Doctors and Extended Breastfeeding Rant. Read Only If Bored..

Updated on November 16, 2011
L.D. asks from Dallas, TX
43 answers

I've always felt my pediatrician was a little "anti" breast feeding. I breastfed both of my children, pretty much on demand, until they were one. And, even though my children were completely averaged sized, and ate a wide variety of table food, my doctor always cautioned me against too much breastfeeding (Him: they can use you as a pacifier! They might not try other foods! Me: Isnt a mom supposed to sooth?! They eats lots of other food!). My son weened at 13 months, but at 21 months, my daughter still has a 3-4 a day habit.

At my daughter's 15 month appointment, her blood tested in the low side of normal for iron levels (both my sister and I have had low iron levels most of our lives). The first question about her diet that he asked is "Is she still breastfeeding?" And when I said, "Yes" he went on and on and on about milk quantities and how that is the problem. Milk can inhibit the absorption of iron, and when you are breastfeeding 4 times a day, you have no idea how much milk she is getting and on and on... When he stopped for air, I mentioned that we dont eat any red meat at our house, but could add it into her diet. I also said that at daycare she only drank water, and at home she rarely drank milk from a cup so I thought she was probably getting a normal amount of milk.

I started substituting ground beef for the ground turkey we normally use, and at the next appointment, iron levels good, but still more warnings about too much milk! You dont know how much she is getting! Like she is just drinking gallons and gallons of breast milk in the 30 minutes she nurses a day. So crazy and I just chalked it up to my eccentric old man pediatrician UNTIL.....

This weekend, I had the flu and went to a primacare and saw a female doctor. In the course of my checkup, I mentioned that my breast was really sore and ached and could that be part of the flu, or could it be mastitis? The primacare doctor asked how old my daughter was and how often she breastfed. When I said she was 21 months and nursed 3-4 times a day, the primacare doctor looked shocked and talked a while about how unusual it was for a child that old to nurse that often, and then went on to ask about my daughters weight and eating habits. Is she small? (no) Does she eat other foods? (yes) and then went on to say that my breast soreness was probably from having an older child nursing - that they are so rough and damaging! And then started counseling me that I should ween her - before she even looked at my breast to see if she thought I had mastitis.

So does it seem like these doctors are against extended breastfeeding, or does it seem like I am being overly sensitive?

And, for the record, I do plan on weening her soon. Part of not weening her is a little bit of working moms guilt - she is in daycare all day, and she REALLY likes breastfeeding after daycare, before bed, and when she gets up in the morning, and I hate to take it away from her, when its not a problem for me.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your supportive and thoughtful responses.

A couple of you mentioned iron supplement drops and I wanted to share this side story - I DID get iron supplement drops for my daughter at the doctors request. She took them once and hated them. They smelled and tasted terrible. I closed them up and put them at the top of the armoire behind a picture frame in the kids room (its next to the changing table) and forgot about them. Two months later my then 2 year old son woke up from a nap moaning and vomiting. He had gotten the iron supplements, undone the childproof cap, and drank half the bottle. After 8 hours in the emergency room, he came home just fine, but I found out that overdoing on iron supplements is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 6. So far, as a mom, this has been the scariest thing that has happened. Keep those iron drops or tablets under lock and key!

On the breastfeeding subject - your answers made me reflect, and I realized that I feel that the decision about when to ween a child is to me, up to the mom and the child. I resent my doctor pressing it when there are other more viable options available. However, it has also given me even more sympathy for the formula moms. If someone questions a breastfeeding mom even once, everyone gets upset. How dare they?! People question formula moms ALL THE TIME - "Ohhh... why arent you breastfeeding?" or "So the breastfeeding didnt work out/was too hard...? "You know, breast really is best!" "Well, maybe it will work out with your next baby." I think if I was a formula mom, all of THOSE questions would seem intrusive and irritating and upsetting. They all imply that the mom is doing a bad job, just like a doctor asking if my child is small (ie undernourished) because she still breastfeeds imply that I am doing something wrong.

Many of you suggested I get a new pediatrician. Every time I start the process, I go to our regular pediatrician and have a really good visit, and think, "Ok! I DO like him!" and then things go ok for a while, and then another wacka doodle visit again.

Thanks for all of your support. It was really needed and appreciated.

Featured Answers

A.W.

answers from Kalamazoo on

Let it go in one ear and out the other........
Poor them for being so uneducated and close minded.
You do what you think is right.

