Extended Nursing Moms past or Present

Updated on March 22, 2011
D.G. asks from Lincoln, NE
19 answers

How long did you nurse? Did you plan on nursing as long as you did? Did you ever try to wean with no luck? How did you finally wean? Were your dr's for or against or did you even tell them? ....My oldest I nursed about a year. The first 2 months exclusive pumping/tube feeding. She was introduced to bottles at same time as breast because I couldn't be there for every feeding and nursing can be so tiring for a preemie. She was fairly easy to wean - just gave her water bottles. I planned on the same with this one. However she never "appreciated" a bottle so the water bottle thing a no go and tippy's with milk or water no way! so at 18 months we're still bf at night.

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answers from Tampa on

I breastfed my first for 4.5 years, I follow the child led weaning path. I did not think it would be so long, but wasn't too big a problem or burden. I exclusively breastfed for 8 months - mainly because my infant would not accept bottles of formula or breastmilk while in daycare - so I ended up driving to her during my lunch breaks to nurse her.

I co-slept - so waking in the night was at an extreme minimum and I was a single Mom for her first 3 years.

This time of nursing your little one is such a short time - I don't understand why parents would want to force wean from their child something the child obviously wants and needs. Breastmilk is generally much much healthier than the regular food and dairy we consume and definitely more healthy than formula.

I'm almost 6 months along with my 2nd pregnancy and I plan on doing the same with this one.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I'll never forget being naive sitting at a prenatal pedatrician interview and the topic of breastfeeding came up. When they heard it was my intention they asked how long I planned to nurse. I was clueless and asked how long I should (duh!). They said they'd like you to nurse the first year. So it was thenthat I decided I'd nurse the first year. HAHAHHA.... Ahhh...I was naive.

No one tells you up front what a committment it is. No one tells you how impossible it is to wean. No one tells you how near and dear your baby wiill hold nursing.

So to answer your question...my first nursed for about 30 months. I doubt she would have given it up if I hadn't been pregnant and had the stomach flu so bad, became dehydrated and needed to get IV fluids.

With my second I sort of took matters into my own hands and took advantage of a very busy weekend to wean my second at 23 months. (Which I sometimes feel guilty about weaning before the 2 year mark.)

My doctors NEVER asked if they were still nursing or when I planned on weaning. I was told by one pediatrician that they want the babies off a bottle by _______ but as for nursing it is the personal decison of the mother and child.

I remember reading "How Weaning Happens" but never found any great insight as to how to wean. Dad sort of had to step up, take over the bedtime routine, and distract, distract, distract.

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answers from Dayton on

My 1st I nursed for 34 months. I didn't necessarily plan to nurse that long, but didn't plan not to either. I tried to wean her a few times simply because she was causing me pain (she always had a very tight latch) and my mother thought I was doing her a disservice.
When she was 18 mths. we switched Dr.'s but both were supportive of our extended bfing relationship...in fact they recommended it until 2 y's.
My 2nd is 11 mths. and I have no intention of quiting anytime soon. Especially since he is much gentler. ;)
We co-sleep so I guess the whole night nursing issue has never been that big of a deal...though I cannot sleep while being suckled. Lol.

It's funny how w/ my first I felt like society pushed me to think she was bigger (older) than she really was. Like by her 1st birthday she should be magically not a baby anymore. IDK if it's because there is such a gap between my kids (4.5yrs.) or because I'm older and have more confidence in myself, but gone are those silly feelings that I need to adhere to someone else's guidelines.

Meet your baby's needs, Mama. There is nothing wrong w/ that. :)

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answers from Duluth on

i nursed 20 months. (my son self weaned at that point due to us being on vacation, and him not having as much time to remember to nurse, and i got a period, and he figured it wasnt worth it... LOL at least thats how i imagine it)

i did not plan on nursing that long, but i first planned on one year.

i didnt really talk with any of the doctors about it. its none of their business, and most doctors dont know enough about breastfeeding to give good advice anyway.

i would recommend just taking it easy. focus on one session at a time, and always remember to replace it with another bonding experience. sometimes you can get away with telling them its broken, sometimes you can distract them until the next feeding. rearrange beds, furnature, etc to try to avoid sitting in the 'nursing location'. LOL. but most of all, just take it in stride. any stress on your part will upset her. also if you notice shes becoming upset, then you slow down your part too.

trust me, she wont go to 1st grade still nursing. sure there are moms out there doing it, but that doesnt mean its the norm for everyone. you are giving her the best you can possibly give her. :):) CONGRATULATIONS AND THANK YOU FOR BREASTFEEDING!!

