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Breastfeeding after 12 months

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by Fleur ;-), Jun 16, 2011.

  1. Hi all, I BF my LO and intended to stop at 6 months/when i went back to work/when he got teeth - i kept giving myself new 'deadlines' lol but have carried on because i enjoy it and find it easy (after a very tough start).
    Now he's turned 1, a lot of people are asking me when i will stop and move him onto a cup and cow's milk. I've also been reading a bit about it and have read that it can be quite hard to wean from the breast if you carry on quite a while after 12 months. Really, this has started to worry me that i should try giving him cow's milk in a cup sometimes. But i'm personally reluctant to give up feeding as i still feel like i enjoy it, plus LO's not giving me any signs he wants to stop. I just don't want to get into a situation where it's very difficult to stop when i am ready - want to ttc around November so have that at the back of my mind.
    He has 2 feeds a day, 7am and 7pm. I'm even starrting to worry that this isn't enough milk as i have no idea how much he's having. Do others give milk during the day?
    I'd really appreciate other people's views and experiences on this, thanks everyone x
  2. lucchese

    lucchese New commenter

    My advice to you would be definitely don't stop if you are still enjoying it and it's not causing any problems. I stopped breastfeeding when my son was 15 months because I fell pregnant with number 2 when he was 12 months (was still feeding up to 6 times a day at that point) but I still carried on as long as I could. At first I was still nightfeeding but I cut these out immediately as I wasn't coping getting up in the night. After a night or two he slept through. I then just fed him twice or maybe 3 times a day until I noticed he wasn't that bothered and it was really becoming quite a strain on me, I think perhaps my milk supply dropped around the 3 month mark as is usual. We just went from one day to another without feeding and he was absolutely fine and so was I. He now has a cup of milk in the morning and evening but sometimes he doesn't take much at all because he likes his solids so much.
    In terms of amount, he will be getting enough for his needs and if not will let you know. Similarly, if you are still ok to go on and it isn't causing major problems in your life (which it doesn't really when you are down to morning and evening) be led by him and if he isn't that fussed or you feel you are forcing him to feed then you could try and stop but otherwise carry on for as long as you are happy. I have heard about people who had problems weaning off the breast, but it depends on the baby, for the last few weeks I definitely felt my LO wasn't that keen.
    Lastly, if you want to start ttc you don't have to stop breastfeeding! I wasn't keen to stop just because I wanted to get pregnant, as I felt it wasn't fair on LO and luckily I got pregnant without even trying too hard! Getting to a year is a fantastic achievement, and any extra time you managed to do is beneficial for him. I tried to ignore people's comments, it's your decision and they should respect that.
  3. Like you I always thought I;d go to 6 months, because for some reason I thought everyone stopped then! Obviously I wised up a bit once she arrived and as she's 6 months today we have no intention of stopping - my next goal is 18 months but I think I'd be happy to go to 2. OH is vegan so we don't have cow's milk in the house so BF will suit us from that point of view. I personally don't think there's any real necessity for cow's milk as long as he's getting calcium sources from elsewhere. There's loads of positives to extended breastfeeding and I'm pretty sure the worldwide weaning age is much higher than a year! :) There's a lot of nutritional value to breastmilk beyond 6 months too. And I keep hearing that the weight just falls off after age 1 as your body stores enough fat for the first year so it's hard to shake. That's what I'm clinging onto anyway, haha!
    If it would help to be surrounded by more extended breastfeeders, you could try your local La Leche League meeting, or have a look at the Natural Mamas forum - lots of ExtBFs there!
    It's good to hear you've been able to continue with just a morning and evening feed as I suspect that's what we'll be forced into when I go back to work and I was starting to worry about my supply but obviously it shouldn't be a problem :)
  4. Also, then negativity towards extended breastfeeding is a very Western thing - I love this article about extBF in Mongolia
  5. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    I'd say to keep going as long as you are both enjoying it.
    When I was pregnant, I'd planned to try and keep breastfeeding until Cariadlet was 6 months. Once I'd got the hang of it, it made life so much easier that I kept going. By the time Cariadlet was one, she was only having an early morning and a bedtime feed (with daytime feeds if she was poorly and off her food, or if we were abroad and she was picky about the local food).
    I didn't drop the bed time feed until she was 2 - that was very easy, she wasn't really hungry and it was just a habit.
    I dropped the early morning feed 3 months later after pressure from Mr C. That was tougher, as we were both really enjoying it. With hindsight, I wish I'd waited until Cariadlet had self-weaned.
    She occasionally moans that I stopped too soon: she's baby crazy, googled "babies" one day, and went from link to link, ending up with a you-tube clip of a Channel 4 programme about extended breastfeeding. Cariadlet's now 8 and occasionally tells me that she wouldn't be too old for breastfeeding, because some mums still feed at that age!
    So 12 months is far too soon to start worrying about what other people think.
  6. I am breastfeeding my 15 month old daughter. I am intending to let her self-wean as long as thats before she starts school, as I don't really fancy feeding a school age child, but I may change my mind if we get there and she still wants it.
    My first thought when I saw this thread was about the extended breastfeeding in Mongolia, the article that was shared earlier. I think they seem to have such a healthy attitude to the whole thing.
    I would say you should only stop when you or your lo decides it's time. Sometimes that is because you stop enjoying it, while other people listen to their partners or other family who are making them feel uncomfortable about it. My brother in law pushed my sister to give up when her youngest was 18 months, and while she went along with it at the time she wishes she'd kept it up longer now.
  7. lucchese

    lucchese New commenter

    Wow, thanks so much for sharing that article. It made me quite emotional, half wishing I could still breastfeed my son now. Can I ask the ladies who have already commented here if they found breastfeeding easy and enjoyable eventually? I know more or less everyone is bound to encounter problems somewhere along the journey, but with my LO I really struggled throughout those 15 months that he breastfed as he wasn't at any point an easy feeder, and feeding wouldn't necessarily calm him down or send him to sleep. I did feel almost as if I was forcing him to feed in the last few weeks and the day I stopped he didn't bat an eyelid. Maybe some children aren't as attached to feeding as others and are more likely to be able to drop it sooner?
  8. Luchhese - I have to say that I always found it easy, and I've never found it to be any sort of hardship. I know I'm lucky in that as so many people find at least the first few weeks really very tough. Maybe it's because both my girls have been quite big (both over 10lbs), and they seemed to be experts right from the start (not me, I knew nothing) My eldest stopped at 13 months, where the younger one is still very attached to it at 15 months, so yes I think different babies have varying degrees of attachment to feeding.
  9. FWIW I fed DS1 to 7mths, he was weaned when my lovely PGCE tutor insisted I went on residential, despite the need to BF.
    DD fed to 10mths, self weaning because I was PG with DS2.
    DS2 is 18mths and still BFing, and I work part time. We just work round it, I have no intention of stopping feeding him any time soon.
  10. Umm... can they do that?? [​IMG] I'm really shocked by that.

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