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K.D.

answers from Provo on

Wow. Sounds like you got a couple of weirdo docs who have not read the latest recommendations from the APA. The recommendation is that you breastfeed for a year. Then at a year, that you continue as long as both participants are willing and happy with it. The World Health Organization recommendation is for 3 years of breastfeeding -- so you are still well within those guidelines.
And good job keeping it up for that long!!

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P.G.

answers from Dallas on

I breastfed till my son was 2.5, but he only BF'd in the morning and evening. If she's actually getting a lot of milk, and not just sucking for comfort, perhaps he's right in terms of how it's affecting her diet.

But yes, some docs just don't get extended BFing because as a nation, we didn't start doing it again till recently.

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T.K.

answers from Dallas on

I think you have 2 medical professionals, independantly giving you the same advice. Not anti-breastfeeding advice, but pro-nutrition advice. They both listed the same concerns, because those are valid, medical concerns. There was no opinion, or judgement of personal choices, only medical opinion based on education and experience. I am very pro-breastfeeding, but something that is good, is not always the highest virtue. There still has to be room for growth and understanding on the part of the parent to take in new information and ideas and listen to big picture advice.

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B.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I am not so sure it is doctors being anti-extended breastfeeding it is doctors being anti-breastfeeding period.

I'm sorry you had to go through this. I would find a new doctor/pediatrician. They should respect your decision to prolong breastfeeding as long as it is not detrimental to you or your child.

For the record my pediatrcians NEVER asked me if my child had weaned or when I planned on weaning. I was told up front that they like you to breastfeed the first year of life and that was as far as the discussion went. They never overstepped their bounds and asked again. That's what I call a good pediatrician :-)

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M.M.

answers from Philadelphia on

What can I say about the uneducated? What part of medical school ignores the facts? Is it because of big Pharmaceuticals relationship to Doctors and formula? I'm not exactly sure. The facts are on the side of breastfeeding and I never understood the gap. That is one of the best things in your daughter's life at this time. I am so proud of you.

I have been mothering since 1989 and am currently breastfeeding almost 2 yr. old twin boys. I have tried it both ways (western and LLL). I have seen the evidence before my very eyes. It is so much about the emotional at her age, but I am really starting to think it's nutritional as well.

Like, come on, how is it that according to my ped, the milk is nutritious the day before one year old, but not the day after??

I am sorry you have this struggle, but check out the facts from a reliable, no connection to big Pharm, and reconfirm why you are a fantastic mother.

Sometimes we are intimidated by doctors and people with degrees. They don't know everything. Even M. Obama, who I like in many ways, but also disagree with in many ways, supports breastfeeding.

God bless you and stay strong,
M.

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★.O.

answers from Tampa on

I completely understand where you are coming from... I allowed my first born to self wean - which was 4.5 years old. From 3 years on, she only nursed maybe 3 times a day or at great times of stress or pain. I had to fight with my daughter's pediatricians for the first 2 years... they kept trying to force the issue with supplementing with formula and weaning. Their excuse was her growth chart had a slow increase rather than leaps of increased weight. My daughter has a small frame and is long and lean - finally reached 43lbs and 43in at 6 y/o!!

There is NOTHING wrong with allowing your child to decide when she/he is ready to wean and put that special type of nutrition, immune fortifing, soothing, comforting and loving aspect of their childhood into their own hands.

Medical Doctors are not trained in what breastfeeding does/how it benefits both child and Mother/how long it's beneficial/etc. It's a small paragraph in their hundreds of books, because breastfeeding is not deemed important in this nation.

***breastmilk is the most densely packed nutritional consumable you can have - it has every single necessary component a human being needs at any age***

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S.M.

answers from Dallas on

I hear you! It's them not you! both my kids weaned at 2 1/2. it isn't common in this culture, but that doesn't mean it isn't normal. it is actually totally normal and healthy. it just isn't commonplace.

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J.P.

answers from Denver on

HI--
I am an extended breastfeeding Mom. I always planned on going for 2 years based on the WHO's recommendation (World Health Organization). At two years old both my boys weren't even close to wanting to wean, so I did some research. What I found was incredibly interesting.
1. There are always health benefits to both you and the child while breast feeding, even past the age of two.
2. If you allow a child to self-wean using the don't offer, don't refuse method--while also not trying to replace feedings with sippy cups, etc.--the average age world wide that a child will self-wean is actually between the ages of 3 and 4. Yes, 3 and 4 YEARS old.
3. ALL mammals breast feed their offsprings through toddlerhood.
4. We are one of the only nations world wide that insists that another animals breast milk, usually cow's milk--which is perfectly made for a baby cow that has four stomach chambers and digests things twice--is somehow better for our children then human breast milk, which is perfectly made for , you guessed it, baby humans.

