Should I wean my 1 year old? Help! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 08-12-2013, 06:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son just turned 1. I exclusively breastfed and pumped for about 7 months. After that, I BF + he would have 1-2 bottles of formula at daycare. Now, he is only BF at night. I enjoy nursing, and didn't used to mind that he wanted to nurse several times a night. I didn't feel that we were losing any sleep, and thought it was best. Lately (for about 3 weeks straight) he wakes up every 2 hours and wants to nurse (kind of in a demanding way), starting late into the night. We started out exclusively co-sleeping. As we transition him to crib, he now goes to sleep in his crib about 8 pm, then when he wakes up around 11:30, I nurse him, then back into the crib. When he wakes up a couple of hours later, my husband brings him into bed with us around 1 am usually. Then he just wants to be latched all night. The issue is that now he starts whimpering and flailing around when he's trying to get latched. I've been trying to sooth him back to sleep with back/tummy rubs. That has only worked ONCE so far. Trying to give him a binky only infuriates him. If I don't let him latch right away, he starts throwing a tantrum in the middle of the night like we're burning him with a hot poker. I usually give up and let him latch on, but he doesn't really nurse-nurse. It seems to be just for comfort - some nights my nips can't take it! Last night, I couldn't take it, so my  husband made him a bottle and he gulped it down like he was starving and went to sleep. This pattern is starting to affect everyone's sleep, including my son. I don't feel any of us are getting quality rest right now. I don't think it's teething - he has no other symptoms of that right now and has 6 teeth so far. Can someone share their experience? Should I wean? How? Is this a phase? How long? This is my first child. Any advice is appreciated.

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#2 of 29 Old 08-12-2013, 08:12 AM
 
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You've considered discomfort and it sounds like that to me, too. Even if he isn't showing signs of teething other than that, I'd really consider that to be the case. If you ever use baby Tylenol, you could try a bit to see if getting rid of the discomfort takes care of it. IMO it's healthier to let him have a little baby Tylenol than to wean him.

I agree that you're in a situation that needs a solution. I'd try to see if treating it as discomfort works, because that big of a change means that he's dealing with something else now. Maybe some other people will chime in and suggest some other changes he might be dealing with. I know when kids are working on major developmental steps - like learning to walk - that kids often sleep badly for a while, but in my experience that's more like waking up and wanting to play than being upset. Being upset is what makes me think he isn't feeling very good in one way or another.

Oh wait, one other idea is that he might be going through a growth spurt and trying to signal your body to make more milk. If that's the case, your body will catch up in a few days and he should get back to normal. How long has this been going on? It sounds like it's been longer than that.
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#3 of 29 Old 08-12-2013, 08:15 AM
 
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#4 of 29 Old 08-12-2013, 11:42 AM
 
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I'm not sure this is a question of weaning.  You can continue to nurse him without nursing him all night long.  I nurse my 11.5 month old to sleep at night and in the morning and no more (b/c he's not interested during the day) - he eats (table food) 5 times a day - basically 5 small meals, including (yummy) whole cow's milk yogurt at the end of dinner, so I can be confident he's not hungry in the night.

 

This seems to me to be much more of a sleep crutch issue than a nursing issue - just so happens nursing is his crutch.

 

Here are a couple websites I recommend - they include some CIO advocates, but also just a ton of thoughtful, sensible advice:

 

http://www.troublesometots.com/

 

https://plus.google.com/communities/110938335454541252244 (you have to join Google+ to participate in this one)

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#5 of 29 Old 08-13-2013, 03:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hoosiermama View Post

My son just turned 1. I exclusively breastfed and pumped for about 7 months. After that, I BF + he would have 1-2 bottles of formula at daycare. Now, he is only BF at night. I enjoy nursing, and didn't used to mind that he wanted to nurse several times a night. I didn't feel that we were losing any sleep, and thought it was best. Lately (for about 3 weeks straight) he wakes up every 2 hours and wants to nurse (kind of in a demanding way), starting late into the night. We started out exclusively co-sleeping. As we transition him to crib, he now goes to sleep in his crib about 8 pm, then when he wakes up around 11:30, I nurse him, then back into the crib. When he wakes up a couple of hours later, my husband brings him into bed with us around 1 am usually. Then he just wants to be latched all night. The issue is that now he starts whimpering and flailing around when he's trying to get latched. I've been trying to sooth him back to sleep with back/tummy rubs. That has only worked ONCE so far. Trying to give him a binky only infuriates him. If I don't let him latch right away, he starts throwing a tantrum in the middle of the night like we're burning him with a hot poker. I usually give up and let him latch on, but he doesn't really nurse-nurse. It seems to be just for comfort - some nights my nips can't take it! Last night, I couldn't take it, so my  husband made him a bottle and he gulped it down like he was starving and went to sleep. This pattern is starting to affect everyone's sleep, including my son. I don't feel any of us are getting quality rest right now. I don't think it's teething - he has no other symptoms of that right now and has 6 teeth so far. Can someone share their experience? Should I wean? How? Is this a phase? How long? This is my first child. Any advice is appreciated.
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#6 of 29 Old 08-13-2013, 06:26 PM
 
