My 26 month old son is still nursing 2-3+ time per day depending on how much we're together (I work outside the home 4 days per week) and our schedule (if we're bumming around the house all day he'll tend to ask more) and needs (injuries still sometimes lead to him wanting to nurse, etc.).
This is a HUGE accomplishment given the troubles we had starting out (delayed milk supply and DS' subsequent dehydration and 14% weight loss, flat nipples, poor latch and subsequent blistered nipples, plugged ducts and mastitis, and Raynaud's phenomenon - whew!). I wanted to make it to 2 years if I could based on AAP and WHO guidelines, and now we're there, and at this point I'll continue until he wishes to. I've no plans to TTC in the next year or two or even longer, so there may be no end for quite a while, which I'm happy about. This has been a very gradual shift in my thinking since I became pregnant and imagined I'd nurse for 1 year if I could, and that nursing older babies was a bit odd to me as I'd never seen it done before I joined LLL; to this day I still do not know a soul in real life who has nursed their baby past 2.5 years. So since we've continued our nursing journey and I've learned more about the benefits of extended nursing, I've decided that CLW is the way forward for us and he can do things in his own time without hindrance on my part.
At any rate, my question or more like rambling thought (ha!)... I have been following his lead about our nursing schedule the whole time he's been nursing (from the beginning months when he nursed every 90 minutes all day and every 120 minutes all night!), or so I thought... lately I've realized that sometimes I am the one reminding him to nurse/offering to nurse him at our "normal" times (first thing in the morning, afternoons after nap/when we get home from work/daycare, and before bed). To truly do CLW should I only nurse when he asks? I am such a scheduler that I just feel better knowing those are our concrete times and offering it when I know it will work given the rest of our daily activities and/or his and my mood at the time, but is that okay? Should I be backing off at this point from our 2-3/day minimum? I might be reminding him just out of habit I suppose, and because for so long I fought so hard for this nursing relationship to work and to keep up my supply that I guess I don't know any other way to be! I am wary of making him overly dependent on nursing for his emotional and nutritive needs, but is that even possible? Should I just relax and keep up our current schedule/routine as long as it still works for both of us?
What about others? What has been/is your experience with a nursing schedule/routine at this post-2-year-old age?
Cady, wife to Patrick (8/2/03) and mother to Bradley (11/24/09) and little bean (edd 5/31/13) . Planning our first home birth and looking for any information and advice on the subject!
Not offering is a weaning technique. So I would just keep offering if I were you. IMO, nursing past 2 y/o is a great tool in dealing with a toddler's tantrums, their need for independence and attachment at the same time. You won't make a child dependent on nursing whatever you do. When a kid doesn't want to nurse, no amount of offering, asking, begging will make him nurse! I speak from my own experience of multiple plugged ducts, even mastitis, when ds (or dd) were simply done for the day and refused to nurse even when I insisted.
Also, both my dk are fiercely independent in spite (or because?) of being nursed for 4 and 2 years.
Dd is 2.5 y/o and she nurses on demand.
Trust me, when he is ready he will start refusing to nurse. My dd did this a bit earlier, she's only 22 months and she will refuse to nurse quite often - but I offer anyway. You can't "force" a baby to nurse. I don't think it's possible to make them "too dependent" on nursing for either comfort or nutrition - especially not nutrition. That's like saying you're too dependent on vegetables Breast milk is the absolute healthiest thing he's getting, and the more frequently he's able to have it the better!
We have never had a schedule, although I am thinking about starting one now. Dd recently moved to her new bed in anticipation of baby #2 coming this summer. She has taken so well to it that she's not nursing much at all through the night anymore, so I'm hoping to try and remind her more frequently to nurse during the day to keep up my supply. I don't know anyone in real life that has nursed this long either - so I feel you there! I would just relax and do what's right for you both. If something's not right your mommy super powers will tell you. Or that's what dh calls them anyway...
I'm nursing my 2 1/2 year old, too! One of my friends from LLL is still nursing her toddler but he doesn't nurse much in public and she is pregnant so her supply may be lower etc..
I have no plans to have another babe so sometimes I wonder if we'll ever stop nursing! Because we are not trying to wean I find myself reminding Jo to nurse. Sometimes my DH puts her down to bed so I try to nurse her before that, or if I'm goin out for a while. But sometimes, when we're busy running around at my moms or something, I will ask if she wants to nurse and she'll say no. Your baby won't nurse if (s)he doesn't want to. You're doing great, mama. Try not to worry.
Newly Single-Mama. Raising homebirth baby, Josephine, July '09.
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