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Thread: Extended Nursing

  1. #1
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    May 2012
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    Default Extended Nursing

    HI there. Would love to hear the run down on benefits of extended nursing if one doesnt have to go back to work for a *while. I have seen some recent threads and comments and would love the feedback. I am only at 13 weeks but I feel differently about nursing past a year then I did before. I want to do what is best for the Babe no matter what! I am just so new to this and every week we make it to, I feel like throwing a party! I have no idea why it should be so hard/ struggle. It should be so much easier than ff, right! I am so green- I have only learned anything worthwhile from LLL, WAB, and these forums! Thanks for the advice so far and for the future!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Extended Nursing

    There s a really good summary of the benefits of extended nursing on kellymom:

    http://kellymom.com/ages/older-infant/ebf-benefits/

    I think a lot of us don't necessarily plan to nurse past a year (although some do); it's just something that happens. You struggle early on to make breastfeeding work and once it really starts paying off, you aren't in a hurry to give it up. For me, my baby turned one and was still very much a baby and still very much needed to nurse; so benefits aside I just rolled with it. At one point my husband said to me, "I figure if he is asking to nurse, then he still needs to nurse."

    At 13 weeks, I doubt I could have imagined nursing my son at 20 months. I had a hard enough time imagining still nursing at 14 weeks. But nursing became easier as time passed, then became enjoyable even as more time passed, and then became indispensable as yet more time passed. My son is hurt, angry, or sad - I nurse him and he's instantly content. Then there is the teething. These second year teeth have been absolutely miserable for us, and I'm not sure I could survive it without nursing. Breastmilk still contains a large portion of the nutrients that toddlers need (check the link); so I didn't need to worry that my son was slow to pick up on solids, and both my husband and I never felt that we needed to coerce him to eat. There are restrictions on how much cow's milk a child should drink (it can irritate the intestinal lining and inhibit iron absorption), but a child can drink as much breastmilk as he likes. I also liked how I no longer had any goals after a year. I was simply nursing my son because it was best for us not because the AAP states that is what is best for babies. There was something liberating in that for me.

    Extended breastfeeding has been really wonderful for our family, and I wouldn't do things any other way.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  3. #3
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    May 2006
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    20,952

    Default Re: Extended Nursing

    I didn't plan on nursing my first past day 365, but I ended up nursing her until age 3 and with my second baby there's no way I'd wean before she's ready! I toddler nursing!

    Benefits:
    - It allows a very low-stress transition to solid foods. As long as the baby is nursing frequently, you can relax and let her set her own pace with solids, knowing she is getting a balanced diet from your milk. That means it doesn't matter if all she will eat for 3 weeks straight is cheerios and floor dirt.
    - Flexibility. After a year, you can continue to nurse on demand, or you can set whatever limits you wish. You can nurse just a few times a day, or only at home and not in public (if that's important to you).
    - Air travel is much easier if your baby will nurse, because nursing eases the pressure changes in her ears.
    - Breastfed babies get sick less often and don't stay sick for as long.
    - If baby does get sick and won't eat anything, breastmilk will still provide calories, hydration, and comfort. Even if baby pukes up everything she drank a minute after nursing, breastmilk is so rapidly digested that you can be sure she got something out of it.
    - Nursing stops tantrums, reduces teething pain, comforts boo-boos, and soothes cranky toddlers to sleep.
    - Mother-led weaning is often challenging, tearful, and abrupt for both mom and baby. Baby-led weaning is easy and gradual. I can tell my 2 year-old is getting close to weaning- she is now so busy that she rarely asks to nurse and when we are on the go she can forget to nurse for nearly the entire day. Because her nursing sessions have decreased so gradually, my milk supply has slowly dropped, which means that I'm weaning without discomfort or engorgement.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: Extended Nursing

    Oh wow! These replies are exactly what I was hoping to get! TY TY!

    Great article as well! (Im bookmarking it, bc I can already anticipate having to somehow defend it- when and if I get to this point) YKWIM?

    From what I understand, I know that extended nursing has been the norm for so many people and cultures, except in the US in the past century and I dont understand the big deal! Especially since it has so many benefits that out weigh the cons- IMO. I am so interested in the relationship of nursing- I HAD NO CLUE what it was for, more than just to feed a baby before I had the babe! SO beautiful and wonderful! And I say this after 3 months- still can be hard but man, it is ever better!!! The beginning was SO hard! Really. It just reinforces the idea of a support system to help mothers get started and educate them.. and to keep encouraging them because like I've read and heard so much now, it DOES Get better! and can become PRECIOUS. Im hoping to be atleast a small part of a positive movement to encourage women and help them nurse... in whatever form that is- even if its just offering my own experience as hope. I have yet to have made it to a LLL meeting in person. closest one is 1 1/2 away and I just gotta do it and make a day of it!!

