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2.5 year old still breastfeeding

(16 Posts)
Busybeesmum Mon 06-Feb-17 10:55:06

Hello all. My DD is still bf and im struggling. She insists on a feed every morning and before bed. If i dont bf her the tantrums go on and on. I have 3 other kids so tend to give in. Dd is a happy child but very clingy to me. How do i break this cycle?

tiredybear Mon 06-Feb-17 22:39:04

hi, what is the problem exactly? You want to wean but she isn't ready? You feel she should be ready? You don't have time to feed her due to the demands of the other kids?

There is a fantastic support group on facebook called 'breastfeeding older babies and beyond'. Whilst the group focuses on supporting mothers to continue their breastfeeding journey until the child is ready to wean, there are useful articles on gentle, parent-led weaning techniques.

good luck

Busybeesmum Tue 07-Feb-17 21:26:04

I think shes ready to wean and its more of a comfort thing. My other 3 all weaned by 18 months and me feeding her takes away time with the other 3. Dh thinks i need to be stricter

Teenspov Tue 07-Feb-17 21:27:08

Maybe try and introduce comfort to her in other ways, a cuddle, a toy, doing something just you and her?

Busybeesmum Tue 07-Feb-17 21:42:54

Shes got a bear but hes thrown in temper. Dh has put her down tonight and despite her pulling my boob out my top she didnt get a feed. She was crying but dh calmed her

theothercatpurred Tue 07-Feb-17 22:01:06

Are you talking about "breaking the cycle" because you want to or because you think you should?

It's very normal to BF at 2.5. I fed DC1 till 4 and currently feeding 3.5yo DC2. At 2.5 feeding will still provide nutrition, support her immune system, encourage the growth of good bacteria in her gut as well as give comfort - not to mention the protection it gives her and you against a range of illnesses including certain cancers.

The UK has weird attitudes to BFing, we stop much earlier than other countries. Your DD's instinct to feed is instinctual, natural and age appropriate.

There is no "right" time to stop BFing IMO. It's a relationship between you and your DD, don't let anyone pressure you to stop - or go on! It's about what's right for you and your family.

If you are only trying to stop because you think 2.5 year old shouldn't feed then maybe try just remembering that actually 2.5 is still very young, it's OK to carry on a bit longer if that's what she needs. Also please ignore what DH says. Not his boobs, not his body, he doesn't have any BFing experience or instincts. This is a decision for the mother every time IMO.

If on the other hand you have decided it's the right time for you to give up (for whatever reason) and it's important to achieve that, then go for it but it might be easier if you try to support her not feeding by remembering she's not being unduly clingy or naughty, you're asking her to fight a strong, very real and age-appropriate instinct, and she will need support to do that effectively.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 08-Feb-17 11:20:04

I stopped BF'ing my DS at 2.5 years as I'd had enough by that point.

He always wanted a feed in the morning and before bed and would also have random feeds in the day sometimes or if he woke at night.

My DH took him away for a week without me which helped to break the cycle I imagine but as soon as they came home the first thing DS asked for was "mummy milk".

The following week I had to bed share with DS as we were away with my family so he kept feeding in the night (very annoying) but because we'd be doing activities all day he didn't once ask for a feed because he was too busy having fun doing other things.

When we returned back home I decided that I was just going to stop him cold turkey because I honestly couldn't see another way. I just kept telling him that he was a big boy now and "mummy milk" has all gone and although he tantrummed over it for the first 3 days or so he eventually realised milk was not on the menu.

It's been 4 months now since I stopped and he still constantly has his hand down my top for comfort and is always asking if he can "hold mommy's milk", especially at bedtime. If we are bathing together he will say he wants to "kiss mommy's milk" and will kiss my boobs/nipples but he never asks for or tries to feed.

Good luck OP - it's not easy but you may just have to ride the tantrums out and be firm.

JellyWitch Wed 08-Feb-17 11:23:23

My 2.5 year old is still super keen as well.

My eldest was 5 when he weaned though so I'm not in a rush. I would say it's totally normal and also that it does get easier and less frequent over the age of 3. If you need to set limits (just bedtime) to be able to cope then do that, or if you really can't stand keeping going then it's ok to stop too - nursing at his age is very much a two way relationship and needs to work for both parties.

TheresABluebirdOnMyShoulder Wed 08-Feb-17 11:35:10

Just place marking a little bit for advice really because I feel I will be in this scenario soon enough. It's interesting that you say he's only doing it for comfort because actually I think that's quite an important part of what breastfeeding is and so if he still needs that comfort does it mean that he can't be ready to wean? Or does there come an age where a child should really be able to find comfort from other sources? I don't know.

