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Thread: Past 18 months: why?

  1. #1
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    Default Past 18 months: why?

    If you're nursing or have nursed well past the first year - may I ask how you decided this or how it came about? I don't mean the benefits because I've read about that from LLL, Sears and Kellymom. I guess I'm interested in logistics.

    My mother (and others) says that babies generally loose interest around 13-15 months. And as much as I will miss it, the more active he gets, the more I think I'll be ready for weaning when the time comes. I don't want to take it away from him, but I don't want to nurse him into kindergarden. Of course, there's a lot of room in between those two!

    I'm also not sure I want to put my body through the fatigue of nursing while pg and we want to think about that once DS is a little over a year.

    Some of my questions include: Doesn't it complicate getting pregnant again? Make it harder and more tiring? And aren't you exhausted enough from nursing a newborn round the clock? Is it really worth adding a toddler to those painful, tired boobs? I really can't see myself nursing two at the same time, so shouldn't the first one be weaned early enough that he doesn't resent the new baby?

    TIA for sharing your experience.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Past 18 months: why?

    I only have one child who is 3 1/2 years old. So I can only answer the why I still nurse him. The answer is because he wants to. I can't see taking it away from him as it is a major source of comfort and security in addition to all the other health benefits. At 3 1/2, he nurses now about 1 to 2 times a day. It used to be pretty much all the time. So in a way, he isn't "losing interest". But rather slowly weaning himself at his pace. As he learns to deal with the world, he has that comfort and security that I know he needs. Plus I don't find it tiring the way I used to.

    Hope this helps and I'm sure there are other moms who can address the issues of nursing two.

    -Lauren

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Past 18 months: why?

    My daughter is going to be 3 tomorrow. I have a 2 month old baby. There has been no resentment towards the little one. In fact my 3 yr old loves to share her ninnies with her baby sister.

    When I was pregnant I was so tired all the time. I would have her lay down with me and take a nap while I nursed her to sleep. We would both get the rest we needed and it worked out well until the nursing became painful. Then I had to limit her and she helped out.

    Now that the baby has been born I do find that sometimes she nurses more than she used to but I also have learned that she really loves to nurse with her sister and she tells me how good a baby her sister is.

    AS to why I have continued nursing her... To put it simply she is a comfort nurser. She gets hurt or has her feelings hurt she needs to nurse. SHe needs to feel comforted. When she is in trouble she needs to know and validate that she is still loved even though she was in trouble. She seems to need that extra comfort. I guess the easiest way to put it is that I love her so much and I don't want her to forget that. I know it sounds corny LOL, but that is why I still nurse her, becuase I love to hold her in my arms, look down in her beautiful eyes and see her smile up at me and feel the love that just gushes from her. It is that sense of feeling everything is right in the world.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Past 18 months: why?

    Thanks - that's a very sweet answer. Your daughter must feel very loved. It seems like much of it depends on what the specific child needs.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Past 18 months: why?

    I didn't respond to this earlier because like a pp, I haven't dealt with the issue of TTC and pregnancy while nursing. I'm not sure I would have been up for tandem nursing, either, if I had had another baby while still nursing Michael. So I'm just clueless about all those issues, and it's a moot point now that he has weaned.

    What I can say about the decision to nurse past 18 months is that, for us, by the time we got there, it was just so much easier to keep going than to take measures to stop. I always felt the immunological benefits alone were enough reason to continue nursing, but even without that, I'm not sure I would have been interested in taking the initiative to wean DS that young. In the midst of all the turbulence of toddlerhood (as well as some major and difficult events in my own life), nursing was this one stable (and, by comparison, easy) thing for us. Once he cut his first-year molars, nursing got much, much easier for me, so it was smooth sailing by 18 months.

    I remember on his 2nd birthday, I took a good long look at my son and was really struck by how much of him was still a baby. He didn't nurse the same way he had when he was an infant, but he still needed that connection and "safe place" with me just as much as he ever had. When he turned 3 years old, I felt quite differently -- he just wasn't a baby any longer -- and it was around that time that I realized that I would be fine with him weaning if it happened.

    At some point for most nurslings, I think breastfeeding just stops doing the trick. Either they lose interest, or the mom no longer finds it rewarding or practical -- either way, the relationship just moves beyond the breastfeeding stage. I was really, really surprised that my son nursed until he was four years old -- for a while, I wasn't sure we would make it to his 2nd birthday, just because he was growing up so fast. I would encourage you to, insofar as possible, just go with the flow instead of trying to plan too much.

    --Rebecca

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Past 18 months: why?

    Quote Originally Posted by quakerm0mma
    I would encourage you to, insofar as possible, just go with the flow instead of trying to plan too much.

    --Rebecca
    "go with the flow"? what's that? Well, I'm partially serious. I am definately a planner - particulalry because we're pretty sure about another one and I have a limited time window in which I want to be pg. However, I do think I surprised everyone by my ability to "go with the flow" during labor and delivery. Thing is, I was only able to be so flexible because I had prepared myself so well. Having a lot of information is important to making good decisions. I found that, ironically, you can be prepared for the unexpected.

    In any event, I had only been thinking about DS weaning because solids are really the beginning of that and I was interested in other's experiences. Some days it seems like weaning will be a sad thing and other days, I think it might be the way Sears describes - fulfilling and an occasion to celebrate.

    Of course, another pg might make the decision for us - a few mothers I know say their milk dried right up when they got pg.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Past 18 months: why?

