Still Breastfeeding at Age 2!!!!!!

Updated on June 29, 2010
C.R. asks from Dallas, TX
17 answers

Will someone please help me! I hate to admit it but my son is still breastfeeding at age 2! I he only breastfeeds at night and one during the middle of the night. I have tried to stop but he gets very hurt. I stayed home with him for the first year and he is still very attached to me. We do not have any family here and I think that might be part of the problem. My husband is upset and embarrased with the situation. Does anyone have any advice? I would like to have my breast back to myself.

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So What Happened?

Well I did not think that I would get so many mixed responses! Thank you for all of your positive and even negative comments. I have always been proud to have breastfed my son, it seems so natural. I have decided to wait to wean him until he is a little more ready. My husband has also decided that now is not the time to wean him and as long as my son is healthy and happy, so are we! Thanks again for the POSITIVE support mamas, it means more to me than you will ever know :)

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answers from Lubbock on

Why are you ashamed? Seriously it's not like you are doing something bad. And shame on all the mamas that posted flaming you for still breastfeeding. OMG. I'm horrified at some of the responses.

The time to wean is when it's not working for everyone involved. Not by how old the child is!

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answers from Dallas on

Personally, I think nursing at age two is great. My daughter nursed until she was 2.5 years old. The world health organization recommends nursing for at least two years. Just mentioning all of this because I wanted to let you know that there are many of us out here who think it's a great thing you're doing and nothing to be embarrassed about, especially since it's at night and it sounds like it's a reassuring thing for him since he probably doesn't see you all day. I know SO many women who have nursed as long as you (point being it's becoming more and more common in the USA). So, anyway, awesome job so far and definitely don't be embarrassed about it. Though I totally understand not wanting to tell everyone you know that you are still nursing! Some people think it's so strange.

That all being said, it is VERY important to include your feelings in all of this. It's not just your baby's emotions - it's a nursing relationship and needs to work out for the both of you. When I weaned my daughter, she had stopped nursing for any real nutrition at about 2 years - so it was six months of just comfort nursing and it was driving me crazy. It was the way she was sucking that I couldn't stand. So, I cut down the nursing to shorter and shorter sessions. She didn't really nurse all that often anyway. She seemed fine with daytime nursing going away. I focused on slowly shortening the time until nursing was done. It got to where if she wanted to nurse, and if I wasn't interested, she ended up being fine with it and it just sort of ended.

For us, the nursing relationship had gone from being a good thing to being incredibly frustrating to me (again, it was the way she was sucking that was driving me crazy). So, it is very important consider how you're feeling. If you're wanting to stop because your husband wants you to, you might want to see how you are personally feeling about it. If you agree and are really super sick of it, maybe trying something like I mentioned above (shortening the nursing time slowly so over time it's gone) would work for you? I would be really caring towards your son about it. It's something he's used as part of his security for two years, so I definitely wouldn't recommend cold turkey weaning, unless you are going to loose your mind and need to!

Whatever you decide, I have to congratulate you on doing such an awesome job. Two years! I know for me it was obvious when it was time to stop...and it sounds like you might be at that point too. I hope someone else has a better suggestion for you as to how to stop.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Well, if it makes you feel any better my first son nursed till he was over 2 and my second until he was over 3. I'm very sorry your husband is embarassed. He should actually be very pleased that you're doing the best you can to meet your son's emotional needs at this age. And, I can absolutely guarantee you that no one will know that you did this when your son is 12 or 15, like my two are now. I know at this point it's difficult to see what life will be like later, but I have zero regrets about letting my boys wean at their own pace and indeed, it's one parenting decision that I have no doubt was absolutely the right one. If the nursing continues to give your son comfort, then I would continue. So, personally, I don't think you have a problem at all - you likely just have a very happy and healthy baby. You might also tell your husband that you're also providing yourself the added benefit of a reduced risk of breast cancer later in life and you likely have far fewer doctor bills than do parents of kids that were bottlefed or weaned early. Biologically, nursing at this age is ENTIRELY NORMAL! If you want to cut out the nite time nursing you could get your husband to get up with him and give him water. That worked with my oldest. Also, your son is also old enough to understand if you tell him ahead of time that it's okay to nurse at bedtime, but you want to be able to sleep all nite, so he can't nurse at nite anymore, but tell him he could nurse in the morning if he feels the need. Also, you might try reading before bedtime instead of nursing. I found with my second child when he was about 2 1/2 that he still wanted to read after nursing, so we just started reading first and he had no interest in nursing. After that point, my son only nursed when he was upset or injured and as time went by there was a month gap and then a two month gap and then he was done and I was actually kinda sad, as that is the most unique of mother-child relationships, so your husband may actually be more jealous than upset or embarassed. What you might do is to start encouraging him to do things one on one with your son and develop his own unique relationship with him.

