Extended BF - is it really worth it?(40 Posts)
Come on you BF experts help me get my head around this. Please
DS2 is now 15 months and has 1 bf at night. I'm thinking of stoping this purely to make the bedtime routine more flexible. It is just a convenience thing and I could easily be persuaded to continue if anyone can convince me that there is a significant advantage to continuing.
It reduces your risk of getting breast cancer, arthritis, and several other kinds of cancer that I can't recall just now. And it reduces your DS's chance of catching various inconvenient-but-not-serious things.
But the #1 advantage for us between the ages of 1 and 2, at least, was that even if you normally only nurse once or twice a day it was fantastic for getting them out of tantrums when they've reached the all-tantrummed-out-and-would-really-like-to-stop-now-but-can't=quite-get-emotions-under-control stage (I'd actually forgotten that until thinking about it to answer this post, but now I remember thanking my lucky stars that I was still breastfeeding on any number of occasions).
DS would go to bed fine if I wasn't there, mind you, but would always want a breastfeed if I wasn't.
I was thanking my lucky stars I am still BFing earlier this week when DS had a temperature of 40.6 due to horrific teething - all he wanted was boob and I don't know how I would have comforted him if I was not still feeding him.
And they love it so much. I can't bring myself to stop. That little stroke they do, and the glassy eyed look of contentment, that's a reason in itself to carry on, no?
It is an instant calmer - I rarely use it as that but when DD had Cpox recently I was so grateful for having continued.
Like georgimama I was v glad a couple of weeks ago when ds2 (18 months) had a horrible bug and was throwing everything up that he could keep bm down and so I could help him get enough fluids.
"want a breastfeed if I was", clearly, not "want a breastfeed if I wasn't". D'oh.
Still the same reasons as they encourage you with at the beginning. And it is still natural and nutritionally perfect for them.
I would be interested to hear some sciencey answers though as am going to a family bbq at the weekend where they will inevitably ask me if i'm still feeding and then pressure me to quit saying there is no benefit to baby at that age (15m also) and i'm doing it for selfish reasons blah blah blah.
at the extra weightatchers points
WRT reducing risks of nasties - are there any figures on whether it really makes a difference if the number of feeds is so low?
I get the point about when they are sick. He was really poorly at 12 months and it was great to be able to feed him when nothing else would stay down.
at the weightwatchers points - have to confess this is one of the reasons we've kept going as long as we have.
I get all these points, but I just have this feeling that it's the right time to stop. I expected to carry on longer. I've been joking to my rl friends that I'll prob still be feeding him when he heads off to uni. I really thought it would be a big deal, particularly as we don't plan on having any more and I have really loved bf. But all of a sudden I just feel like the time has come to stop. He seems such a boy now. Not my baby any more. Did nobody else get this?
I know it would be easier but then part of me thinks - balls! Why should I hide it! I'm proud that we still do it. I'm also staying the night so would prolly get caught out if I lied.
i read something earlier this week about feeding past 16m (? might not be quite right?) and reduction in rheumatoid arthritis. all of my older family have this so i am happy to think my chance is less.
Gina - sorry to hear you're getting hassle to stop. Fortunately I haven't had this - if my friends/family think I'm bonkers then they're too polite to say so .
I'm a big believer in instincts. I think as parents we are given so much advice and information that sometimes we lose sight of what our insticts are telling us. And right now my instincts are telling me that we've come to the end of this chapter. But I want to make sure that if I do stop that I don't end up regretting it. I do love it and its been really easy right the way through but I just feel the time has come to stop. Does that make sense?
love2sleep, i'm still feeding my almost 26 month old dd. I have definitely been through phases of thinking it's time to stop but I always end up carrying on just cos she loves it so much and although 2 years seems like a long time to feed it's such a short time when you think of the whole of their lives and such a lovely bond to share that will soon be gone.
