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How long did you nurse your baby?


8Arrows4theLord
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My longest was 3 1/2.  With my first, I weaned at about 2 because I was pregnant with number 2 and it was painful.  I hadn't planned on nursing that long, but he was allergic to milk and I was not really all that cool with soy formula.  He also had pneumonia at 14 months and was very ill.  Nursing him helped him get out of the hospital much faster than expected (3 other kids admitted the same time he was and were in the hospital for 10 days instead of 3.) 

 

With my second, I nursed much longer because it seemed to be the only thing that calmed this kiddo, despite every effort I made to help build the coping skill-set. (Yes, I read everything, took all the hits from well-meaning, but judgemental people, yada, yada, yada.)   We later figured out that there were sensory issues and possible spectrum issues at play.  K weaned at 3 1/2 because I was pregnant and my milk was drying up.  K had been down to morning and night nursing and occasional meltdown nursing.

 

With my last, I weaned at 3 1/2.  That coincided with me having to go into the hospital for surgery.  If I hadn't had that forced break, I think she would have kept going until 6 or 7 (when she stopped climbing into bed with us.)  :laugh:  I'm kidding.  I was ready to wean, but I stilll liked that closeness ... she was my last and she was a balm to my soul after parenting through K's "4 hours of meltdowns per day" phase. 

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My first self-weaned about 2.75 when I was pregnant with my second.

 

I weaned my second at sometime between about 3.25.  I planned to tandem nurse with my third.  My third went to the NICU with a fever when he was 1 week old.  I wonder if ds2 might wean, because I was living away from home.  He nursed each day once or twice, when he visited me in the hospital.  

 

When I got home he was nursing constantly, at least ever hour.  I figured he was just adjusting to the new baby, but he kept wanting to nurse constantly.  He didn't react well when I I tried to cut back gently.  After 2 or 3 months of him driving me crazy I cut him off.  I played it up as a big boy thing, and made sure to give him plenty of snuggles.  It coincided nicely with potty training, getting his own bed and other big kid things so he mostly okay with it.  

 

My third child is 1.5 and still nursing strong.  Either he will self wean, or I will wean when it is no longer working for both of us.

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With my third, she nursed til right before she turned three, so 35 months. I had been actively cutting down and talking her through the fact that she was getting big and we were going to stop when she was three. I got it down to once a day at nap time. In the mornings, I just had to be up before her or she would climb in bed with me and want to nurse. At night, I had dh put her down with her big sis, and she joined their storytime routine that didn't include me during weaning, so that she got used to going down without nursing.  So that left naptime which I talked about stopping as she got closer to three. And around a month before three, I left her with a babysitter for a dr. appt. during naptime. And she never asked again after that day. I didn't plan for that to be the last day, but she just never asked again.  I was done though. I had had two babies back to back with pregnancies and nursing and then toddlers and preschoolers and diapers and potty training and nursings, etc. I was worn out and done. 

 

Now my current preschooler is going on 38 months and still going strong. She may be the one that goes until high school... j/k, lol. But I am in a different place.  She is my last and my olders aren't even close to her age, so I am not actively stopping it. It is once or twice a day, and I don't currently mind. I do talk to her about her growing bigger like her sisters, and they don't nurse. To which she says she is small or she is a baby. :)  So we are working on it. 

 

ETA. my first died under a year, so my current "teen" is actually my 2nd. My 3rd is my tween, and my current is my 4th. I only have my living three kids listed in my sig and my then only 2 living girls as my login name. I never changed it when this baby was born since I have had it so long. I know that can be confusing. 

Edited by 2_girls_mommy
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Generally around one year, because I was always eager to get pregnant again.  :)  I really, really wanted to breastfeed longer for my last, but she had medical issues and it made sense to stop then.  (At least, I thought it made sense!  Now I wish I hadn't stopped, but whatever.)  Generally, that timing felt right for me, but it will certainly not cause emotional problems to continue for much longer.  Sheesh!

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Wean when you're done. You're not going to stop cuddling your child or otherwise showing affection and being bonded. If you smacked him in the head when he asked to nurse, you could cause some emotional problems. I'd be telling those people offering unwanted advice to stop. If they're this involved in your breastfeeding, wait until you have bigger parenting decisions.

 

My kids have weaned at 14 mos, 14 mos, 3+ years (bedtime only by then), and still bedtime only a nearly 3 year old. So I'm not anti-breastfeeding by any stretch. I'm anti-morons-in-my-personal-business.

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Boy #1 - 5.5 months (It was a medical necessity and it nearly broke my new-momma heart.)

Boy #2 - 2yrs 3mos (I think it would have happened sooner, but I lost the baby that I was carrying right after he turned 2 and my milk came back in and he he took advantage of it.)

