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 Feeding & Nutrition
4 replies
Who's talking? (5)
Lisa A.
Jennifer L.
Tracy F.
Krystle V.
Elle F.

Breastfeeding past one year?

Lisa A. 5 years ago

Are you breastfeeding or have you breastfed past one year? I'm curious how that's going (or went) for you and baby. I'm a first time mom and while my little one isn't showing signs of weaning, I'm wondering what that may look like and how to go about weaning when she's ready. Would love your experiences and wisdom! Thanks!

Jennifer L.
Jennifer L. 5 years ago

My LO is 4. He breastfed right up until his third birthday.  I may have been able to wean him a year earlier but not without a fight. I slowly began to cutout feedings at 18 months, but we had a few set backs and he was back to nursing on a frequent basis. The upshot is that it became a lot easier to get back to the same place.

He put up an absolute fuss every time I'd try and drop the feeding in the middle of the night.  I eventually gave up until I was willing to give it another go after his second birthday since I didn't want to force him when he wasn't ready.  

I began the second time by talking to him about it since he could understand and give him some idea of what was going to happen. First, mommy would continue to nurse him once before bed and once in the morning---I loved our time together in the mornings and it was the feeding I least wanted to end and I was really interested in getting back to a normal sleepschedule.

At night, we started by introducing a sippee with milk instead of the breast.  We had a tough battle at first, but ultimately cut that feeding though we didn't get him to sleep through the night.  We had to cut the amount of liquid he would get as well as transition to water...pursuant to the instructions given by his pediatric dentist.

Two weeks of cutting his liquids intake in the middle of the night and I finally got the opportunity to comfortably sleep through the night again since pregnancy, but it took another week for me to get out of the habit of waking in the middle of the night to feed the little guy.

I want to say that finally happened at 2 years, 5 months and was probably the most difficult for him to drop.  After that, it was another slow period before we dropped the feeding before bed, but then once we got down to the morning feeding it became MUCH easier. He was so excited to play with his toys in the morning that he would sometimes forget or not have interest in nursing.

Occasionally, he would try to bring back other feedings, but my friends coached me to stay strong because weaning a child with my son's personality would come down to a "battle of wills," they explained. But for that occasional challenge, he asked to nurse less and less and started going a week or two, which led to the milk running dry.  

I think it was the constant communication and repeated explanations that made this last period so easy.  I believe talking through it helped to avoid a lot of frustration and tantrums, especially as body responded to his feeding slowdown by producing less milk.

I wish I could tell you there were signs of weaning based on my experience, but I think the opportunity to wean only became available once he could take in a decent volume of liquid from something other than a bottle.  That allowed the transition which led to dropping the feed altogether.  

Ultimately, you are in control so you can either decide to start to wean when you are ready or when your LO is ready. The key is to communicate and explain what is going to happen to reduce the blow that starting to wean may have--remember you are changing one of the constants that has been in their life since birth so it can be a bit traumatic if you are not sensitive to this.

Does your mom recall your age and how she went about weaning you?

Tracy F.
Tracy F. 5 years ago

Sometimes its easy and your child just simply chooses to stop, but frequently its the one big security object that they really want to hold onto.  We started weaning by picking the feeding our child was least attached to which meant midday and replacing it with a fun brand new sippy cup and a distracting activity.  I also made sure to not be around as much as possible for a week or so during that feeding time which I know is not possible for everyone.   That worked pretty easily though sometimes he would unexplainably want that feeding back weeks later.    We also tried to introduce transition objects like blankets and stuffed animals.    We had a lot more trouble trying to wean off his bedtime feeding and/or wean anytime he was sick or going through a transition.   If he fought weaning a feeding consistently then I would leave it and come back to a few weeks later to see if he was ready then.   We took a really long time to wean one feeding at a time.  I think consistency and the message to your child is the key like most things in parenting. 

Krystle V.
Krystle V. 5 years ago

I say the number one most important thing to do is go slow! Very slow! I took away a feeding about once a month. My lactation consultant advised to remove the first and last feeding last. Since I took so long to wean it was an easy process for both my daughter and me. Although I was very emotional! By the second day she was over it :) I make sure I read books to her every night  to keep the bond!

Elle F.
Elle F. 5 years ago

I agree with Krystle.  What I would add to what she wrote is don't let the so called "social norm" dictate what's right for you and your child.  Each relationship and circumstance is different, so use your intuition... it's your most powerful tool as a mom. I have friends that weaned at three months (and regretted it) and a couple who went past three years. All of my friends who breastfed past a year are now so grateful.  Tha La Leche League recommends slow weaning as well, they are a great resource to check out if you haven't already.