How long to breasfeed for?
Your experiences please
, Aug 25 2009 11:19 AM
61 replies to this topic
Posted 25 August 2009 - 12:01 PM
I think it comes down to what is normal for you. Some people (like my MIL) think that it is "weird" from the start and "weird" that i fed past the first few months. Personally i will be stopping around the 12 month mark. DH wanted me to stop at around the 6 month mark because that seems "normal" to him but for me i would like to do a whole 12 months, i wouldn't go far beyond that simply because i cannot imagine feeding a toddler who is running around and they can go on cows milk then but again that is just how i feel. I have no judgment for anyone who goes for a longer period of time (though not meaning to offend but i once saw a 5-6 year old lift up his mothers top for a feed in public and i was quite shocked because to me i don't consider that normal but it obviously was to them iykwim?).
Posted 25 August 2009 - 12:03 PM
DS3 was bf until 15months, needed both speech therapy and braces. DD was also bf for 15months and currently has braces.
Is that like the granfather who smoked a pack a day & lived to 95????
LESS LIKELY means just that LESS
likely - not "it won't happen".
Posted 25 August 2009 - 12:07 PM
I breastfed my DD until she was two at which time she self weaned when I was pregnant with my DS.
My DS breastfed until 2.5 years and he also self weaned.
It was a wonderul experience and I was really delighted that I was able to go for so long with each of them. I felt like I gave them the best start possible, and I also found that the hormones (for me) really gave me a sense of peace and serenity which made me a much calmer person and hence a better mother to my children than I might have been.
Personally I try not to judge others particularly those who breastfeed for longer periods of time. I many ways I wish I could have breastfed mine for a bit longer. I would have been happy to go until say they started school.
Although I was breastfeeding mine outside of what was probably considered normal by most people I made it a point not to hide it. I always considered it to be a lovely natural and healthy thing to do and if my doing it somewhat normalised it for some other mums then it was worth some of the negative comments/looks.
I must admit I had no intentions when I was pregnant with my first that I would end up being an extended breastfeeder. It just so happened that the more I read about it the more I realised that doing it for longer would set up my children for optimal health in the future. It also gave me some wonderful times just sitting in wonder at this ability to nurture my child in this way.
To the former poster Boobla - I believe that natural weaning in apes and humans is somewhere in the 4 to 7 years range, so not all animals wean quickly.
Posted 25 August 2009 - 12:07 PM
depending on the breed
Now I've read it all. What, pray tell, is your breed?
OP, its great that you're thinking about breastfeeding before the baby arrives. Breastfeeding
is normal. Its also something that you and your little baby will both have to learn to do so you're already on the right track getting some info and personal experiences on it.
I fed past 2. Why? Because she was still enjoying it, she still got loads of nutritional benefit - as your baby ages, your milk changes to meet their specific nutritional needs. So when we're talking about feeding after say 18 months, and then most babies aren't feeding 10 times a day anymore your milk becomes very concentrated so they get a lot of bang for their buck so to speak. The bond between you and your breastfed baby is very special and hopefully you'll both be able to do it successfully and enjoy it. Try and set yourself a small goal and then just see how it goes from there.
Very very few (in fact I've never met one) mother or child regrets being breastfed or feels guilt or anguish or anxiety because they did it.
Here is some more info for you:
Breastfeeding your baby for even 1 day is the greatest gift you can give. Breastfeeding is always the best choice for your baby’s health.
If you breastfeed your baby for just a few days, congratulations! Your baby will have received all the benefit of your colostrum, which delivers antibodies and the perfect food a brand-new baby expects, your colostrum is also baby’s first, safest, and easiest - "immunization" and helps get his or her digestive system running smoothly just as nature intended. Breastfeeding is how your baby expects to start, and it also helps your own body recover from the birth more quickly. Given how little it takes to offer it, and how very much your baby stands to gain, it makes good sense to breastfeed for at least a day or two, even if you plan to bottle-feed after that.
If you breastfeed your baby for four to six weeks, you will probably be becoming quite the expert by now. The first 6 weeks are known to be the most challenging and difficult. Breastfeeding is a learned skill, for both of you. But if you can do it for 6 weeks, you can do it forever! (Well, as long as you both enjoy it at least….).
If you breastfeed your baby for three or four months, you will have aided your baby’s development of her digestive system which will have matured a great deal. Another plus: exclusive breastfeeding for four months provides strong protection against ear infections for a whole year! Isn’t that amazing?
If you breastfeed your baby for six months you will have provided him with a great deal of protection against allergies when in the coming months, you will probably be introducing solids. Breastfed babies have better developed jaw and facial muscles which aids in their speech development. And exclusive, frequent breastfeeding during the first six months, if your periods have not returned, provides 98% effective, and perfectly natural, contraception.