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My DD is 21 mos and has just in the past few weeks begun to sleep through the night, maybe 3-5 nights a week.  I get the frustration, as her night nursing is never hunger but for comfort (I'm her pacifier) but even on the worst of nights I've never even entertained the thought of weaning.  At that age she was cutting teeth left and right and going through some major growth spurts and so there was a lot of night feedings, and of course right before a tooth would cut she's nurse almost 24/7 for about 48 hours.  Weaning would be a pretty harsh reaction to something that could just be a passing phase.  I'd rule out growth spurts, teeth, and any other physical issues first because if he's truly in pain or discomfort, taking away his ability to comfort nurse will only escalate the situation. 

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#7 of 29 Old 08-13-2013, 06:46 PM
 
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I've been thinking about this more. What do you plan to do with his night wakings if he's weaned? In other words, when he wakes upset, if you're not going to nurse him, what will you do to get him back to sleep? Whatever that is, why not go ahead and do that now but still nurse when it works for both of you? There's A LOT of middle ground between being a pacifier and weaning.
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#8 of 29 Old 08-13-2013, 07:33 PM
 
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My son actually did the same until I night weaned at 14 months. My husband and I both were not getting any sleep. It took 2 hard nights of rocking, walking with, laying next too but not nursing and the 3rd night he slept though. He takes a sippy of water to bed. Still months later he doesn't fall asleep the greatest, but once he's sleeping he sleeps all night. Then again I had another child who even when night weaned woke up once or twice a night until at least 2.

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#9 of 29 Old 08-13-2013, 11:08 PM
 
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A human infant requires milk, preferably of human origin, for a minimum of 24 months. It is way too early to wean completely. Also, babies go through one phase after another. Your bub is either teething or having a growth spurt. Do what you can to survive this brief phase, I promise it will get better soon!
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#10 of 29 Old 08-13-2013, 11:43 PM
 
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My DS would go through phases like this when something big was happening in his life: teething, growing, fighting a cold/fever, if we had an over-stimulating day, moving, transitioning to a toddler bed... Nursing helped him to feel secure in/during all sorts of changes.  Hang in there mama, it's worth it for all of you!  That said, if you pump and give him a bottle a couple of nights when you are really hurting and that gets everyone more rest, that is also good for all of you.  But I would treat that just like nursing at night, snuggle him close, feed him and then rest together or put him back in his crib, whatever your routine is but give him the full comfort of nursing and being with you, held by you.  Breastfeeding is so much more than just the breast milk part (although that part is huge)!  It can be hard, but it doesn't last forever, any of it! 

 

Another thought... when we put DS into a toddler bed we had a similar sort of scenario.  He would get up and join us in bed for a bit, then I would put him in his little bed (in our room), then EARLY in the morning he would get back and bed and want to nurse until it was time to wake up.  That did not work for very long.  We pushed his toddler bed up to my side of the bed and it stopped pretty quickly.  Maybe the transition was just too much too quick for him.  I don't know, but he went back to nursing before bed, occasionally for a minute or two at night (but the easy going kind of nursing where I am mostly asleep and he pops off in a minute), and then again in the morning.  Something else to consider.

 

Good luck mama!

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#11 of 29 Old 08-14-2013, 06:33 AM
 
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I might get slammed for my opinion but here is goes.  When your husband gave him a bottle, he went right to sleep.  It's possible he's just hungry.  A growth spurt would make him very hungry. You could listen to other mothers, experts, doctors, authors & whoever, but the loudest person you should listen to is your child.  Babies develop on their own time, not according to what adults dictate.  The queue that I'm picking up is that he's hungry & needs something more than your breast milk at night.  What we started doing was feeding my son rice cereal before bedtime.  At 2 we feed him rice crispies & milk an hour before bed & he usually sleeps most of the night.