    Hi there
    My Thomas is 16 months now and nursing has taken on many new angles from when he was an infant. Now, he nurses just a couple times during the day but a lot at night. He has a milk allergy and wont drink soy milk, so for us extended nursing is a must for his nutrition. Just recently we started a new mommy and me music class, he was very nervous and for the first time requested to nurse several times until he was more comfortable and then was running around the room with the rest of them. You mentioned that many toddlers become to busy to nurse and that may be true for some, but in our case the busier he became the more he needed that retreat, if you will to continue to stay busy and confident.
    We would love many many more children and you are right EN can delay your mensuses which can in turn delay another pregnancy. For us, we are young so the rush for another baby is that intense. Also, LLL says that ideally the breastfeeding relationship would continue until there is no longer the need. I can understand that you have some reservations about nursing a toddler, as many of us do and have felt that way at one time or another. The interesting thing is that as they creep toward one and then two, they do not seem that "old" to us, just still our tiny baby that needs his mommy milk.
    You are right, being armed with the information that you need is really important! Some women do have milk issues about 3 months and others nurse all the way through with no issues.
    I encourage you to just take it one day at a time, enjoy your little nursling as they grow up way too fast.
    I wish you all the best! Brittan

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Past 18 months: why?

    Quote Originally Posted by pipsmom

    Some of my questions include: Doesn't it complicate getting pregnant again? Make it harder and more tiring? And aren't you exhausted enough from nursing a newborn round the clock? Is it really worth adding a toddler to those painful, tired boobs? I really can't see myself nursing two at the same time, so shouldn't the first one be weaned early enough that he doesn't resent the new baby?

    TIA for sharing your experience.
    Hi pipsmom,
    Well, I have never experienced ttc while bfing, or bfing with pg, or tandeming, so you might wonder why I am responding!
    I am actually starting to think about the possiblity of a new LO in my family as well, and I have given some thought to questions along the same lines.
    You probably know that BFing usually delays the return of fertility. This is different for every woman. However, I have not seen anything that indicates it is more difficult to get pregnant while BFing once your fertility returns. Does that make sense? Have you looked into charting ovulation, etc. at all?

    On whether BFing your first LO makes pg more tiring: I can't say as I've never been, but having a toddler while you are pg is tiring, period, and I'm not joking. Also, many nurslings wean during pg because the milk changed taste or supply drops.
    On whether it will be harder to nurse your toddler when you are also nursing your newborn: Also can't say from experience. But, some people say that a toddler can actually take the edge off mom's engorgement! Also, I can say that it might actually have been nice to have that continued bonding with my older LO. After my DD was born, I was really upset about not being able to have the same special relationship with DS anymore (and he was not even BFing). I didn't expect to feel that way so strongly!
    On whether and when you should wean the older LO: Again, no experience. I noticed that you say you really can't see yourself nursing two. So, first I guess I would say that sometimes your perspective will change. I planned on BFing DD for one year, but now I plan on continuing indefinitely.
    I am a planner too, but I think, like you said, you can make a plan to be flexible about some things. I'm guessing you want to nurse your LO until at least one year, so you have several more months in which to make a "plan" or "nonplan" for weaning, right?
    I'm still working this all out for myself. I just thought I would share my thoughts.

    Molly

    Loving mama to JP (DS, 1/03 ~ nursed 6 mos), EL (DD1, 9/05 ~ nursed 4 yrs), EJ (DD2, 3/08 ~ nursed 3 yrs 9 mos), and
    JM (DD3, 6/12 ~ currently nursing), all born naturally
    Devoted wife to SAHD P, my hero
    A few of my favorite things that I've discovered on the forum: co-sleeping, baby-wearing, tandem nursing, baby-led solids, cloth diapering, APing, selective vaccination...the list goes on

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Past 18 months: why?

    Having a toddler is tiring! The nice thing about nursing a toddler is you get to sit down. LOL!

    My toddler is #2. I didn't nurse my oldest this long. My boys are 2 1/2 and 15 months. I must say that there is some resentment with my oldest. Perhaps we wouldn't have that as much if he nursed as well? Really can't answer that one. As far as ttc, everyone is different? I got my AF back around 12 months when I started introducing some cows milk. He nurses for comfort but I'd say he gets 50% BM and 50% CM.

    And I've heard and it is true for us, ds picked up a renewed interest in BF around 13 months. He knows it is nummies, and pulls at my shirt when he wants some. Why we continue to do it? He's a very laid back, easy going guy. I feel I've always met his needs, I like how relaxing nursing can be and we both still enjoy it. Why deny it to him? This is a precious and short time in the scheme of things. It doesn't hinder my social life, not that it is a very big one. LOL! I go out occasionally and DH can put him to sleep (albeit not as easily) without nursing.

    Good luck and do what works for the both of you.

    Brenda

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Past 18 months: why?

    Quote Originally Posted by mollyb
    some people say that a toddler can actually take the edge off mom's engorgement!
    That idea actually scares me as I have very unusual and severe oversupply problems. I've been through a lot of pain and still have discomfort at nearly 8mo when I hear that other mothers don't feel it anymore. I would think that the last thing I need is a strong toddler suck making me produce yet more milk!

    But yes, we've decided to wait a little longer than we thought to try for the next one so I can be sure to give DS the full year and hopefully a bit past that.

    Can I confess that part of the reason I'm curious is that DH and I would like to plan a little mini-vaction before we get pg again figuring that once we have two, we won't have another chance to be alone before they're in school. But, I also don't want to leave DS at a critical time. I'm starting to think about bringing him and his grandparents along - not as romantic, though.

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