If you breastfeed your baby for nine months, you will have seen him through the fastest and most important brain and body development of his entire life on the food that was designed for him - breastmilk. Your milk changes naturally at each age and stage, during sickness it can aid healing, during the hotter seasons it contains more water, it adapts naturally and automatically to your child’s needs. The unique combination of fatty acids and other components in your breastmilk contribute to optimal eyesight and brain development. Weaning may be fairly easy at this age... but then, so is continuing your loving breastfeeding relationship! If its not broken, why fix it?
If you breastfeed your baby for one year, you can avoid the expense and bother of bottle feeding. Her one-year-old body can probably handle most of the table foods your family enjoys. And because your milk is flavoured by what you eat, your baby will be more open to different tastes and foods. Many of the health benefits you have provided in this year of breastfeeding will actually last her entire life. Lower rates of diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers as well as lower chance of developing heart disease. She will have a stronger immune system – for life.
If you breastfeed your baby for 18 months, you will have continued to provide at least a third of his nutritional requirements as well as comfort and protection from illness. Breastfeeding is wonderful for our environment too – it has the lowest environmental impact, saves food resources, fuel and energy and it involves no packaging or chemicals, leaving the planet a better place for our children.
If your baby is able to wean when she is ready, you can feel confident that you have met all her physical and emotional needs in the best way you could. The World Health Organization and UNICEF strongly encourage breastfeeding through toddlerhood: "Breastmilk is an important source of energy and protein, and helps to protect against disease during the child's second year of life." Breastfeeding can help ease both of you through the tears, tantrums and trials that come with early childhood, and helps that any illnesses are milder and easier to deal with. Don't worry that your baby will breastfeed forever – they all wean.
Breastfeeding holds many benefits for Mum too – women who breastfeed have lower incidences of cancers of the breast, ovaries, heart disease and osteoperosis. Breastfeeding aids your body in returning to its pre-pregnancy state more quickly and many mothers find they lose excess weight while breastfeeding. Plus, its easy, convenient, and free. Breastmilk is instant, pre-warmed and ready to serve whenever its required, making breastfed babies easily transportable and ready to go.
Whether you breastfeed for a day or for several years, the decision to breastfeed is one you need never regret and every single feed should be counted and remembered as the gift it is. Breastfeeding is more than just nutrition, to your baby, being cuddled up against you, smelling your skin and seeing your eyes, feeling your warm breast and being filled with your milk, truly is a way of sharing your love for each other.
Posted 25 August 2009 - 12:10 PM
So funny, am just weaning my 12mth old now and he's not had any other MILK than breastmilk and has had that many colds its not funny, so I'm not a huge believer in all the health benefits. DD2 was also combo fed until 12months and had tons of colds. DD1 was BF for a month and then FF and is the healthiest of them all!
Posted 25 August 2009 - 12:17 PM
Is that like the granfather who smoked a pack a day & lived to 95????
LESS LIKELY means just that LESS likely - not "it won't happen".
It cracks me up. There might quite possibly be a correlation between bf for 15months & whether need braces/speech therapy or not, but correlation is not causality.
Edited by anon60, 25 August 2009 - 12:19 PM.
Posted 25 August 2009 - 12:27 PM
Sad that these threads always seem to turn.
OP, only you will now whats 'best' for you and your baby.
Personally however I really enjoy breastfeeding and feed my babies for as long as they want and need it. DS1 weaned at 13 months and I'm sure DS2 will to around the same time. It also coincides with when they start childcare and I return to work.
Posted 25 August 2009 - 12:28 PM
I expressed for DS for 6 months, after feeding problems, but was happy that I feed to 6 months.
DD is still currently feeding at 25 months, and I'm 20 weeks pregnant. We have cut down her feeds, and is only having 2 feeds a day.
I think 1 year or beyond is fantastic!! I know that the early days are hard, and you do need help and support around to get through those tough first weeks. I first aimed for 6 months, then 12 months, then 18 months and beyond.
Posted 25 August 2009 - 12:28 PM
I BF DD until she was 2 1/2 and I was more than ready to stop by that time. I found it a hard slog, and fought constant nausea while feeding for a long time, but I hope to feed the next bub until at least 2 as well. In my circle of friends, there is nothing 'weird' about feeding for longer than 2 yrs and we are all more than comfy with doing it publicly
Good luck with it!!!
