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How long did you nurse your baby?


8Arrows4theLord
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I was wondering how long is too long to nurse your baby? Our last sweet baby has been our best "nurser". She is now 2 1/2 yrs. old and still hasn't completely made the break. I have never had to forcefully wean any of my babies, and I really didn't want to force her. I have been told it could cause emotional problems.   :confused1:

So basically I am looking for some opinions from all you lovely ladies who have had nursing babies. How long did you nurse, how did you wean, did you have one that just wouldn't give up?

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34 months. Weaned only when I had some pizza that turned out to have egg wash (even though we asked first!), to which he is allergic. We were on vacation, so I just decided to wean him. We were already down to just mornings and nights - but it was hard. On both of us.

 

ETA: If your child wants to keep nursing, and you are okay with it, I see nothing wrong with it. :). On the other hand, if YOU want to give it up, then just own it and make the break. She'll be fine.

Edited by ikslo
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 I have been told it could cause emotional problems.   :confused1:

 

Oh, puh-LEEZE.

 

The right time to wean is when YOU decide you are ready. If you're ready to be done 2.5 years after giving birth, tell the lactation Nazis to stuff their criticism where the sun don't shine. :tongue_smilie:

 

The evidence for benefits of nursing past 12 months is iffy at best.

Edited by Crimson Wife
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Breastfed the first till nearly 5 and the second till 4. I let them know the date we would be finishing and if they asked after that date I reminded them. It wasn't traumatic for either of us. Both times it was because I'd had enough, not because they had! In fact, they both still ask. 

 

I think there are benefits in feeding long-term, however it's important to wean when it suits you  because after all, it's your body. 

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5-6 months for my first son but that was supplemented from the start (rough labor, c-section, NICU stay, had to be back to work almost right away and I just never had a very good supply.)

 

My younger son weaned after I went back to work when he was 1 year old.  He was exclusively nursed until he started a few solid foods.  I don't recall when he finished entirely, but it was before 18 months.  

 

I would have been ok with longer, but that's how the cookie crumbled for me and my sons.  

 

 

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I weaned everyone at 18 months.  except . . 2dd weaned herself. 1ds. . . . was not a happy camper. in retrospect, I felt guilty and that he wasn't ready. 

 

dudeling . . . was the same dependent upon nursing as 1ds . . so, I nursed him longer.  up until I'd see that gleam in his eye as he looked at me and I'd want to run away screaming.  he was 3 1/2.  he'd still come up to my and 1dd (ample bOOks) and try and hold them.  we'd both be telling him they were off limits, for years . . . .

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Anywhere between 2 and 4.5 years (and Nate doesn't count). Only one of them was younger than 3. My current 3.5yo would like to be nursing still, but I had to cut out that last nursing a day because of pregnancy complications with Nate.

 

If you and your LO are still happily nursing, great. If one of you is ready to be done, that's okay too.

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Nursing takes 2. If one isn't happy, the other isn't happy. Wean when YOU want to wean.

 

I will answer your question, though. My first, with whom I worked full time from 4 months on, so combo nursing and pumping/bottles, self-weaned at 16 months.

My second was not interested in weaning, but when I was 3 months pregnant with a younger sibling, nursing became painful, so I began to wean him. It took 2 months. He was 23 months old and still not ok about it at the time. Looking at his personality now, I'd guess that he would have still been nursing at 5. :-)

Baby 3 nursed until he was 35 months old. I was going to keep nursing until he self weaned, but he suddenly started biting. As he was just shy of 3, I gave two warnings and cut him off. Not happening, little man! :-). He got over it within a week (though he spoke fondly of nursing for several months; he just accepted that it was all gone).

 

If you want to stop, stop. If she wants to stop, stop. If neither of you want to stop, keep on going. :-) Mutually happy nursing is great for both of you. Unhappy nursing isn't.

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Baby #1: only 11 months.  I was pregnant, and when I hit 4 months gestation, my milk must have changed because my daughter rejected it.  She made a nasty face and never wanted it again

 

Baby #2: nursed 2 1/2 years.  Was only breastfeeding morning and bedtime by then.  I went away for two days with my dh, and when I came back, we just never started up again.  

 

Baby #3: nursed 1 1/2 years.  Again, was only breastfeeding morning and bedtime, but every time felt like dd was literally sucking the life out of me.  I was almost 44 years old at that point, and I think I just wasn't producing enough to satisfy her, even though she sucked like a Kirby vacuum cleaner!  It was wearing me out and it hurt, and she was getting plenty of nutrition from food, so I weaned her.  I don't remember how I did it, but it wasn't traumatic or anything.  I probably just kept saying "Not now" until she stopped asking, maybe a few days.