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answers from Austin on

I planned to breastfeed from the beginning and it was VERY important to me. Baby went straight to the breast after birth.
I got really sick pp and was in a super stressful living situation with in-laws and got a lot of mixed messages about nursing(was pressured to strictly nurse, but expected to not let anyone see anything and everyone was prudish about it) very upsetting and difficult for me

I supplemented with formula because I wasn't producing enough and the pressure to bottle feed because it didn't show a boob! I pumped too, but never stopped nursing at night and nap time and after a few months, really decided that I loved that time with baby. Around 6-8 months, we dumped the formula and went strictly to the boob. I basically told everyone to get lost and did it the way I had wanted to from the beginning. Son has co-slept since birth which has helped get past the nursing hurdles and helped us both get rest.

Now at 27 months, still nurses at the breast, typically only at nap time or bed time, but increases a lot when cutting teeth, as he is right now (molars). I have tried little bits of weaning and have reduced the frequency of nursing. He stays with Grandma sometimes for the day and does fine with no nursing. I plan to self wean for the most part, but I am not rushing him, though others are naturally wondering why on earth I am still nursing.

Our family doctor has been pretty supportive, she nursed 2 years and encouraged me to continue when I was doubting myself. Though she's been very careless in prescribing meds that I cannot take while nursing. OB has been super supportive! Hubby has as well.
Nursing long term became more important to me, the more I saw how it benefited baby and me. I knew it was important and had strong feelings from the beginning, but those feelings have only grown stronger over time. I was committed to at least a year from the start and then committed to 2 years. I joined a mother's group with many long term nursers and attachment parenting styles so I had some support later on that I needed in the beginning.

If we have another, I plan to nurse exclusively and do it long term, just like I did with my son. Mine used a pacifier for about 6 months and weaned himself off that, same with a bottle, so I figure when he's ready to be done with the breast, he'll drop it too, he's already shown times of not being interested in it.

Bravo for sticking with it! Great question!

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answers from Louisville on

I nursed my son until he was almost 3 yearsold. I did not want to nurse him that long - was thinking age two would be the upper limit. He was persistent in not leaving me alone. Finally had to leave him with my parents for about four days, and told him when we came back that I had no more Mommy milk, that it dried up while I was gone, but I knew he would be ok since he was ok without it when he stayed with Grandma and Grandpa.

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answers from Washington DC on

I nursed 13 and 18 months with my two girls. I loved nursing and wanted to do it longer the second time. I was ready, but now that she is three, I wish I had done it a bit longer. I always gave occasional formal bottles and then cow's milk sippy cups so transitioning was pretty easy by cutting down on nursing sessions slowly. I don't know about "water bottles" I always replaced breast milk with formula or cow's milk since babies still need the fat from the milk even at 18-24 months. My doctors were always supportive.

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answers from Columbus on

We nursed until about 1 month past my son's 2nd b-day. I had planned to nurse until age 1, then wean as he was ready (it was always uncomfortable for me, due to the shape of my son's mouth [high palate, slight tongue tie, & very sensitive breast to begin with]. He gradually slowed over time, and stopped at night of his own accord, pretty much--before bedtime was the last one to go.

If your daughter won't take a sippy cup of water or milk, can you try sweetening the water or milk a bit to make it more interesting/attractive to her? Like a 1/4 tsp of maple syrup or molasses? Or try diluted juice--most kids LOVE juice. Or just go straight to a regular cup--fill it with 1 T of liquid and help her to drink. Then gradually dilute it more and more until it's just water. Or, my kiddo loves yogurt, and you can buy kefir (it's basically drinkable yogurt) - Lifeway has flavors like blueberry, strawberry & pompagranette (sp?); Trader Joe's also apparently carries flavored kefir.

My aunt nursed her youngest until she was 3, but really only at night for the last year of nursing.

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answers from Washington DC on

I think we just weaned so a little over 2.5 years. No, I did not plan to nurse that long. I planned on at least 6 mo, then a year. Then a year came and I realized she wasn't ready, and neither was I. My DD took bottles at daycare and about the time we left there, she was taking sippy cups most of the time for everything but her "mommy milk".

Nighttime was the last to go. This will be the 4th night in a row, but it was sporadic before then. I just kept cutting back the time over time and then saying that nighttime was the only time she got mommy milk. I needed more of a slow process, for both of us. She seems perfectly content to take her sippy of water to bed, get tucked in, and that's all she wrote. It's bittersweet, but I wanted it to be this gentle process, and I think we got that.

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answers from Honolulu on

I let my kids self-wean.
That was always just the way I felt about it.
My friends did that too.
My Hubby was even proud of me.. .and 'bragged' about it to all his friends.

