I have no problem breastfeeding infants, but when they get to be about 18 months or so it starts to become unpleasant and I get some hormonal reaction like nails on a chalkboard or something every time they breastfeed, and it gets worse and worse until I'm tearing my hair out around the time they're 2 or so. So I made it until 2.5 with one and just 2 with the other. I didn't get to the point where I could see what my personal limit was because we quit for that other reason.
I have had friends nurse until 5 or 6, and I just can't imagine nursing that long. I mean, it didn't bother me seeing them nurse and it didn't feel weird to me, but I feel like it would have felt weird if I'd been nursing a child that age. Maybe I'd feel differently if I didn't have this reaction to nursing as they got older? I mean, they aren't all of a sudden 6. They're 2, and then 2.5, and then 3, etc. They grow slowly and they don't all of a sudden feel older in any given moment.
Do you have a personal age limit for breastfeeding?
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I nursed my oldest until she was four. I nursed my second child until he was three. I don't know where my personal limit is. I mean, I'm I wouldn't nurse a 10 year old, but where exactly that limit is, I don't know.
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When I had my first I really thought I would go forever and ever and didn't really have an upper limit.
After having my second and my oldest entered kindergarten shortly after my second turned 2 and I realized that 5 was definitely too old for me!
I think I could handle around 3 and maybe heading towards 4. But I agree with you mamazee that every day they are just a little bit older and so it's harder to come up with a concrete age.
I did find that with both kids, we kinda got too busy to nurse.
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I did but it changed several times. My first daughter weaned at 17 months so I figured my twins would wean around the same time. When they didn't, I thought they'd nurse til 2. Then 2 1/2. Then 3 but I said absolutely NOT past 4. Well, one weaned at 3 1/2 and the other weaned at over age 4 and that was with me gently nudging it. I am done having children, but if I were to have another child, it'd be hard for me to come up with an age.
I nursed mine until he was 39 months, but that last year or so was really just at bedtime. A bit before he turned three, I started getting that nursing aversion where sometimes I just wanted to swat him away like a mama cat. Not every time, but sometimes. I think it's a pretty normal thing. I'll definitely try to nurse the next baby for at least a couple of years.
Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
I'm not sure where that limit is for me. My 1st babe weaned at 2yrs with a little gentle nudging from me due to issues with recurrent miscarriages and a dr blaming me/nursing.
My 2nd babe is still nursing at 4yrs 1mo. He and I were in agreement about him weaning at 4, but then he changed his mind. In reality, he nurses 1-2 times a day, and most of the time it's fine. There are those times when I get a nursing aversion to him badly (and only him for some reason) and we end the session early. I'm careful to explain my need in a way that does not blame him. He now says he'll wean when he's 5. For now we just take it a day at a time. I certainly never set out to nurse a child this old, but ya know what they say...life happens :) .
My 3rd babe is 2.5yrs and still going strong. I expect that he'll probably nurse another year or so at this rate. And my 4th babe turns 1yr in a few days :( , so I can't see her weaning anytime soon. My goal has always been to make it to 2yrs and anything beyond that is just bonus time.
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DD is going strong at 20mos although certainly not like she was at say 10mos - maybe 4-5x a day now. I don't think I've ever had a limit although in theory I'd like her to get into a school program at 3 in which case it might be awkward for her to go in there requesting to see mommy for "booby time" lol. I do have one side that sort of quit producing anything but "sips" around 9mos so she's limited to the one boob and that can only go for so long right?! I definitely would not go back to pumping for the sake of reclaiming space. Far too time consuming and I stopped pumping around 10mos anyways.
She tandem nursed with her younger brother for 18 months until *he* self weaned first, and she kept going. After about 3-4 years old, I became much more provate about it, not telling even family that she was still nursing. She nursed less and less until it was a few times a week, a few times a month, and only once every couple of months. I had no milk supply for years, it was only for comfort then. She nursed for the last time at age 6.
Now she is 13 and she says the reason she nursed so long was jealousy of her brother! I never realized that at the time. In retrospect, I should have been more in tune with her emotional needs and really tried to teach her good coping and problem solving skills to deal with stress, rather than using breastfeeding as a "crutch". I still don't see breastfeeding a 6 year old as "wrong" (see Dr. Kathryn Dettwyler's work, for instance). But for us it may have been unnecessary.
I have no aversion to feeding her sister (8mo) and I would love todo something closer to CLW with her.
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
It's not an age, it's when either the child weans themselves or I'm ready to wean. It's more about circumstances than an age. I weaned my first right before 5 years old. The plan had been to wean him at 1 but I learned more about nursing and it helped him in so many ways. I weaned him not due to age - but because I was ttc and tandeming and have rough pregnancies. I felt that his need to nurse was less than my need to wean. No regrets at all. My second child weaned herself, right before 6 years old. I don't feel she got more than my oldest even though she got a full year extra. (She probably got less when his frequency was figured in!) I was tandeming but done with trying to get pg. So, different circumstances. My third, and last child, is only 4 years old. I don't know when I'll wean him or if he'll wean himself. We'll know when we're there.
