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Extended breastfeeders, did you always know you'd feed that long?

(50 Posts)
naturelover Tue 05-Aug-08 09:32:57

The reason I ask is that I always thought I'd feed for a year, but now that DD is almost a year old, I don't want to stop, and it feels natural to continue. Eighteen months seems like a good time to stop at the moment, but perhaps by then I'll feel differently as well.

I'm worried (I know I shouldn't be) about people's reactions (family and friends - I don't care what complete strangers think) and I wonder how best to explain my reasons for continuing beyond a year. I realise I don't have to justify myself to anyone.

DH fully supports however long I breastfeed, and DD is clearly thriving on it. She's down to 4 feeds a day, sleeps through (in her own room) and I don't feel in any way compromised by breastfeeding, it's just a nice thing for us both to do.

Beyond a year, do you breastfeed in public? Because in some ways I'd like to only feed morning and bedtime, at home, within the next few months. Is this realistic? I'd like to breastfeed on my terms, IYSWIM. I don't want to get to the stage of a toddler pulling up my top in public, or having a tantrum if she can't feed when we're out and about.

Sorry for the ramble, I suppose I'm partly trying to collect my own thoughts, and it helps to write them down!

NotQuiteCockney Tue 05-Aug-08 09:35:14

I stopped feeding in public, with both my DSes, at about a year. Actually, I would only feed in my room or theirs (or on airplanes). It worked fine, we were down to 2-3 feeds a day.

With DS1, I think I meant to feed until he was 2, but stopped at 18 months. With DS1 I meant to feed for as long as I felt like, and we stopped at about 3.5.

TrinityRhino Tue 05-Aug-08 09:35:27

I never had a time in my head whne I would stop

gecko is now 18 month and I dont feel the need to stop yet
I like it
she still wakes in the night to feed but we cosleep and I'm used to it now

I do breastfeed publicly and I will continue to do so
If anyone has a problem with it then it is there problem

beansprout Tue 05-Aug-08 09:37:12

Ds1 stopped when he was 3. I always said that we would stop when he wanted to and happily, it worked out like that.

beansprout Tue 05-Aug-08 09:38:02

I didn't feed in public after about a year. I wish I had been braver. Maybe I will be with ds2!! grin

CantSleepWontSleep Tue 05-Aug-08 09:40:17

I hadn't thought beyond 6 months when dd was born. Had just assumed that I would stop then.
She's 2.6 now and still going, and it looks like I'll be tandem feeding in 8 weeks!

Although I try to avoid it, I will feed in public if necessary. If dd is tired and really grumpy then it's often less of a scene to feed her than to fight her about it! I fed her in a chip shop restaurant at the weekend, whilst wearing a dress, which wasn't ideal. Thankfully hunker was with me, so there'd have been plenty of support if anyone had said anything! grin

naturelover Tue 05-Aug-08 09:41:47

Thanks everyone. If your family/friends passed comment about you "still" feeding your LO, how did you respond? I sense my parents and siblings will think I'm odd for continuing. I know about all the benefits for me and DD but I don't want to ramble on about health benefits and bore the socks off everyone.

fishie Tue 05-Aug-08 09:43:31

no plans made at any stage. once you get past 2 years or so i think unless there is a big reason to stop you are in for self-weaning, whenever that may be.

i went back to work at 13m so opportunities for feeding outside the homes were limited by me not being there! after a while it became more convenient not to as well, as ds is very keen and at least that is one time i am not being pestered for milk. (i just say "are you mad?!" and roll eyes a lot if he asks)

BabiesEverywhere Tue 05-Aug-08 09:48:24

I originally thought that I would breastfeed my daughter for 6 months if possible and yet we are still nursing nearly 2 years later.

Nursing a toddler does not mean a toddler pulling your top or tandruming and demanding a nurse in public. Toddlers can be taught to ask for milk, just like they ask for juice etc.

It is up to you if you want to nurse your toddler in public, if you don't you can distract them with snacks or a promise of milk when they get home.