If I'm really honest, I know that part of my reluctance to continue feeding a toddler is that I feel it is even more harshly judged than feeding a baby. I think that even people who have been supportive of me feeding babies in public would judge if I fed a toddler. And that makes me sad. Because I like to think that I'm strong and wouldn't let other people's opinions sway me but if I'm honest it is a concern because nobody wants to feel self conscious. Then again, if more people just said "balls to it" and did what was right for them, maybe it wouldn't be an unusual sight worthy of raised eyebrows and whispers.

TheresABluebirdOnMyShoulder Wed 08-Feb-17 11:37:35

Sorry - should say "she" not "he"!

Toofondofcake Wed 08-Feb-17 11:46:53

It's totally valid for you to need to put your feelings of readiness to stop at the top of the priority list at the moment, breastfeeding is fantastic but mums opinion and feelings are crucial to the wellbeing of the family.

The don't as don't refuse thing might not work if she is that insistent but it could be a good place to start. Just tell her the milk is gone on the morning feeds until she lets go of that feed then do the same in the evening if that works? Good luck!

tiredybear Wed 08-Feb-17 12:11:16

Research indicates that babies usually naturally wean anytime between 2.5 - 7 years of age. It also suggests that by letting the child wean when they're ready, the child will become more independent and self-confident, as they have been allowed to reach independence on their own terms, rather than being pushed too soon. So, although baby might by clingy now, in the long-run they won't be.

I would also really like to add that it is STRONGLY recommended NOT to go cold turkey as this can cause major problems for both mum and baby. It's traumatic for the child and can lead to issues such as mastitis for the mum. If you want/need to do parent-led weaning, it is recommended that you drop one feed a week, or every 5 or so days.

littledinaco Wed 08-Feb-17 13:53:11

I second the Facebook group mentioned above. Seeing other mums feeding their toddlers does normalise it and like pp says there are some good ideas for gentle weaning if that's what you want to do.

' might be easier if you try to support her not feeding by remembering she's not being unduly clingy or naughty, you're asking her to fight a strong, very real and age-appropriate instinct, and she will need support to do that effectively'
^^ this is completely true. It is so normal to feed at this age but because not many people do it, it's seen as something abnormal and that you should stop.

Maybe look at your reasons for wanting to stop and decide if this is definitely what you want. Then if it is, you can make a plan of how to stop with the least distress to your DD.
Remember if you do stop, you might swap the feeding for other things that take your time so more tantrums, harder to get to sleep, needing more cuddles etc.

Also, if she senses you are wanting to stop/hears you talking about stopping with DH (they pick up on more than you realise sometimes) it might be making her more clingy/want to nurse more as she is panicking that it's going to get taken away.

tiredybear Wed 08-Feb-17 22:41:00

Yes, one way of gentle weaning is to actually offer boob LOTS. For example, when they are engrossed with playing with their favourite toy, so that they are the ones refusing. It makes them feel more secure.

Biscuitrules Tue 14-Feb-17 23:26:13

I recently stopped feeding my DS2 at age 2.11. Two observations

1. The pressure of others' disapproval can be hard to take. The way I dealt with it second time round was not to consult anyone and neither to conceal or draw attention to it. DS2 mainly fed in his room and if my husband wasn't reminded of it he didn't comment on it.

2. Toddlers can change quite suddenly. I was fortunate in that DS2 weaned in a very gentle way, entirely led by him, but I wouldn't have anticipated this happening until just before it did. He used to always feed in the mornings but then one morning ran straight from his cot to the living room and after that never showed interest again in the mornings, he was more interested in the TV! Then a similar thing happened about 6 months later at nighttime, one night he just forgot to ask and after that for a few weeks he only asked for it 50% of the time and it gradually faded away. In fact, the reason I am lurking on these boards tonight because I suddenly realised he is in fact well and truly weaned - his last feed was several weeks ago. So if you are happy to go on for a bit you could do and see what happens.

Another tip I read on here and liked was to re-cast "sorry, the milk is all gone" in a positive light by praising the child for having done so well and drunk up all the milk.

Good luck!

TeaTeaTea Wed 15-Feb-17 19:41:36

Busybeesmum I just (as of last Sat) dropped my 15months last feed. Likewise with your situation i knew my DS was only doing it for comfort and it was his routine.
The morning feed i managed to drop by offering milk in his cup, putting morning cartoons on (i know, i know - using the TV but frankly i prefer Fireman Sam & Thomas to gloomy breakfast news some days!) and then getting up and sorting breakfast i.e. getting my boobs out of his reach.

Bedtime feed was harder as I think I was getting more emotional about it, I changed the whole bedtime routine. First night he played up, 2nd night he was knackered anyway so dozed on my shoulder as I stood up & cuddled. 3rd night he knew what was coming (what the new routine was). Milk is now downstairs with Teddy who he adores so he still has that comfort.
Plus I sit with him still as talk quietly.
Hope it goes well for you - I overstressed WAY more than was needed in the end.

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