thread: Some reasons to keep breast feeding an older baby/toddler

  1. #1
    katanya Guest

    Some reasons to keep breast feeding an older baby/toddler

    There are so many threads here with problems women have either starting breastfeeding or continuing, I thought it might be nice for mum's of younger babies if us mums who are continuing to feed older babies or toddlers (or have) list some personal reasons to us to why we have continued, and the great advantages of it!

    WHO(world health organisation) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 mths and continued breast feeding for at least 2 years. I made the decision when I was pregnant that I would follow this, and so far (with a few major hiccups, we are still going strong)

    Anyhow reasons I still love breastfeeding so much are:
    - It provides the perfect nutrition for my child, no matter the amount of solids he eats I know he is getting everything additionally from my milk.
    -It contains antibodies, even though Felix has a respiratory condition he has only had 3 cold that were over in a day or 2 and 2 cases of fever. Since he has a significant illness, these antibodies are precious to me more than ever before.
    -Being in a hospital environment with Felix, when he reacated to the brochoscopy, he breastfed constantly and exclusively for 24 hrs, not only was it comfort but it was giving him antibodies and nutriants
    -when you have a child learning to walk, it is really refreshing to sit down with them for a quiet feed and it is that closeness that I relish!
    -bedtime routine consists of a feed before sleep, it is a nice part of our day where his little hands play with my hair.
    -Now that we are getting so many bumps and bruises, when nothing else will calm him..breastfeeding always will!

    If Felix naturally weans before 2 years then that is great for him, but I am comitted to continuing at least 1 feed a day (probably night feed) till he is around 2!

    He certainly isn't showing any sign of wanting to wean right now, despite out expressing and supplimenting routine!

    Anyhow, any one else with some reasons why they continue(or continued) to breastfeed?

  2. #2
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2004
    Cairns QLD


    I breastfed my first DS till he self weaned at 20 months, I believe because I was pregnant with #2. I will be happy to continue breastfeeding Glenn untill he is ready to wean on is own as well.

    Katanya, you have covered pretty much all of the reason i would have listed as well. People get a bit funny about breastfeeding an older child and think its just "wrong" or not "normal" but the world average for weaning is between the ages of 5 and 7!!!! so really its those who wean early that are the not the norm.
    When I first started breastfeeding I didn't really know how long I would breastfeed for or how long your suppose to and was just going to breastfeed for as long as the age group you could buy formula for. I figured if they still need formula at 1 then I would breastfeed and if the still get toddler formula as toddlers then i would breastfeed. If there is benifits in giving formula to the older toddler then there is even more so in breastmilk.

  3. #3
    Registered User

    Jan 2005
    Down by the ocean

    Both my boys weaned themselves. Mason at 12mths and Angus at 14mths.
    I had thought that I would just see how they went. I'm kind of glad as I didn't want to have to take BF off them if it was something they really liked.
    I miss it though and am looking forward to having another one. I'm planning on letting the baby make the call as far as weaning goes.

  4. #4
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2004
    Cairns QLD

    Yes those little noises say it all don't they!

    num num num num num lol
    too cute!

  5. #5
    Fire Fly Guest

    What a GREAT! thread Katanya.

    Makes me sad though as my DD turned 2 on the 23rd of March and was down to only 1 feed so i weaned her a day before her Birthday. She is fine without it but i think im the one pineing cause she is no longer my baby and i miss that little giggle of excitement because she knew a drink from mummy was coming.
    I miss her saying to dadda, "having a dwink fom mummy"

    Im proud that i BF for so long but im also angry because i nearly gave up a few times because of negative comments made in regards to feeding a toddler. Im just greatful that im a strong enough person to stop and listen to what i wanted for us, not what i was expected to do.

    I recieved a lovely warm congrats from suuedge about feeding for so long, so if you read this suuedge thankyou. Im not able to send an email back to thankyou and havent seen your name to add a message. So dont think it went un read because it didnt. Much appreciated.

