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How Long to Breastfeed Discussion

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

I recently had a unpleasant conversation with my husband about breastfeeding and I was shocked at his response.  He has always been pretty open minded about anything I've brought up during the pregnancy.  He was a bit nervous and uncomfortable about the home birth idea but he listened to what I had to say and did some research and now he's my biggest supporter and will defend my decision to anyone.  He was the same way about vaccinations (I'm not anti-vaccination I just don't agree with a couple of them and want to space them out a bit).  So I was quite shocked when I brought up the fact that I had read in a book (Dr. Sears' The Vaccine Book) that it was a good idea to breastfeed until about two years of age.


He was completely disgusted!  He said absolutely not!  I remained calm and kind of laughed a little actually.  I was like I didn't mean to upset you but wouldn't you like to find out why some people might choose to do that before you decide it's not going to happen?  He said if he's old enough to ask for it he's too old and I'm not having some 5 year old begging to be breastfed.  I said well 2 is not 5 I don't know where that's coming from.  And if you're worried he will have breast issues we can switch to putting the milk in bottles at a certain point I was planning on having to pump at some point anyway so where's the harm in that?  He was just completely closed to the idea and said that as soon as he could eat solid foods that was it for breastmilk.  I just don't understand.  


Does anyone else have this issue with their partner?  I have since then researched the issue and it seems that breast milk is quite beneficial even after solid foods are introduced because it continues to deliver antibodies and aids in digestion along with lowering the chance of obesity and SIDS etc.  There just seems to be so many reasons why it would be a good idea at least until even 1 year.  I was curious to hear how long you all breastfed your other children or plan to breastfeed the one you're carrying.

post #2 of 38

I bf'd DD for 13 months before she went on strike and I didn't fight it. I know people that are still nursing their kids at 3 and sometimes near 4. I think it's up to the two involved to decide. Don't let outside influences have an affect on your nursing relationship. Perhaps your husband will change his mind as time goes on.

post #3 of 38

My oldest bf'd about half the time through 18 months. My middle until a week or two after her 4th birthday and my youngest until about a month before her 4th birthday. Nursing a toddler or preschooler doesn't look the same as nursing a newborn. After the first 18 months for my youngest two, nursing usually just lasted for a few minutes at a time and only a couple times a day. At 3 it was mostly just at bedtime or if something really stressful happened or they were sick (I had no milk at that point.) 


FWIW, I'm not one who has a problem with my husband "handling the goods" when I'm bfing - I know some women put their breasts as off limits during that time and that can be awkward for partners. So maybe that's a point that you can talk over with him.


As I understand it WHO and the EAP (European Academy of Pediatrics) recommend breastfeeding for at least 2 years "and as long as is mutually desired" after that.

post #4 of 38

DD nursed until 2.5 years, when I had to stop for my personal sanity. My goal had been 2 years, like the WHO recommendation, and anything on top of that was gravy. I have the same goal with this one.


But I think a lot of men initially freak out about the idea. They've grown up in a culture that sexualizes the breast constantly, which doesn't help. Don't try to change his mind overnight, especially since you've got months and months before baby arrives and before solids start being introduced. Over time you can expose him to reasons why extended nursing can be so great for babes (and moms), and the idea that it is becoming more and more common even in the West.


The whole "being able to ask for it" is a silly notion though. My daughter learned the sign for milk at a ridiculously early stage (well before 6 months). Should she have been punished for knowing how to communicate? No. Would we tell an adult "no, you can't have that steak, you're old enough to ask for one!" No.


But like I said, I wouldn't push it too hard, too fast. You have plenty of time to slowly get him used to the idea. And once baby is actually here and nursing, he may see it's no big deal, and that continuing is a good idea.

post #5 of 38

My husband wasn't on board with long term breastfeeding, but I kept it up anyway for 2 years for each kid... he never said anything during it like "it's time to stop", so I'm guessing he realized both kids needed and wanted to continue nursing, so it stopped being "gross" to him. I'd really play it by ear... the baby isn't even born yet, it's silly to fight over something 2 years down the road.

post #6 of 38
Thread Starter 

That's a good point.  It's probably the fascination that men have with boobs in this society and I'm sure after he gets used to it in the first 6 months it will be easier to talk about it if he brings it up after that.  We don't usually fight anyway and it hasn't come up since then.  Thanks for the advice.  I'm thinking I'll try for at least a year and anything after that will just be a plus.  Did you all switch to pumping and bottles at some point?  I said we could do that if there was a boob issue but he said drinking from a bottle messes up the baby's teeth coming in.  Is that true?  I guess a pacifier does too then right?

