Extended Nursing and Weaning

Updated on October 03, 2006
J.H. asks from Myrtle Beach, SC
11 answers

My son will be 18 months old in a couple of weeks and is still nursing. He is VERY attached to nursing. I've gotten it down mostly to first thing in the morning, before his nap and before bedtime. My husband has been very supportive but thinks that 18 months is long enough. I was hoping my son would wean himself but that's not been the case. I am torn. Part of me wants to continue as he may be my only child (by choice) and I will miss the bonding, but the other part of me wants to diet and take supplements and do some of the other things that nursing doesn't allow. We just relocated from out of state so I wanted to give him enough time to acclimate and we've been here now for about two months. He drinks juice out of a cup and will drink milk sometimes (although I haven't been pushing it). We were on Cobra prior to our move but are without insurance for the moment. (My husband is a subcontractor so if anyone know of good health insurance, I'd be interested in hearing about that too!) Anyhow, I'm nervous about the weaning as well because of the lack of a pediatrician or OBGYN to talk to if I run into complications. Thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for your help! :)

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answers from Norfolk on


I have a 17 month old son and am still nursing him too. I would say not to rush it if he is not ready. The WHO and the APA both think any child that gets breastmilk for 2 years or more is a good thing. I think are society forces us to wean quicker than we really ought to, because they don't feel comfortable seeing an older child nurse, but somehow it is okay to see breast falling out of a woman's shirt on a billboard... Go figure.

Just remember you are giving him liquid Gold. Just to let you know how much your breastmilk is worth, I donated some of my breastmilk (274 oz) when my son was 6 months old to a milk bank. I was reading on line that is can go from anywhere from $2.75 an oz to $3.25 an oz, plus $.25 an oz to ship. Even some stomach cancer patients drink breast milk, because it is so gentle on their stomach and good for them. Pasturized cow's milk, can never be as good as your milk. He has all the time in the future when he is older to drink cow's milk. I hope this gives you a little support. Check out www.mercola.com website, he has some great health and holistic advice and articles. type in breastmilk and pasturized milk in the search box.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

Are you sure about weaning? I only bring this up because you yourself sound uncertain. You can diet while nursing, although you have to be careful to be reasonable about it. I found that the Weight Watchers program works well with nursing. As for supplements, yes, a lot of them are probably off limits, but you might be surprised. You could check with a La Leche League leader to see if the ones that you want to take are safe or not. You can submit a question on the website, and someone will call you back.


You could probably find advice for weaning on the La Leche League website or, if you decide to wait a little longer, you could also find information about the benefits of extended nursing that might make your husband feel more comfortable with you not weaning.

I'm sorry that I don't have any advice about weaning, but my 2 year old is still going strong. He nurses even more than your son does! But I wanted to suggest a couple of books that I've heard are very good: The Nursing Mother's Guide to Weaning, by Kathleen Huggins, and How Weaning Happens, by Diane Bengson. And, if you decide to wait a little longer to nurse, you might be interested in Mothering Your Nursing Toddler, by Norma Jane Bumgarner.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on


Mine were both 22 months when they gave it up. Search "La Leche League" for a group in your area. They will give you great support. Don't let others pressure you into doing something you don't want to do. Keep up the good work with the cup, too. Anything "not from Mama" should come from a cup.

My son had to take a bottle when my FIL died and I had to attend an out of town funeral (all day deal), but with that one exception, I never had to make a bottle. Neither of them tolerated a pacifyer, either, although my son used one to chew on when he was teething. They are now 25 and 28, and very happy, loving people.

Three THOUSAND cheers to you ! ! !

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Actually, they WILL give up on their own after this long of nursing. Usually it's easier if you let them do that. Start trying to just cuddle to replace a nursing session and read a book. But as soon as they notice that you're trying to wean, they will only want to nurse more! My son completely weaned himself at 2 years old. He was only nursing once, maybe twice a day at that point, and once he felt ready, he stopped. Instead of taking something away that makes them feel secure, I allowed my son to feel like he was in charge, when really, I was in control! I just distracted him when I really didn't feel like nursing.
Don't stop before you're ready. If you're absolutely ready to stop, then start the weaning, if not, just wait. He'll stop, I promise. Babies/toddlers don't nurse forever, and there's nothing wrong with nursing at his age.
Also, with the little he's nursing, you can start doing a little more than you were doing before. Breastfeeding shouldn't restrict you from too much at this point, because you're going longer between feedings, and he isn't relying on your milk for nutrition.
I'm a breastfeeding counselor, so if you do have questions once you start weaning, or even before, I'll be more than happy to help, at least until you can find a lactation consultant. Look for a La Leche League in your area, that will be helpful

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Montgomery on

This is only my opinion, but I think children tell us what they need. If your son is still needing to nurse, why not let him? I know our society looks down on nursing toddlers (and even infants in some cases), but HE will let you let you know when it is time to stop. Hope this helps and again, it is only my opinion.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Huntsville on

Hi, you've got alot of good responses for the weaning so I have nothing to add here really except I nursed until my son was 2 years old and then decided enough was enough especially since his teeth were getting a little too much for me. He adjusted really well, just gave him a bottle at night of milk and he would be fine with that. He still every once in a while will ask for the "boobie" but I just say no big boys don't go on mommy's boobie, they drink out of the bottle/cup at night." It seems to work..LOL.