I agree with you---your children are happy and healthy and you know them better than anyone else. If breast feeding works for you and works for you child, then it's all good. When it stops working for one or both of you, then do something about it. Until that time why fix what isn't broken?

J. :-)

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S.C.

answers from Des Moines on

Ok, since my son will be 4 on January 24th and STILL isn't weaned I might be biased the other way, but nursing a toddler/preschooler has been one of the more relaxing aspects of motherhood so far.

How many times as a Mom do you get to NOT worry? When nursing a toddler you do NOT have to worry about supply or hauling a [email protected]____.com pump to work because they're eating good and drinking from a cup. On the days they don't eat good you do NOT have to worry because you know they'll nurse more that night. On the days that involve a drive thru you can feel less guilty knowing the junk is balanced out with nature's perfect health food. If you have a comfort nurser, when they're sick you do NOT have to worry about dehydration. I think my son is FINALLY realy weaning-- he was sick a couple of weeks ago and for the first time he didn't comfort nurse through it so I had to actually WORRY about pushing fluids and dehydration.

Also if you really want to wean her soon I would do it NOW-- it's VERY common for them to start nursing a LOT more around 22-24 months so if you wait it'll be more of a battle-- until the next lull. Personally since we're just starting cold and flu season I'd probably wait until the NEXT lull to wean her....but definitely pick a time to wean when she's NATURALLY down to around 3 times a day, it'll be easier!

Oh, and for the record the most rough and damaging age in my experience is 8-10 months. When they're first discovering the world and want to see it ALL, RIGHT NOW, and don't unlatch to look around!!!

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H.P.

answers from Houston on

I let my pedi know that I intend to play breastfeeding by ear and do it for as long as it works for my baby. I'm hoping that that's at least a year. I plan to be the only animal providing milk to my baby. He eats table food fine, but while teething or otherwise not feeling too well, he enjoys the heck out of his mommy's milk. That's what it's for. I have jokingly pulled my friends and even my mother "to my bosom" when they are feeling kinda down or ill. I've always had big boobs and have always known that they are for nurturing. My baby comes to my bosom for comfort, but he jumps up when he's feelign well. He had some sinus stuff going on last week, I think a cold, mixed with teething pains. A full day at Mommy's breast (on demand) and playing when he wanted knocked that right out of him. I went from calling the doctor's office and checking his temperature and fighting with him to wipe his nose every few minutes to chasing his dry-nosed toddling self all over his play areas. My breastmilk is a cure-all. Maybe your docs should come and get some so they can feel better.

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R.D.

answers from Richmond on

Give her a daily vitamin to make up for what she's losing.

I bet your breasts hurt from the flu, my HAIR hurts when I have the flu.

Yes, I think on one hand, more women are extended breastfeeding today (good for you, by the way!)... on the other hand, I don't think it's been excepted by EVERYONE yet. A few decades ago (which is probably where this doc is basing his personal experience), it was 'chic' to formula feed, because it proved your wealth because formula is so expensive. I think that generation has not and will not ever totally be on the breastfeeding band wagon.

I'd find a doctor who better suites your needs... also, go to medella dot com and ask their LC about your breast tenderness :)

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M.C.

answers from Dallas on

Sing it, sister- finding a doctor who is comfortable with nursing at all is a challenge, and the older they get the harder it is.

Strangely, I've found pediatricians to be the least helpful with extended nursing- my dermatologist, rheumatologist, and cardiologist are all much more accepting of our choice to nurse into toddlerhood, and much more willing to investigate treatments that are compatible with BFing.

Keep up the good work! If it's working for you and for your daughter, it's great for both of you.

(and a PS to Tracy K.- Ignorance X 2 = Ingnorance)

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B.L.

answers from Boston on

It is perfectly normal for children to nurse longer than a year. I have weaned my older two children at or shortly after their third birthdays, and never had any problems with soreness (except when I had mastitis, or when I was pregnant again, or occasionally with my period). Older children are not "rough and damaging" if you teach them not to be. My 33 month old nurses quite calmly and sweetly. If it is making both you and your daughter happy to continue nursing, keep doing it. You'll know when it's right for you to stop.