post #7 of 38
DD refused a bottle. It was awful because I couldn't even leave her with her dad for more than two hours. We had delayed introducing a bottle for so long because I kept reading about nipple confusion. DS will be getting a bottle within the first 2-3 weeks in hopes that he won't refuse it later and I can get out of the house for alone time. There's a new bottle that isn't even for sale yet (hopefully in January/February) that looks awesome! The nipple stretches, just like a real breast, and baby controls flow (so no switching implies depending on baby's age). Plus it has a plunger (like in a syringe) instead of vents, so there is NO air in the bottle. I like that because it means DD can feed her baby brother and I don't have to worry about her holding it perfectly upright. It's called the Bare. You case it on bittylabs.com, but like I said, you can't buy it yet.

I don't know much about pacifiers and teeth, other than I know they make ones that are supposedly orthodontic friendly. They also have started making sme that mimic a mother's nipple. But I'd research that and see what you find.

ETA: Mayo clinic website says pacifiers in the first few years of life should be fine, but extended use may cause dental problems.
post #8 of 38

Does your husband realize that the only reason women have breasts is for feeding their children? I'm not sure what you mean by "boob" issue. I think if kids nurse until they're done, they realize that breasts are simply another body part, much like arms, legs, etc. I nursed my daughter until she was (gasp!) 5! I pumped while working full time from when she was 4 months til she was 18 months. She was slow to adapt to solid food, and breastmilk met her nutritional needs. Often she would nurse for comfort, but she is very self-confident, comfortable in her own skin, and nurturing, which I believe is because that is how she is treated. It became less frequent over time. She did wake up at night to nurse until she was 2.5 and that was what was normal for her and I was willing to meet that need. I will say that I was totally single that whole time, which may have made things a bit easier in that regard. However, my husband and I have talked about breastfeeding and he's SO supportive. He was under the impression that babies should be exclusively breastfed until they're 1 and continue nursing until whenever they're done. I would LOVE to try for only breastmilk until 1, but if baby is ready for other foods, that's fine, too. There is a lot of information out there about the benefits of nursing older toddlers, I don't think I have any links, though. I'll look later.


I do think the oversexualization of breasts in our culture is a huge problem, and this is one of the ways it manifests. Hopefully your husband will come around. I think in reality, once baby is here, you'll all work it out

post #9 of 38

DD never used a bottle. Before I had completed nursing her she had learned to use a sippy-straw cup and was able to drink water from that. She never drank cow's milk either as it plugs her up. So it was water and my milk. She did use a soother pacifier that had no affect on her teeth and that was gone just after she turned 2.

post #10 of 38
This is our first but my DH is very excited for this little one to nurse as long as she wants to! I will admit he is also quite looking forward to my breasts during breast feeding LOL give your DH sometime, and talk maybe about what makes him so uncomfortable...
post #11 of 38

As your baby grows and is still nursing, it might be easier for him to accept a more "extended" (not a fan of the term) breastfeeding relationship, because he'll see how natural and normal it really is, as opposed to it just being an idea.  Thinking about it is one thing, but seeing it and understanding it is another.


My DH was actually the one who said I would breastfeed for longer than a year!  Which offended me at the time but now I can't believe I ever thought of stopping.  I had thought I would set 6 month goals and each time we reached that we'd go for another 6 months!  Ha! Mine nursed until 4.5 years, 4 years, and 2 years (he didn't wean "naturally" though, unfortunately).  I've now done all the stuff that at one point weirded me out, like nursing a preschooler, through pregnancy, tandem nursing, triandem nursing, pumping to donate, nursing someone else's baby....and really, it's SO much different experiencing it than trying to imagine it before it happens.  But DH was ready for them to stop by the time they did...nothing forceful, just saying things occasionally like "they need to be done" (even in his very pro-BF'ing family, it's not common for anybody to nurse past 2 or so), but he also was able to witness how important it was to them and how it wasn't freaky unnatural or anything so he never pushed the issue.

post #12 of 38

I agree that sometimes it's much harder to think about all of this theoretically.  It all will probably make sense to your husband organically as you start to nurse and he sees how "not weird" it is.  That being said, I wouldn't let my husband dictate how long I nursed even if he DID ultimately have a problem with it (which luckily he absolutely never has).  For us, it is hard to deny the strong evidence that nursing til a minimum of 2 is beneficial.  Unfortunately I didn't make it to 2 either time -- my daughter weaned at 23 months (I was pregnant and she said I "had no milkies") and my son at 21 months (totally spontaneously and child-led).  Maybe third time is the charm for me?