On the other hand, you've done brilliantly getting this far along and if you feel it's time to stop then you shouldn't feel guilty.
love2sleep if you want to stop do it! You don't need permission! I do sometimes think about stopping but am quite unclear about how that would work (DS is 17 months and still nursing to sleep at night will go down in cot during the day for any Tom Dick or Harry but not for me at bedtime!)... I am going to be bitty lady.
my friend was very anti ebf. i was really upset and told her so. over the past year she has changed her mind entirely and tonight (an occasional evening out for us) she was so supportive and pleased with me for continuing
so, don't think about other people. there are things you can say to make it easier for them if you need to.
Ds is 18mo, and still nurses quite a lot, but we're not planning to stop just yet. I found it very useful when he was 12 months and was hideously sick of about 1 month, and bm was the only thing he would take. We would've been in hospital with him on a drip if it wasn't for bf-ing. Also agree with everyone who says it's instant calm juice for the tantrum phase.
Also, for us, it got easy at around the 12 month mark, so I really don't want to give up now. And I don't think I could remove his primary source of comfort, not just yet.
Obviously it's your call but I know that for us, we're nowhere near ready to stop yet. But you have to do what you feel is right for you and your ds.
WHO recommend it until age 2 - so keep going if you are happy to - if not then you have done excellent. I fed DS1 til he was 15mths and stopped because of "comments" and I generally thought that 15mths was really old - I didn't have the internet then and had nothing to read about extended nursing (I wish I had) I was so upset when we stopped, i just wasn't ready. Now DS2 is 11wks and we are def going for the 2yr mark! And beyond if we are both happy with it.
I don't feel guilty at the idea of stopping. In fact I'm surprisingly unemotional about the whole thing. I know that we've been so lucky with how well bf has gone for both boys and will always be very grateful for that. I just can't see any strong reasons for and against and want to make sure that I won't regret my decision later on.
My impressions is that most mums who keep going past 12 months end up going on a lot longer. Does nobody stop at where we are?
I think if I was getting "comments" then I'd probably carry on even longer, but then I'm awkward like that
The WHO and teh AAPS recommend up until 2 (as does anyone who's done any research in the area )
The reported benefits to mthe mother include reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer, also reduced risk of osteoporosis.
Benefits to baby include increased IQ (yes, really!), supported immune systems, and almost certainly more. There's no data for nurslings over 2, because in all studies they've lumped in with "over 2"
The natural age of weaning, that is the age we'd nurse until if we were "in the wild" and unfettered by culture and ILs opinions is estimated to be between 3 and 7.
And it's lovely Most tangible benefit to me was the night DS spent in hospital. Inconsolable by anything but boob (boob and more boob). No idea what I've have done without; pace the corridor all night, I guess. At least this way I got to lie down!
My DD is 2 and a half and still BF. It's not that i really want to carry on, more that she just wont stop! She feeds morning, bedtime, during the night and several times during the day. I feel self concious of doing it in public now she is older though I know O shouldn't. I am convinced that if she stopped feeding during the night she would sleep through. Its becoming a bit of a bind now but I just don't have the heart not to let her have "boobie" anymore.
As other people have said there are times when its a great comforter though.
NAEN - I've heard all this before about the benefits. I'm just not seen convincing evidence of a benefit after 12 months - I'd love to hear of any such evidence. As I say I'm easily persuadable to carry on
love2sleep, when you say you've not seen convincing evidence, so you mean you've not read the primary research, you don't believe peer-reviewed, published data, or that you actually want to see someone who says "well I was going to get breastcancer, but after breatfeeding my littleone for 2 yeasrs I didn't"
Because if the latter, I think you'll struggle! If the former, I can't look now (should be working ) but I'm pretty sure the references are on kellymom. If the middle one, then there's no point in the discussion
love2sleep I breast fed ds1 unti he was just over 2 - stopped no probs
Ds2 stopped himself @ 18 months
Dd is 26months and we are still going altho its only one feed at bedtime. She doesnt miss it if I am not there but I do enjoy it and as she is my last I suppose I am continuing for that reason as well.
I think if your gut is telling its right to stop now and you think it will be an easy transition then I would but I always found going up to at least 2years (except for stubborn ds2)was handy for all the above reasons.
Dont know if that helps!
Join the discussion
Please login first.