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
I am proud of you for coming here to find out! I have 4 kids. I wasn't really too into AP with the first 3 and they nursed until they were 14-17 months old. My youngest is 18 months old and is still nursing. It's very sweet. She gives me the milk sign and get the biggest smile when she knows I am saying OK. You also can remember that when they're older, it isn't like a newborn who must feed on demand. You can tell them "later". I am so glad she's nursing because around 14 months, this "eater of anything" got so, so, so picky and barely ate anything. She still has many days that way. When we are nursing I have no worries about her getting enough nutrition so it takes away the stress of worrying about that.
With my first, my goal was two years. Then while I was going, I was continuing to learn about breastfeeding and I decided to aim for child-led weaning. My minimum goal will always be two years, no less. My kids were drinking out of cups at 6 months--it has nothing to do with nursing. It's like giving vitamins that are immune-boosting and tailored specifically for the one child. My oldest nursed until she was four and a half. My second is nursing still and she's twenty-seven months.
Oh, I wanted to add--if your husband supports you nursing for 3 years, he deserves a high-five! So few men are truly supportive of nursing! I have comforted SO many women who were hurt by their partner's lack of support (or worse, outright opposition). Your husband is AWESOME.
I remember people asking me how long I intended to breastfeed when M was little. I would shrug and say, "I dunno, 18 months?" How arbitrary! And people were ALWAYS shocked, thinking this was a long time. Well, of course 18 months came and went, and now I'm pregnant with #2, and we're still nursing at 26 months. Though now it is a difficult relationship, because the milk is almost gone, and M wants to nurse so bad, but isn't satisfied when she is. Except from 4:30am to 7:30am, where she nurses pretty much continuously. Yawn.
Go with the flow is a good plan. I nursed one baby nine months, another 18 months and the last one until he was 2.5. I didn't get pregnant right away that time so I just decided to let him go until he was ready. I think it comes down to being such a personal thing between you and your child that it's impossible to predict what you will decide before baby is born. I'm sure if you go into it with an open mind (like it sounds like you're planning to) you will make the right decision for you and your baby.
I always plan for at least two years, as recommended by the WHO. DD1 nursed until she was 3, including 6m of tandem nursing with DD2. During my pg, she got down to nursing 1x at night. DD2 is 3yrs 2m and just weaned, but was seriously very sporadically nursing for the last year. She'd literally go weeks in between nursings, and then just for a few seconds. It was totally a thing that helped her adjust both to her little sister and now the news of the new baby. The 14m old only nurses 2-3x/day and I kind of expect her to self-wean during this pregnancy. And if it is her decision, fine. But I won't encourage anything before 2 at the earliest.
My lil guy kinda weaned himself around 18-19 mo? (I did the don't offer/don't refuse the last month or so) I only worked part time, and usually only had to pump 1-3 days a week, depending on schedual. When he was 14 mo, I started working more, so I'd nurse AM and PM, bedtime and sometimes night, but I stopped pumping because he was getting food and regular milk, and I didn't have enough supply to pump enough for him to drink as much as he wanted. Anyway, I was really encouraging sippy at mealtimes, and a bottle only before nap. Then I was getting too tired from the night feeding, so I weaned him from that one myself, so I could get uninterupted sleep. (Nice!) But then my supply really dropped , but at the same time, he was getting to be a really busy toddler, and didn't really want to take time away from playing to get in my lap, and nurse, etc so it just kind of petered out. Quite nice accually, there was no engoregement from doing a full-stop cold turkey weaning.
I was ready by then to have my body back to myself. I loved nursing, and for the next babe, I go as long as they want to, but near the end I felt like I wanted my boobs to myself for a while, kwim?
Hi! You're in my DDC and so I just ran across your post. I know you have many many well thought out and well composed replies here but I still thought I would add my two cents even though I have to keep it short.
Just wanted to say that with my 1st babe I thought I would nurse for a year and then I had the same attitude that you seem to have, that I would just wait and see what happens. My boy is 2.5 now and we are not weaning any time soon. I'm so happy and so proud to be giving him this time/nutrition/emotional support etc. I believe it is vital! And wouldn't have it any other way. Also, FYI a toddler is really not that old, they're really babies in so many ways and they really need their mommies. Just wanted to encourage you to nurse your baby beyond 4-6 mos.- this time frame is really too short for a baby, they're just not big enough to be eating 100% solid foods (even rice cereal and mush) and formula stinks and should be avoided unless you have no other way to go. Try it for a year and then reassess.
Our goal for DD was 3 years, but it seems to me that she's nearly weaned right now at 19 months (Milk is dried up, can only express a tiny drop of colostrum now), but we still nurse dry when she asks, which typically is 1-4 times a day. I'm hoping she picks it back up when the new baby comes because I think tandem nursing is awesome and I still would like to nurse her till at at least 3 (She'll be just past two when the new baby is born)
I won't be redundant and sing the immunological, emotional and physical praises that BFing deserves that have already been posted her, and on top of all that, nursing helps get that baby weight off. In the year PP after I had Lyra, I lost 65 pounds . And I only gained 45 in pregnancy and wasn't overweight to begin with :)
Student mama to Lyra June ( 10.24.09) and Olive Isis (12.12.11)
I exclusively pumped for DD and my goal was 1 year, but I gave up after 6 months (although my stock pile lasted her well after 6 months).
For DS my goal was until self weaning, which I hoped was going to be around 3 yo, but he went on a nursing strike when hubs returned from deployment.
So with DS I only lasted until between 8 and 9 months.