My daughter self-weaned at about 2.5 years old.
My son at about 1 year old.

My daughter would NEVER take a bottle of pumped milk.
My son would.
Each kid is different no matter how you 'plan' it.

Our Pediatrician, was for it. I told the Doc. Why not?
Our Doc, did not push it or not. It was up to the Mom.

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answers from Cleveland on

I'm still amazed we have made it almost 4 months, and that is only because my dear husband will give the baby a bottle of breastmilk for 1 night feeding so I can sleep for more than 2 hours at a stretch. I have to say when we started this I expected to fail, this is baby number 4 and the only 1 i have managed to nurse. But my hope was to go a year. Right now, even after having him on my chest for 3 straight hours today because he really does use me as a human paci and he was having trouble sleeping, I can't imagine weaning him. I'm sure I will, I plan on introducing food slowly once he's over 6 months and has an interest, and sooner or later he won't want me so much, but i don't like to think about that. :)

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answers from Spokane on

I nursed my youngest until she was three. She actually weaned herself. She went to the dentist one day and that evening announced she was moving into her sisters room and that was that. It wasn't cold turkey but she definitely tapered off (actually been for a while but I hadn't noticed until then). It's been about two years now and every once in a while she asks to nurse but I remind her that it's all gone, she drank it all up but she's only disappointed a few seconds before she's off playing again. At this age (she'll be 5 in June) it was more of a comfort thing anyway.

I hadn't planned on nursing that long. Originally, it was going to be one year. But then we all got really sick because of a bad mold problem in our place. She was a few weeks shy of turning 1 when our landlord finally consented to letting us move into another unit. She was very underweight at the time and her pediatrician recommended nursing her longer because we really needed to get the weight onto her. She literally had a flat line across her weight chart for six months (it started with the mold problem). After we moved, (and I bulked up even more on the amount of protein & fat I was consuming) she gained all of that lost weight and then some. She's never been a big baby (she wasn't even 5 1/2 lbs when she was born) and she's very petite.

I'm so thankful I had the doc and midwife that I did when I was so concerned about my daughters weight. Both of them supported me through the longer bf period and the doc was really happy that I was willing to do it. So he made sure K was getting her nutritional needs met and the midwife (she was a licensed nutritionist) made sure I was meeting my needs adequately to not only take care of me but also supply all of the extra that K needed in my very active lifestyle. (We are blessed to live in a town that embraces pedestrians; it's very walk friendly. Almost everything I need to get to is within 2 miles of my house so we as a family walk/bike everywhere. We do have a van for occasional use, however.)

So we got her to a good weight by 18 months and I'd planned on weaning her then but things got really stressful at home and I decided it just wasn't worth the tears on her side and the discomfort on my side. I much enjoyed the gradual weaning that we wound up with. Much better than the forced weaning I had to do with my second son when I was activated for Iraq or the forced weaning my oldest daughter did when she suddenly decided that breast milk wasn't good enough for her and starved herself close to a week before we gave in and gave her formula. Sigh.... that should have been a harbinger of just how hard headed she really is! LOL Looking back, she did that just after a move and the water tasted funny at the new place so I'm thinking that had a lot to do with it.

My SIL on the other hand actually bf for 5 years. She weaned when her daughter was 5 and her son 3. I know she was already planning on cutting her daughter off but her son had health problems (he was born with an obstructed bowel and had surgery at less than 2 days old) so she wanted to continue with him. However, she kept getting an infection that just wouldn't clear up so she finally just called it quits.

For every family, for every woman & nursling, it's a very personal choice. While I think age 5 really was too old, I used to know a woman that would pump breast milk for her 10 yo. Your oldest daughter didn't feel the need but your youngest certainly does. As young as she is, bf at night is not out of the norm.

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answers from Chicago on

I nursed my first for 18 months, but stopped when I was 6 months pregnant with my second. I nursed my second for 23 months. I did not have a specific plan how long I was going to nurse. My dr, midwife, and girls' pediatrician were all for it. The only one that told me I should to stop was my daughters' dentist. At my youngest daughter's 1 year appt. the dentist said it would cause cavities and that I should wean her (needless to say we got a new dentist). My first was fine with weaning, except for the evening/last feeding. My husband would give her a sippy cup of milk, but it took about 5 days for her to be ok. My second had no problem weaning, but she had zero interest in cow's milk, soy milk, rice milk, and every other kind of milk we tried to transition her to.