    I dont know how many times ive wanted to give her a little drink, even now id like to have that closeness back. She hardly askes for it now but i know i still have milk. I wont go backwards. Im very proud of my darling daughter.

    Thanks for starting a good topic

  6. #6
    katanya Guest

    Thanks everyone for adding your thoughts, I too love the noises!

    I thought about writing this thread when Felix was in hospital last time, the benifits of breastfeeding him were enormous, and I thought to myself -thank god we didn't give up!!

    I thought of 4 more reasons:
    -when you are a breastfeeding mum in hospital with your child, they give you meals too
    -also if your child needs surgery the amount of time for fasting is 3-4 hrs less than children who are not breastfed..lets hope not many of you expereince that
    - it helps me relax and sleep too, love those breastfeeding hormones
    - also my hairdresser told me that your hair doesn't fall out as much while breastfeeding, because the hormones prevent it from doing this! To someone with thin hair..another advantage!

    it is a really beautiful thing to continue feeding your child, but yes as Kerrie said Australian societies views towards feeding a child who is walking and talking are quite behind.

    Some family friends say to me "Are you still feeding him?" and he is only 11mths old! I figure better prepare them for ahead, and say "yes I'm planning on feeding him till he's 2!" I think if I say it now I'll be stronger when it comes time.

    I think going to places like the ABA helped make me feel like what I was planning to do was normal, the variety of backgrounds of the women in the ABA who continue feeding their children show that this is not an "alternative" practice but one that many women and children do for a variety of reasons.

    Jillian I think your story about your sons is amazing and you are a great testiment to women who had a hard time first baby and then had a great expereince second time around. One of the women in my mother's group is pregnant again and asked my advice about trying breastfeeding the second time around. I felt so happy that perhaps all my persistance showed someone that there was positives in continuing to breastfeed.

  7. #7
    katanya Guest

    With Ziana it was my fault, as I kept stuffing her around with comp feeds, that is what they did in the hospital (without my permission) and I didn't know any better. My supply faltered and finally failed. I wish I had of had more information and good advice.
    Shannon it isn't your fault! please don't blame yourself- you didn't know any different at the time, and were following what you thought was good advice. I would be in exactly the same boat with Felix, but thankfully due to the ABA meetings I learnt about how supplimenting can affect your supply, its' why I am so stubbornly expressing at 11mths.

    You know how everything works now and will have a wonderful breastfeeding experience this time around!

  8. #8
    Fire Fly Guest

    Katanya, unfortunately i do know what its like to have a child go through surgery. DD was only 7 months at the time and they made her go without breast for 10 hours. I was totally beside myself. I demanded that they allow me to feed my totally distressed child. Thankgod i did. Poor bugger. She never took a bottle or any other source of drink other than me which made things more difficult.

    Good luck to you and your little man, hope all goes well. I certainly know where your coming from. Its extremely hard.

    Be stong

  9. #9
    katanya Guest

    Kerrie. they made her fast for 10 hours at 7 mths that is horrible!

    I think that was the worst bit of his bronchoscopy, I didn't sleep because I was worried how he'd react when he woke up and couldn't breastfeed, then afterwards they said he had to wait for 1.5 hrs after the procedure, so it was about 11 o'clock..so 8 hrs between feeds..he certainly made up for it later though

  10. #10
    katanya Guest

    I found this on a website that updates babies development weekly, this month's topic was "When to wean", it had an article that I thought was really relevant to what we are talking about.

    Why nursing your toddler is a good idea
    • Even though your child is now getting most of his nutrition from solid food, breast milk still provides valuable immunities, vitamins, and enzymes. In fact, studies have shown that breastfeeding toddlers get sick less often than their peers.

    • As your child becomes more independent, breastfeeding can be an important source of reassurance and emotional support. The strong connection your child feels with you while nursing will foster independence, not make him overly dependent or clingy as some may have you believe. Our culture tends to believe that "pushing" children away will help them develop a strong sense of self-worth and independence, says Kathleen Huggins, author of The Nursing Mother's Companion, when in fact, the opposite is true. Forcing a child to stop nursing before he is developmentally ready will not necessarily create a more confident child; rather, it could make him more clingy.

