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Thread: What are the benefits of BF'ing DD beyond 12 months?

  1. #1

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    Default What are the benefits of BF'ing DD beyond 12 months?

    I am surprised we're nearly here already! I haven't been able to BF my boys as long as I have with DD so I am very pleased . My goal was to reach 12 months. We are nearly there and I wonder what the benefits are of BF'ing her for much longer are. She doesn't BF for comfort or to get to sleep, I usually BF her when she wakes in the morning, after her two naps and before she goes to bed for the night. I have no problem with this at all, it's all too easy and we both enjoy the snuggles . But I don't know how I feel about BF'ing a toddler! That sounds so crazy I know, but I've never done it before! DS2 weaned himself just before 11 months of age, it was against my will (he just flat-out refused to BF any more ). Now I am looking at the other side with DD, wondering when we should stop LOL! She would be very easy to wean, but I'm torn!

    Yesterday I was able to go out by myself for a few hours and when I got home DD had just woken from a nap and I fed her, she stared so intently into my eyes while feeding because she'd missed me and it was soooo sweet. But there has to be a better reason to continue BF'ing than that doesn't there? Is she better off physically having BM over cows milk? If so, why?



    Oh, this post is just stupid and makes no sense . I dunno, I'm just having conflicting feelings about everything. Maybe she'll wean herself soon and I won't have to worry haha!

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    i used to think i felt wierd about feeding a toddler too, but your baby goes so slowly from a baby to a toddler that i didn't notice the transition and i don't have any issues with it.

    I think my issues were more based abound other peoples perceptions, not many people bf beyond 12 months, so i guess i was subconsciously concerned about what other people would think. I love to pretend i don't give two hoots about what other people think, but i guess i do. Now, living in a country where extended BF is the norm. (3-4years) i am more than comfortable feeding my 17 month old and don't plan on weaning anytime soon. It has certainly opened my eyes and changed my perspective. The reality for most people is that toddlers end up feeding morning and night, sometimes nap time. So you're not really ever feeding in public anyway, so i don't know what i was worried about!

    I will say though, that although i am comfortable feeding her, it doesn't mean it doesn't drive me crazy at times!

    Here's an article for you.
    Benefits of Breastfeeding Your Toddler

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    Thanks for the link to the article Junglemum . I'm not too worried about what others think, I don't BF in public anyway and I wouldn't let it get to me if someone close to me made a negative comment. I think it's just my own issues LOL! But like you said, the transition from baby to toddler is so gradual that I'm sure if I'm still feeding her at 18 months it will seem normal. It feels normal now, so why should it change I guess? Hopefully she will just wean herself slowly over time and it won't even be a big deal .

    Oh, and well done on BF DD2 for so long!!

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    just subscribing - great thread trish x

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    The benefits are pretty much the same as prior to 12 months. Immunological support, stemcells, etc, and lots of nutrtional goodies of course (though on the whole it's a smaller and smaller proportion of their total dietry needs as they eat more). It's still better for her than cow's milk - because it's human milk!
    In general, I think a lot of the health 'benefits' of breastfeeding are shown to be greater the longer you feed for. I've also read that school-age children have fewer behavioural problems if breastfed till 2 (or longer).
    It's great when they're sick, and especially when they won't have anything else. It's an excellent calmer for those over-the-top toddler emotions also.
    I think it's kind of odd to just stop at some predetermined, arbitrarily set age

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    Wot Junglemum & Marcellus said, but I wanted to add that I feel that special moments together is an excellent reason!

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    Oh Trish I could have written that post word for word. I've been wondering the same thing. I'm reallt torn too because I have three overnight trips away coming up so I'm going to miss two evening feeds and ghis morning feed - I'm so scared he won't go back to the breast when I come home which upsets me but then I think hmm would it really be that bad if he weans then I feed him & it is the worse possible thing to happen, LOL!!

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    Thanks Marcellus for pointing out all the positives . I guess I had a mental goal to get to 12 months for my own sanity. Knowing that I could one day soon take cold & flu tablets again, etc . Even just getting my body back to myself for once! But knowing she's my last bubba, I don't feel in TOO much of a rush to end it all. I guess we'll just play it by ear .

    Snowy Love - Those special snuggly moments really are wonderful and make it all worthwhile .

    Liviam - I feel your conflict . I bet your little man will be happy to take you back when you get home though LOL! At least that might give you the option of going either way. Good luck!

    Subscribe away NaeNae LOL! I hope this thread helps you too .

    Thanks everyone

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    Like you I always thought I would wean at 12 months, but when we got there (only a month ago now) I really didn't see the point. TBH I enjoy the bond we have because of it, it is a great tool to have up your sleeve when they're sick (it's sometimes the only way I can get fluids into DS) and with him starting child care I thought the immunological benefits (not sure how great these are though...) couldn't hurt either. In the last couple of weeks I've stopped feeding him if he wakes at night, and that has been much easier than I thought. He's still having 4 feeds a day though, one in the morning, one before each of his naps and then one before bed at night. I would like to drop the 2 feeds before his naps, but am just taking it day by day the moment.

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    Firstly congrats for reaching 12 months!!!