 

You don't have to cut out BFing, but simply give him something heavier right before bed.  He will be more comfortable & so will you.

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#12 of 29 Old 08-14-2013, 12:02 PM
 
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Hello, 

 

I am a Chiropractor and mother of two.  Nursed my first for 3 years and now nursing my 16 month old.  Do not wean him!  Was he recently vaccinated??  Often times behavior like that is brought on by a vaccine.  I certainly hope you do NOT vaccinate but if you do, go to a website called www.thinktwice.com and read the two books they have on their site.  The Vaccine Safety Manual by Neil ****** is a good one to start with.  I know all too well about sleepless nights because it took me years to figure out what was bothering my boys through my milk.  We are strict Paleo eaters but eggs were very bothersome to my two boys and caused stomach cramps and gas.  Caffeine, dairy, gluten, potatoes, and corn are other culprits.  Your breast is his life...it's for comfort, security, love and nourishment.  The longer you nurse, the better it gets!  It's the greatest experience in life.  Hope this helps and you are welcome to go to our website to read more blogs about health and nutrition.  Dr. Heather Wolfson

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#13 of 29 Old 08-14-2013, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much for your opinions! It's definitely helped, and I think I'm going to just stick with it. Since he did go right to sleep after bottle, perhaps he is legitimately hungry and it's a growth spurt. He did just start walking? It's just hard because he's latched on so long and lately he's demanding. I kind of feel like maybe I'm not producing enough milk during the night anymore? To make that worse, I had to spend two nights away this week for work (this hardly ever happens) and I noticed a huge decrease in milk supply. I thought I'd wake up and have to pump for sure, but sadly, I didn't.  I did research CIO. I know most of you are against this (I don't like it either), but I do worry about the boob/sleep association. I get scared he'll never sleep on his own without something to soothe. Can anyone share thoughts/valid research on this? As a new mom, info is coming at you from all angles: "CIO is not harmful."  "CIO is very harmful!"  "12-18 months is time to start sleeping on their own without soothing from you." Etc, etc. Trying to do what's best for us. Anyways, thanks to you all! I'll keep plugging away and see if it is just a phase.

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#14 of 29 Old 08-14-2013, 12:59 PM
 
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If you want to break the boob/sleep association, have you tried rocking (in addition to increasing his food intake during daylight hours and giving ibuprofen at bedtime (I say ibuprofen instead of tylenol simply because it can help with inflamed gums and lasts 6 hours instead of 4) to cover all bases)?  Perhaps there's an alternative to CIO.

 

And, I mean no disrespect, but if you want objective information on CIO (or vaccinating, medicating, breastfeeding), this is not the best place to get it.  I don't mean you won't get good information here, but it will be one-sided, no doubt.

 

Again, I thoroughly recommend these sites for all things baby sleep:

 

http://www.troublesometots.com/

 

https://plus.google.com/communities/110938335454541252244 (you have to join Google+ to participate in this one)

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#15 of 29 Old 08-14-2013, 01:01 PM
 
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Mama, a breastfed baby looks like they guzzle a bottle but that's just a matter of bottle mechanics -- they suck, their mouth fills with milk, and they are obligated to swallow.  The swallowing causes suction, their mouth fills with milk and so on, until the bottle is gone.  It has nothing to do with being hungry. Then they sleep because their tummy is SO FULL. With the breast, they can control flow and regulate their intake.  I really wouldn't take your baby sucking back a bottle as any indication of anything at all, unless you have other reasons to be worried about supply -- have you started any birth control? Could you be pregnant?

 

My experience is that at a year old, there is so much going on physically and developmentally (learning words, becoming more mobile, separation anxiety etc.) that they do want to reconnect with mama, especially at night.  Of course, the most wonderful way they know to reconnect is to nurse -- the most comforting place they know.  I assure you, this WILL pass :)  You might want to try cosleeping from the beginning of the night so he never has a chance to wake up all the way, which often happens in transitions between sleeping places. 