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answers from Dallas on

Why are you ashamed or embarrassed??? You should be proud of yourself. I read an article that nursing toddlers is become more accepted (Gwen Stefani is even doing it). I nursed my ds until he was about 2 1/2 but my dh was pretty accepting since it took a lot of pressure off of him. I beleive the world average age for weaning is about 4. Why people (Drs included) think your milk suddenly goes bad or non-nutritious at 12 months is beyond me. The health benefits for both of you are great too btw; however, I totally understand the wanting your body back. I got to that point myself.

If you do decide to wean, do it because you are ready and whatever you do, do not go cold turkey if you can avoid it. It would be too h*** o* your body and would probably stress your ds out. Has he finished teething? You might want to keep that in mind. I noticed my ds could finally sleep through the night once the last molars came in. Take it slow and gradual otherwise it can be painful. Have your dh step in at night. There's a good night weaning article by Jay Gordon (google night weaning and Jay Gordon) that might help you. LLL has good resources as well.

Your dh is going to have to step in I think to help you through this transition so don't be afraid to call upon him. This may make him change his mind about your weaning btw. I think there's no reason to introduce a bottle at this point. Then you'd have to get them off the bottle. kwim? So don't go there if you can avoid it.

Good luck and congrats!!

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answers from Dallas on

I say, admit it proudly. Wow you are doing a great job! I nursed my children into toddlerhood. I have many, many friends who did the same, and based on the positive response here it looks like there are many, many more out there too!! Please don't feel like you are alone.
I nursed my first child until 24 months and the second until 27 mo. They both stopped when they were ready and luckily, I didn't have to go through a tough weaning process. I am very proud to say I have two happy, healthy, INDEPENDENT boys.

My husband understood that it was best for me and the baby. He was very supportive of my decision to let them nurse until they were ready to wean. I had an OB and pedi that were also extremely supportive. Thankfully, I never experienced any negative feedback from anyone...ever! The only negative comments I have heard were posted here today. I suppose everyone is entitled to their own opinion though, we don't all have to agree.

With all that said, your husband's feelings matter! You need to communicate your feelings to your husband. Let him know how you would like to handle things and ask if he has any suggestions, let him be a part of the process. If you do indeed want to wean at this time, tell him your plans and have him help. If your son is getting up in the middle of the night, it's going to have to be your husband to get up with him instead of a M. that is trying to wean. Tough love is tough for everyone. Believe me I know. I may have nursed my children for 2+ years but there are other things that I believe called for a little tough love. I just didn't think nursing was one of those things.

Good luck to you!

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answers from Dallas on

I am also still breastfeeding my 2.5 year old (will be 3 in May) along with our 7 month old. Extended breastfeeding has WONDERFUL benefits for both you and your child. There is no need for embarassment... there are many of us out there! In biblical times, children were weaned around 3 or so.

All that said, if you are ready to move on to a new stage of "freedom" (I know that feeling well!), start by setting limits. At this age they understand that you have to wait until "bedtime" or whatever. I have my son "weaned" to one feeding a day, the bedtime feeding. When he asks to nurse, I tell him that it "isn't dark outside yet". They can be surprisingly patient if you keep consistant. The moment that it gets dark, he is the one begging to go to bed. Having it be just once a day (as opposed to all day long), makes it more enjoyable for me and I feel like I have myself back more (as much as I can, anyway, with a nursing baby too). Sooner or later, maybe after a few bedtimes with a babysitter or grandparents, I imagine that he will wean himself. If you try to force him to stop early, he can get more insecure. If you give him that special time of day to look forward to, it is much easier for them to decide to be done.

Also... with my other two older children, when they weaned, I noticed that they still needed "snuggle" time. Just a bit more snuggling throughout the day helps replace the lost nursing closeness. I hope that is helpful!

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answers from Dallas on

I hope I don't sound mean, but having a two year old wake up in the middle of the night for a feeding(breast or bottle) is a little crazy. By the age of three months(of course some take longer) a child with a normal daily eating schedule is more than capable of lasting ten to twelve hours at night with no feeding. You sound like a very loving mother, but, to me, it sounds like your little one is taking advantage of you(and your breasts!). I know some won't agree with my advice, but some really tough love is in order. I am a firm believer that the bottle needs to be gone by no later than 14 months(my kids went to sippy cups at 12 months). I think toddler hood is a time for teaching independence and allowing your child to experience their feelings(whether mad, sad, lonely, etc) and learn how to cope with them. I feel it is important to allow them to have those emotional feelings and not always come to the "rescue", so to speak, by breastfeeding, or giving the bottle, pacifier, etc. My son has a special blanket that he gets only at nap time and bedtime and we have a routine of reading a book and rocking for ten minutes or so before bed, but he handles the rest on his own. I feel he has a great sense of independence from this and bedtime is a breeze. Good luck to you and your son and I hope I didn't sound too rude with my advice. I really hope the best for you both.

