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Old 09-26-2011, 04:59 PM   #1
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what to expect with bf past 1 yr.

I made it to my goal of bf exclusively to a year with DS. The last few months were really difficult, especially with the lack of sleep at night and the needing to feed him in a dark/quiet room every time. But I did it.
Now I feel like I'm in "uncharted territory" per se, because I've never nursed this long. My twins weaned at around 10 months and were drinking whole milk once they turned one. DS has never had anything but breastmilk, and the occasional sip of water. I offered him a sippy cup of cows milk on his birthday, just for fun I guess. He played with it and seemed to like it, and then screamed and threw it on the floor. He is not interested in cows milk at the moment, and doesn't really love drinking from cups or sippy cups. He plays with bottles and bites on them, but I don't want to go backwards.

I am just curious what I am suppose to do and or expect at this point when it comes to nursing. I'm still nursing him every 4 hours during the day, and attempting to get him to sleep through that early am feeding. I would love to have a little more freedom in being able to run errands or be gone without freaking out that he is starving to death...I tend to be a worry wort and haven't been away from him for more then maybe 2 hours during the day. I would also like for him to sleep through the night, and we are working on that currently.

I went to his 1 year pedi. appt today where the doctor told me that it would be *best* if I reduced his nursing sessions to just twice a day. Maybe once in the morning and once right before bed, and then offer a cup of water at meals and during the day. She said that my milk isn't as nutritious/thick or what not as it use to be and it's better to get them more focused on foods then on breastmilk is kind of the way she put it. I was kind of confused at this though. I mean, isn't breastmilk chock full of vitamins and nutrients unlike anything else? Isn't it a great thing that I am still nursing? How could nursing when he wants it hurt his diet? I don't know. I feel kind of let down at this point. I guess I was expecting some sort of pat on the back for breastfeeding him this long and being willing to continue.

So did nursing change a lot after 1 year, and what became the norm for you? Is two nursing sessions a day enough? And how do I get myself to not take the doctors advice about my milk personally? Like all the hard work I've been doing wasn't worth it...because my milk isn't that great anymore... It makes me want to cry because I've always seen it the opposite way.

TIA

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Old 09-26-2011, 05:40 PM   #2
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Re: what to expect with bf past 1 yr.

Congrats to you for making it a year, that's great! Nursing past a year is really good b/c it literally solves most problems in just a few minutes. I sure would hate to wean a 1yr old - they are old enough to be very attached & it's really immportant to them, but they aren't old enough to understand it being taken away suddenly. As far as what your doctor said, I say nurse on cue as you've always done, BM carries high nutrional value past a year & cow's milk is really uneccessary if the baby is still b/f well. There's 2 really good chapters in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding on nursing past 9months & through toddlerhood. Keep on trusting your instincts & if you don't want to wean then don't - keep going! You won't regret it. Best wishes.
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Old 09-26-2011, 05:42 PM   #3
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Re: what to expect with bf past 1 yr.

Hugs mama! I'm not there yet, but it's awesome that you've made it this far and that you're willing to keep going.
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Old 09-26-2011, 05:57 PM   #4
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Re: what to expect with bf past 1 yr.

Yeah for you for going so long!!

You do what you feel is best. Those doctors just spew out stuff they've read. They aren't always right. Breastmilk does change over time as your child grows, but it's still full of good stuff. It might not be the same as those first few months, but it's still good.

In my world, by one year I was going down to 2-3 times a day. But my lo's took to solid food and cow's milk easily. I'm now at 19 months for dd2, just once a day at night. I've considered ending it, but she's my last and it's hard to do.
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Old 09-26-2011, 06:25 PM   #5
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It is fantastic you are still nursing beyond 12 months!! I agree with pp The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, has some great information on extended nursing & the quality of breastmilk @ 12 months & beyond. I would not try to cut back nursing. Continue to offer food & nurse on demand.

I nursed my ds till he was 32 months and my dd till she was 16 months. Every kid is different. Both weaned around the same time due to my third pregnancy. I am due in 4-6 weeks. Being on the other side now I wish I would of worried less about how much they nursed and when it would end.

Also if you haven't already, check out a local La Leche League meeting. It will offer you lots of support.

Good luck!
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Old 09-26-2011, 06:28 PM   #6
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Oh and neither of my kids drank cow's milk till they were 18 months old or older. =)
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Old 09-26-2011, 06:46 PM   #7
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Re: what to expect with bf past 1 yr.

