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Breastfeeding....

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 

How long are you going to do it? If you are. I was thinking like 4-6 months(depending on the baby). My husband keeps saying i'm doing it till the baby is like 3. But I think that's a little old.. They can drink from a cup, lol.

 

But what do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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post #2 of 46

My personal goal is always to make it to at least one year old.  But around here you're definitely going to get a lot of moms who BF well into toddlerhood and beyond.  

 

Keep in mind that if you stop at 6 months you will still have to give the baby formula until at least one and then whole milk after that to make sure the baby is getting all the nutrients it needs.

 

I wouldn't try to put limits on it just yet, especially since you haven't tried it yet.  You might decide that you love it and not want to stop.  

 

Personally, I have both BF'd and bottle fed my son (both formula and pumped milk) and I can honestly say that BFing was the easiest of the three.  Pumping and bottle feeding was the hardest because you have to spend so much time at the pump and THEN turn around and feed it to the baby. 

 

When I started to get overly stressed about my DH never being around and working all the time, and then I started working at nights, my supply started to decrease.  My low supply caused him to be frustrated and develop a bad latch and a biting habit.  Then the pregnancy made it drop off to nothing.  The whole cycle of decreasing supply started when he was around 9 months.  He was fully onto formula by one.

 

I really wish I had worked through nursing while pregnant and not given up so easily.  He's only just turned one and those babies go through A LOT of formula.  He's still not all that great about eating solids and I have tried cow's milk with him and he hated it.  So now I've got him on a toddler formula while we work through trying to get him to take better to solid food.  It's expensive and I feel bad giving it to him because I know breast milk is so much better. I would feel SO much better about the fact that he doesn't eat well if I was BFing still.  I hate that now my only two options are cow milk and formula. (BTW, I do realize that I can give him donated milk, but am not personally comfortable with it). 

 

What I will say is that if you decide to stop early, you better be really ok with your decision and make sure he/she is ok with taking formula.  You can't move a 4-6 month old onto a full diet of solids so they still need some milk.  

post #3 of 46
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much, that helped me a lot.

 

But yeah, since ive never done it I have NO idea what its like, so I guess ill go with the flow!

 

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post #4 of 46

With my first my goal was to breastfeed until he could eat an entire diet of solid food (maybe 2yrs), but then we didn't wean until he was 3.5 years old. 

 

I didn't set any goals for #2, but expected that I would allow her to nurse as long as she wants.  She's 21mo now and my milk is pretty much dried up with this pregnancy, but she still nurses 5-6 times a day.  I'll let her dry nurse through the pregnancy and tandem if she'd like.

 

Again, I have no pre-set goals for this baby.  I'd say that I think age 3 is a good age to wean.  I can NOT imagine weaning a baby at 4-6mo for no medical reason.  Breastmilk is by far a better option and if it's working for you, stick with it.   Really, I can't even imagine weaning a 12mo, they're still so baby-like and dependent at that age.  Plus, weaning to cow's milk has never made sense to me when breastmilk is formulated for human babies (and changes with the age of the child).

 

:)

post #5 of 46

Keep in mind that breastmilk is amazing for a sick toddler/pre-schooler who won't eat or drink other fluids/foods. The breast is comfort for them so they will suckle when sick and the fluid they are getting is so beneficial when they are ill. Without breastmilk you have to force the child to take sips of water/pedialyte etc. so they don't get dehydrated. Even if they are puking up the breastmilk, it's gets absorbed so quickly that they are usually getting some nutrients which wouldn't happen if they had no breastmilk.

post #6 of 46

When I was pregnant with my first I had a goal of nursing until she was one year old because that was the WHO's recommendation (the new recommendation is two years).  I also had thoughts like, "it will be weird once she has teeth and can ask for it!"  But once she was born and our breastfeeding relationship was established I had no idea why in the world I would stop at age one.  She was clearly not at all ready to wean and I had no reason to force weaning just b/c she was one.  Plus, being able to ask for it made things even easier b/c I knew what she wanted!  And b/c she had food allergies, breastfeeding was really her only source of nutrition until she was closer to 13 months.  She weaned with a bit of encouragement from me at 28 months when I was pregnant with my second.  With my second, I had no expectations other than I wanted to nurse him as long as he needed.  This pregnancy has certainly complicated things, but we're still going and he's 16 months.  Breastfeeding is so much simpler than bottle feeding and is a miracle cure for all sorts of things from bumps, to scares, to actual illnesses.  My advice would be to educate yourself as much as possible on breastfeeding before your baby is born so that you have a solid foundation for not just initiating breastfeeding, but also for extended breastfeeding if that's what you decide to do.  There is another great thread already in this forum about breastfeeding advice for first time moms.  Be sure to check that out!  winky.gif


Edited by Jaimee - 5/18/11 at 11:54am
post #7 of 46

I remember in my childbirth class when I was pregnant with my first, the Bradley instructor was nursing her 3 year old.  I thought that. woman. was. nuts.  Whaaaat, a 3 year old?  I was going to nurse my baby until she was 1 year old, because that was what the experts said was "best for baby".  And she would be a big kid, and be eating all kinds of food, and not need to breastfeed anymore.