I haven't had problems with my kids pediatrician or my primary are doctor being anti-nursing. My doctor refrains from commenting when I remind her that I am still nursing when it comes time to prescribe me medication. I have, however, had a surgeon quite rudely tell me that there was no way I could have surgery and continue to nurse my 18 month old, that she was way too old to be nursing, and I should just wean her right away. Needless to say, I ignored what he said, did my own research, including finding out in advance what medications would be used, and looking them up to find out if and how much they passed into breastmilk.

Now, it is true that calcium binds to iron and can interfere with absorption of both nutrients. That means that you shouldn't have them at the same time. The amount of milk that your daughter is getting is much less relevant than when she gets it -- if you specifically want the iron absorbed well, for instance, if you were going to give her a supplement, you would want to avoid dairy within 2 hours of her taking it.

Most doctors just don't know much about breastfeeding. It had gone out of fashion for a while, and many doctors, especially the older ones, haven't been taught. Particularly doctors who aren't either OBs or pediatricians. And, the growth charts that pediatricians look at are based on formula fed babies. Growth curves for breastfed babies look different.

I have also had a very positive experience with an orthopedic surgeon about 6 months ago with respect to extended nursing -- I had been having knee issues, and after all the diagnostic work, he said that normally he would give me very strong anti-imflammatories, but that I couldn't take them while nursing. He said that he could prescribe PT instead, and it might work, but would take longer. It was up to me, and he'd support me either way, and then he said that his wife was still nursing their 2yo, and he totally understood that it was a hard choice and I should take as long as I needed.

Anyway, good luck and enjoy nursing that wonderful girl of yours as long as you decide to do it.

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C.O.

answers from Washington DC on

Your doctor/pediatrician has no bedside manners. That much is obvious. The fact that they discourage breast feeding is obvious to me. I would have changed doctors if they did not promote breast feeding.

Greg nursed until he was 23 months old. Nicky self-weaned at 12 months.

If low iron levels run in your family - take the precautions or necessary steps to keep her iron levels up.

Switch doctors - find one who has a tad bit more compassion when dealing with their patients.

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M.C.

answers from Washington DC on

I don't think you are being over-sensitive, but at the same point I can see the doctor's point. If your child at 21 month was still accepting 3-4 bottles of formula, the doctor's would STILL suggest the same thing. Wean them.

My suggestion would be to start pumping into a cup. You can still have cuddle time after daycare while she is drinking from a cup.

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✤.J.

answers from Dover on

For me personally, breastfeeding at that age wouldn't have worked, but you know what? I'm not you! I did what worked for me which was the first 4-6 months for both of my kids when they each lost interest. All were happy, no harm was done to anyone, end of story.

It certainly does sound to me like the doctors you've been dealing with are against extended BFing & not that you are being sensitive. For your own doctor, well, if this was a 1-time incident, I'd likely let it go. For the pediatrician, personally, I'd find a new one. I mean, BFing is a way of life for you & your daughter & he's against it. How does that work as a doctor/patient relationship? I'm certain it comes into play when he's diagnosing her (you said so yourself pretty much, right?) and if that doesn't work for you, might be time to move on. JMO! ;)

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J.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

I feel your rant!! Been there my dear! I found supportive obgyns who get the benefits of self weaning and extended bf. I have had trouble finding the same in peds. I don't know why. I wish dr sears practice was closer. As a pediatric nurse practitioner I'm here to tell you there are as many uneducated lame docs as there are in any other job. I would switch to an earthier more open Peds doc. I have found if they don't support ebf then there are many other issues they will differ with you on as well.

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M.M.

answers from Washington DC on

Next dr's appt say to him, I'm pretty sure that at 18, when she walks across the stage she will be weaned, she will eat with a spoon and she will be potty trained. I'll thank you for keeping your personal comments to yourself about MY choice to breastfeed my child unitl I feel she is ready to be weaned.

Enjoy the baby while you can, they grow up too fast as it is. .