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I didn't nurse DD15 for more than 6 weeks or so -- if that long.

I nursed DS7 (almost 8) until about age 3. 

I nursed DS4 (almost 5) until about age 3.5.

 

I did forcefully wean the boys. By "forcefully" I only mean that I offered other drinks and food in place of nursing and didn't allow them to nurse. Eventually it just dropped off. 

 

It would be nice to say that I nursed so long for lovely ideological reasons. Alas, it came down to that they slept better nursing. DS7 had some significant medical needs as well, though, but the biggie was... sleep.

 

DS4 has been weaned for a bit over a year -- but he still brings it up in conversation. Fun times.

DS7 was very upset when he was informed (about 6 months ago) that it wouldn't be possible for him to nurse his own babies "when he grows up." I mean, he literally ran from the table crying.

Edited by AimeeM
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I was wondering how long is too long to nurse your baby? Our last sweet baby has been our best "nurser". She is now 2 1/2 yrs. old and still hasn't completely made the break. I have never had to forcefully wean any of my babies, and I really didn't want to force her. I have been told it could cause emotional problems.   :confused1:

So basically I am looking for some opinions from all you lovely ladies who have had nursing babies. How long did you nurse, how did you wean, did you have one that just wouldn't give up?

 

I only had two babies. :-)

 

With my first, I was pretty uneducated; we never used bottles, but we did begin solids when she was six months old, and water or milk in a cup; although I never refused to nurse her, we must have really encouraged solids because she stopped nursing at 10 months. I don't remember exactly because this was 1976, which was a heckalong time ago! She had her first diaper rash after she quit nursing, and we fought diaper rashes until she was potty trained. I figured out that she could not tolerate dairy, just before she potty trained.

 

So, since first-born dd had some issues with dairy, I wanted to try to avoid that with second-born dd, and I attended La Leche League meetings while I was pregnant to educate myself. Younger dd didn't get solid food until she was eight months old, and we introduced foods slowly. I also co-slept with her. She nursed until she was 26 months old. I never refused to nurse her, either. I would gladly have nursed her longer, but she was just done. :-)

 

The first time you give a baby solid food, you are weaning. Some children just take longer than others to completely stop nursing. Yes, it could be traumatic to a child to be forcefully weaned. You know they nurse not just because they are hungry, but because it is a great emotional comfort to them. Imagine how they would feel if suddenly they were not allowed to nurse. :-( Some mothers have helped the weaning process by offering solid food or a beverage when they can see that their babies want to nurse, and sometimes that works. Changing routines sometimes helps, as in putting babies to bed on their own instead of nursing them to sleep.

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It's okay to set limits like just in the morning, after naps, and bedtime, or less or more or whenever. It's okay to completely wean too. There is nothing wrong with nursing a child that age though! I weaned my youngest at about 2.5 years or so. I was feeling pretty worn out because of other health issues and just needed time to repair and replenish my body. About 2 years would be my average. Some less, some more. I nursed all five of mine.

Edited by ifIonlyhadabrain
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2 1/2 years each.  

 

Oldest had to wean suddenly when baby got a severe throat infection, doctor did not want to chance her getting it as well. 

 

Youngest same age, with some gentle encouragement. 

 

Both would have continued happily, lol. 

 

 

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3 months and 5 months for the first two, then 1 year for the next 3 (and will be 1 year for the 4th).  I do not enjoy nursing (I have let-down dysphoria, among other things) and at about age 1 I am just done done done.  First I just don't have it available during the day - lots of distractions.  Then I night-wean over the course of about a week.  So far it has not been traumatic at all.  We co-sleep.

 

Fwiw, my first two (now 11 and 8) are not any less attached to me or emotionally stable than the younger ones.

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Firstborn: 22 months. I was ready to be done, and he weaned pretty easily.

 

Second born: 12 months. I had to have a major emergency surgery that took me away from her for a week, plus a couple days of getting drugs out of my system. I had pumped and dumped in the hospital, but when I tried to resume nursing afterward my milk was mostly gone, though she got some comfort from the little bit I had for a few days. Understandably my body was prioritizing my healing, though it was emotionally rough for both of us.