 

But when she turned 1, she was still just a baby.  I laughed at my old self for thinking that we would be ready to just quit that relationship cold turkey!  At that point she was really just trying new foods, not eating a whole lot, and nursing a TON.  So I thought, definitely when she is 2.

 

When she was 2, it was STILL a big part of her diet.  Plus, I couldn't deny that nursing soothed her like nothing else.  Tired, scared, hungry, nervous, a bump on the head- nursing took care of all of them.  It was a huge coping tool for her and parenting tool for me!  And there was no reason to stop just because she had reached one age or another.  We nursed for a lot of years, as did my second child. 

 

So yes, definitely keep an open mind!  Things change when that little person is actually here.

post #8 of 46

My goal with my son was 2 years.  He ended up nursing until right around his third birthday.  

 

I am very, very glad that he nursed through toddlerhood.  He was (and still is) a VERY picky eater.  He ate very little in the way of solids until he was close to 2, but I never had to worry, because I always knew that he had the breastmilk "insurance policy."  He was also extremely healthy, and still is.  He very rarely gets colds, and he has only been throwing-up sick twice in his life (he's 5 now).  Before he stopped breastfeeding, he had only had 2 colds in his life and he had NEVER thrown up, other than being car sick.

 

It was also great for me, for selfish reasons!  It was nice to have a great rack for such a long period of time, and when my son was between about 6 months to 2 years old, I was the thinnest I've ever been while eating as much and anything that I wanted.

 

When they get older, breastfeeding becomes much less demanding as well.  After the age of 2, my son only nursed 2 or 3 times a day, and it was easy to leave him overnight.  We didn't really nurse in public after about age 2 either, so if that makes you uncomfortable, it's easy to avoid.  As they get older it's easier to set limits and make the breastfeeding relationship something that's comfortable and happy for both of you.

 

I say just go for it, and don't set a limit for how long you're going to nurse.  Personally, my hope for every baby is that they can get at least a year's worth of breast milk.  So I'm super happy if anyone tells me that is their goal.  But I think a lot of women underestimate the benefits of nursing longer than that.

 

ETA:  A lot of women are totally freaked out at the possibility of biting, but I found that it was a very short phase and it was really no big deal.  Around 8 months, he caught me off guard a few times causing a gasp and an "ouch," but it didn't really hurt that much.  Most of the time I could anticipate when a bite was coming and could slide my finger in.  Definitely nothing to get one's panties in a twist over. :)

 
post #9 of 46

I remember saying with number 1, until he's at least 1. Then he was one, loved to nurse more than anything else in the world, and then he was two, and I said "I can't imagine nursing a 3 yr old. Then he turned 3, and he was just a day older than when he was 2, and he loved to nurse. It was lovely, and intimate, and helped him so much to adapt to a new baby sister. 

 

Now I have been nursing for 8 years straight, through three pregnancies. My eldest weaned gently at 4 1/2. So did my middle. My baby is still nursing a bit (although she's weaning b/c I'm pregnant and it's too much work to get the milk.) She's almost 3. 

 

I think goals are good if you have a hard time at first establishing nursing, b/c you can use them to help you persevere if it doesn't all come super easily. But in my experience, we just kept nursing for as long as it was mutually good for mama and child. It feels foreign to think of nursing a toddler or preschooler when you have a teeny tiny baby in your arms, but I tell ya' nothing, nothing, nothing, can help a sad/sick/teething/hurt/angry young one as much as some good time at the mama milk. :)

 

post #10 of 46

I wanted to make it to 2 years with DD, but by the time she was a year old she was totally not interested in nursing. I spent the next 2 months feeling like I had to force her on the boob when I finally woke up and realized she didn't have to nurse anymore if she didn't want to. When she was 14 months old, I did the whole don't offer/don't refuse thing. I never had to refuse because she never asked for it. 

 

With #2, I'm up for anything, although I see my friend still nursing her almost-3 year old and how ready she is to wean but how unsure she is on how to do it since it's the only way her daughter will go to sleep for her... And I wonder if I'd really want to do child-led weaning. I think I'll start with the goal of 2 years again, if we make it that long then we'll see how it's going. It really depends on the kid and what he/she needs. 

post #11 of 46

Personally, I would go to extreme measures to nurse a baby until 12 months. After that, if I had to wean for some reason, I could live with that (medical, emergency travel, etc.). My girls have all nursed until I was pregnant again and they all self-weaned while I was in the first trimester. I've been ok with that b/c they have all been between18-22 months old and they did just fine. I wish that my girls had all made it to 2 yrs before weaning but again, it seems to be natural for my kids to ditch momma's milk when momma is expecting again. I figure there must be a good reason for that in our situation--who knows.  I don't know what my "age limit" would be for nursing--as PPs have said, it feels natural to nurse a toddler.  And it's great to be able to cuddle your toddler at the breast b/c that might be the only time they let you snuggle them since they are so busy :)

post #12 of 46
Thread Starter 

So, when you say you still nurse 2 and 3 year old.. do they nurse off of you? Or do you pump and give them a bottle/sippy cup..