Posted 25 August 2009 - 12:29 PM
OP can I just add - beware of taking too much notice of anecdotal evidence and personal experience. The research is strong wrt the benefits to both parties of breastfeeding. Have a look at kellymom.com or the Australian Breastfeeding Association websites, both have loads of good information. The ABA also run prenatal breastfeeding classes which I have led before and I can say honestly they're fantastic.
Take care and good luck with your pregnancy. Enjoy it - there's just loads more fun and love to come once your baby arrives.
Posted 25 August 2009 - 01:26 PM
I breastfed solely for 6 months, then introduced solids, as I was going back to work when DD was 10.5 months old, I switched her to a mixture of breast and formula feeds at about 9.5 months , breast in the morning and night, and formula during the daywhen she was at childcare. She didn't seem to mind it, but by the time her first birthday came around, she pretty much weaned herself off the breast feeds. I was a bit sad at the loss, but it did feel good to get my body back.
I had trouble breastfeeding right at the start, which really surpirsed me, got things sorted out, and all was good, can't say it was the most amazing experience of my life, but the look on my daughters face when she knew what was coming was just priceless.
One thing I did do, was express at least one feed, for DH to give to DD, so she would be able to take a bottle (if I wasn't there later on) and give him some quiet time with her. The funny thing was, as she got older, she realised what the breast pump was doing, and would always cry, upset that I was stealing her milk!
I think there are some foods which can be off putting to a baby, like peas, but they are different for everyone.
In the end it has to be your decision, about what is going to be best for both you and your baby.
Posted 25 August 2009 - 01:30 PM
Until the child is read to stop at a minimum2 years
Posted 25 August 2009 - 01:30 PM
Exclusively breastfeed for 6mths, then start solids... then feed until at least 2yrs of you can..(recomendations from World Health Organisation)...
my DS - breastfed - 2 1/2yrs
DD - nearly 15mths and still going.
Posted 25 August 2009 - 01:43 PM
When I had DS1 my goal was 12mths, then I was going to wean and we were going to TTC for #2.
I fell pregnant a couple of months before he turned 1yr but then miscarriaged the week before he's 1st birthday so kept on breastfeeding.
DS1 weaned himself at 16mths.
With DS2, again my goal was 12mths, we had fertility issues getting pregnant with him so it was all wait and see. I fell pregnant when he was 8mths old but it never made a difference to my supply.
DS2 weaned himself at 15mths but at one stage I was considering tandem feeding because I didn't want to wean him myself I wanted him to take the lead.
DD weaned herself at 8mths and I was devastated! I don't think I'm over it yet. Again I had hoped to get to 12mths but she had other plans.
*I* don't think there is a "right" it's more about what works for you, the baby and the family.
Once again with this baby my goal is 12mths but ultimately if the kids decide they have had enough then they have had enough and as I learnt with DD, no amount of forcing it makes a difference. It just stressed me and DD, wasn't worth pushing the issue.
And all my kids were about 5.5 to 6mths when they started solids.
Posted 25 August 2009 - 01:56 PM
I b/f my son until 21 months. He was exclusively b/fed until 6 months, then started soilds. Around 11 months he went onto 1 bottle of formula a day X 3 times per week whilst I was a work, breastfeeds the rest of the time. He self-weaned himself at 21 months.
Posted 25 August 2009 - 01:59 PM
I breastfed DS until he was 14months old - he was down to 2 feeds by then and within a couple of weeks he weaned to none. It felt like the right time so I just went with it
DD was breastfed until just over 12months, she wasn't sleeping through so I replaced her bedtime feed with cows milk and she started sleeping better. She was happy to wean then too.
With bub #3, I hope to breastfeed to 12-14months as it seems like a good time frame for me.
Posted 25 August 2009 - 02:02 PM
I BF DS until he was 12 months. I weaned as I was returning to work and was ready to TTC #2 so wanted to ensure I was Oing etc.
Completely a personal choice and everyone makes that choice with their babies best interests in mind (I hope).
Posted 25 August 2009 - 02:26 PM
For me, it is normal to breastfeed until my child is ready to stop.
With my eldest son, that was 19 months, but I intoduced him to cows milk during the day at 12 months as well.
With my daughter, she weaned at 4 and a half years. I did not introduce cows milk, other than on cereal or in other foods (eg custard, yoghurt etc) until after she weaned.
My youngest son is still currently breastfeeding at least once a day, usually twice a day, at 20 months. I am currently expecting baby number 4, but have no plans to wean him until he is ready.
For me, extended breastfeeding is not at all just about comfort and closeness. It most definitely is still about nutrition, as they receive their daily milk from me. It is also about the health benefits both to them, and to myself, and the antibodies that they still receive from me.