    • If your child is sick, breast milk may be the only thing he can keep down. You'll feel better too, knowing that you're helping him fight off the illness.

    • If you travel a lot, breastfeeding is a lot easier than carrying around milk or worrying about having to buy any at your destination. And when you're staying overnight in a strange place, the comfort of your breast may be the best way to ease your child's fears and make him feel more secure.

    • You may be able to put off getting your period for a year or more, an advantage for anyone who dreads the thought of dealing with cramps and bloating again after a long hiatus. But keep in mind that nursing is not an effective form of birth control; it's a good idea to use a backup such as a condom just in case.

    • Weaning when your child is ready is more natural and less abrupt than picking an arbitrary end point. Nursing a child beyond the first year was common around the world before the invention of formula.

    Why nursing your toddler can be a challenge
    • Expect rude comments and criticisms from people who think nursing an older child is strange. You may have to be more cautious about breastfeeding in public if you want to avoid the inevitable remarks. This can be difficult if your toddler lifts up your shirt in the supermarket and demands a quick snack.

    • It's harder to wean a stubborn, demanding 2-year-old than a 1-year-old. Some experts say it's rare to find a child who will wean himself before the age of 4, which may be longer than you're willing to wait.

    • Nursing can become a crutch. Your baby may start to rely on the breast when he's really just bored or it's the only way to get your attention. Engage your child in other ways — toddlers are eager to explore the world and need stimulation to fuel their rapid development.

    • Nursing a toddler when you've got another baby on the way is possible, but some women find it too physically demanding. Unless you plan to continue nursing your older child after the new baby is born, you should probably think about weaning her before the "competition" shows up.

    Making extended breastfeeding work for you

    • To avoid unsolicited comments and stares, you might find it easier to nurse your child at home before heading out to the store or the park. Some moms find it easier to breastfeed once in the morning and once at night and teach their toddlers to drink from a cup during the day.

    • If you don't care what people think or say, then have some snappy responses ready when someone asks you the inevitable question: "Is she still nursing?" Sometimes a simple "yes" is the best conversation stopper. Or, the next time you're nursing in public and someone asks, "Are you ever going to stop breastfeeding?" say, "Yes, in about 10 minutes."

    • You can teach your child a code word for your breasts, so that when he starts demanding "nummies" or "mama" in the middle of a restaurant, no one will pay any attention.

    • If you're pregnant and want to keep on nursing, be prepared for your milk supply to ebb as your hormone levels change. You may stop producing milk as your body starts redirecting all its resources toward the developing fetus. But many women do succeed in nursing an infant and a toddler — it just takes extra time and patience. You'll need to be doubly sure you're eating the right foods and drinking enough fluids if you go that route.

  11. #11
    Fire Fly Guest

    All this talk about the joys of BF has made me want to start it up again. Hoping AF doesnt come this weekend so i can look forward to that closeness a mother has with her child.

    Im saddened by people who generally cant BF there child but in saying that the bond that they get from bottle feeding is just as strong.

    I bottlefed my cousin yesterday and its the first time in 10 years (Niece) that ive done that. It was a joy to see the same look of pleasure on his face as with BF a baby.

    Good topic

  12. #12
    katanya Guest

    OMG Jillian that must have been So incrediably scary, I can't imagine what it must of felt like to be in that situation, especially when they turned around and questioned you about abuse OMG 8-[ Felix has had a couple of bangs where he has gone floppy and the cried..it scared the daylights out of me! I know what you mean about this stuff getting you teary, I find myself glazing over at this sort of stuff, even worse when I start thinking of my baby in pain too

    Thank god for the breast magic, when Felix was in hospital a couple of weeks ago and he had the infection he just fed and fed and fed, he does that when he's sick, and one of the nurses said to me "boy he likes that doesn't he?" another one said "he knows what's good for him doesn't he?"