post #13 of 46

From my experience, the best time to wean a child is when he/she is ready.  It would have been major hardship to wean either of my kids at 12-14mo, but my DS weaned very, very easily at 3.  My now 21mo DD is still nursing, even though I hardly have any milk left.  In spite of that, I think it would be hard to completely wean her now, as she really loves to nurse.  I think it's important to take each kid as they come and accept what that child needs.  Oh, and it's okay to put limits and restrictions on things once a child is old enough to understand (ei, not nursing in public or learning to fall asleep on their own).  :)
 

 


 

post #14 of 46

They nurse off of you in most cases.  It's way too much hassle to pump and give a cup of milk to a toddler.  Plus, many times they'll want to nurse more for the affection and snuggles than the calories.  I know that it seems weird to nurse a toddler before you've done it, but once you get there it feels totally natural and normal.  It seems way more un-natural to me to force a toddler/baby to wean just because he/she hit a certain age (ie 12mo).  There is not a magic age, when a child is ready to wean the process should be easy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by necerj View Post

So, when you say you still nurse 2 and 3 year old.. do they nurse off of you? Or do you pump and give them a bottle/sippy cup..



 

post #15 of 46
Thread Starter 

How much do they usually nurse a day when theyre older?

post #16 of 46

This is totally going to depend on the child.  My 21mo DD nurses 6-8 times a day (including at night).  She can go all day without nursing if I leave her in someone else's care, so she's flexible.   By the time my DS weaned at 3 he was only nursing 2-3 times a day and totally night weaned.  However, I've met some babies that only nursed 2-3 times a day by 18mo..
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by necerj View Post

How much do they usually nurse a day when theyre older?



 

post #17 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraisme View Post
Plus, weaning to cow's milk has never made sense to me when breastmilk is formulated for human babies (and changes with the age of the child).


I totally agree with this.  The only reason I mentioned switching to cow's milk at one was because OP said she was thinking of only nursing until 6 mos.  Most peds will tell you that a baby can switch from formula to whole milk around age one.  Unless of course her baby is like my son and refuses cow's milk.  Or if he/she has a medical reason to not switch (allergies, preemie, etc.)

post #18 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemini529 View Post




I totally agree with this.  The only reason I mentioned switching to cow's milk at one was because OP said she was thinking of only nursing until 6 mos.  Most peds will tell you that a baby can switch from formula to whole milk around age one.  Unless of course her baby is like my son and refuses cow's milk.  Or if he/she has a medical reason to not switch (allergies, preemie, etc.)

I think im just scared. I dont know. Its something COMPLETELY new to me. Ive never really talked about it to anybody before...

 

I used to work at a preschool and seeing all the kids there one and 2 years old seeing how independent they are by themselves, it makes me think that they dont need to be breast fed. But then I forget that EVERYONE is different and those parents work A lot and probably just dont have the time. But I will be a stay at home parent, so I will have the time. So I plan on going with the flow
 

 

post #19 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by necerj View Post

So, when you say you still nurse 2 and 3 year old.. do they nurse off of you? Or do you pump and give them a bottle/sippy cup..


I would never pump for my kid simply b/c they were older. I find pumping to be a PITA, so my kids always nurse off me.  Really what others have said is true, once you have your baby in your arms everything changes.  That baby will grow day by day and soon s/he will be a toddler, but s/he is still your baby.  And then s/he is 2 or 3, but s/he is still your little one.  It never felt weird to me to nurse my older child.



Quote:
Originally Posted by necerj View Post

How much do they usually nurse a day when theyre older?


As others have said, it greatly depends, but usually a 2 year old has reduced his/her nursing sessions quite a bit and a 3 year old is probably only nursing a few times a day and maybe not even every day.  My dd reduced her sessions to 3 times a day just after she turned 2 and we weaned at 28 months.  My 16 month old just night weaned and now nurses about 6-8 times during the day, but usually they are just very brief "checking in" sessions.  As Abra mentioned it's more about cuddles and attachment ith the older child than it is about actually drinking a decent volume of milk.

 

post #20 of 46

I teach 18/hrs a week and have a 21 month old.  Due in Nov. w/ baby #2.  DS is still nursing, but has started to self-wean.  How many times/day will totally depend on the child.  For us, it is once - maybe twice with each nursing session lasting 5 - 10 minutes, if that.  Actually there are days when he doesn't "nurkey" at all.  At this point it is for comfort or snuggling, not for calories.  If he happens to wake up extra early, he will usually want to get in bed with us and have a nurkey. 

 

I totally get that it must seem strange to think of such a "big kid" nursing, but I promise you that it won't seem strange to you when it is your little one.  :)

 

Congrats on your pregnancy and your decision to breastfeed.  It is truly an amazing experience and one that is extremely enjoyable and satisfying for Mama and baby.  I highly suggest the Dr. Sears Breastfeeding book or the Baby book for nursing info! 

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