You'll find that the older the child the less likely they are to ask out in the big world, I find my daughter asks for milk in the morning and before her nap and evening sleep. She only asks outside the house if she hurts herself or is feeling very tired. I do still nurse her in public if she asks.

CantSleepWontSleep Tue 05-Aug-08 09:48:43

MIL regularly comments, but she's used to me ignoring her now I think. She's the only one who's ever been so anti.

BabiesEverywhere Tue 05-Aug-08 09:52:45

My MIL never approved of my nursing DD past 6 weeks and not putting solids in a bottle for her hmm

My mum was very supportive until DD turned 1 years old and now I know she doesn't like it. Both my parents tols me I had to wean whilst being pregnant, but we are still nursing and I am 40 weeks pregnant on Friday and I still have milk !!!

But I don't ask for opinions on nursing and I discourage discussion on this topic.

StellaWasADiver Tue 05-Aug-08 10:01:20

Do you have to tell them?

I don't mean that it should be a 'secret' exactly but need it be mentioned at all?

I am pretty sure that my MIL has just assumed I've stopped feeding DS - he is only 9 months! I am happy to let her think that as it's none of her business.

I know he is a lot younger than your DD but she'd probably think I was weird anyway

JulesJules Tue 05-Aug-08 10:06:40

I aimed for a year the first time and ended up feeding until she was two. She stopped when she was ready, I was doing the "don't offer, don't refuse" thing. So the second time I was prepared to feed longer than a year , and ended up feeding for three and a half years. After a year both times I was pretty much just doing an early morning feed before work and an evening feed and snuggle before bed, so feeding in public wasn't an issue. I had great support from DH, and my fab HV. I didn't get many adverse comments, someone at work mentioned "little bitty" and laughed, sometimes people would say "are you still feeding - blimey", but not in an unpleasant way. The only time I found it difficult was still bf when I was pg with DD2 as my boobs were so sore. Also I had to go to the antenatal clinic at the hosp as I had a kidney infection and the consultant I saw was totally gobsmacked that I was bf while pg - he said he had never come across that before shockand grin, and he was about 90!

anastaisia Tue 05-Aug-08 10:13:26

I expected I would feed till DD stopped herself. I did think she would show signs of stopping by now - she was 3 in April - but I'm not unhappy to continue feeding.

It suddenly occurred to me when she was about 2 and a half that I was starting to feel uncomfortable feeding her anywhere. But I do occasionally still feed in public! but it tends to be places I'm very comfortable in like friends houses or if we're pretty alone in the park or something.

misdee Tue 05-Aug-08 10:15:57

i just planeed to breastfeed. i thought i wanted to get past 6 weeks, then 3 months, then 6month etc etc. in the end i stopped breastfeeding when dd3 was almost 2.6years old.

i never expected to feed for that long. by the time she was 18months i rarely breastfed in public, occasionally breastfed at harefield if we were there all day and dd3 wasnt eating much, but very rarely in public really.

not many people knew i was still feeding dd3, as it wasnt something that came up in conversations. if it did, then i did say i was still breastfeeding. tbh it didnt really raise that many eyebrows. maybe they all knew extended breastfeeders themselves.

BeHereNow Tue 05-Aug-08 10:16:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

anastaisia Tue 05-Aug-08 10:16:51

oh, and she still feeds on request - she just requests it a lot less these days. I've never limited feeds or done them at certain times. If she's asking to feed a lot we usually have an easy day if possible as she's nearly always fighting something off or about to become ill!