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L.M.

answers from Dallas on

Oh bless your heart! This is so frustrating. Please do what you feel is best for your daughter. If you enjoy bf and she does too then don't feel pressured to stop. I cannot understand the rush to stop providing our babies with human milk and to start giving them the milk of another animal. It just seems silly when you think about it. If babies need milk they need our milk, not cows milk. The argument that we need to give them cows milk so we can regulate how much they get is again just silly. The doctors you have are well-intentioned and just relaying what they were taught in school. I would encourage you to seek out a more progressive support team. And just as a side note, watch the documentary Forks Over Knives if you get a spare minute. And hang in there-you have a lot of support here :)

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G.T.

answers from Redding on

When doctors cant figure out what's really wrong they always blame your lifestyle for the problem.
I'd get a female pediatrician, I think they are more in touch than their male counterparts, especially if they are moms themselves.
There are plenty of iron fortifying veggies out there that either you can eat or make smoothies with for your daughter since you have a history of anemia. Throwing raw baby spinach in the blender with a banana and some almond milk is really good... you dont taste the spinach at all.
Shame on both docs for dissing extended nursing.
I'd continue to stay away from beef if that's what you normally do... you don't need red meat to get protein and iron. Please check my DIL's vegan website: vegobsession.com.

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L.N.

answers from New York on

They are not against breastfeeding. in fact, a lot of doctor will suggest trying to breastfeed for a few weeks at least. Mine even sent a 'consultant' to work with me to make sure my kids were latching on properly. My doctor was of older generation. what most are saying is that breast milk does the baby good for a few weeks only, and that iron decency will mostly develop afterwards. also, no matter how much or how little milk the child drinks, that usually soothes the hunger hence the child does not eat the main foods he/she is supposed to eat. so don't take it personally. in this case, you are being told to consider breastfeeding is not needed at this point. you can still bond with your child. at this age you should be able to sit and read books, play, hug, cuddle etc. you don't need to breastfeed to bond with your child.

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K.A.

answers from San Diego on

I hate that there are still doctors like that practicing.
I have 3 children. My first nursed until almost 3 years old, through my pregnancy with my second and for 2 months I nursed both. My second nursed until he was nearly 5. The last time he nursed was days before I got the positive test with my third. My third is 29 months and I can guarentee she's not going to stop nursing any time soon. In cultures where child led weaning is the norm it is not unheard of for a child to nurse in upwards of 7 years. The commonly held "rule" of 6 months, 1 year if your lucky is outdated and medically wrong.
Breastmilk is actually rich in iron that is easily absorbed by the body. Cow's milk can actually prevent iron absortion. Human breast milk is designed for a human, cow's milk is designed for a cow. The same rules DO NOT apply for breastmilk that apply to cows milk. You can drink too much cow's milk and cause health issues, you can not drink too much breast milk and cause health issues, in fact you can improve health issues.Too much breastmilk can not make you fat, can not prevent absorption of nutrients. The iron in formula or suppliments aren't absorbed as well as the iron in breastmilk either.
There are wonderful resources on Kellymom http://kellymom.com/bf/index.html about extended breastfeeding and addresses some of the comments your doctor is bringing up.
It is the choice of you and your child when you wean. You are not doing any harm to your child by continuing to nurse them at this age or older. You are still providing all the nutrients and antibodies breastmilk has always provided. Breastmik changes as your child's needs change and always provides what they need when they need it.

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K.F.

answers from Salinas on

From a woman who had a very trying time nursing my firstborn, I had extensive medical problems and had to fight to overcome and continue nursing...most doctors (including peds) know very little about breastfeeding. It's amazing how many different doctors I saw were totally clueless. All pediatricians should have to be extensively educated in breastfeeding in my opinion. I'd find a more enlightened doctor, what other issues might he be way off base about?

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J.D.

answers from Phoenix on

I wouldn't stay with your doctor if he doesn't support breastfeeding. I have never heard of a doctor (much less 2 of em) who try to convince you to stop.

My sister's first son breastfed constantly like he was snacking for the first 8 months and still woke her up at night for another 8. It was exhausting to her and she felt something was wrong? When she went to the doctor to find out if he was okay, if she was producing enough, etc, he would reassure her and tell her to keep it up, feeding on demand as long as he wanted it. Her son is currently 3 years, 2 months and super smart, well behaved and healthy looking. She lives in Hudson, WI.
I live near Phoenix, AZ and I have NEVER ran into a doctor who was unsupportive of it either. I breastfed both of my sons for about a year. I stopped when I became pregnant (currently preg with third son). I would have gone longer, but both kids sorta self-weaned I guess.
My point in all this is that you are not crazy, in fact you are super awesome for still breastfeeding. You are just surrounded by medical people with unsupportive/ignorant attitudes. I suggest getting another doctor.

