Wednesday 8 June 2011

Thoughts on breastfeeding - part 2

Yesterday, I had my first taste of locally grown strawberries of the season. While savoring my snack, I told Alice that one day I will introduce her to the world of sweet, delicate and juicy berries...not the sick looking stuff that you get at the grocery store in the middle of winter! I can't wait to sit Alice in her design classic Tripp Trapp high chair and start the messy business of "open your mouth, the plane is asking permission for landing"!

That said, it is not because I dream of homemade purees that I wish to put the boobs to rest. On the contrary, I would love to breastfeed Alice as long as possible. However, how long is possible or acceptable in our society?

Breastfeeding is an extremely simple act. Yet it is highly complicated and victim of numerous taboos. Family, friends and strangers (people with and without kids) all asked me for how long I was planning to breastfeed Alice. In respond to my unclear "as long as possible" answer, I got many subtly disapproving looks and some direct "but why"?

Generally people are all in favor of breastfeeding but as soon as the kid reaches a certain age (somewhere between 4 and 6 months) they don't find it that cute anymore!

According to the Canadian Paediatric Society, Health Canada and The World Health Organization, breast milk is all a baby needs for the first six months. It is also recommended that breastfeeding continue, after introducing solid food, for the first two years of a child’s life or as long as it feels right.

So, I'm curious, how long did you breastfeed your kid?

* * * * *

nadyne k.: For Alice? Um, yes sure. (it is totally for me...ah ah ah)

joeynomad: Oh no! I'm with you. Gastros are horrible!!!

kate / tinywarbler: I'm feeling better and I'm waiting for the second laugh.

one claire day: If is funny (yet a bit sad) that you freaked out Eulalie when she laughed for the first time.

clairsy: Thank you for the best wishes. It worked since I'm feeling fine :)

oscarlucinda: Yep, it was exhausting.

alyson: It was my first food poisoning and I honestly don't want to experience it a second time!

erica: My doula talked about frenectomy during our prenatal class. Just like you, she said that some doctors are unaware of the situation. I'm happy to know that things went well for you and your baby.

bugheart: Please, be very careful in Mexico! But I'm sure that you will be fine and having a good time :)

anonymous: Now I'm so good at taking care of Alice (breastfeeding) and having lunch at the same time. I just don't eat any soup or very hot stuff that could fall on her head.

all lit up: Oh no! Not a changing diaper war ;) I really like the image that you gave me (60's protester). Hopefully, things will get better very soon.


courtney said...

I nursed my first one for a year, and in retrospect I'm not so sure he was ready to stop at that point. I hope to do it for at least that long with this one... I'm in no hurry to wean. I get a lot of questions like that too. "You're STILL breastfeeding?" Yes. Bug off.

verypurpleperson said...

I breastfed my son until he was 10 months old. I wanted it to be as long as possible but sadly my milk company couldn't keep up the supply. Also, he started teething and biting! I lived in Southeast Asia at that time, and fortunately it was quite acceptable (even expected) to breastfeed until the child is 2 years old.
It is a personal decision in my opinion. After all, we're breastfeeding because it is a good thing, not because it is cute :)
Anyway I love all your pregnancy and baby posts!

Lola said...

My first officially quit at 23 months but from about 18 months on, she only nursed once a day or once every other day.

My second I weaned at 19 months.

Gretta is 12 months and nurses three times a day.

There seem to be a lot of extreme opinions on either side of this "extended breastfeeding" topic. I always looked at how well my babies were eating, and what they were eating. I also figured that if my babies were young enough to require milk or formula of some kind, it should be mine.

We had no weaning sadness and it was gentle and pretty uneventful. I'm going to be honest and say that while I love nursing my babies... I'm ready to be done by about fifteen months. I usually go longer but at that point, I'm wanting my body back.

Lina said...

My children still use their triptraps (they are now 8 and almost 7)!. I fed my daughter for 9 months and she weaned herself, mainly I think because I fell pregnant with my son then. Apparently oregnancy hormones can effect the quality/quantity/taste of the milk. I really wanted to feed my son even longer but I made it to about 6 months before the sheer exhaustion of having two children just 18 months apart made me give up.