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answers from Minneapolis on

My first I did both - bottles and breast. By 9 mos he preferred the bottle. My second was just breast and she weaned the day after her 1st bday. My third was just breast. At 21 mos I weaned her and regret it. She was small and wasnt gaining weight. The doc and nutirtionist were SURE it was because she was still nursing. They were SURE once I weaned her she would gain weight again. Wrong. I regret listening to them and wish I would have let her self wean when she was ready. She is almost 8 now and just a small child. If you are still bfing at 18 mos, congrats to you! How awesome for you and your dd! I would keep it up as long as she wants. The benefits for both of you are amazing!



answers from Chicago on

I nursed my twins for 15 months. I teach, so when preparing to go back from summer break I weaned them from the midday feeding so I wouldn't have to pump at work anymore. There were some feedings they weaned themselves from, and we eventually were down to one morning feeding (go figure - I though the nighttime feeding would be the last to go, but not with my boys). I took on an extra position at work for additional money, so I had to be to work an hour earlier each day. At this point I had to wean them from that least feeding myself since I was leaving for work before they woke up each day.

I had never planned on going past a year, but once that day approached I was surprised at how emotional I became about ending it. Now that baby #3 is on the way, I plan on breastfeeding for as long as we are both comfortable with it. If she's ready to be done, we'll end it. If I'm ready first, we'll end it. It can be a bit trickier when working full-time, but if I made it work once before (with twins!), I can do it again!



answers from Houston on

I weaned my daughter at 17 months. I got a bad infection and was on a strong dose of meds. I would give anything to go back to the doc and tell them to give me meds I could still breastfeed with. We had to quit cold turkey and I miss it so much now. I hope my next one will want to bf that long.



answers from Omaha on

I nursed my kids for p to 2 yrs. I'm probably going to get flack for this, but when I weaned my kids and they were just nursing for "fun", I would offer them caffeine free diet coke as a substitute. Worked every time and they are now all avid milk drinkers. I used a regular plastic cup starting at about 4 months since my kids NEVER took a bottle either. No sippy top, just plain cup pushed tight against he lips. (the lips are stretched tight for kindof a seal. Then a just started with small sips. By they time they could hold a cup, they drank on their own.



answers from Milwaukee on

I breastfed my first for 25 months and then had to wean her because I was in my 3rd trimester and wasn't going to tandem nurse. My doctor was not supportive - I thought he was just weird and lame, but I'm starting to think there are more like him after reading your post. He told me the longer I went, the harder it would be to wean, but it was very easy. DD#1 was down to just nursing before nap and bedtime when we stopped. I put vinegar on my nipples, it sounds mean but it wasn't, she just smelled it and turned away and we sang songs instead.



answers from Miami on

My first born was exclusively breast fed. No bottles ever. She self weaned on her own at 19 months but was drinking from a sippy cup at 6 months. I would have like to nurse her to her 2nd birthday but she weaned on her own and I could do nothing to get her interested in nursing once she stopped.

My second child was also exclusively breast fed. No bottles ever, either. I intended to nurse her as long as she wanted but I had no idea she would nurse past 3 years old. I was 2 1/2 months pregnant with my third child when my second child was still nursing. It was me who introduced the weaning process (she was 3 years, 5 months) for her because nursing while pregnant became very painful for me. It was a smooth process. She had been nursing 3-4 times a day (no night feedings, only daytime) so I just started cutting out one session at a time. The pediatrician I had at that time when my second daughter was still nursing did NOT support extended breast feeding. She (the ped) sold her practice soon after the birth of my third child and she immediately began pushing formula on me. Unfortunately, my third child, despite all my efforts and working with a lactation specialist, was unable to suck hard enough so he wasn't gaining weight and I ultimately lost my milk. Formula was my only option and the ped, at that time, seemed to enjoy that I could not breast feed my son. I'm glad that woman is gone!

When you say you are breastfeeding at night, do you mean she is waking up during the night to nurse? Seriously if this is the case, you need to stop. An 18 month old first of all, should NOT be drinking from a bottle. You need to throw the bottles away. I'm not kidding. Buy a sippy cup and use that. She's refusing it because it's new (a.k.a. "foreign") and most children, no matter the age, do not like new things. They reject it so it is us, their parents that must guide, lead, and direct them. And we must be persistent and show the child who the parent is. Secondly, if your child is waking up during the night to nurse, I can promise you it's a comfort thing and your sleep is being disrupted for her comfort only. Do not offer your breast during the night. Offer lukewarm water in a sippy cup. No milk, no juice. The idea is to make waking up during the night boring for her. Offer her cold juice or your breast and you have just given her the incentive to wake up for something special. Save the special things for daylight hours.

Tell your child the bottle fairy came to take the bottle away and offer a new cup for her. Do not give in or you make yourself a liar....and most parents will agree: never lose a battle to a child. Good luck.

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