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B..

answers from Dallas on

Just don't listen, and find a different Dr. Would I breastfeed that long? No. Do I care if others do? No. Doctors shouldn't either. Find one who doens't care, or who encourages you.

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J.P.

answers from Lakeland on

I was unable to breastfeed for long, but I agree that some docs are so against it. There are other countries that breastfeed until the kids are like 4 or 5. I often feel that modern docs are against anything natural. The only reason they invented formulas was for women that could not produce milk and/or for adopted babies. If you look back many years ago there used to be women called "wet nurses" these were women that could breastfeed any baby. I think all kids are different when it comes to weaning and all moms feel different about when to stop. I think if you are comfortable breastfeeding then do it.

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M.P.

answers from Dallas on

I'm so glad to see you're getting some supportive answers!

Hang in there and do what you feel is best for you and baby. My older two nursed till 15 months and my 13 month old still nurses 4-5 times a day. They grow up so fast and why not cuddle and comfort while they're little?!?

Blessings
Loni
<><

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A.V.

answers from Washington DC on

Oh for pity's sake! My sister's pediatrician has her son on iron b/c he's nursing but our pediatrician said it was unnecessary til 6 months and maybe needed after that but she could eat fortified cereal and be fine. I ran across a dentist that was anti-nursing and as soon as I was offered another dentist, I started scheduling with her instead, even though DD is no longer nursing. I nursed DD at least once a day til she was 2.5 and that worked for us. If it's not an issue for you, then tell the doctors that you aren't weaning for his/her sake and if he/she has nothing else to suggest, then you will take your business somewhere else.

Now, I'm not suggesting that you ignore health concerns with yourself or your child, but it's not mutually exclusive, IMO. I'd look at your child's diet and see what else she might need to eat. I'd look at your own health and make sure you don't have an infection of some sort.

My DD won't drink a lot of cow milk unless it is flavored. The pediatrician suggested other forms of calcium and DD is fine.

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B.D.

answers from Dallas on

Ok, if I were you, I'd look for another pediatrician. There are lots of people who breast feed well past one and their kids are happy and healthy. Plus she's still getting antibodies from you against colds and flu. Do you give your daughter vitamins daily? Maybe that would help.

I think you should find a pediatrician that is more along the lines of what you believe in, and you will be happier in the long run. I'd interview them before you make your first appointment, or ask friends and family or even here on the boards if they have one that supports breast feeding after one and get the support you need. They should be telling you what you can do to help her, not telling you to stop breast feeding when she doesn't want to ween yet.

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K.P.

answers from New York on

I think your doctors are surprised because it's not typical. I BF my son and will BF this one too, but not beyond a year. Just nutritionally speaking, that volume of milk can be filling meaning that your child may not eat enough of other things. It's valid concern on their part and they would be negligent if they didn't at least ask.

Just look at your last paragraph for a minute... you're continuing to nurse because you are feeling guilty. There are so many other ways to soothe your child and spend time together. Try not to feel so guilty. It's the connection and quiet time with you that she REALLY likes, not the actual nursing.

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J.T.

answers from Victoria on

Congrats on being able to breastfeed for such a long time. I was unable to breastfeed so this is coming from a momma who REALLY wanted to but these ol bags just would not make. I think your pedi and your lady doc are both looking at your breastfeeding from a medical point of view. Its past the normal cut off, your breasts are hurting, your little one has low iron levels. While all those things seperated arent very alerting put together they seem to be pointing to cutting back or weening. From an emotion mothering point of view, your child is still getting the bonding and the nutrience from the milk. while the iron part was low the other bennies from the bm are very helpful for your little one. I do think its not so much overly sensitive but not completely understanding eachother. I would start giving milk in a sippy as well as your breast milk as apposed to the red meat. Just because red meat isnt as healthy as lean meat or full fat milk. To me all of the signs (breast tenderness, medicaly low iron levels (although those can be fixed and still bf) age, and feeling guilt for working would add up to me as its time. But this is your life and your family. Do what you want. You arent harming her espically since the low iron was solved. Good luck.