Boy #3 - 2yrs 9mos (We tandem nursed through pregnancy and then with his baby brother for 9 months, mostly just at naps and bedtime.)

Boy #4 - 2yrs 8mos (He tandem nursed with older brother, through the next pregnancy, and with baby brother for 8 months, naps and bedtime only.)

Boy #5 - 5.5 months and going strong!

 

As of April 14th I will have been breastfeeding for 5yrs straight. I'm pooped!

Edited by Noreen Claire
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Bottle fed first 2, nursed # 3 DS until 1 year old, then I had a 3 day trip out of state so he stayed home with DH, came home and we were all good but he had been supplemented with a 1/2 and 1/2 bottle (milk/formula) since the beginning (I worked). #4 was 18mos. and I was just so done.  She had never taken a bottle (I was a SAHM by then) not even a cereal bottle and barely tolerated a sippy cup.  My mom came for Christmas, stayed 3 days and kept DD at night, during the day I would say no or pass her off to be cuddled by grandma (my mom is great with babies, not so much once they start talking).  There doesn't appear to be any lasting emotional issues for them, me.... well she was the last one and I still miss having a baby... I even dream about being pregnant or nursing (I'm 42, that ship has sailed).

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I didn't have enough supply, so it was only a few months.  I'm such a bad "girl" I can't remember exactly.  But the only trauma was to me.  I felt like a failure.  I cried all the way home.  The pressure of  "breast feed or you are a bad person and your kid will get all kinds of diseases and won't bond and and and" ran through my head like an 8track tape.  It was awful. However, my son started putting on weight, and he looked healthy again in a matter of a couple of weeks, and so I came to be thankful I live in this time where I had an option.  

 

It's funny how both "sides" feel pressure from the other "side."  I wish we could just do the best we can and let everyone alone.

 

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Mine ranged from 9 months (extenuating circumstance) for one, one for 10 months, and three for about 12 months. Nursing longer back then was not as popular--even nursing that long was pretty impressive among all the people I knew, so it seemed fine to stop when they quit showing as much interest. We might skip a day or two, they would want to nurse again, then it was pretty much over. We went from breast to cup of milk--no formula, and none of them seemed to even blink an eye over it. I don't know that I would do it exactly that way now, but it was fine for both them and me.

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The first 3 I nursed for 2 years and then weaned. This last one nursed for about 17 months, weaned because I traveled a lot this month...forgot cord to pump the first trip and milk supply dwindled then didn't even bother bringing pump on second trip. Weaning has helped him sleep immensely better.

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Bottle fed first 2, nursed # 3 DS until 1 year old, then I had a 3 day trip out of state so he stayed home with DH, came home and we were all good but he had been supplemented with a 1/2 and 1/2 bottle (milk/formula) since the beginning (I worked). #4 was 18mos. and I was just so done.  She had never taken a bottle (I was a SAHM by then) not even a cereal bottle and barely tolerated a sippy cup.  My mom came for Christmas, stayed 3 days and kept DD at night, during the day I would say no or pass her off to be cuddled by grandma (my mom is great with babies, not so much once they start talking).  There doesn't appear to be any lasting emotional issues for them, me.... well she was the last one and I still miss having a baby... I even dream about being pregnant or nursing (I'm 42, that ship has sailed).

Lol, I am 42 and still nursing my last here!  :) I am old though.  I know that! 

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One year. Yes, I had to initiate the weaning. I know that a lot of women enjoy nursing, but I am not one of them. I did what was recommended at the time (at least 1year) and that's it. Also, I saw too many of my extended nursing friends deal with demanding toddler nursers. There was no way I was willing to deal with a kid that pulled my shirt up in public or screamed until the mother complied to their frequent nursing demands.

 

All of my kids are very healthy and very well adjusted by the way.

Edited by solascriptura
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Both daughters weaned themselves around a year. I was sad, I would have liked it to be longer.

 

First son weaned himself at 20m. Again , I would have liked longer but I was quite pregnant and also not thrilled about tandem nursing.

 

Second son is 13m and going strong (more so than first son). We will see.

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Weaning started at 4 months when I went back to work. Even though I pumped during the day and nursed them at lunchtime, my supply just didn't keep up and we had to add formula. We had a nice gradual taper, and both girls stopped completely at about 8 months. I would have loved to go longer, but at least the weaning process was easy. I never had to say no, they both just lost interest as my supply dwindled.

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Ds1 weaned himself at 9 months.

 

My twins nursed for 18 months.

 

DD nursed for 22 months.  

 

I was advised to breastfeed for a longer time because my kids all had allergy/skin/asthma issues.  Looking back, I wonder if I was eating foods that irritated them.  

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All of my babies nursed to 23 months.  In Islam, one is encouraged to nurse for two years.  If one were to divorce during that time, the husband actually has to pay the wife to nurse the baby.

