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How often should I breastfeed my baby at 20 months old?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm trying to figure out how much of the day I can be at college classes and still be able to breast feed my baby enough.  How many hours in a row is too long? I want to make sure that my milk doesn't dry up and that she gets all the nursing she needs.  I'm just not sure how many times a day she needs to nurse at her age old... and I defiantly want her to nurse as much as she wants and I'm not looking to wean her anytime soon.  

 

Do you think that it's possible to have this work out with me going to school full time and not pumping any milk?

 

Thanks for any advice!

post #2 of 7

How often does she nurse when you are nursing on demand?  How long can she go if she is occupied with fun activities?  I think it depends on the child.  My DD could go 4-5 hours without nursing at 20 months, but often nursed every 2 hours as well.  

 

 

post #3 of 7

I would imagine at this age (my son is 21 mos.) that there is quite a range of normal, depending upon various factors. My son nurses 20+ times a day but that number may not be that relevant. Apart from lengthly nursing to sleep, he usually only nurses for a few minutes, enough for one or two milk let-downs. We co-sleep also and I do believe that is a big factor in sustaining milk supply.

 

I read that in traditional societes children newborn through three years of age may nurse several times and hour and a few times per night, but that doesn't mean that anything different is not normal also. I know just from the achiness in my breasts when my son has not nursed for an unusual duration of time, for him that would be anytime over 1.5 hours. But again, this is likely not relevant as milk composition varies in women, some have richer milk than others, and some children wish for the comfort of the breast more or less than others.

 

What I did learn though was the more frequently you nurse, the heavier the fat content of the milk, as the foremilk takes time to accumulate, so by nursing frequently, the milk stays more heavy with fat and the fat globules remain in the milk. This is probably going to be helpful when you are able to be with her and can accomodate her need to nurse whenever you are both together. The frequent stimulation will also help sustain milk supply. I also read that baby wearing and having baby physically near your body helps to sustain supply.

 

You can probably search for 'reverse cycling'. There are working women who do not pump but nurse on demand and also co-sleep when with baby. I have read that many women have successfully kept up milk supply in this manner and addressed their little one's needs of comfort and nourishment also (with other sources when mom is not around).

 

Where there is a will, there's a way! Good luck, please keep us posted. Oh and best wishes with school and classes smile.gif

 

post #4 of 7

I've been gone 9+ hours per day at work since my son was 4 months old, and he's still nursing 6-8 times/day at 21 months. So yes, absolutely possible!  I stopped pumping when he was 13 months, and he drinks a few ounces (4-5?) of cows milk when I'm away.

 

How long will your school day be? Remember that both you and your child will need to adjust. If you are gone for a full day and you are not used to going so long without nursing, you should plan to have some way to ease engorgement for the first couple of weeks until your body gets used it. You could pump for a week or two, even if you aren't planning that for the long term, but if you don't want to invest in a pump, you might also get away with hand expression.

 

You might also prepare for a few extra night nursing sessions. My son nurses 1-3 times overnight on a good night, so yes, definitely reverse cycling happening here!

post #5 of 7
Totally depends on your kid. At 20mos, my DS could go a max of 2, occasionally 3 hours and usually nursed about 10-20+ times a day -- he still wasn't eating food much at that point so it was not just an emotional need but a physical one as well. Once he started eating well (just after he turned 2), he was able to go much much longer and now at 2.5 can go about 12 hours (although he'd still prefer to nurse hourly or more!!)

How often does she nurse now? Does she eat well? I think my DS was on the more extreme end, after seeing other toddlers, and that MOST toddlers can adapt to whatever schedule you impose on them and will make up for it when mom is around again (i.e. night nursing might increase or whatever). Have you tried leaving her for periods of time?
post #6 of 7

I'll agree with the others and say it depends on the child.  My daughter nurses a different number of times each day, but if I am not around she is fine.  Most days it's 3 times: wake up, before nap, and before bed - then sometimes she will ask during the day too.  It might also depend on how you notice your breasts producing milk.  Mine have always easily regulated and adjusted to what my baby demands. 

post #7 of 7

I was a grad student while my youngest was nursing. I would make sure I wasn't gone more than 3 hours.

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