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M.H.

answers from Dallas on

Dear L.,

I wouldn't read too much into their line of questioning. The pediatrician has never had or breastfed a baby and the other doctor probably hasn't either. I breastfed all my kids until 2 y/o some 26 mos except when I couldn't like with my 2 older ones because I got deployed (I was in the Army). So they got 8 mos and 3 mos. My kids have always been very healthy and in many cases the breastfeeding saved them from trips to the hospital according to my doctors! Some people made comments (not doctors) but I didn't care because I am their mommy and I am the one doing it. Some people don't have the patience, or the commitent it takes, they want the "easy" convenient route regardless of what is best for their kids. I would switch doctors or ignore their snide comments. After all, mommy knows best! They both sound very insentitive and jugmental. Ween her when you are ready, regardless of someone else's opinions. Best wishes and God bless!

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K.P.

answers from Dallas on

I didn't read all of the responses but I breastfed all of my girls until they were 2 years old. My baby went a little past 2, I suppose because I felt sad that it would be my last one. My doctor didn't give me any problems, he actually said nurse as long as you can because it's good for them. Use your maternal instinct and just give her other foods that will boost her iron. I've always been anemic, but I haven't noticed it in any of my girls. (Like one of the moms who mentioned that they want you to give them dairy from other animals, but are telling you to stop. Hello, wake up doc.)
Just eat more things that will boost your iron intake, which will pass thru the milk to your baby. Congrats on nursing your sweet, precious cargo. Enjoy this time, it goes so fast.

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J.T.

answers from Dallas on

Go with your mommy instincts and tell these anti breast-feeding nazi's to take a hike! Most of the world breastfeeds up to 2 years old. Don't be swayed by doctors that think a child being breast fed will be "smaller" or sickly as they are comparing them to kids that may have never been breast fed for one reason or another and had to get on formula.
Several studies have shown that formula fed babies have an increased chance of becoming obese (not just overweight), but obese by the time they are 3 years old: http://www.naturalnews.com/031274_babies_food_health.html.
I breast fed my daughter till she was 21 months in which she just decided it was time. You're a wonderful mom and is giving the greatest gift to your children-time, nurturing and good nutrition. God Bless.

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C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

Well, I think you are doing awesome and it is great your daughter has breastfed so long!! Good job! And I don't think you have to worry so much about weaning...I mean, don't stress about it. It seems like just about all my friends breastfed till 2 or longer, so you seem pretty normal to me. Sounds like both those doctors are just not very educated on breastfeeding. That would be annoying to say the least. I had very bad luck w breastfeeding both my kids and had to supplement with bottles of formula. When my daughter went in for her 18 m checkup she was still having formula bottles (sadly, breastfeeding was a distant memory by then)...a few a day. Her iron was just a bit low and they put her on iron drops for a while. It seems like this happens with a lot of toddlers regardless of breastfeeding or not. Anyway, those doctors do seem like they need some breastfeeding re-education! You are not overly sensitive...not any more than any other person. I was constantly feeling overly sensitive about the fact that I was not exclusively breastfeeding and I felt like everyone was judging me...including our pediatricians! Sometimes it feels like you just cannot win.

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R.J.

answers from Seattle on

MOST doctors I have met (and I know a LOT, as in hundreds... I come from a medical/scientific family, and worked in healthcare myself for many years) are very PRO breastfeeding until at LEAST 1yo, and many are quite pro to 2yo. 2 is the recommended age by WHO, and many other organizations. They know this, and they know the science and reasoning behind it, and support the basic scientific findings.

So is it "doctors"? No. But it's DEFINITELY those two individuals you have had to deal with.

Just like with any population, however, there are trends in certain areas. The 'birds of a feather' thing. Meaning when you go to school and start working, there will be doctors you click with and those who drive you nuts. They tend to work together. Very RARELY will you find a ped office where there is a "split" in regards theory. Meaning in order to work with people day in and day out, you usually respect/share the same opinions and beliefs as the other doctors in the clinic.

ERs... you probably saw a 3rd year student. If not, then one of the attendings, but MAYBE an ER doc (but unlikely... with flu like symptoms you'd be shunted to a student, and the attending would double check to make sure the student didn't miss anuthing major). But here's a hint: ER docs are TRAUMA SPECIALISTS. They specialize in trauma. They handle all sorts of things, but what they *specialize* in is trauma. NOT nutrition/ lactation/ infectious disease/ OB-GYN/ cancer/ etc... although they SEE those things all the time, they call for consults. Trauma is what they're GREAT at. Breastfeeding isn't trauma. So very few have spent longer than 15 minutes on it during one class time, and MAYBE a rotation in women's health (although doctors don't do rotations in EVERY specialty, just ones they're interested in). It's not even something that comes up as 'emergent' freuently. They're trained to recognize mastitis and other infections... but they have NOT been trained in nutrition. Although they MAY have read up on it

For about 20 years, there was a trend in SOME medical schools that was very antibreastfeeding, and for a much longer period ANY info about women's health (including breastfeeding, gyno issues, etc.) was either ignored almost COMPLETELY or treated very cursorly. It's one of the MAJOR gripes in modern nursing and med schools.