    Kerrie, you are right bottle fed babies can have the same bond as breastfed babies with their mothers, hopefully people who bottle fed their babies don't read this and think we are being exclusive about breastfeeding and the feelings described!
    I just thought it would be nice to share some of the reasons we are continuing to feed for other mum's who need a bit of incentive to keep at it!

  13. #13
    Scarlett Guest

    Thankyou for starting this topic.

    I am currently tossing around what to do regarding bfding when I return to work in July. I am a teacher so realistically will only be away from her for 8hrs max and would like to continue to feed but am worried about my supply. There will be little expressing opportunity at school.

    Your comments - particularly about that special smile have helped bolster my resolve to keep going.

    I do have some questions though - do any of you supplement?? I would like it to be avalible as an option only if there is not enough expressed milk but wonder how to go about initiating it.

    Also how does your supply work/breasts feel if you are having a long period withough a feed, ie when I was at work.

    Thanks again.

  14. #14
    katanya Guest

    Hi Scarlett!

    Really glad that this thread has given you some inspiration to continue.

    I just wanted to let you know that I am currently expressing and supplimenting the EBM as Felix has some weight issues, I sometimes go 8 hours during the day and can still express 240mls when I get home, I am a little full, but not totally uncomfortable. I only started doing this at 10 mths, not sure how it would affect a supply with a younger baby.

    I would ring the ABA, because they will give you advice on how to suppliment sucessfully, I would say by the time you go back (Emily will be around 6 mths ?) your breastfeeding relationship should be well established,and if you want to continue nights and mornings only it should work, but I am not a trained expert, better to ask the ABA.

    Did you know that by law work places have to give you a breastfeeding break AND a place to store your milk and private place? I would look into what is avaliable for breastfeeding mothers at the school you teach at. I know it may be hard because you are in front of kids and can't just take a coffee braek, but I imagine there would be plenty of teachers that have done it (actually my friend(primary teacher) went back 2 days @ 3 mths and still expressed, I can ask her how she did if you like?)

    Best of luck with it!!

  15. #15
    ♥ BellyBelly's Creator ♥
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    Feb 2003
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Australia

    Hey guys, there is an article on the main site I love, called, Breastfeed a Toddler - Why on Earth? Next month I am adding an article by Pinky McKay on "Extending the Breast" so look out for that one too!

    I breastfed Marisa until she was a little over two and she self weaned. I was glad because we were both ready - I would have liked to have finished a little earlier, but was just waiting a little longer for her to be ready
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    In 2015 I went Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team

  16. #16
    katanya Guest

    Kelly I just read the article on the main site and this quote says it all:

    I remember nights in the emergency department when mothers would walk their ill, non nursing babies or toddlers up and down the halls trying, often unsuccessfully, to console them, while the nursing mothers were sitting quietly with their comforted, if not necessarily happy, babies at the breast. The mother comforts the sick child with breastfeeding, and the child comforts the mother by breastfeeding
    That last bit I think rings very true for a few of us, I know it does for me

  17. #17
    Scarlett Guest

    Thanks Katanya I would appreciate it if you did ask your friend how she managed. My main problem will not be time but a private location. Unfortunately their really isn't a room that is private that isn't a toilet - its just the way the school is built. I intend to speak with the deputy, who is still bfeeding her 1yr old about the issue though before I go back and see what she does etc. Emily will be about 5 mths when I go back so hopefully things will work well.

  18. #18
    Registered User

    Nov 2004
    Western Australia

    What a wonderful topic. Thanks for sharing your stories ladies..they are very touching. I breastfed my darling daughters til they were 19 1/2 months, 19 months and 161/2 months. I loved the bond that we had formed...the fact that they instantly felt so connected and loved in that warm safe embrace and I cant wait to breast feed this little man we are having in August. I was lucky not to have received any negative comments at all and always felt sure that I was doing the best thing for my baby.