Posted 25 August 2009 - 02:44 PM
I think it is great that you are asking for people's experiences with breastfeeding. Don’t worry too much about what is “normal” and just see what ends up being right for you. I was only able to breastfeed my baby until he was six weeks old as I was diagnosed with a medical condition and placed on a medication which has serious side-effects for babies (during pregnancy or while breastfeeding). I was very disappointed at the time, but I have a very healthy and happy 11 month old boy so that is all that matters to me!
Posted 25 August 2009 - 02:59 PM
I don't think there is a 'normal'. If you want to breastfeed, you can do so for as long as you like, or as long as you can, or as long as bub wants to...
Some people wean earlier than others due to work commitments.
Some people wean earlier than others because they simply can't breastfeed
Some people wean earlier than others because their baby just doesn't want to breastfeed anymore
Some people wean earlier than others because they're having another baby and don't want to feed 2 at once (although I believe you can if you want)
And yes, some people wean earlier than others just because they think you should at a certain age, whatever that age happens to be...
For us? I breastfed my DD exclusively until just before 6 months when we started letting her try some solid foods... She still got breastmilk until she was 12 months but by then she had cut back to one feed in the evening and I had to ask her to come feed... I decided not to ask her to come and see what happened... She never noticed... So I just didn't bother breastfeeding her anymore. She is a VERY good eater and although there is some evidence to suggest that there are benefits of breastfeeding for the second year I didn't think they were huge enough to insist that my child keep breastfeeding. I would have been happy to do so if she still wanted it, but she lost interest... I never considered switching her to formula simply because I had no need to... I had plenty of milk, it was free and it was nutritious... DD went straight to cows milk after 12 months...
If you have decided to breastfeed, then my best advice is not to think about when you will stop because a lot of it depends too on the child's temperment, health and eating habits etc... Just keep feeding for as long as you can and for as long as you want to.
Posted 25 August 2009 - 03:34 PM
I breastfed DD1 for 14 months. Was very sad to stop but we wanted to have another baby and my cycle hadn't returned to normal while breastfeeding (I fed on demand) so I weaned her. Was much easier on her than I had anticipated, but much harder on me because I became depressed for a few weeks afterwards.
I'm now due with our next baby at the end of November and I'm hoping to BF for at least 12 months. I'm a big believer in the pros and don't really care what anyone else considers weird. It's so intensely personal, you'll work out what's right for you and your baby, and try not to let anyone else interfere.
Edited by ginger72, 25 August 2009 - 03:35 PM.
Posted 25 August 2009 - 04:02 PM
I think the right amount of time to feed your kid is what is right for you and your kid. nobody elses business whether you do it for 0 months or 5 yrs.
And i don't think anyone should be judged for extended breastfeeding. breastfeeding is a beautiful natural thing and shouldn't be described as a sexual thing which i know is where some people get confused.
I bf dd1 for 10 months and dd2 for 3yrs and still going.
Posted 25 August 2009 - 04:09 PM
I breast fed my son for 12.5 months. Exclusively for the first 6 months and then very gradually dropped down to 3 then 2 feeds per day and then I fell pregnant with this little one and my son lost interest over the course of one week super early in my pregnancy. It worked out really well.
I was lucky, after initial latching on issues, he was a great feeder and it was a beautiful thing to do for so long. He also took to food really well, so we're really lucky all round and I was relieved he didn't lose interest in the breast once I introduced solids.
Also, it felt that it was his decision to wean which made it easier for me, I really loved the quiet time together as he got older and busier and cuddles grew further apart!
I can't wait to BF this new little one for (hopefully!) as long.
Posted 25 August 2009 - 05:29 PM
Before I had my first baby I have visions of breastfeeding till at least 12 months. DD had other ideas. She hated it from day 1. I also had PND and long recovery from complications. We battled to BF for 3 month.
The expectations I had about breastfeeding contributed to PND and the grief I felt at not being able to BF for as long as I wanted to. Second baby I did not have any expectations and took it one day at a time. DD weaned herself at 8 months and I am so happy that I got that far.
I don't think there is a normal.. it's really between the mother and child. Everyone has a different breastfeeding experience. You might get told to feed for x amount of time but often the reality is very different. breastfeeding was nothing like I thought it would be despite preparing for it before I had DD. You might want to do extended BF or you might not. Have no expectations and in the early days I recommend having small goals. Mine was to get to 6 weeks and go from there.
Edited by Princess.cranky.pants, 25 August 2009 - 05:36 PM.
Posted 25 August 2009 - 10:36 PM
I was always determined to feed to 12 months.
My first I only fed until 7 months.
My second 13 months.
My third 12 months.
My fourth 20 months.
Oscar is nearly 8 months and going strong.
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