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answers from Dallas on

Please stop beating yourself up. We all have parenting things we could have done differently. Some people breastfeed far later than that. It isn't my preference, but you shouldn't judge yourself so harshly, AND NEITHER SHOULD YOUR HUSBAND! But if you want to stop, you will end up having to let him cry it out. It's a comfort thing and you both should be sleeping through the night. Have a little ceremony... Nurse him one last time... tell him it is the LAST TIME. Tell him how much you love him and that you dont' want to hurt him, but there will be NO MORE! Then, that night... Make sure he is fed well and comfy before you put him down. If he cries in the night, the first time you go in, say "mommy loves you, but we are not nursing any more... it's sleeptime, go back to sleep!" Whatever you do, DO NOT PICK HIM UP! If you do... it's over. lol COmfort him and leave the room. He may cry and scream for 30+ minutes... LET HIM! He will go to sleep!
It sounds mean. I know it does... but if you want to break bad habits, you have to be stern. Clearly there will be many different takes on this. Try a few...
Edited to add: My response seems harsh in comparison to the others... I was sort of taking inspiration from SuperNanny or that sort of approach. I say, start with the more experienced advice. If it doesn't work... try a more stern approach.

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answers from Dallas on

I am not going to be popular at all but you should ween him asap. He is old enough to sleep through the night without food and doesnt need it for health reasons meaning he is eating solid food and getting proper nutrition I am sure. It sounds like a dependency and a comfort just like a pacifier would be. He will not be scared for life if you are firm with him and let him know he is a big boy now you can make it an exciting thing for him. do not tell him apoligetically be excited and firm set a date and reaffirm it several times. I t will be hard for about 3-4 days just like weening off of a pacifier or a bottle. I am not against nursing at all I nursed both of my childeren and loved every minute but when they had most of their teeth then we stopped. This age is always attached to mommy and it has nothing to do with nursing or family being near by. Its natural they would want mommy. Most importantly your husband needs to have a say in when to stop or he will start to resent you and your parenting because you are making a choice that he doesnt agree with or feel comfortable with. My husband and I talked about and consulted with our pediatricain what would be appropriate for the health both physically and emotionally for the children.

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answers from Dallas on


First of all congratulations for sticking with it. So many well intentioned moms for numerous reasons don't make it to the 6 month and one year mark. Secondly, if you are ready for nursing to be over, then it is time. I just hate that you feel ashamed about it just because of your son's age.
I wish people were more open minded about these neither you nor your husband would feel ashamed. My oldest child also nursed till about 2, but the difference was he also had a little brother who was also nursing. I understand the stigma that you feel and then some.

I became pregnant with our second child when Jacob was one year. He was still breastfeeding and I was not ready to end that. I looked it up online and found that many people chose to continue to nurse throughout pregnancy and even after the new baby was born. I talked with my doctor about it and she agreed that if I ate healthy and continued to do well throughout the pregnancy that she was fine with it. My milk supply did diminish b/c of the pregnancy, but never to the point that Jacob self weaned. Once the new baby came, I was careful to make sure Christopher got all the nursing time he needed. At times, I would have Jacob and the baby nursing. The result for us was that there was absolutely no jealousy b/w them and Jacob is very attentive of his little brother.

We Americans seem to be the most uptight group when it comes to breastfeeding issues. It is perfectly acceptable in other areas to continue to breastfeed until a child is 3.

What it all boils down to though is how do you feel about it? If you want your breasts back (and I totally understand that...I am nursing my third child, Allyson 10 months) then start weaning him gradually. When I did start weaning Jacob, my husband would get up with him in the middle of the night and it never bothered Jacob that he didn't get to nurse. My husband would just pick him up, tell him that he was going to sing him one song then put him back in bed to go back to sleep. It really didn't take that long and my husband enjoyed getting some of the cuddle time that I had hogged all that time :)
Suggestions for eliminating the bedtime nursing...
offer him a healthy bedtime snack like cut up apple/ oatmeal/ even strawberry milk in a special big boy cup while you cuddle up with him and read a story together

he will probably want both at first, but be firm that he gets to choose one or the other. He may go back and forth, but I imagine that he will eventually stop asking to nurse especially if he gets plenty of cuddle time with you. If you want it to be over with sooner, I suggest that you set a date and give him a visual reminder (sticker count down) about the big day that he becomes a big boy and no longer needs to nurse. It may be h*** o* him those first several nights, especially if he was accustomed to nursing to sleep, but kids are resilient.