-when pregnant i had all these ideas in my head. then-dh and i had drawn our lines. territories that was important to us individually where there would be no intervention from their side. so with dh it was circumcision, with me nursing and cosleeping.
but it was an idea in my head. i was going to do the right thing. i had no idea what that meant. all i knew was that if my dd needed it i would do it.
no time limit.
the first year went well. i was surprised at her first bday that we were still going strong. in fact i remember on her first bday that i thought this wouldnt last much more than a year. i discovered that while i said i would nurse for as long as dd wanted it, i realised in my head i had put a time unconsciously and one year was it. so when her first bday past, i was surprised i was still nursing and that was it. i never thought about it again.
dd nursed for the last time on her 9th birthday.
Hence that would be my limit.
I have seen older children nurse at LLL meet ups and I don't find it weird. Unusual, yes...but as a mother you will naturally get used to a growing nursling I'm sure.
Such an interesting conversation! Before kids, I would have said my limit was 1, maybe 18 months. But my kids have gone as long as 27 months before weaning, always because of a new baby on the way. I'm 5 months pregnant, my youngest is 26 months and still going strong! I've realized more and more with each one that the time goes so quickly, and I am in no hurry to move them on to the next stage. I just want to enjoy them where they are right now! If that means longer nursing, that's fine with me. So, I guess I don't really have an age limit :)
When I was pg with ds1, my upper limit was 6mos but I planned to pump for him til he turned one. We nursed for 24 mos almost exactly. He weaned completely on his own, I wasn't ready to stop.
When I was pg with ds2, I wanted to try to hit the 3rd bday. At that time, I didn't necessarily think it was weird or gross or wrong or anything to nurse longer. I just wanted to beat my record. haha Our last nursing was just after his 5th bday. Somewhere between 3y6m and 4y, I was sooo done but he was having some issues and I recognized that it was the wrong time to encourage weaning. Also, I was very committed to CLW.
That said, the thought of personally ever nursing a 6yo does not appeal to me in the slightest. I doubt I would ever nurse a 7yo. An 8 or 9yo nursling would probably creep me out. But I recognize that is because we make judgments based on our own reality and experiences and at one time the thought of nursing a 12mo baby weirded me out. So I know it's not wrong to nurse a 3rd grader but I don't think I would ever do it myself.
I always used to say that I would want to wean my kids before they started school. I;m not really sure why, just something about them being independent enough for school made me feel that I would no longer feel comfortable breastfeeding. That said we did spend quite a long time discussing home education as I feel that we start children at school to young. Had we stuck to the system my oldest would have started full time 3 weeks after her 4th birthday.
In the event they both ended up being weaned with quite a bit of nudging from me shortly after they were 2. With DD it was because I was pregnant and expecting complications. It felt better to encourage weaning than to suddenly find myself in hospital on bed rest and have to wean her suddenly. With DS I just couldn't take it any more, he was just all over me all the time, he'd never been a gentle nurser but as he got worse I got to the point where I was dreading being with him as he'd want to feed..In both cases I expressed for a while as I still felt they needed the milk, it was just the nursing I had a problem with.
I wish I could say that I didn't care and that any age is fine. but the reality is that I think I would be not comfortable past 6y.o. not sure.
Ds1 weaned at 2 and half, during my second pregnancy. ds2 is 16 months and going strong.
My answer is a bit strange, my mental limit would be around 2-3 years old, in theory I would be more than happy to go to that age...but my physical limit seems to be around 15 months. With dd I really wanted to get to 2 but started to get an aversion to her around 14 mths then got pg shortly after and had hyperemesis, so with me leading the way we weaned gently and happily.
With ds, again, I'm happy to go to 2 or 3 but the aversion has come back I'm really sad, he's my last baby and I have a terrible tug of war going on in my head. Hoping its temporary and we can go back to our happy nursing relationship again.
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Lucky mom to two
You know, I get little "aversion patches", like it feels super gross and wrong for, like, a few days, or a week, and then it feels normal again. Maybe try to see if you can get over the hump?
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Lucky mom to two
I started to get increasingly tired of nursing when she was around 18 months and started cutting back, then stopped entirely at 23 months after finding out I was pregnant because I am completely uninterested in nursing while pregnant or tandem nursing. I think she had gotten into this habit of having nursing just be her fallback activity and I had gotten into the habit of letting her nurse any time... and it was just driving me bonkers. I switched to only doing a certain number of nursings and doing the "no, we'll nurse after we do X or at X time" thing. It was breaking that habit of boob anytime and having her hear a "no" sometimes and learn that she couldn't nurse any old time she wanted anymore that was really the challenging part, and going from umpty-ump nursings a day down to five was much harder than cutting back from five to four, from four to three, and so on. (I would have taken the typical advice to drop one feeding at a time, but she snacked all the time so there were no fixed "feedings".) By the time we weaned entirely, she did ask a few more times and I nursed her one more time after the "official" stop day, but I think that she adjusted pretty readily. And that makes me question the idea of waiting until the kid is ready... what does that mean? She probably would have gone on nursing just because she could for who knows how long, but stopping it didn't seem to really faze her. So was she ready or not?
I don't have an age limit for the next one. We'll play it by ear. My goal with my daughter was one year and I figured anything else was gravy.
4th birthday maybe. We've gotten close to that a few times but I can't really see going any longer. I don't really enjoy nursing and have usually already had one baby and am pregnant again by that point. Last two were too spaced out to tandem though. If I didn't get pregnant again,I don't know.
Momma-ing the Muffin since October 2011!
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