 

I was a horrible weaner and my kids all weaned by going to Egypt around 23 months (when they still had a reduced fare) to visit my husband's family.

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Given that peiple get uoset when actual white supremacists are called Nazis, could we not go there with breastfeeding moms ? Whether or not they are enthusiastically pro- breastfeeding ?

 

Talk sbout inflaming the mommy wars..

 

When actual white supremacists are called Nazis, people are not using the colloquial connotation - they're trying to make a direct connection.

 

This is a different use of the word. 

 

 

How can you be okay with saying Mommy Wars (thus implying being censured by other women is as bad as the death and destruction of actual war) but not using Nazi to imply overly rigid about something ridiculous?

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1st kid - 14 mos

2nd kid - 14 mos

3rd kid - weaned himself at 8 mos

4th kid - 16 mos

 

I just substituted food for nursing, until it was just before bedtime. At that point in time, we changed the bedtime routine to include an extra story or song. It was all so gradual that it didn't seem to cause undo stress to either me or the kids.

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I nursed for 2, 3, and 4 years respectivly.

 

I had to wean in every case, none of them gave it up on their own.  For the oldest I weaned when I got pregnant - she was easy to wean.  Dd9 I weaned after I had fed both her and her brother for a year and it was just too much. I kept getting really sick.  That was rough weaning her, and I don't know that I would tandem nurse if I had to make the choice again.  My son I weaned latest, mainly because nothing stopped us.

 

Those ages all worked fine.  I didn't nurse my apart from at home once they were older, it wasn't necessary and didn't work well anyway.  The only thing - besides the tandem nursing - I'd have approached differently would likely be night weaning sooner.

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Lol, I am 42 and still nursing my last here!   :) I am old though.  I know that! 

 

42 over here as well, and my littlest is 5mos! Even though it is probably true, I hate thinking of him as my 'last' - I love being pregnant and having a new baby to adore. I'll miss it.

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Youngest was 3 1/2 years old and I did child-led. The last ones to go were the nap and then bedtime. Toward the end there just wasn't anything left and she let go but would try every so often for about a year after. She is very loving and secure. 

 

My oldest was at 20 months. I was pregnant and the taste of my milk changed and I remember that last nursing because she pulled off and said "yuck." And that was that. She probably should have nursed longer. She used a pacifier forever and then switched to biting her nails and chewing on her hair or clothes. 

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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.

 

Actually they are now back to recommending introducing food at 4 months or so - especially possible allergens.

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As for weaning, none of mine have weaned by their own choice. The one who nursed until age 4 tells me she still wishes she could nurse; she's approaching double digits soon...

 

Nursing is a mutual relationship, and can only continue so long as both parties are on board. Sometimes it is the child who chooses the end point, but more often it is the mother. Any trauma is temporary.

Edited by maize
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Telling someone they are going to cause psychological trauma by weaning at 2 instead of 3 is unnecessary.  Telling people who say these things to women that they are being undesirably fascist about it is honest (if hyperbolic) in the same way that telling someone they are perpetuating the mommy wars for judging other womens' (completely normal and legitimate) mothering choices is honest but hyperbolic.

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My first baby weaned at 1, second at 2, third at 3 (their choice - not me trying to create a pattern lol)
If your kid hits puberty and is still breastfeeding, you've been going too long. ;)
Other than that, it depends on what works for you and the child. If you are happy to continue for a bit longer, it won't do her any harm. On the other hand, if you are over it, it won't do any harm to wean her either. You don't have to force it, you can do it gently.  :)

Edited by IsabelC
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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?

It will not cause emotional problems. 

 

child #1 = 3.5 years (I weaned child due to new baby cause I wasn't the biggest fan of tandem nursing)

 

child #2 = 4.5 years (I weaned child due to new baby)

 

child #3 = 5.5 years (Child weaned on own)

 

It takes 2 to nurse and both need to be happy. If you want to wean her then do so. You just need to replace her need for comfort/bonding with something else. Maybe cuddle time, story time, playing outside, or whatever she enjoys doing. 

 

I've heard of a weaning party. Set a date and talk about it a lot. Hype up the party, and how she will be such a big girl after that party. Turn it into a really big milestone that she will be proud of. You can have a small family party or actually invite friends. Cake is a must. ;)  After the party if she asks to nurse just remind her that she had a weaning party and is a big girl now, and then offer to do something else with her. 

 

ETA: misread the first time

Edited by Mom-ninja.
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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.

 

The author seems a bit out of touch with the nursing community. Has she ever talked to a La Leche League leader? Or an IBCLC? I met with three IBCLCs, talked to another on the phone. Two were MDs. Two were nurses. And one was a LLL leader.