Isa said...

I breastfed my older son for 28 months, he stopped by himself when I got pregnant with my second boy. At that point, he was only nursed once or twice a day (when he woke up in the morning and before going to bed at night). I started to feel some kind of "disapproval" and strange looks from relatives and complete strangers when he was around 12 months old. That was in 2004, maybe breastfeeding older babies is more generally accepted now. And... I live in Montréal! :)

Kara said...

My daughter is nearly 14 months and still LOVES to nurse. I'm hoping/planning on going until she's 2. Anytime she is sad, cranky, or hurt from a fall dawn (she's a new walker) nothing stops the tears like a nurse. And when she had the stomach flu and wouldn't eat solid food for over a week, she kept up with my milk which provided at least basic nutrition and kept her from dehydration.
We live in the U.S. - Oregon, which is pretty progressive. but both my husband and Pedicatrician are encouraging ending nursing by age 2. I'm hoping that Emelia weans herself, as it would break my heart to with hold her beloved nurse from her.
And the biting has stopped. Taking her off the breast with a firm "no biting" sent a clear message.

Susanna N. said...

Before having my daughter, I definitely thought it was weird when my older sisters breastfed their babies after they turned 1. I really thought that as soon as your baby can walk up to you and ask for it, they are too old for it. Well, my opinion completely changed when I had Lylah! I nursed her until she was 23 months. The last 6 months of that was only first thing in the morning or last thing before bed. I absolutely loved it and as she got more and more mobile, it was a good time for us to connect and bond. When I stopped I really missed it. Still do even a year later! :)

Ali said...

Child one, 10 months. He was a hungry one, eating solids well and drinking from a beaker and pretty much decided he was far too busy living life to nurse. Stopping was his decision and trauma free for us both.

Child two, 18 months. I must admit that by then I was beginning to feel I should stop - something about feeding a walking, talking, increasingly independent toddler was starting to feel a bit odd. But still, knowing it would be my last child, I felt sad when it came to an end.

At 10 and 7 they are both still sitting on their trip trapps though!

Kim U said...

My son is 15mo now and he's still nursing. I don't really have a plan or idea when we'll stop. Before I had him, I thought I'd try to make it to a year and that was plenty, but my opinions changed once I had him. I hear you on societal pressures though - my MIL said it was "gross" to breastfeed once they were talking or something like that. *shrug*

My state recently passed a modification to the law permitting breastfeeding in public. It used to just protect your right to bf in public until 1 year and they changed it to remove the age limitation altogether. We do mostly nurse at home though, because he's usually too interested in the world to be interested in bfing when we're out.

Oh! And we LOVE the tripp trapp. Fantastic chair.

Jennifer said...

I guess I'm in the minority because I never breastfed the kiddo. It just wasn't something I ever wanted to do.

I really try my best not to judge other mothers, but it is a bit of a shock when I see a babe over a year still nursing... maybe it's an American thing? I dunno.

190.arch said...

Emma nursed for 8-9 months, she decided to quite by herself, it was really surprising because she was a big nursing time fan. At that point I was already thinking it could last forever ; )
I think that I couldn't stop by myself, I also wait to see my daughter opinion and, most of the times, she's right.
When she didn't want to nurse anymore, there were evident signals that nursing wasn't her best anymore (she didn't want to stay longer, she started to play and lost interest in nursing, once she stopped nursing and start to cry even if there was milk...). She was really enthusiatic with her solid food experience, she's a food lover. After my milk, we decided to raise Emma with the fewer cow milk possible, I share the opinion that cow milk is not the best for humans and if it has benefits, it's not natural that we are the only creatures that continue to drink milk from different mammals.

Lin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lin said...

11 months for my son and 10.5 months for my daughter. I only stopped because I went back to work, but in hindsight I should've kept going with a couple of feeds each day.

I'm now pregnant with my third and hope to reach at least 12 months and then put her on to cow's milk. I've read too much about formula for that to be an option this time around.

In perspective, I believe that the world's average length of time 4 years - it's definitely a cultural thing.

Genevieve said...

I nursed my daughter for 3.5 years. When my daughter was born I planned to nurse her for a year or so. I ended up gently weaning her when I went back to work.