At a year, we were still nursing pretty frequently--pretty much on demand, IIRC. I don't think there's any reason to change anything, especially not suddenly, if your LO is gaining well and trying/tasting a variety of solids.

If you check out the Sticky at the top of this page about Extended Breastfeeding, you can get some info about the nutritional content of breastmilk from 12 to 24 months. It is still very, very nutritious--moreso than any other single food that a child eats.

Most MDs have very little education about breastfeeding, particularly extended breastfeeding. Unless your doctor has specialized training about breastfeeding (say, became an IBCLC), I wouldn't change a thing based on her advice--and her advice doesn't sound like that of a breastfeeding professional.
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:03 PM   #8
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Re: what to expect with bf past 1 yr.

Congrats on 1 year!

I didn't know how long I was going to nurse DD when I began. I figured I'd figure it out along the way. I originally thought a year, but when that came I jsut kept going and decided I would either let DD quit on her own... or... I would just know when it was the right time to quit (which for me would have been probably around 2 since they don't need whole milk anymore and for me, that's when I think they start to look a little too big to be nursing - but that's just ME (not criticizing anyone. I would not presume to know what's best for others and their children).

So, I ended up nursing DD for 20 mos. I let her decide to quit - which she did at Christmas time!

That info about your milk not being as nutritious is crap. Yes, your milk changes as your baby gets older, but it changes to suit your baby's needs.

No doctor can tell you what's "best" for you and your baby. You are the mama - you decide. However, if your LO is taking some solids, there is no nutritional need for them to be waking through the night. If you wanted you could try night weaning so you get better sleep. The way I accomplished that was that I asked DH to help. We made the plan that he would go in if DD woke during the night. If she saw/heard/smelled me she would expect milk, but not from DH. First, we would wait 10 minutes before intervening (unless she was sobbing and gagging) or longer if she was only slightly complaining (to see if she'd go back off to sleep herself). Then, DH would go in to soothe her. A lot of the time he could just pat or rub her back and she would go back to sleep. If he picked her up he would just pat her, sing to her, let her suck his finger (or you could do a paci), etc to get her to calm down and she would eventually fall back asleep. And we would increase the time limit little by little - 15 minutes after a few days and then 20 mins (to let her cry herself). Somewhere between 2-3 weeks she was sleeping through the night every night - and before that she would do like 2 nights of waking and a sleep through night, then 3 nights of waking and a sleep through, etc.

As far as what to expect, it's really up to you! you can nurse as little or as much as you want.

As for me, what worked well was to offer a straw cup during the day (she couldn't get the concept of lifting the sippy cup since she'd never done a bottle, so at 8 mos I just gave her a straw cup) with breast milk in it, and sometimes water. Once we ditched the cereal (other than to use it as a thickener - cuz she liked a thicker texture for her food), she really enjoyed her purees (we did homemade). So, she was eating pretty good meals by a year. But she still nursed 4 times a day - waking, nap, 2nd nap and bed. I would give her the straw cup at meals.

Then sometime around 18 mos she went to one nap, so that cut a nursing. And sometime in there she stopped nursing first thing in the morning. Then she started nursing sometimes at nap and not at others. And then at Christmas she just gave it up altogether.

your story may be totally different! And it's yours and your LO's story to write! Good luck and most of all - enjoy!
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:10 PM   #9
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Re: what to expect with bf past 1 yr.

My doctor had exactly the opposite advice. She actually said there is no limit to how much BM your baby should have (I EP...so mine is actually measured out). She said still to give them milk and offer solids and let them have what they want of the solids. The BM is still the best thing for them!
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:31 PM   #10
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Re: what to expect with bf past 1 yr.

Congratulations to all you ladies! It is so nice to see so many momma's BF past a year I say, stick to what you're doing, your baby knows whats best for him at this age. Your milk is still the best thing for him, my doctor always tells me the longer you can exclusively BF the better. He told me not to introduce solids until my children demanded it....when they go to the age that they were mad that I wouldn't share my food. And they DID get there, on there own, without weaning. As for cows milk, My children don't drink it except on special occasions. Reason being, pasteurized cow milk is lacking most all of the naturally occurring enzymes that let your body absorb the vitamin D and calcium in the milk....so they really don't benefit from it. Leafy greens are the best source of these essential vitamins, unless you have access to raw milk. Anyways, congratulations again, and keep up the good work! Mommy's instincts always trump Dr's books
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