bit more frequent if she is feeling ill. I never thought I would still be BF at this stage but like others have taken one day at a time.

caker Mon 28-Dec-15 09:55:29

I second the Facebook feeding older babies group. I fed DD until 2.5 and only stopped as I'm pregnant and milk disappeared very quickly. Poor DD still tries sometimes (she's 2.9 now). She is very cuddly now, she definitely misses the contact. I didn't set out to bf for so long but it was right for DD for a variety of reasons.

ISaySteadyOn Thu 31-Dec-15 12:04:41

Fed both DDs until they had all their teeth at which point it seemed to tail off naturally (they were both about 2.5) and am still feeding DS at nearly 21 months.

Also, OP, well done for getting bfing started even with DS in NICU, I had similar plus DS got jaundice. So you are not alone!

Booboostwo Thu 31-Dec-15 13:12:08

I fed DD to 3yo and are currently feeding DS who is 16mo. Frankly ignore other people, they talk such rubbish about bf. I have been told I am doing it for my benefit (which is bloody what exactly?), that DS will become gay (come again?), that it's unnatural ( have you thought this one through?)...the list of idiocies is endless.

Continue if that is what you want to do. As for the summer, see how it goes. I went away for work for three nights when DS was 12mo and he was fine. He didn't even bother with the expressed milk and I just took a pump with me to release the pressure.

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