post #13 of 38

I agree it's really too early to be talking about what your child will be like 2 years from now.  I'd compare it to saying our child needs to be done with diapers by X age.  It's just one of those things that you take it as it comes, and it's not all you and your dh's decision; it'll be partly your child's decision too, and really just a product of many circumstances combined.  I would just not talk about bf-ing length with him at this point, but if he brings it up, I'd say we haven't even started breastfeeding yet, let's not worry about when it's going to end, let's just focus on getting off to a good start.  He'll likely warm up and be fine once it's happening.   I bf'ed my boys til 18 months and 2 years. Both were child-led about 95% of the way, and when it got to the point where they pretty much only did a 5 second suck, I stopped it, and we switched to a kiss for off to bed and nap time, and they never minded.  It obviously wasn't a nutritional source anymore, just a comfort thing.

Never had much luck with bottles; I may try introducing it earlier, as I found sometimes I became resentful that I could never ever get away for more than 2 hours for like the first year of their lives.

Also, if your dh still isn't convinced, remind him that bf-ing means he won't have to do any feedings or wake up throughout the night, won't have to help wash all the bottles, and will save hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars compared to formula feeding.

post #14 of 38
Originally Posted by Oliver's Mama View Post

Also, if your dh still isn't convinced, remind him that bf-ing means he won't have to do any feedings or wake up throughout the night, won't have to help wash all the bottles, and will save hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars compared to formula feeding.


Ha! I bet my DH wishes that were true! lol - He got up and did changes during the night, and then brought DD back to bed for a feeding. We talked about diaper duties, and agreed that since I was the SAH parent, I'd be changing far more than him in the long run. So when he was at home, he was on diaper duty. There were times I still did the change, like if was particularly busy or whatnot. But, generally, he did them if he was there.

post #15 of 38

Oh that's nice. I could count with my fingers the number of times dh has changed a diaper in the last 5 1/2 years.  Literally. not even in the hospital. One of the few times I handed the baby to him at night, he thought it was a pillow.. he's just way way too out of it to be trusted to even just hold the baby for a minute over night. Not to mention it would take about ten garbage trucks driving through the house to wake him up. It's so not fair, but I'm not going to risk the baby's safety!

post #16 of 38

My hubby has been really awesome about changing diapers for the first few days of my children's lives...he just does it without giving it a second thought.  But then I just naturally take over and never really need him to...and I don't feel right asking him to help me at night very often as he works 24-48 hour shifts and often doesn't get much sleep.  Though sometimes I just want to scream "YOUR TURN!" ROTFLMAO.gif  But as soon as the kids start getting solid food poops, he takes himself out of the game.

post #17 of 38

My husband and I are coparents (we both work and stay at home with the kids, though the balance shifts depending on who is working more...there was one 6-month period where he was basically a SAHD and then last year I was basically a SAHM) so he naturally does a lot of the childcare, diapering, etc.  That being said he would never dispute that I do most of the nighttime parenting by virtue of nursing!  I think no matter what breastfeeding does help the papas sleep a little better at night!

post #18 of 38
I really think it will be a non-issue once Baby is here. My kids weaned at 4 1/2, 3, and my youngest is still nursing (she's nearly three) and I hope she will continue after Baby gets here. I have no milk right now. Only my middle boy weaned during pregnancy.

When your DH sees how much your baby loves and needs to nurse, he will realize there is nothing at all gross about it. And is only sweet and loving and nurturing. My DH and I are both worried that our little girl will wean before Baby comes, and we feel she is still so young!

Good luck, and don't worry.
post #19 of 38

I put my hubby on diaper duty at night 80% of the time too. He doesn't get say in the matter lol. But, he's a SAHD and I take the baby with me to work for the first few months so I do my fair share of diaper duty and then some. thumb.gif

post #20 of 38

We divided diapering equally because we each work part-time and co-parent. We tried to divide breast-feeding at first but I just had a lot more milk so it was easier for me. With the next one though, I want to do more of the night time care so that my partner will be more awake in the day. Last time we both started being awake at night with our duaghter but then we were both exhausted in the day. Although I completely believe in equal co-parenting, I think it makes sense for me to do a bit more of the nighttime stuff in the beginning since I'll have the milk. We don't even think my partner is going to try to breast feed this next time although I love the idea. We'll see we have a few more months to make a decision.


And I am still breast-feeding my almost 3 year old. But just a couple of very brief times a day for comfort.  My milk had dried up and she'd been weaned for a couple of months, but with the pregnancy the milk has returned. 

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