She only usually ask when out if she's hurt or exceptionally tired now.

googledoogle Tue 05-Aug-08 10:39:02

I think its absolutely fab to hear about all these babies being breastfed for longer than the natiional average. I must admit I did take a bit of convincing with my first to even go for it but we never looked back. I was an 'extended' breastfeeder. Ds1 stopped when he was 4! I fed in public right up till then but no-one even knew. With the herald of a new law in Scotland making it illegal to ask someone to leave the premises if breastfeeding did not bring 'the boob brigade' that fanatics thought it would. Women breastfeeding is a natural normal process whether publicly or privately. Breast fed babies are mainly demand fed and they demand sometimes in the most public of places. I have fed my children whenever wherever, though must admit the laugh we had feeding in the middle of a bikiniwax! I'm just a regular gal, not a 'lentilmunching, sandal wearing freelove chick'(not my words!). I come from a very working class mining village and family. Breastfeeding was definately not the norm. I am glad that I have opened the eyes of even only a few to the fact that breastfeeding was the best for my babies. I trully understand that there is this debate of 'when to stop'. I've been there and learned that its pointless putting timescales on things and to let things happen naturally. Ds2 stopped feeding just before his 2nd birthday and that was fine too. Dp was very very supportive and it was funny to hear him in the other room having a cider with his mates and handing out important advice to the prospective fathers in his audience about the benefits of breastfeeding! At times in public dp didnt even know I was feeding and he was sitting lookin directly at me! It can be done discreetly even without trying.

SpaceCowGirl Tue 05-Aug-08 12:59:38

BeHereNow - I like your "la la la I can't see you" in public attitude. I did the same with my 2 sons, both BF until 19 months. I hadn't planned how long i would BF for. With DS1 he really stopped it, and with DS2 I did as I was tiring (still night comfort feeding)
I found that after about a year mine wanted less in the day especially when out and about so it wasn't really a problem.
My biggest "problem" Breast feeding is my MIL. Why do other people think it their place to try to make BreastFeeding Mothers uncomfortable ?

BeHereNow Tue 05-Aug-08 13:11:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sammyg81 Tue 05-Aug-08 13:16:17

I breastfed my first until he was 6 mths, then went back to work so stopped. My second is now 5 mths, I would like to carry on but have to go back to work in the next few months.
Has anyone here breastfed even when back at work? And how would u be able to do so, express and then feed yourself when you're home?? How easy is that to do?

princessglitter Tue 05-Aug-08 13:25:17

I have a nine month old who is fed on demand at home and has water and solid food when I'm at work. I don't express.

ib Tue 05-Aug-08 13:25:44

Didn't particularly have a date in mind - when people asked me how long I was going to bf for I always said for as long as we're both happy to - at various points I thought that would be 3 months! But then we got his problems sorted and I started to enjoy it.

I only bf him in his room. This is for entirely selfish reasons, it annoys me when he demands bfs at any time and by bfing only in his room it helps control that.

Family and friends don't usually comment. Sdad asked once 'Are you still feeding him?' and I said "Yes, don't I spoil him terribly?' and that was that...he's the only one who would dare venture an opinion I think (my sisters all ebf, so it's totally normal in my family)

BeHereNow Tue 05-Aug-08 13:28:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RhinestoneCowgirl Tue 05-Aug-08 13:38:46

I stopped bf DS (2 yrs) a few weeks ago, mainly because I am pregnant and was finding it really uncomfortable. We stopped really gradually and was sort of doing don't offer/don't refuse.

I had the '6 months' thing in my head before he was born, and wondered why people would want to continue after a year when so many people told me it wasn't 'necessary'. I'm glad I continued to bf, and will be more relaxed about how long I feed DC2, particularly as I don't plan to get pg again in the next few years (well that's the plan...)

I didn't bf in public that much after a year, as I found that going back to work part time meant that DS seemed to cut back on his daytime feeds, even on the days I wasn't working. If I needed to I did tho... again something I think I would feel more confident about second time round.

Lots of people didn't know I was 'still' feeding as it didn't come up in conversation. I don't think my mum really understood why I carried on (she'd weaned her babies from the breast between 6-9 months) and she did make comments about him not needing it any more. BF did come in bloody handy 3 months ago tho when DS had gastro bug and couldn't keep anything down (inc water). He didn't get dehydrated and I'm sure it was comforting for him.

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