Married to Hubs, DD Miss A (Oct 2008), DS Bubba E (April 2010)
I nursed mine until she was almost four years. It definitely was not a plan that I would nurse her so long, it just kind of happened and seemed like we both(!) needed it. She was an incredibly busy, active, and independent toddler, so nursing was often our only time to connect quietly. She would look at me, smile while nursing, and stroke my hair while I sang to her. It was such a sweet time, and I really miss nursing a toddler/young child. I was surprised how much I missed it when she weaned.
I recommend reading "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" and seeking out your local chapter of La Leche League. It's a great place to meet breastfeeding moms who can support you and help you. And how amazing that your husband is so encouraging!
It's so great that you're asking for feedback on this - there's been a lot of great feedback it looks.
In my situation, I had to wean DD1 at 1 year because we were doing IVF and they wouldn't allow me to start working on DD2 until I'd been weaned for at least 3 months. After birth I got the "failure to thrive" feedback from Ped, so I had to pump lots and use bottles then. I went back to work at 3 mos, so all during her pg I had to pump to keep my supply up and to create some back stock. Also, since I knew we had to wean her, and I wanted her to have milk for as long as possible, I pumped around 600 oz for her stash for when she was weaned. It was a lot of pumping. I was glad for every bit of it. She never had an ear infection, about 6 colds so far (even being in preschool for a couple of years) and she's 4 yo.
With DD2 I was SOOOO looking forward to having a more "normal" nursing experience. I want to nurse her for as long as she wants to nurse. She's 19 mos now, and nurses about 3x/day. It's mostly about the morning and evening sessions, but she'll ask once or sometimes twice during the day to nurse as well. She's not night nursed since she was 6 mos., so it's only been throughout the day. I encourage these daytime sessions because I've always had issues with production (not a common problem) and if I give that up I'll dry up real fast. It's been so much more convenient to nurse when she's hungry/thirsty and I've nearly put the pump away. Of course, like the other posters mention, there's no substitute for nursing when she's scared, bruised, etc. It's also been interesting with DD2 - she started getting very non-interested around 14-15 mos. but I kept her at the breast for these 3 sessions and lately she's liking to nurse a bit more now. So I think it was more of a phase (which is common) than true non-interest. In fact, she's never been interested in giving up her morning sessions but mainly her daytime nursing. But my philosophy is, if she "needs milk" for nutrition, whether it's at 1 year or 3 years, then her milk should be mommy's milk.
Both daughters have been good solids eaters, starting at 6 mos and they both eat a varied diet. By one year they were eating more than "drinking". So I've not needed to worry about the milk being their primary food source, but I have approached it that mommy's milk is the appropriate milk to provide and that other sources are substitues (if necessary, then so be it).
I have to say, with the 2 experiences, nursing has been so pleasant. Have there been times when I'd rather be doing something else other than nursing? Of course! But I wouldn't trade the closeness for the world. I'll always remember both of my daughters' "kitten paws", when they'd kneed me with their hands while they were nursing. Completely adorable. And I would sing or read to them while nursing, and I love watching them enjoy the stories, turn pages, even comment on the pictures while nursing. I also taught my daughters sign language from an early age, so they were "speaking" from early on. Sign language is great because even while they're nursing, they can still talk to me.
I have to say I'm prejudiced on the subject (can't you tell? :-> ), but there are so many pros for nursing and how many pros are there for a formula substitute?
At least 1 year at the VERY minimum!! I hope so much that I can do it til 2 or longer this time tho, I had to wean DD at 16.5 months. BFing is so amazing for the mother and child, their bond, and all the health benefits to BOTH of you(both in the short and long run!)! Here is a quick article that I think you will find interesting http://www.healthychild.com/child-nutrition/should-your-child-drink-milk/
And OP, you have NOTHING to be afraid of! BFing is a completely natural, normal thing, and is what your body was made to do! The breastmilk is also what your babies body was MADE to live off of. BFing is also much easier and more convenient than bottle feeding. All you have to do when baby wakes up at night is whip out the boob and you can both fall peacefully back to sleep together, rather than getting up with your baby crying, preparing the bottle, warming it, feeding it to baby, rinsing it or putting it back in fridge. The formula fed baby often has issues with gas and BMs so they are often much fussier in general. And I think it is awesome that your DH supports long term BFing!! Most women have the opposite problem where they want to BF the child as they get older, but their DH is embarassed by it or does not like it for one reason or another, so you should feel very fortunate. It is heartbreaking for those women who have to go through that with their DH.
I have not read this book, but I have heard that Ina Mays Guide to Breastfeeding is a good one to read. I have read her Guide to Childbirth which I HIGHLY recommend, it is what I always wish I would have read when I was pregnant with my first, it has given me SOOO much confidance this time around!
Not to mention the chemicals and hormones found in both the formula, the can that the formula comes in, and the plastic bottle that you feed the baby out of.....
My lil guy finished self weaning around 18-19mo. The only feedings I conciously weaned him from was like, the 4am one around 10-12 months,, which he didn't need nutritionally, and I was starting a new job in a couple months, so I wanted more sleep. From there, he was eating table food and having a cup so a couple months later I stopped pumping at work, and just breastfeeding on days when I was home and after work and at night. I'm sure my supply dropped, but he was getting more active and demanding less too.
6 months is a good goal to have, and then from there, make another goal. If you quit before 1 year, you will definately have to supplement with something. From a year on, you could get by with other regular milks if they are eating a diverse diet of solids, but a toddler formula might still be beneficial.
I have found raw goats milk(pasture fed) to be very beneficial and would certainly recommend it over toddler formula. I have a friend who mixes in some cod liver oil, vitamin A oil, and molasses to her DDs goats milk. I have also heard of 6 month old babies who can no longer breastfeed and who did horribly on formula being given raw goats milk by naturopath's recommendation and thriving. I think that baby had a few mix ins as well but not sure what.