EXTENDED BREASTFEEDING FAQ

Questions:

 


Answers:

  • How do you define Extended Breastfeeding?
    • Longer than 12 months. ~Noel-Marie
    • In our culture, I would define it as nursing after the baby is over a year. In more traditional cultures, it would be defined differently. ~Kelly
    • I think it is breastfeeding past the age of 1 here in the US because so very few toddlers are nursed past their 1st birthday. In other places where toddlers are nursed longer, I would say age 2. I think breastfeeding your child past the "average" age of weaning - be it forced or not - is extended breastfeeding. ~Donya
    • I would consider breastfeeding for longer than 2 years to be extended. ~Kathy
    • I keep redrawing the line I set for EBF'ing, it started at 6mos & over, then went to anything over a year and now I guess I define it as anything past when the child goes to college ;) ok, ok, maybe 5ish.. ~Debi
    • Extended breastfeeding is breastfeeding a baby over a year old. ~Melissa
    • I have noticed many people consider breastfeeding extended if a baby is still nursing after the age of 1. I honestly don't have a set time, I just think it's normal for a child to wean her/himself. ~Nikki
    • Breastfeeding after 18 months of age. ~Petra
    • My evolving definition is just that - evolving. At first I hoped to breastfeed for 6 weeks, then at 6 weeks it became 6 months, then at 6 months it became 1 year, then somewhere around 9 months it became - WHENEVER SARAH IS READY - or some health problem of mine makes it unfeasible. Sure - a real solid definition. ~Michelle
    • *I* define it as breastfeeding beyond 2 years; I think the mainstream now defines it as breastfeeding over one year because of the AAP recommendations. ~Laura
    • Longer than 2 years. ~Terri B.
    • I define it by breastfeeding your child past 1 1/2 years. ~Lisa
    • Breastfeeding beyond age 3.5 years. ~Elizabeth
    • Nursing past the 1 year mark. ~Maria
    • Breastfeeding beyond the AAP recommended minimum of a year. ~Susan
    • Breastfeeding longer than one year. ~Terri
    • Over 1year. ~Jennifer
    • More than one year. ~Shannon
    • I would define extended breastfeeding as one year and beyond. ~Pam

 

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  • How long did you breastfeed your child? If you are still nursing, how long do you plan to continue?
    • 1st child: 22 months. 2nd child still nursing, will continue until he weans. ~Noel-Marie
    • I have a 2 year old who is still nursing. I plan to continue until she weans herself. ~Kelly
    • I breastfed my first child until he was 7 1/2 months old. It was completely child-led and was most likely a result of my pregnancy with his sister. I was just entering the second trimester at that point when he weaned very abruptly. I am still nursing my daughter who is now 17 1/2mo. old and plan to nurse her as long as she has a need for it. It will again be up to her as to how long she nurses. At this point, she still nurses in upwards of a dozen times a day and is very attached and dependant on nursing. She nurses several times during the night as well. ~Donya
    • My child is still nursing at age 3 y 20 mo. No sign of stopping yet. If you want to know how long we're going to continue, you are asking the wrong person. Ask my daughter. ~Kathy
    • My daughter is almost 18 months old, and I plan to let her self wean. ~Debi
    • I have breastfed my daughter for the last 13 & 1/2 months. I plan to continue until she weans herself, whether that's next month, or next year or the year after. The longer the better. I enjoy it too much. ~Melissa
    • I nursed my first child to 4 1/2. Currently, I'm breastfeeding my 14 month old. He'll wean himself. ~Nikki
    • 27 mos. and going strong - until she weans herself. ~Petra
    • Sarah is now just over 1 year. My plan is to follow child-led weaning, as long as my health allows for it. ~Michelle
    • Still nursing at ~9 mos. of age; I plan to breastfeed for as long as my son wants. ~Laura
    • She is almost 3, for as long as she wants. ~Terri B.
    • I breast fed all of my children until they are ready to stop for themselves, for us that was around 3 to 31/2 years old. ~Lisa
    • First child 5 years 9 mo. The second is still nursing. He was born on August 31, 1991. When he decides to wean. ~Elizabeth
    • My daughter is almost 16 months old and we plan to continue until she decides to wean. ~Maria
    • I nursed both of my daughters until they were 3 and 3 1/2 (they both led the weaning). ~Susan
    • I plan to let my son self-wean. He is currently 21mo. ~Terri
    • Still nursing my 26month old daughter. ~Jennifer
    • My son is two and 2 months and still nursing. We'll do it until he's done with it, or I can't handle it, or both. ~Shannon
    • I am currently nursing my 17 month old and plan to continue. ~Pam

