Home » When will I stop breastfeeding? – #KBBF2013

When will I stop breastfeeding? – #KBBF2013

I don’t know the answer to this, only my boys do. From early on in Andrew’s life, I said that I wanted him to self-wean rather than me leading. In general I’ve taken a very baby-led approach to parenting, letting them settle into their own rhythms and not setting a routine – though Joel has had to conform a bit more than Andrew did, as his older brother’s pattern (that was drawn on a blank slate) was already set, but he seems to have been easy-going enough to cope with this. Breastfeeding is one aspect of my parenting, and an important one at that.

When I said that I would let Andrew self-wean, I didn’t think for one moment that he would still be enjoying mummy milk at nearly two and a half years old. I assumed that as my supply had been so rubbish in the first 6 months of his life, he would soon give up on me and that would be it. But as he quickly took to solid food, breastfeeding became something he did for comfort, not calories, and therefore it didn’t seem to matter to him that there wasn’t a huge amount. I then thought that he would self-wean during my pregnancy with Joel, again thinking that if my supply had been so rubbish before, then it would be even worse as the hormones caused it to dwindle in preparation for the new baby. I wrote a fair amount about this in my pregnancy diary posts every week on the blog (for example here and here). But he carried on, and it is still important for him now, nearly 8 months into his baby brother’s life.

My boys and I on our tandem nursing adventure

My boys and I on our tandem nursing adventure

Andrew doesn’t have loads of milk, and some days it’s more than others, but before bed every night he will have a cuddle and some mummy milk and then Daddy will read a story and say a prayer with him before leaving him in bed to drop off to sleep, which he is very good at. I think this regularity helps him unwind and know that it’s bedtime, and if it’s been a busy day, it’s one time that I know we can reconnect and talk about how the day has been for us.

Joel is now at the stage where solid food is taking up more and more of his daily calorie intake, which seems to be quite a lot as he’s also crawling everywhere so needs lots of energy. He too has taken to solid food well, and the amount of formula that I need to supplement with has gone down drastically in the past month or so. He’s feeding less in the daytime, and has most of his milk intake 5am-7am and 7pm-8pm, as well as a few small feeds here and there in the day alongside his solid food.

As with Andrew, I will let Joel decide himself when he wants to stop breastfeeding. There are some days when Tom (my husband) and I joke that at this rate Andrew will be feeding longer than Joel, mainly because Joel is in that stage of feeding quite a bit less now that he’s on solids so it doesn’t feel like I’m constantly feeding him any more and there is a big difference in how that feels to me.

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Well done! You’ve found another hunt logo – you can enter the competition again at the bottom of this post.

When I look back at how breastfeeding started with Andrew, it’s hard to believe that we’ve ended up where we are – I have two boys who have healthy appetites and are still enjoying mummy milk. How on earth we ended up here I wonder with amazement, things could have turned out so differently. Before Andrew was born I had no idea that it was even possible to breastfeed a toddler, let alone through another pregnancy, and it didn’t even enter my head why anyone would want to do that. I guess if we hadn’t have hit problems and therefore found help through LLL, I might not have even learned that I don’t *have* to wean my baby at 6 months when they start eating more than milk, like all the prominent books and advertising would have us believe.

Everyone has their own breastfeeding goals, and what is right for one family is not the same as what is right for another family. Different mums and babies are ready to wean from breastfeeding at all sorts of different times and for different reasons. This is just our story. At one point I said I would be glad to get to 6 weeks, then I said I’d be glad to get to 6 months, then to 1 year, then through pregnancy, then to 6 months of another baby, then to whenever they both want to stop. My goals have shifted as I’ve lived with one and then two nurselings. I hope that anyone reading this is able to achieve their own breastfeeding goal, whatever that might be.

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20 Responses to “When will I stop breastfeeding? – #KBBF2013”

  1. Theresa says:

    I’m not sure how long I want to breast feed for we have got to 9 months so far 🙂

  2. esther james says:

    For as long as my son wants it 🙂

  3. Jodie says:

    I want to baby-lead the time i give up breastfeeding

  4. Donna McP says:

    I breastfed my daughter for 19 months, we’re currently 18 months with no sing of stopping with my son…. we’ll stop when we are both ready hopefully

  5. Gwennifer says:

    I would love to let DS1 self-wean, but agitation is currently getting in the way. I’m hoping it will pass but it’s been months! But so far it’s 34m for DS1 and 7m for DD2 🙂

  6. sc2987 says:

    There’s some interesting research by Kathy Dettwyler about the natural age of weaning here: http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detwean.html

    My daughter is 27 months and will wean when she’s ready.

  7. Samantha says:

    Been feeding my daughter for 3 months now and looking to self wean 🙂

  8. I fed my son until he was 25 months and will feed my daughter for as long as she wants to

  9. Leanne says:

    I feed my daughter for 14 months and she was the one who said no in the end! I, 7 months in with my son and will carry on as long as he needs it.

  10. Laura Moore says:

    Your posts are always so encouraging, thank you.
    I’ve been feeding my daughter for 22 months now, including whilst pregnant with number 2, and I’d like her to continue until she’s ready to stop. Like you, the fall in an already poor supply hasn’t affected her – she’s still going strong as ever, though she’s stopped waking for milk in the night!

    • Ruth says:

      Thank you! Yours are too 🙂 I think the continuing through pregnancy shows for both our toddlers that it’s not the actual milk or its quantity that they are bothered about, but more the act of nursing, of feeling close and bonding in that way x

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