    I'm still not there yet, still not mastered this, will probably always have questions and issues, but I wouldnt trade it for the world! Thanks to everyone who has help me! Means so much and I know I wouldnt be here at this point if it wasnt for these forums!

  5. #5
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    Dec 2009
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    Default Re: Extended Nursing

    With my first I never dreamed of nursing past teething but we did and I loved it. #2 figured I'd wean at one year and nursed him til 4 yrs. DS3 is three and going strong!
    Michelle

    Wife to Donnie , my best friend
    Mom to Trenton 1/9/97, Dillan 11/22/01, Ashton 6/19/09

    All boys, weaned at 15 months, at home with Ashton

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Extended Nursing

    With DD1 I was taking it a day at a time, once things settled in, I wanted to go to a year. Once I got to a year, I wanted to go to two.

    Then I got pregnant with DD2 and my production dropped off. DD1 nursed to 17 months. Again I had wanted to go to two.

    Then I got pregnant with DD3 and production dropped off. DD2 nursed to 15 months.

    I'm now nursing DD3 and am determined to get to two years. We're done, so there won't be a pregnancy affecting my production this time.

    When both of my girls weaned, it was bitter sweet. Acknowledging that my girls were growing up. That they would do okay without nursing. However I missed the connection. I missed having that tool in my Mommy belt. When they would fall, when they were teething, when I had been out for part of the day, going to sleep.... DH saw it too. We suddenly had this void to fill.

    I'm looking forward to weaning when we are ready. I got my natural VBAC, I feel that my birthing experiences are complete. Now I'd like that full circle breast feeding complete as well.
    Mommy to our DD1 early bird (34 weeks, 2 days, 7lbs, 14oz)! Oct. 2nd, 2008 Emergency C-Section, Frank Breech, HEALTHY Girl!
    Weaned @ 17 months
    Our DD2 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 12oz) Aug. 10th, 2010 Our Successful VBAC, growing like a bad weed!
    Weaned @ 15 months
    Our DD3 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 6oz) Feb. 16th, 2012 Our 2nd VBAC and lightening speedy birth!

    Loving being a Mom of 3, 40 months apart!!
    and

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Extended Nursing

    That link is great! I wanted to chime in and say in the beginning stages I didn't think I could/would nurse until the end of that particular day let along more than 4 years/while pregnant/tandem nursing; but something happens and you work hard and it gets easier, and easier and you wake up and you are nursing a toddler! It IS hard work but it is the single most fulfilling thing I have done in my life. Just think about all the crap your toddler will come in contact with (mine licked an airport floor ) and that you and you alone make the absolute most beneficial substance in existence and it's made specifically for your child, that day, that moment of his/her life. Pretty awesome if you ask me and more than enough to think about when time got tough.
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  8. #8
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Extended Nursing

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*jenna562 View Post
    Just think about all the crap your toddler will come in contact with (mine licked an airport floor )
    Seriously? An airport floor?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Extended Nursing

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*jenna562 View Post
    That link is great! I wanted to chime in and say in the beginning stages I didn't think I could/would nurse until the end of that particular day let along more than 4 years/while pregnant/tandem nursing; but something happens and you work hard and it gets easier, and easier and you wake up and you are nursing a toddler! It IS hard work but it is the single most fulfilling thing I have done in my life. Just think about all the crap your toddler will come in contact with [B](mine licked an airport floor ) [/BOLD]and that you and you alone make the absolute most beneficial substance in existence and it's made specifically for your child, that day, that moment of his/her life. Pretty awesome if you ask me and more than enough to think about when time got tough.
    This post is beautiful Jenna. I don't want that to get lost by what I am about to say. Which is the bolded makes me want to rage stroke even thinking about it and it's not my kid. I don't know how you dealt with that....but Good for you didn't drag him through the airport by his neck...GOOD JOB!

    Way too lazy for formula

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Extended Nursing

    Not to mention the antibody level dramatically increases after the year point because you are naturally going to be nursing less and this is when most kids begin to have a ton of outside contact with other children. More exposure to colds and when the colostrum wears off.
    Last edited by @llli*djs.mom; July 25th, 2012 at 03:50 PM. Reason: Spelling

    Way too lazy for formula

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