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I have 4 kids and I nursed all of them except the third for just over 2 years each.  By the end they are down to the bedtime nursing & that is relatively easy to swap of other forms of soothing.  That is also when they moved out of our bed into a toddler bed.  I was still nursing # 3 when I got pregnant with #4.  I have high risk pregnancies (all 8 of them) that usually involve months of bed rest due to pre-term labor, so my OB/GYN let me know that by the time I was 20 weeks along it would be best to be done nursing.  That meant I had a deadline instead of letting it just end naturally.  It was harder for me to give it up than it was for her.  Luckily, she preferred to be comforted and soothed by Dh.  She was that way almost from birth; she only wanted me if she was hungry.  Dh took over the bedtime routine and because he wasn't giving off the nursing cues she gave it up pretty easily.  

 

I agree with the previous poster who said it takes two and if one of you is done, both of you are done and that is perfectly fine, do not feel bad or guilty in any way.

 

Amber in SJ

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About 2 3/4 years. I got pregnant and was having a rough first trimester, so I weaned. I did it gently and it wasn't too bad. I mean he would have rather not, but I helped it dwindle down to nothing. He was also old enough to understand a bit of reasoning.

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If you are looking for reassurance to keep nursing go for it. My youngest was closer to 3. The others were just over 2 because I couldn't cope with nursing while pregnant. At this point you are in the "as long as it's mutually desired" stage. If she's happy and your ok with it keep going but I don't think you'll cause emotional damage at this point if you are really down with it.

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I weaned my oldest at 37 months, and I still feel bad because he wasn't quite ready. I had been tandem nursing him with dd for a year though, and I was just done. Dd was a bit past 3 1/2. My youngest is still going strong at 17 months. I don't plan to encourage him to stop anytime soon. My older two both had times they were sick as toddlers when they wouldn't want to eat any solids, but they'd still nurse. I was so glad I didn't wean them earlier when I had that source of comfort and nutrition when they were sick.

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Oh, puh-LEEZE.

 

The right time to wean is when YOU decide you are ready. If you're ready to be done 2.5 years after giving birth, tell the lactation Nazis to stuff their criticism where the sun don't shine. :tongue_smilie:

 

The evidence for benefits of nursing past 12 months is iffy at best.

Please don't compare those who support breastfeeding to Nazis. That's incredibly offensive. Edited by AnnE-girl
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I don't think she means just people who support breastfeeding (I support breastfeeding) but rather people who are very insistent that their own (extreme) way is the only right way (that being the colloquial use of Nazi in this kind of conversation).

I still think it's an offensive use of the term. Nazis murdered millions of people. They hardly compare to those who are perhaps overzealous in their support of breastfeeding.

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Not very long :( My twins were premature and spent the first three weeks in the NICU. I pumped and they were fed breast milk exclusively via bottles but my milk dried up pretty quickly. I never could actually nurse them, despite working with lactation consultants. I went on Reglan for 6 weeks to keep my supply up but after that I would pump and maybe get an ounce or two so I had to give up.

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With my oldest I exclusively pumped for 9 months. My mentor exclusively pumped for 4 years I figured I could get a year in, but we moved and life happened so 9 months worked out for the best with us.

With middle, I started efforts to wean him when he was eighteen months because it was driving me bananas. When he was a little over two I got pregnant and he self weaned.

With littlest, I started efforts to wean him when he was two, but he is showing no signs of stopping even though I'm pregnant.

 

With middle it was a battle and a struggle and lots of tears from him while trying to wean, but by the time little was born he had no memory of nursing. 

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Forever.  3 years 5 months, 3 years 4 months, 3 years 6 months, and 4 years 1 month.  The last one claimed he still nursed until he was nearly 6.  He refused to believe he had weaned.  As far as I can tell there are no emotional problems stemming from nursing from any of them and they are 8 to 17 now.  I didn't actively wean any of them.  They weaned themselves.  Nursing a toddler is not the same as nursing a baby.  Two of them would go days, up to a couple weeks, between nursings before they finally stopped.  One kept nursing 3-4 times a day before stopping.  One nursed once a day for the last several months.

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Oldest - about 15 - 16 months. I was home for the first year, and when I went back to work, nursing fizzled off.

Middle - 11 months or so. I was pregnant and she just stopped nursing.

Youngest - about 2 years. I was home, and she was a sickly infant (re-occurring kidney infections). I  nursed her until her kidney surgery was deemed a success. 

 

If nursing is mutually enjoyable, keep going. If you are done (I was so done by the end with #3), it is just fine to wean. 

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Nursed DS until he was 2 1/2. At that point I was pregnant with DD and when I hit the second trimester my milk dried up. Nursed DD for 2 years 3 months. She was down to only nursing nights, to fall asleep, and then over Christmas we had a couple of busy days where she fell asleep without nursing. I was ready to be done so I took that as the opportunity to wean. 