ALSO GPs can't be depended upon (including Peds). They have to know MORE THAN ANY OTHER DOCTOR. Because they see "everything". BUT they know LESS than any specialist. NO GP should ever be proscribing psychoactive drugs, yet many Rx antidepressants and ADHD meds with impunity. FEW should give any *detailed* nutrition information, yet many do with impunity.

Don't take you GPs/Peds word as the final authority on ANY manner. See a specialist.

GREAT GPs know this. They send patients to surgeons for surgery, nurtrionists for nutrition issues, psychiatrists for mental issues, etc. They act as a 'conductor', a 'homebase' and act as a liason between their patients and their specialists. Mediocre GPs try to do everything themselves.

ROFLMAO... NO WAY TO TELL HOW MUCH SHE'S EATING???? I'm sorry. If that were actually a concern, it's EASY. You see a lactation consultant and they weigh your child before and after feeding (with a reeeeeally expensive electronic scale that measures in GRAMS and is kept finely calibrated). Voila. Volume now known. They can send your breastmilk to the lab (that they'd have you collect during beginning, middle, and end of a session) to determine content.

That you GP doesn't even know this most BASIC of breastfeeding info just means he/she is NOT educated at ALL in breastfeeding.

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L.S.

answers from Tyler on

Personally, I don't care how long you breast feed. I breastfed my daughter until she was 8 months old and I only gave up because I finally just dried out. But, at this point, what your daughter REALLY likes is the close time with at those key points of the day. She is getting old enough to want to really be engaged and like more activities, so maybe you could transition those breast feeding time periods to special story time or game time or song time.

Good luck!
L.

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J.M.

answers from Dallas on

Those docs are crazy. Extended breastfeeding is the norm in every other country but ours. Nursing until 4 or 5 is actually quite normal outside the US. You aren't being sensitive at all. They probably are just uncomfortable with the idea, as most people are. I know of TONS of moms who let their kids wean themselves at 3 and 4 years old. You nurse that baby until YOU are ready to stop. It's none of anyone else's business, not even the doctors. As long as she's getting a variety of healthy foods, nursing her isn't causing (and won't cause) any problems. Good for you for not giving in to them! Keep up the good work momma (:

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C.J.

answers from Dallas on

I would "fire" your pedi (aka switch). I would be scared that God forbid, something would be wrong with your daughter and he wouldn't believe you because that seems like the kind of doc he is. My daughter ( second breastfed baby) is 28 months and she nurses once before bedtime, it's really just a comfort thing now. When I tell her time to stop she goes "ok!" she'll probably be weaned before the end of the year. I have had some comments made (mostly by family members) and I just shrug it off and tell them they're going to get squirted in the eye if they keep it up. That usually initiates laughter and the topic get changed. If I have to go into to my doc for am illness and if I get "the look" after I ask them if the medicine is safe for breastfeeding, then they normally get a stink eye right back and that solves that. :-). Just know that you are doing the best thing for your baby and you have a ton of woman supporting you.

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C.S.

answers from Miami on

Contact your local LLL group or your local ICAN chapter and ask for recommendations for a more "up to date" pediatrician. Sorry, but it is time to change!!! Nurse as long as you and your daughter want - it is up to the two of you and NOT up to any doctor.

C.

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K.S.

answers from Dallas on

I think this situation might be a little of both, Dr.s against extended nursing and due to the attacking way they dealth with you a little sensitivity (but more in a why am i being attacked about this way). I was a nursing mom and in our society it is already looked at as weird or unusual, even though you are finding more people who do it. I do not agree with the Dr.s that it is the milk that is causing the issues, I think they are making it up due to the culture of weening at 1. With the way the breast milk formulates to the child, it is healthier for them.

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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

Breast feeding did not cause your child's low Iron, more than likely family history did. My son has been low iron most of his life, he got it from me, and I stopped breast feeding at 3 months. Just do what feels right for you and your child, and ignore everyone else.

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