 

The milk changes with the age of the child to give the child what it needs. I don't know if you can measure how beneficial it is, but the fact that it changes with your child seems relevant to me. I would say maybe more beneficial if you're giving your 2 yr old the fresh or current milk vs. freezer stock from infancy. But I don't know.

 

Regardless, there are benefits for mom.

 

 

That being said, I wouldn't pressure any mom to start or stop if that's not what she wants. 

 

My daughter had two laser tongue/lip tie surgeries and is still tied. I had to pump more than nurse directly at the breast. We quit at 21 months. She would have gone longer but I was ready. I wanted to wean closer to 18 months, but it was really hard to wean her. I think if nursing had gone smoother and less painfully, I might have been open to a more flexible time frame. Do what's best for your family, OP. Don't worry about if it's the norm or not.

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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?

 

How long is too long?  Hmmm...puberty, I should think, would be too long.

I would find nursing past age 7 unexpected.

 

But at 2.5?  You have NO need to force her to wean.  Goodness no.  Average age of weaning by the child is around 3-4 years, with of course some being earlier and some being later.  I can't possibly imagine a 2.5 year old being labeled as "wouldn't give up" when she's on the very early age of typical self-weaning.  You don't need to be concerned that she won't wean herself, she will, when she's ready.  

 

If you want to wean her before that, you can, but it doesn't really sound like you do, just that you're concerned she's too old?  And if you do want to wean her now, you can start by setting some more limits, and see if that resolves things for you.

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I haven't read through all the replies yet, but thank you to all of you who are answering. You have been so encouraging!  It is wonderful to see so many moms nursing, even for a little while! I hope there are some other moms who will be encouraged by all the replies also.

 

I don't really want to wean her yet, but I also am not sure how long we'll keep going.  I was glad for the positive comments here.

 

I like the bandaid idea, I will keep that in mind if she doesn't self wean and I want to stop later.  

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Patty Joanna-  I agree if nursing doesn't work or you can't- no one should make you feel bad about it. It is a personal choice. That is one reason I wrote this post- I was getting lots of negative comments. I needed advice and encouragement. Sometimes it just doesn't work out no matter how hard you try or want it to. My 1st was only nursed for a very short time. I was young and had no clue how to even change diapers back then! :laugh:   My 7th had to take formula at 1 week old because of a very strong medicine I had to be on to treat a sudden severe medical condition. (I cried, so painful- physically and emotionally) We try do the best we can for our kids. We love them and that's what matters!

 

You ladies are really great! Thanks for the encouragement from the 2nd pg. and for some chuckles. Still like the bandaids, but yes, I could see my little one would doing the same "fix it" trick! :laugh: OOH, that would hurt.

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I didn't have enough supply, so it was only a few months.  I'm such a bad "girl" I can't remember exactly.  But the only trauma was to me.  I felt like a failure.  I cried all the way home.  The pressure of  "breast feed or you are a bad person and your kid will get all kinds of diseases and won't bond and and and" ran through my head like an 8track tape.  It was awful. However, my son started putting on weight, and he looked healthy again in a matter of a couple of weeks, and so I came to be thankful I live in this time where I had an option.  

 

It's funny how both "sides" feel pressure from the other "side."  I wish we could just do the best we can and let everyone alone.

 

:grouphug:

 

I only shared about my dd. I wasn't able to nurse ds. I tried for a few days but he refused to latch and I was not able to get the help and support I needed. I think I ended up clogging my ducts in the process. I didn't even know how to operate the handheld pump WIC gave me. He is tied, too (at least lip tie, but I think tongue as well) so that may have had something to do with it. With dd I tried various things to up my supply but never got the results to the level I had hoped (ate a bunch of oatmeal and never knew if it made a lick of difference. Tried fenugreek but it had side effects. Of course I pumped and did skin to skin as well. We supplemented).

 

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older: 2 years, 9 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days. It was very bittersweet. I'd wanted to let her self-wean and had hoped to make it to 3, but I needed to be done. So we gently encouraged weaning and took our time with it. 

 

younger: I don't even remember. I think around 18-20 months. I didn't have as idyllic of an experience nursing her as I did with my oldest. I kept getting mastitis, she used her teeth, and I had serious shoulder issues (resulting in full replacement), so I was seriously DONE when I weaned her. 

 

When we decided we would rather let our first self-wean, I felt okay with up to about 4. I wasn't sure if I would want to keep going after that but we left that decision for if it even became an issue. 

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DD#1 I nursed until 27 months. She self weaned when I became pregnant with DD#2....I'm thinking my milk probably tasted differently then.

 

DD#2 I nursed until her 4th birthday. I chose to wean her then because I was pregnant with DD#3 and my breasts were very sensitive and it was really starting to hurt.

 

DD#3 I nursed until her 3rd birthday. She was a very needy night nurser and she kept waking me to nurse and it was affecting my sleep. So I weaned her.

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