In order to be better rested, you might need to take on some 'newborn' coping mechanisms, like going to bed earlier so that being waken in the early hours doesn't affect you as much.  Get your hubby to take baby for early mornings so you can sleep in.  I also have a delatch trick that worked well for us: moisten your little finger by licking it and insert it beside the nipple in your baby's mouth.  Then slooooowly remove the nipple, leaving the finger in place in baby's mouth.  Leave it in place for ten or fifteen seconds (baby may well spit out the finger in this time).  If not, slooowly draw out the finger.  Then hold the boob up and out of rooting range.  I found most of the time that my son would just sleep after half-heartedly rooting for a few seconds.  If he started to wake up, I'd give him the boob back and try again in a few minutes when he was back in a deep sleep. 

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#16 of 29 Old 08-14-2013, 04:27 PM
 
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LorienIslay's response above is right on...the answer always lies within how nature would have it.  Don't listen to your mother, mother-in-law, friend, or doctor.  Do what nature intended for you and your baby and listen only to your gut.  Your baby will learn how to sleep on his own when he is ready.  Your baby should be with you from the beginning of the night and I would never introduce cow's milk at that age.  It's never natural to have a bottle anyways.  Cow's milk is for cows.  Human milk is for humans.  There are way too many problems brought on with the introduction of dairy at this early age, specifically the atopic diseases such as eczema and asthma.  Eat as close to Paleo nutrition as possible and this will help them to sleep much better.  Dr. Heather Wolfson

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#17 of 29 Old 08-14-2013, 09:02 PM
 
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Welcome to Mothering hoosiermama! It sounds like you've gotten a variety of advice already and I hope these suggestions will be helpful to you as you navigate this stage of breastfeeding and try to get good sleep for your whole family. I'm moving your post to the General Breastfeeding forum where it's better hosted...and where you will hopefully get a lot more suggestions too!

 

With regards to "crying it out," I'd like to reminder everyone that the Mothering community stands strongly against harsh sleep training, including “crying it out”. (There's more info on this here). Please keep this in mind when you post. It’s great to see all of the ideas already for ways to support breastfeeding at night and get sleep!


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#18 of 29 Old 08-19-2013, 08:36 AM
 
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just wanted to chime in to agree with others that you don't have to wean totally in order to night-wean. Jay Gordon (I think) has a good website with a plan/ method to follow for night-weaning, I'd you decide that's right for you. But I also agree that it could be teething or some other developmental leap about to occur that causing the bad asleep. I feel you! my 9.5 month old is very restless in sleep lately, and I do not do so well with a lack of sleep either! But nursing is a great tool for lots of other things, I'd hate to give it up entirely. I still nurse my nearly 3 year old. she no longer needs to nurse to sleep or in the middle of the night, so never fear that your little one will always need to nurse in order to sleep! it can feel that way, I know, but it won't last forever. hope everyone gets some sleep soon though!
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#19 of 29 Old 08-19-2013, 08:38 AM
 
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whoops, that should be "if you decide..." (Hate typing on my phone!)
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#20 of 29 Old 08-20-2013, 05:48 AM
 
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I agree that it may not be that he is hungry. My daughter often would gulp down 8-10 oz of breastmilk in a bottle in a few moments with no problem whatsoever, but would take 45 minutes to nurse.When she began to walk, we had a similar problem as you have, except she did it all day. She would "half-nurse" and just run around, but seemed to only want me for comfort for a few minutes. I contacted a lactation consultant (she walked at 9 months, so I didn't want to wean) and basically I had to pump more throughout that time to keep up my supply, and eventually she came back to the way she had been nursing before and all was okay. So, maybe he is just going through a phase. However, I think since he is over a year and you have made it this far, you also need to consider if YOU want to keep nursing him. If you are done, maybe a few sleepless nights will be worth the many sleeping nights you get afterward. But if you don't want to stop nursing, I would recommend consulting a lactation consultant in your area. Good luck, and either way, you have done a great job breastfeeding him this long. :)

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#21 of 29 Old 08-20-2013, 06:22 AM
 
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I too worried about nursing to sleep being a crutch with DD1, but it didn't end up being a problem for me. I was lucky that when I did wean, she was fine with cuddles and her lovey from me, but what can help if it ends up being a problem is having Daddy put her to bed for awhile as baby knows he can't BF, whether you wean or not. I personally wouldn't wean, I would try getting more food and BM in your baby during the day as you said he just started walking he probably doesn't want to slow down to eat. Feed him often and try to give things that are easy to eat one, go play for a bit, eat another, etc. He probably wants to reattach at night and to get some more food. Good luck!