    The benefits extend to you as the breastfeeding mum too: increased protection from breast and uterine cancers as well as some degenerative diseases (Breastfeeding may cut arthritis)

    Breastfeeding a toddler at 19 months is different to 12 months. For us the feeds have moved into the 'comfort' factor, but it is the best way to help DD when she's hurt, sick, tired, or about to chuck a wobble (I just pull out a boob and the tantrum stops in its tracks lol...usually because she is actually tired/hungry).

    Now being pg I love the long breastfeeding cuddles on the coach, which give me a break, as well as the beautiful snuggles as I kiss and caress my baby girl.

    They are little for such a short time, and breastfeeding supports children emotionally, nutrionally as well as immunobiologically.

    ETA: the world wide average for weaning is 4, so obviously there is a lot to be said for continuing beyond 12 months. I would never get DD off the boob without force, and that tells me she still needs it.

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    I posted a similar question a while back, the difference being that I am EE for DD & so I don't have the physical aspects of BFing to give up.... so I wondered if there were other benefits.
    (For the record, I got much the same answers as Marcellus & Junglemum's article gave and I'm pretty much converted to the idea that it is still good for them, better than anything else. That goodness doesn't magically stop after 12 months, you know?)

    One thing though -
    Quote Originally Posted by ~Trish~ View Post
    She would be very easy to wean, but I'm torn!
    That's what i thought too, DD is already on a bottle - I just switch the milk, right? Nup...somebody prefers the taste of EBM - so, my point is you never know. She might be so totally happy with those couple of feeds a day & not want to give them up? Would you be ok to keep going? Just something to consider, cause I didn't consider it might not be so easy

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    No adivice just a big hooray for making it this far hun! what a wonderful bond you have! Just do what feels right! And keep giving her all that BM goodness x

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    Thanks for your lovely post Arcadia. I too love the excuse to take some time out when feeding DD .

    Fleur - Is there an award for making a huge effort for so long? Because I nominate you . Wow @ expressing past 12 months! Thanks for your post . I guess I am happy to keep going for now, I'm just not sure when I'll not be happy anymore ITMS. I still think DD would be easy to wean . She happily drinks cows milk (I've given it to her a couple of times to save a tanty after she swiped her brother's cup of milk ) and doesn't feed for comfort, she'll push me away if I try feed her when she's cracked it .

    Haha, thanks Boomba .

    Thanks so much everyone for your thoughts, experiences and advice

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    Well done for BFing to 12 months Trish!

    I just had a quick skim through all the posts here and it might have already been said but there is also ongoing benefits for you. For every year you BF the chances of you contracting breast cancer is, apparently, reduced. I BF my youngest for a little over 2 years... and a small part of the reason was because my Nana had breast cancer and I guess it was always in the back of my mind about reducing the risks for myself. In total I have BF for over 4 years and looking back it was just a brief period of my life... for such huge rewards all round.

    But just to reinforce what several members have said here: with regard to the child: a big incentive for me was the antibodies when they fell ill... this is part of the reason I BF beyond 2 years with my youngest... his birthday was in winter... I BF until the weather warmed up a bit and we all had less sniffles!

  15. #15

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    Congrats on almost reaching 12 mths Trish!! Well done to you and your DD.

    For me, it was more of a realisation that there was no difference b/w bfing my DD the day before she turned one to the day after. So I just kept going. I also had in mind the WHO recommendation that children receive bm to two years of age.

    We reaped the benefits of four years of bfing with DD never missing a day of preschool from the age of two, when she started. She would still catch colds, etc, but she seemed to only get it mildly and recover quickly. I know it's not a sure-fire thing, but it certainly made a difference to her. Literally, two weeks after self-weaning at nearly four, she had to have her first sick day.

    She might wean soon, she might not. If you're okay with it, then there's no reason to stop.

    Oh and I hear you on being able to take something when you have a cold! I actually got very good at alternatives, our vaporiser was my saving grace. I still find it the best treatment, even now I can take other stuff.

  16. #16

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    i fed ds till 18 months, but he had cows milk sometimes, and we slowly reduced down to night feed, and then cut.
    i don't know if there is any benefit, my son as chronic asthma, bad sinuses is prone to ear infections, seems to always have a cold despite exclusive bf till 12 months and combined bf & cows milk after that.

    one thing i do know is that i demand fed, and weaned slowly, one feed at a time and I did not get engourged, mastitis or feel depressed or guilty, it just felt right, it benefited me, probably just as much as it benefited him. if your not ready and she is content keep going, there is no shame in it, and if you check out the list of ingredients for breast milk v formula kelly posted you will see the nutritional benefit.

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    congrats on the upcoming 12 months trish!

    i thought 12 months would be it for us as well (well, once got past 3 months & then 6 months ) but now that we're here, i can't quite believe i put an age on when it should stop. i think my DS definitely still has an emotional need for it (not to mention a strong sleep association) but for me, a big benefit now is that it makes the world stop. sounds kinda silly, but with mounds of washing, dishes to do, cleaning etc etc, it's nice to have a reason to just stop for 5 or 10 minutes & relax.

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