UK lass in US said...

17 months for both my kids - they weaned themselves. With my son, it had only really been one feed for quite a while (ok, I liked being able to manipulate his taking a nap when I wanted him to). My daughter didn't really give me any other option. She had never taken a bottle and absolutely refused solid foods 'til she was almost 12 months. Luckily when she finally allowed some food to pass down her throat, she took to eating normal food quite quickly, and still ended up deciding she had had enough of breastfeeding at the same age as her brother. Still, by that age, public feeding - and any disapproval - wasn't really an issue.

Daniela said...

As long as I can, too! I hope I can reach 6 months first, then hopefully 1 year, and then we'll see! My boobies are not producing as much as I wish they were, and I have to complement with formula, so, I am just hoping and taking it one day at the time, giving her all I've got!

sew nancy said...

I breastfed my first until he was 20 months and stopped because I was 2 months pregnant and he lost interest.
I breastfed the second until she was 2 years and 2 months. I was actually sad when it ended.
Of course it slows down so much after the 1st year going from 3 to 2 then 1. I think it's great to go as long as you both are happy

Kine said...

Five weeks of exclusive breastfeeding. Baby was loosing weight, so a lactation consultant put her on formula and me on a brutal regime of pumping/medication/marathon sessions of breastfeeding.

Never really got enough of the stuff.

I think when you have the luxury of choosing when to stop you've got it good :-) Enjoy it!

Today she's 9 months old and loves her German strawberries! But they are not as good as Québec's.

Yvonne said...

My daughter breastfed until she was 15mths, by then her intake of food had steadily increased so we were only feeding before her nap during the day and before bed at night. At the time I was pregnant with our son and incredibly sick with morning sickness, I was loosing weight rapidly and had concerns for the wellbeing of the baby, so breastfeeding had to stop. Not long after my daughter was very ill in hospital with a tummy bug (her first real illness aside from minor colds), and a urinary tract infection, that developed into a kidney infection....and well I really wished she was still breastfeeding (not that it could be helped, but you know mum's guilt and all that).
Her appetite for food was non existent for months and I really wanted to provide the comfort and nutrients of breast milk. This experience has heavily influenced my thinking on breastfeeding our son, and I hope to feed him to as close to two as possible. Yep there are those looks and comments from people who still can't believe you're feeding a toddler, but it's a great nutritional insurance policy when littlies might not be getting everything they need from food, and I figure people don't really need to know...when he gets older it’ll only be 1-2 feeds a day in the privacy of our home...a nice quiet moment together in his busy little day :-)

Sid. said...

My daughter is 21 months and not showing any signs of being interested in giving up the boob. I work away from home during the day so she only nurses during evenings/nights (we co-sleep). I've already nursed longer than any of my friends/family and past the random arbitrary points that people like to name like walking, talking, asking for it, etc. but thankfully I've gotten more confident (less self-conscious) with nursing the longer I do it because it's so obvious how much she needs it and she's happy and healthy. I really think baby-led weaning is the ideal but I'm also not interested in nursing more than one child at a time and I'd like a break between rounds so I plan to slowly wean before getting pregnant again.

ingrid said...

O is 18 months old and I still nurse him once a day. I'm going to have to give it up very soon because I'm in a play and we have rehearsals in the evenings. I'm totally fine with weaning him and I'm pretty sure he's ready too. He's practically stopped asking for his "lait" after his bath now and is just as happy with a pacifier.

I believe in letting the kid decide when he's ready to wean.

Ella said...

3 years and 5 months!
everyone is different.
how can you decide in advance?

rosessimone said...

Oh I am loving all these questions you are bringing up. I have four children and am a midwife. I have fed all four for a minimun of two years, and all have stopped whey they were ready. I fed through pregnancies and fed two children of different ages at the same time. I find that people become uncomfortable when a child is over one and still feeding. That doesn't bother me as I know that globally the median age is four. It is a wonderful thing to share wih a child and even my older children occasionally still ask for a taste. I do restrict that to private at home time. I started feeding my first child nearly nine years ago and haven't stopped yet. At times I am looking forware to stopping when my youngest is ready, but I know that I shall miss it.