When Should Extended Breastfeeding End?

breastfeeding a 3 year old I never really thought about when should extended breastfeeding end?  When I wrote my post about breastfeeding Mouse beyond 2 years old as the WHO recommends, I never  thought I would be breastfeeding Mouse at 3 and a 1/2 years old.The support isn’t there and people’s attitudes towards breastfeeding toddlers and preschoolers and even older are deemed as ‘unnatural’ and ‘dirty’. breastfeeding a  4 month old baby Yet until recently I never had made a conscious decision on when extended breastfeeding  we would stop.Whilst filling in her school application form and seeing her get her school jabs the other week, I guess it has been on my mind. A couple a weekends ago when I had the start of a horrible hacking cough and the weather was unusually hot  for October, I found myself unable to sleep.After eventually going to sleep for a short while I was woken up by Mouse at around 4/5 o’clock.When she wakes she always gets into my bed and asks for ‘mummy milk’.I really felt unwell and I just wanted to sleep. It was then I decide it was time to start weaning. breastfeeding a 11 month old It has never bothered me that at 3 and 1/2 years old that she was still breastfeeding and over the last year I’ve got her down to just feeding early mornings.

ME: “Mummy’s really tired and doesn’t feel very well.Have a cuddle and get some more sleep”.

MIA: “No, mummy milk pleeeeaase”.

ME: “Oh, honey please can I bit more sleep.There’s juice on the shelf”.

I find because sleeping on my back because it’s more comfortable with my scoliosis and I was also  coughing less.Rolling over to fed her either led on my back as usual or on my side would of induce a huge fit of coughing.Plus I was really, really tired.

MIA:“No, I want mummy milk.Please, mummy milk now!”.

ME:“You can on my iphone for a bit.I’m really sorry but mummy really is poorly”

For anyone who knows me I put up with a lot of pain, illness before I let it get to me.So for me to put myself first for a change is a big thing

. MIA:“Ok, I’ll go on the iphone”.

She finds it and starts watching Baby Jake for a while.She has been playing on the iphone after feeding for a few month’s so it’s another part of the very early morning routine.Slowly but surely we we’re joined by my older two kids and I’m fighting for space and duvet.We get up have breakfast and I spend the day having coughing fit after coughing fit. Monday morning arrives and we go through the same conversation only slightly shorter and the same again Tuesday.Wednesday she’s really insistent but realises she’s not going to get to breastfeed and yes the iphone replaces the early morning feed.And I get more sleep. Thursday she asks for the iphone straight away.But since then she’s gone back to asking straight away but she’s becoming less and less bothered. I struggled for long time breastfeeding all of mine when they were newborns and in the end of breastfeeding was cut short before me and them were ready for various reasons. It has now been up to now been just a question of time for her to wean, but I feel she’s old enough to understand and I still don’t know when extended breastfeeding should end?.

14 thoughts on “When Should Extended Breastfeeding End?

  1. I was looking to see how many people had written about this actually. Two years later and I shall have a search to see if you wrote about stopping (as I guess I assume you have). I’m lucky in that there’s a fair few people in my area that have done it (see Clare above) so was easier for me, with support I think.

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  4. I was cut short with Spud thanks to a very unhelpful, ill-informed Midwife so am hoping Pooh Bear (now 13 mths) makes his own mind up.  Idealistic I know since he might still be asking at 4 or 5.  I don’t think he’d miss it now but still love it so I suppose I am carrying on regardless.  I have the luxury of him not wanting to feed when we’re out and about so haven’t had any comments about feeding in public so that isn’t putting me off any :)

  5. It is hard to figure out the right time to stop. I kept wishing it would happen naturally but as it hasn’t yet at 32 months I have a feeling it may be some time unless I make it happen. It is not an easy decision to make and even harder to follow through. All part of being a mummy I guess..

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  7. I have been thinking about this recently, too. Eleanor has a feed in the morning and one in the afternoon, for the most part, though she’s been asking for a few feeds in the morning recently, if I’m sitting down with her, rather than running around emptying dishwashers, etc. I’ve realised that, actually, she probably needs her breakfast a bit earlier – usually we wait for Rosemary, but often she gets up two hours later!

    I think it’s an interesting question about when to stop, though. I do believe it has to be down to the individual mum and child (perhaps taking into account the feelings of the rest of the family). However, once the child is at school, other factors will come into play and they probably do need to be considered. For example, the potential for teasing from other children and also the potential for an unenlightened member of staff to assume it’s consider it inappropriate and even abusive – neither of these *should* happen, but they *could* and it’s worth thinking about the effect that would have on the child.

    I’m inclined to write a post myself, though not sure if I’ll manage it (keep thinking of posts and not actually getting to write them).

    • @TashaGoddard This why I decided now is the best time.I’ve gone over the recommended WHO age and she is at a age where it has become ‘habit’.Although she just want s to get up now and not stay in bed.So still no lie in

  8. Lovely post, I don’t think there’s an answer and its up to the child and the parent to “negotiate” it I think. I fully intended to breast feed Joseph until he was ready to wean, whether that be 1, 2 or even older. Unfortunately he was born at 27 weeks as I was poorly. I fought to breast feed but only managed ten weeks before my body gave in and stopped producing milk – stress? medication? who knows, and I ended up being a bottle feeder, much to my suprise!

    I think extended breastfeeding is lovely and can’t really understand the issue people have with it, and why another mammal’s milk is considered superior, always seemed odd to me.

    • @kykaree I think 10 weeks is very good and you shouldn’t beat yourself about it.It’s a double edge sword.Governments want to you to breastfed but there isn’t enough support and information.When you do breastfeed and it’s beyond ‘the norm’ you get slated for it.

    • I’ve been reading up on this since that Time Magazine cover issue came out.  Breastfeeding is beautiful and I, too, don’t see why people have an issue with it.

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