As for the health insurance issue. Are you now in Alabama? If so, Blue Cross and Blue Shield is having open enrollment until the end of this month where they are charging a much lower rate for health insurance then normal. Of course it has a higher deductible but other than that they ensured us it was the same as the regular insurance. The link to apply and read all about it is www.specialopenenrollment.com.

Hope it works out for you!



answers from Huntsville on

well 1st of all about the insurance if your income is 2500 or less per month you can get your child on allkids bc/bs you should check into it. about the nursing... trust me you want to wean asap it's good to try and wean by one year from bottles breast pacifiers ect. my sister-in-law kept giving in to my niece and she ended up breast feeding until my niece was almost 4. she has had a lot of female problems because of it. it messed up her hormones real bad and my niece has an overbite that they think is caused from it. so although it is better to breast feed it is more than time for your little one to be weaned. hope i was some help.



answers from Charlotte on

I have a set of twins, along with three other children. None of mine nursed that long but when you do feel ready to stop nursing, with our twins I pumped and put it in a cup and held them like I did when I nursed them. The first couple of times I just wore my bra, to have that skin to skin contact but not exposed where they wanted to nurse, didn't want to confuse them but took it gradually to help them adjust. After the first day I just held them, with my shirt on, while they drank. They adjusted well, with no struggles or crying, and this way they still got my milk. I hope this helps for when you do decide to move forward. Good Luck!



answers from Norfolk on

Hi! First, don't feel too pressured about weaning, especially when it's only twice a day. But if it's what you're ready for, I can tell you what helped my son. He and I weaned at 17 months, but it was just because I was finally ready to do it. (sort of, are we ever really ready??) Instead of using a bottle or a sippy cup, I used a straw. Sounds odd, but it worked well. I put a straw in a cup and held him close to me and gave him the straw to suck. I cut out the morning feeding first that way, and when that was gone I worked on the night time feeding, which went very smoothly. I gave him a glass of milk or Silk with a straw right before bed for about two weeks, but in the interest of his dental health switched it to water once he'd adjusted to the straw. My son is 5 now and still drinks half a glass of water before bed each night, but having a full belly at bed time as a toddler still let him feel comforted on his way to sleep, and he still got to be held for a feeding without relying on bottles.

Good luck! And remember, whatever new thing we try as parents is usually only hard for a few days. If you get through a week, you've succeeded. And often it's hardest on the mom than on the child or anyone else.

I wish you well, I'm about to embark on nursing my second child and will probably be on here 18 months from now trying to remember what to do or find new ideas myself!




answers from Asheville on

Hi J.,
I nursed both my boys for 18 months, and it was great! One thing I can tell you, once you go that long, they won't give it up on their own, but they will give it up pretty easily.

I recommend giving up one feeding at a time, like some of the other moms said. This way it is not too sudden for either of you. Giving up the bedtime feeding last is a good idea. The others will be really easy, especially the morning. Keep busy so your child will not think about nursing, because once you sit down, he will probably be looking for it! Keep giving him the cup, definitely make sure he drinks a sufficient amount of milk. When you are ready to give up the bedtime feeding, you may have to have your husband do bedtime for a couple of nights.
Give yourself and your son as much time as you need. If you do, I think you will find that weaning will happen without too much drama. Good luck!



answers from Spartanburg on

You have already started the weaning process so you just need to continue, I would cut out the middle of the day feeding first. If he needs something to go to sleep, hold him close and give him a bottle or sippy. After about a week and letting your body get used to one less feeding, I would cut out the one first thing in the morning. when he wakes up, get him ready for breakfast, make breakfast fun and let him try all sorts of different fruits and even eggs, maybe give milk or juice. with the activity he may not even notice that you are not breastfeeding him. I would do this for about 2 weeks. then I would stop the night time feeding. this will probably be the hardest one to stop as he might use it to help fall asleep. I would still hold him and cuddle him and bond with him, but without the feeding. He will be fine. He might fuss and want to breastfeed, but once you make the decision to stop, you have to be consistent and not give in, he will adjust very easily if you are consistent.
As for the insurance, companies like AAA, state farm, allstate offer health insurance. And you would get a policy discount if you carried them for your auto and home policies too, so I would check that out. I don't know about the cost, but it might be worth looking into.

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