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answers from Fort Collins on

That is awesome and you should not worry what anyone thinks! Enjoy and embrace that special time with your son. My girls both just suddenly stopped at around 18 mos. just on their own. People just don't understand. Just listen to your intuition.


answers from Chicago on

I was lucky enough to have a son who weaned himself off at 13months, and I dreadfully and not 100% sure as to what to say in regards to weaning, but there is a bottle called the adiri natural nurser that he might like as a subsitute at night instead, i know of a place where you can get one if you cant find it, but that may work out to change over from the breast to that. Otherwise, dilligance and remianing strict on the topic is all that will work out for you. I wish you luck and do not be too h*** o* yourself or your husband if it does not go well or quickly at first.



answers from Savannah on

regardless of what other women have chosen to do, you want YOUR breasts back so take them back! be the adult and wean him. he won't be permanently scarred, i promise. i weaned at 5 months and 1 year for each boy. the year mark was as high as i was going to go. after that, i didn't see the point nutritionally and i wanted MY breasts back. once it happens, i think that you'll have alot less mental stress.



answers from Dallas on

I breastfed my son until he was right at 2 years old. By that time it was only at naptime, bedtime or when he was sick or otherwise wanted that extra comfort.

Now, about YOU wanting your breasts back, it will take some time. At night, you might try to engage him in a book or give him your gown from the previous night or something else that carries your scent and rock him and sing to him or tell him a story rather than nurse him. Or you could allow him to nurse for just a bit (maybe half as long as normal and then engage him in something else that is relaxing (baby massages are GREAT). I would hold off on the eliminating the middle of the night feeding until the bedtime feeding has been eliminated for about a week or so. Also, I disagree that a two year old waking up at night is "crazy" especially when he is probably waking up and wanting some comfort and right now he only gets the comfort he is looking for from nursing. Both of my son, when he was a toddler and young child, and my 2 year old daughter now, "wake up" with night terrors (they are not really awake, just have their eyes open). My son (10 years old) has taken up sleep walking. He even went outside in the wee hours of the morning and let the chickens out (talk about scary). My daughter also wakes up sometimes for other reasons and wants some comfort to be able to get her back to sleep. It happens. They learn to comfort themselves at different ages and I find nothing wrong with them waking up and needing the comfort of a feeding (whether nursing or a bottle or a cup) while their favorite person holds them. There will soon come a time when he will rebel at your "intrusion" into their lives.

If your husband is embarassed, that is really his problem. With you only nursing at night and in the middle of the night, I feel safe in assuming that you do this in the privacy of your own home. Is he going around telling everyone what goes on at home? Why? He needs to just understand that you are working on weaning him, but that your son loves and needs you for his comfort until he can learn to comfort and sooth himself. Tell him not to tell anyone you are still nursing and he will have no reason to be embarassed.

I hope some of this may have been helpful.



answers from Dallas on

"I would like to have my breast back to myself." That's funny! :)

I'm still nursing my youngest daughter, who will be two in just a couple of weeks. I have no plans for immediate attempts at weaning. Meara nurses before naptime, at bedtime and once during the night (we also cosleep).

So I don't have any advice on the weaning but thought I'd be another raised hand for nursing after age two, if only to let others know that it's not icky. ;)

Good luck getting your breasts back without stress on you & your boy.



answers from Dallas on

Here's a thought...Be the parent!!! Unfortunately you're probably going to hurt his feelings more then once in his lifetime. Hurting his feelings in this case (as I'm sure will be most cases down the line as well) is for HIS own good. Not to mention yours and your husband! I breastfed also so I know how hard it is to stop. It almost sounds like it might be harder on you then him. Why else would you get up in the middle of the night o do that? Maybe some counseling would help. I would do something before it comes between you and your husband, especially is he already tells you he is embarrassed! Good Luck!



answers from Amarillo on

I just want to say it is fine that he is still nursing. However--it is easier to ween a baby than a toddler so that is going to be a challenge--but it'll come. 1 year is my cutoff date--but everyone feels different about it. I am prego right now and my best friend grosses out when I even talk about nursing--which I WILL be doing! So--just keep trying to ween him and it will come--wish I had a better idea on how to do that! Sorry! :)

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