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Is 6 months time to move on from breastfeeding?

(11 Posts)
dragon43 Mon 11-Aug-14 13:59:32

DS1 is 2 1/2. Had a really hard time eith breastfeeding so mix fed from 3 weeks but was still doing 1 feed a day til 12 months.

DS2 is just 6 months. We both got the feeding right from the start this time so he is exclusively breastfed with exception of a bedtime bottle to allow me time to put DS1 to bed. Although he doesn't cluster feed any more thank goodness he sometimes still feeds for 40+ min at a go....

so sm wondering whether time has come to break out the bottles to speedthings up. I love feeding, but during daytime feeds DS1 gets so clingy and its v difficult to juggle trying to feed and cuddle at the same time. Its made me stop going to toddler groups etc as DS1clings whole time I'm feeding whivch is no fun for anyone.

DH keeps suggesting I stop and saying I've done my bit. Am torn between wanting to do what is right by DS2 with being able to do more with DS1. Is there any health benefit to keeping feeding now, or if its all about bonding should I just accept we've done well but it's time to move on?

callamia Mon 11-Aug-14 14:05:36

As far a a I can tell, there's always a health benefit from breastmilk, but what the actual effect size is (or how important and large a benefit it is), I don't know. Lots of my friends switched to formula at six months, and certainly nothing bad has happened. I wonder if you might want to mix feed a little? Maybe feeding I the evening or morning and bottles in the day? It sounds like you've done an excellent job so far, and have a very patient toddler. I think you should do whatever feels most appropriate for you, your baby will be absolutely fine whatever you decide and as you feed him more solids, he would likely drop some feeds over the next few months anyway.

Showy Mon 11-Aug-14 14:09:43

There is always a health benefit to bf and the world health organisation recommends two years plus.

But time to move on is when it's right for you and your baby. If you are ready to stop, it's your choice, nobody else's.

ElephantsNeverForgive Mon 11-Aug-14 14:10:11

This idiotic idea peaked purely by formula milk companies (to get round the advertising rules) that babies only BF until 6 months is utter complete and total rubbish.

Babies (and small DCs BF as long as they and their DMs want to).

Not stop now just as it becomes really easy and relaxing. Your DS will gradually feed much less as he starts to eat a decent amount of food.

As for your older DC you just read to them while feeding or chat and admire their Duplo creations (or put CBeebies on if necessary). DD1 liked me tied to the sofa by DD2, she got far more attention than if I was doing house work.

DD2 fed night and morning, then bed time and weekend mornings forever. DD1 never worried, DH is a massively more patient bedtime story reader than me.

dragon43 Mon 11-Aug-14 14:11:18

Thank you - thought of DS1 as patient feels funny but I guess he hasbeen. Its taken far too much Postman Pat to get us this far.....

Justgotosleepnow Mon 11-Aug-14 14:14:55

Yes there are lots of health benefits for you and baby by continuing to bf after 6 months.
It's great bonding, but there's more to it than that.
For a start you are providing an immune system boost, then there's not worrying about what food they eat when weaning onto food as they have their perfect nutrition from you. Ability to get through teething and illnesses with perfect nutrition.
The longer you feed for the less chance of getting various cancers for you and baby.

The NHS line- bf for 6 months exclusively- is meant to encourage people not to give solids before 6 months. It needs a second sentence though- and continue to bf until 2.
That's the WHO guidelines and most people interpret the 6 month thing to mean - and then give up. But no you don't have to at all.

eatscakefornoreasonwhatsoever Mon 11-Aug-14 14:15:20

Just from my experience - the post 6 month bf was the best. Really lovely bonding time, especially as he got more active. Also it's a bloody mutable cure for teething. I don't know how people get through molars without boobs!

If you give up make sure you really want to and do it for the right reasons for you, not just because anyone else has told you to x

eatscakefornoreasonwhatsoever Mon 11-Aug-14 14:16:18

Mutable cure?! I meant miracle! smile

chocolatemartini Mon 11-Aug-14 14:29:23

Copied and pasted from an NCT fact sheet:

This sheet is for women who are thinking about breastfeeding for longer than six months and who would like information to help them decide how long to continue. It provides information both on the benefits and the practicalities of continuing to breastfeed.
Pressure to stop
In this country, women who continue breastfeeding may often experience pressure from others to stop and may not feel able to be open about continuing to breastfeed. In fact, breastfeeding an older baby in the UK is not as unusual as people may think. Although statistics are scarce, anecdotal evidence suggests that up to 70,000 babies a year continue to receive breastmilk after twelve months of age.
The decision to stop is a personal one, but you might like to know that:
• The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF recommend that children are breastfed for ‘up to two years and beyond’
• WHO reports that the world average duration of breastfeeding is 4.2 years.
Continued benefits for mothers and their children
Breastfeeding an older baby can be a wonderful experience. It can be a time to relax and enjoy quality time together. The longer you breastfeed, the greater the nutritional and health benefits.
For example, babies breastfed beyond six months have:
• less risk of eczema
• lower blood pressure as an adult
• lower risk of childhood leukemia
• less likelihood of being overweight
• less likelihood of developing childhood diabetes.
Some of the anti-infective factors in breastmilk increase as children grow older and take less milk – perhaps to protect them as they interact more with their surroundings.
Breastfeeding your toddler contributes to meeting her needs for energy, protein and vitamins. If you breastfeed for a year or more your toddler can bypass formula altogether.
Mothers who breastfeed longer have:
• a lower risk of ovarian cancer
• a lower risk of developing Type II diabetes
• a lower risk of breast cancer – on average, for every year spent breastfeeding, the risk of developing breast cancer drops by 4.3%.
But breastfeeding doesn’t just have health and nutritional benefits. For mothers who continue breastfeeding, it can feel so easy that it just becomes a normal response to a child who needs calming. Often a sick child will not take solid food, yet will continue
to breastfeed, keeping fluid intake up and helping prevent weight loss. For a working woman, breastfeeding offers a way of reconnecting with her child after a day apart. It can be flexible, too. A toddler can wait for feeds, learning to respect the needs of others. Breastfeeding is often part of
the bedtime routine, helping a child to fall asleep easily.
A breastfeeding mother can feel great pride in her body’s ability to support the development of her growing child and can enjoy the special link with her child that it provides.

chocolatemartini Mon 11-Aug-14 14:35:05

Personally Ioved bf DS beyond 6 months. I stopped when he was 2. Dd is now 6 months and I've been struggling with similar problems to you- Dd wants long sleepy feeds on me and DS wants my attention too. However, I can't see how bottles would help, in my experience slow feeders are slow bottle feeders too, and then you've got all the bottle washing and preparation to do as well, plus more stuff to carry when our and about. I found bf a miracle cure throughout DS's tantrums and teething stage, and I'm hoping to use it again for dd.

Do whatever you're happy with but don't let anyone tell you stopping at 6 months is normal or beneficial if you don't want to.

ElephantsNeverForgive Mon 11-Aug-14 16:14:41

Also instant peace during DD1's swimming lessons and other places like muddy parks where DC1 is happily occupied, but it's not suitable for a crawling baby.

Incredibly useful when DD1 brings the inevitable bugs home from preschool. DD2 would feed more when I'll and DD1 would snuggle and lister to me read or just snooze if she felt miserable too.

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