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#22 of 29 Old 08-20-2013, 09:09 AM
 
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I have lots and lots of milk. I am tandem feeding a 2 year old and a 3.5 year old. But I can skip a day and not feel full. Our bodies learn to produce more on demand. I wouldn't take that to mean anything.
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#23 of 29 Old 08-20-2013, 12:18 PM
 
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I think you're asking because you know you actually don't want to.  I suggest you honor that and redefine what you are doing/how you are doing it.  Could you get in touch with a lactation expert, maybe from La Leche League in your area?  Also, have you read "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding"?  How can you rally up a new type of support system, new folks and a new way with your regular folks?

 

Good luck, and be well. 

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#24 of 29 Old 08-21-2013, 08:42 AM
 
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It's been a few years since my DS but my son comfort nursed at night a few days ago for the first time in awhile so I figured to chime in. The sessions get incredibly short (the other night was basically pop on, get a brief back rub and he was out in a flash) and I was out of that bottom bunk pretty fast too :)

 

They goes through phases and some phases are a huge pain in the tush and some are bearable. There are the phases that seem to go on forever (like during teething or a major growth spurt). Eventually they realize that it's your presence at night they need and not your breast but sometimes they regress and it's the most basic comfort to them. I don't deprive my DS of it like I don't stop my DD from using her thumb for comfort but I do help give them other things they need that may help them to sleep better or feel better too.

 

Hang in there. At that age my DS was hungry VERY hungry so yes you may want to start offering more food during the day and before bed to help get him through this phase.

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#25 of 29 Old 03-29-2014, 04:37 PM
 
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My DD is 21 mos and has just in the past few weeks begun to sleep through the night, maybe 3-5 nights a week.  I get the frustration, as her night nursing is never hunger but for comfort (I'm her pacifier) but even on the worst of nights I've never even entertained the thought of weaning.  At that age she was cutting teeth left and right and going through some major growth spurts and so there was a lot of night feedings, and of course right before a tooth would cut she's nurse almost 24/7 for about 48 hours.  Weaning would be a pretty harsh reaction to something that could just be a passing phase.  I'd rule out growth spurts, teeth, and any other physical issues first because if he's truly in pain or discomfort, taking away his ability to comfort nurse will only escalate the situation. 
I am so delighted to hear that there is a possibility that my 21 month old son will start sleeping through the night,he still wakes up to nurse! I thank God I'm a stay at home mom because I don't get no sleep!
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#26 of 29 Old 04-12-2014, 10:39 AM
 
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Excuse my ignorance,but I wonder how many African American moms that is still breast feeding after 1 yrs of age. When I read magazines on breast feeding and even read mothers posts (those with pics) they all be white and be breast feeding well after 2 and 3 yrs of age. I'm African American and everyone in my family and some friends give me the side eye or ridicule me because I'm still nursing my 21 month old son. I planned on stopping at two but he don't seem to want to stop. How can I deny him something that's so natural and beneficial to him. I know there are plenty of black people that breast feed but how many of us do so through toddler stages?
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#27 of 29 Old 04-12-2014, 11:20 AM
 
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Gabrielsma, you'll get more answers to your question if you start your own thread.
I will just put in that I am white, and the only people of color I personally know that breastfed their babies through toddlerhood (3-4 yrs) are African. I mean, they live in the US now but they're mostly from Somalia. I think a lot of it has to do with cultural norms wherever you are.
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#28 of 29 Old 04-12-2014, 11:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LTurtle View Post

Gabrielsma, you'll get more answers to your question if you start your own thread.
I will just put in that I am white, and the only people of color I personally know that breastfed their babies through toddlerhood (3-4 yrs) are African. I mean, they live in the US now but they're mostly from Somalia. I think a lot of it has to do with cultural norms wherever you are.
Thanks, I'm still trying to figure this site out. I was attempting to start a new thread but couldn't figure it out.
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#29 of 29 Old 04-12-2014, 12:08 PM
 
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Huge race differences in the US on breastfeeding.  Certainly distinct norms based on different subcultures in our society. There's a socio-economic distinction as well (higher classes typically = higher breastfeeding rates and duration).

 

E.g., http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/resources/breastfeeding-trends.htm

 

Jeez, I can't seem to recall how to start a new thread either - sorry!

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Breastfeeding , Breastfeeding Challenges , Breastfeeding Beyond Infancy

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