Breastfeeding past a year

I never really thought about when we would stop breastfeeding. We got to six months, all was fine and dandy so we carried on (hey, saves money on formula!) and then we got to twelve months and we’re still going… with no plans to stop just yet. We still feed in public when needed although these times are few and far between now as we’ve dropped down to one or two feeds a day normally. I am also happy knowing that I am lowering my risk of ovarian and breast cancer, and managed to delay the return of my periods until Athena was 11 months old!

 Pros:

  1. It’s an easy ‘fix’ for an upset or hurt baby and will help them feel reassured and can be used to avoid a tantrum!
  2. Your milk is still providing valuable immunities (Athena has had just one proper cold in her short lifetime, for example!) and vitamins
  3. Feeds are much quicker, no hour long marathon sessions any longer

Cons:

  1. The risk of revealing more than you’d prefer.  A wriggling almost-toddler with full and determined use of her hands means sometimes my top gets yanked at when she wants a feed, or more of me (namely my belly) gets shown in all it’s flabby glory to whoever is looking. I admit things were easier when she was smaller!
  2. Biting. At the end of each feed if i’m not paying enough attention to notice when she has stopped suckling I get a sharp reminder in the form of her trying to detach my nipple from my boob with her teeth. For the first time since the early days I had a bleeding nipple last week. Some people have said that this happening was the ‘beginning of the end’ for them and their babies started to self wean soon after this started, so we’ll see what happens for us
  3. Potential criticism. My own mum has asked if i’ll be stopping now cows milk is okay as a drink. I can’t seem to actually get Athena to drink it for a start, and secondly i’d prefer for her to self wean, which may be happening if we go by the above point! SO far nobody else has said anything to me in person, and I don’t pay any attention to people who might be sat around us in cafes/parks etc when we feed so I have no idea if i’ve had any disapproving looks or not really!

So there are my pros and cons of my (admittedly limited) experience of feeding past a year. We will however have had to come to the end of our breastfeeding journey by November as I am going on holiday for 5 days without Athena, but I really hope that it’s a natural conclusion before that point. I expect that being away from me for 3 days when I go back to work next month will help with the natural weaning from the boob, as she’ll get used to me not being there for day time naps, and generally she doesn’t have milk right before bed these days anyway!

Do please add any comments of your experience of ‘extended’ breastfeeding, or about how your little one self weaned, if they did!

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25 Comments

  1. Janice Mackin
    25th June 2014 / 10:45 pm

    My toddler mainly feeds at bedtime now. I love that no matter how busy we are during the day we have that quiet time at the end of the day. Breastfeeding is a great comfort when my son is unwell or teething.

  2. 25th June 2014 / 11:23 pm

    For me, bfing past a year was lovely, the cuddles and closeness were great but the biting. Oh the biting! x

  3. frances hopkins
    26th June 2014 / 8:05 am

    Unfortunately I didn’t breastfeed, but a friend is when she has her baby x

  4. emma
    26th June 2014 / 12:43 pm

    I remember the biting! have to whip it away quick once she stops feeding. hope self weaning goes well x

  5. Jo Sandy
    26th June 2014 / 12:57 pm

    The health benefits for both of you

  6. Julie
    26th June 2014 / 1:57 pm

    My daughter still fed to sleep until almost 2! No night-time battles to get her to bed 🙂

  7. Sarah
    26th June 2014 / 2:05 pm

    My almost 13 month old still feeds 4 or 5 times a day as standard! No self weaning any time soon here! I do like the fact it seems to be a cure for most minor tumbles and bumps x

  8. Pia Stephens
    26th June 2014 / 5:37 pm

    I’ve never gotten past 4 months, our little girl is now 3 months old and it’ll be interesting to see how far my milk will last this time around x

  9. charlotte
    26th June 2014 / 8:21 pm

    I fed to 14 months and the best thing was the cuddles which I still get from my girls now 7 and 5

  10. Anneliese
    26th June 2014 / 8:54 pm

    My first self weaned once I started to refuse night feeds! A few weeks later and he wasnt really bothered in the daytime any more – he was about 18 months I think. My second was starting to lose interest when we found out she was intolerant to wheat, dairy, and fructose and so I stopped feeding her so that I didnt need to change my diet – she was also about 18 months. My third is currently only 5 months so we’ll have to just see what happens!

  11. Sarah Strickland
    26th June 2014 / 9:36 pm

    We’re at ten and a half months, I want to go on for as long as we both want. I am going back to work in 3 weeks and hoping to go on with morning and evening feeds plus expressing for a daytime feed, if required.

  12. Robyn Logan Clarke
    26th June 2014 / 11:32 pm

    I haven’t quite got there, but I think it will be knowing I gave my daughter the best start

  13. 27th June 2014 / 1:34 pm

    The power of mummy milks to soothe bumps and bruises and to calm tantrums.

  14. Gemma Clark
    27th June 2014 / 7:43 pm

    My bestie fed my godson until he was almost 3 and their bond is amazing!

  15. Grace
    27th June 2014 / 9:03 pm

    Was lovely to read your blog I love these scavanger hunts so much fun

  16. Grace
    27th June 2014 / 9:03 pm

    Was lovely to read your blog I love these scavanger hunts so much fun and gain experience from others

  17. Grace
    27th June 2014 / 9:05 pm

    I started weaning my boy around 15 months we have now stopped at 17 months just love the bond we have and how he so loving towards me and that I’m his comforter when he needs it

  18. 27th June 2014 / 9:20 pm

    i havent had that experience yet! i did read something today about the benefits of breast milk for toddlers which looked great!

  19. Tina Holmes
    28th June 2014 / 12:18 am

    I did for a few days but he just wasn’t latching on

  20. Lynsey Buchanan
    28th June 2014 / 3:00 pm

    The health benefits

  21. kim neville
    28th June 2014 / 5:40 pm

    Only breastfed up to 8 months

  22. Rachel
    28th June 2014 / 9:48 pm

    I am pregnant so no experience yet but would love to breastfeed. I have heard it has great health benefits and provides comfort/security (like you said) so my plan is to breastfeed as long as I can…ideally til my baby self-weans. We’ll see if that actually happens I guess haha 🙂

  23. Candise Moore
    28th June 2014 / 11:13 pm

    Milky smiles from an otherwise independent toddler.

  24. Natalie Crossan
    29th June 2014 / 1:33 am

    Gives the baby the best start xx

  25. 29th June 2014 / 11:39 am

    For me its just the convieneance, its so easy no faffing with bottles and being able to feed anywhere

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