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About 4 years old with all of them. Some were a few months shy of 4 years old, one was a few months over 4 years. Around that time with each of them I started limiting how long they could nurse, or postponing it, etc. Never a big power struggle, just "mommy's busy" or "that's enough, how about you go snuggle with Daddy now."

 

All children eventually wean. 2 years is the minimum set by WHO, not the maximum, so you are well within "normal". 

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My oldest self-weaned at 14 months when I was pregnant with my second.

 

My second self-weaned at 18 months when I was pregnant with my third.

 

My third had to be weaned at 2 years because I needed to have surgery.

 

I cried every time one of them was weaned! 

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All children eventually wean. 2 years is the minimum set by WHO, not the maximum, so you are well within "normal". 

 

I just looked at the WHO guidelines and I didn't read it to say a minimum of 2 years. Just wanted to mention that since sometimes women who have been unable to breastfeed for as long as they wish to might be concerned about that. Also, WHO guidelines are for the whole world, and, therefore, also for people in developing countries with more issues with child nutrition.

Edited by tcb
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We did 25 months as a matter of sanity.  It was an easy way to get him to sleep.

 

 

 

I just looked at the WHO guidelines and I didn't read it to say a minimum of 2 years. Just wanted to mention that since sometimes women who have been unable to breastfeed for as long as they wish to might be concerned about that. Also, WHO guidelines are for the whole world, and, therefore, also for people in developing countries with more issues with child nutrition.

 

This is what it says on their page:
"Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond."

http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/

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We did 25 months as a matter of sanity.  It was an easy way to get him to sleep.

 

 

 

 

This is what it says on their page:

"Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond."

http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/

 

Don't want to split hairs about this but "up to" is not until. Also these guidelines are world wide which includes countries where nutritious food for toddlers is hard to come by for some. I just don't think it is helpful to be on either side of the breastfeeding Mommy Wars - either you didn't do long enough or you did too long.

ETA: which is probably not what you meant at all. Got a niece going through some issues so I'm probably over sensitive.

Edited by tcb
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My older DD didn't nurse for more than a few months. My younger daughter did until she was 2. She wasn't really nursing much at that point and it was a comfort thing, so I just started substituting a cuddle, getting her something to drink, or something else. It was no big deal at all for either of us.

Edited by GalaxyGal
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It was different for each of my 6 babies, but for 4 of them I weaned when I got pregnant again and my milk was drying up anyway.

 

Baby #4 I nursed until he was 2. It got to a point that nursing was no longer a mutual agreeable arrangement so I weaned him. He was not happy about it. But I put bandaids on my nipples and told him they were broken. For some reason, he took that a lot better than just being told no, he couldn't nurse. He asked for several days to see the bandaids, but didn't get upset about it. After a few days he stopped asking.

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I just looked at the WHO guidelines and I didn't read it to say a minimum of 2 years. Just wanted to mention that since sometimes women who have been unable to breastfeed for as long as they wish to might be concerned about that. Also, WHO guidelines are for the whole world, and, therefore, also for people in developing countries with more issues with child nutrition.

 

Perhaps I should have said the ideal minimum? I'm operating on zero caffeine in an attempt to help my own nursling's reflux, plus typing one handed. Forgive me for not being clear.

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And for the record, although I nursed mine a LONG time, I see no issue in weaning...it could be traumatic if you were mean about it I suppose, but gentle weaning is not traumatic. Start with limiting to certain times, avoiding situations that trigger nursing requests, etc. 

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Perhaps I should have said the ideal minimum? I'm operating on zero caffeine in an attempt to help my own nursling's reflux, plus typing one handed. Forgive me for not being clear.

 

No problem! I hope your little one soon is free of reflux. My breastfeeding days are long over, but I had one with reflux too and it's hard to see them go through the discomfort. 

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Kid #1 - 18 months.  Weaned because I felt pressured to do so. 

Kid #2 - 3 1/2 years. 

 

ETA - I did get to points where we wouldn't night nurse or nurse during play time out in the world.  After about 2 1/2 my 2nd kid was only nursing like 2X a day.  It wasn't totally on demand the toddler years.  I think the kid and mom need to compromise in this regard.  If totally child led works for you, great.  If you are feeling drained from lack of sleep, etc, I think it's fine to set a boundary.

Edited by WoolySocks
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Just under 2 years for the first. I got pregnant and he self-weaned. Guess it tasted different or there wasn't as much or something?

 

Just over 2 years for the second. Not sure why we weaned. We were down to nursing just in the morning and at night...then just at night...then we just stopped. It seemed to happen mostly naturally, and I think I didn't really want to nurse past about then. I don't think I felt too strongly either way, but we were just ready to move away from nursing.

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