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  • What made you decide to have an Extended Breastfeeding relationship with your child? Mention any organizations, books, or other resources that might have influenced your decision.
    • I didn't have any firm idea how long I would breastfeed when I started. Support from parent-l, SAH-AP, and my mom made me decide to let each child nurse as long as she or he desired. ~Noel-Marie
    • I knew before I had a child that I wanted to allow my baby to self-wean. Things that have been supportive and helpful in allowing me to continue the relationship are: SAH-AP list, Mothering Your Nursing Toddler, La Leche League. ~Kelly
    • I think seeing the benefits of the nursing relationship in the toddler years was a big factor in my decision to continue nursing her and let weaning be child-led. I began going to LLL when Meggie was around 9-10 months old and it helped a great deal to see other mothers nursing their toddlers and to hear the benefits directly from them. ~Donya
    • The main organization that helped me was LLL. However, the major influence was my daughter herself. LLL helped me to accept the idea of letting a child wean herself when she is ready, rather than stopped at any particular preset time. Once I decided to let my child wean herself when she was ready, all I had to do was to follow her lead. I could not have insisted that she nurse for this long if she had not wanted to. In a way, my decision was simply to choose *not* to decide at all. ~Kathy
    • When my daughter was around 3 months old, I started looking into the benefits of human milk, for human babies. I started reading Sears' books and joined this SAH-AP list. I kept pushing the wean date further and further away until I finally came to the conclusion that child led weaning was the most beneficial for us. ~Debi
    • I decided to have this relationship with my child because it feels right and natural. The SAH-AP list has been a big influence on my parenting and when I joined this list is when I started thinking about child-led weaning. ~Melissa
    • It felt natural to me. The thought of denying my child her nummies seemed very cold and unnatural to me. I'm sure that my mom influenced me by nursing my younger brother until he weaned himself at 2. ~Nikki
    • The e-mail lists Parent-l and SAH-AP, though I also breastfed my 2 older children, the middle one for 2 years, the oldest for 9 months, since I knew nothing of nursing strikes. ~Petra
    • Lots of info from SAH-AP. Beyond that I would say that since we both enjoy it. I also am convinced of the health benefits to both of us. Sarah has only had 1 ear infection in her life. Considering I had them monthly as a baby, and that I'm a smoker - I'm convinced that breastfeeding has helped to keep her healthy. Also, mothers milk has such magical healing properties.... ~Michelle
    • breastfeeding itself, and the data, and a commitment to AP. Books--The Womanly Art. Other resources--friends who ebf, and SAH-AP :) ~Laura
    • I made a lot of friends at LLL and our kids kind of all grew up together and we all kept nursing, probably because it was such a wonderful support group. ~Terri B.
    • We made the decision to do extended breast feeding for several reasons, the first was attachment, it was a closeness that was so cool. We where members of La Leche , and I thought it was great when I saw these real close moms and kids. It was also easier to deal with the lack of rivalry<G> ~Lisa
    • They wanted to nurse. The more I learned and studied about breastfeeding, I decide to let them choose when to stop. They have set the pace on our nursing relationship. I am a La Leche League leader. I joined La Leche League when I was tandem nursing with my second child. At the time I did not know anything about La Leche League or nursing, other than I was doing it. When I joined I found about the wonders of breast milk and breastfeeding. I have become the professional liaison for the Caribbean region. I have recently return to the workplace. Though the position I have been hired has nothing to do with breastfeeding, I am developing a breastfeeding curriculum for the Medical School. I was hired by he Ponce School of Medicine. About the resources I have used, anything on breastfeeding that I have seen in the La Leche League or on line or the American Academy of Breastfeeding, the Journal of Human Lactation, the publications of the World Health Organization. ~Elizabeth
    • Once I decided to go to the 1 year mark I started to go to La Leche League meetings and read the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and Mothering Your Nursing Toddler. These 3 were a great influence in the decision. Also she has never had an ear infection which leads me to believe breastfeeding for this long has been extremely beneficial because as a child I had many many ear infections. Also once I had internet access I began to read about breastfeeding into the second year and older. ~Maria
    • I didn't start out nursing a 3 yr. old. I started nursing a newborn. But as she grew, I discovered the benefits to our family, and did not want to push her to wean before she wanted to. ~Susan
    • Before my son was born, I intended to breastfeed for six months. But he is high need and refused all oral comfort other than the breast. Fortunately, it is a mutually satisfying activity. I would say he was my biggest influence. External influences include "Mothering Your Nursing Toddler" by Norma Jane Bumgarner, Katherine Dettwyler's web pages "A Natural Age of Weaning" (URL:http://www.prairienet.org/community/health/laleche/detwean.html) and "Why Nurse Toddlers?" (URL: http://www.prairienet.org/community/health/laleche/dettoddler.html).   Also, Laura Warren's Milkmaid Parlor page, "A Time to Wean" (URL:http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/4072/wean.html), and a post from one of the list members on SAH-AP entitled, "The Benefits of Breastfeeding". Oh, and of course, the SAH-AP mailing list. ~Terri
    • A natural progression, member of LLL, have been to other countries were toddlers nurse. ~Jennifer
    • I read The Baby Book and a pregnancy book and found out about LLLI, and my mom nursed (or tried to nurse) us all, my last two siblings for about a year each. ~Shannon
    • All support from LLL, SAH-AP list, other groups within the internet, and just my knowing and feeling that this is the right thing to be doing. ~Pam

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  • Are your relatives, friends, husbands, partners, etc., supportive of your Extended Breastfeeding? How are they supportive?
    • Husband: yes. He knows that EBF means that the kids get both the health and emotional benefits of BF for much longer. Relatives: indifferent to supportive. We generally don't discuss it, other than, when asked, to point out the WHO and now AAP guidelines. Friends: most don't know, but probably would be horrified to realize that Maura nursed that long. ~Noel-Marie
    • My ILs and dh are very supportive. My mother was not initially, but has grown to accept seeing my 2 year old nurse. My friends think it's kind of weird, (except for the ones who are doing it themselves), but they don't criticize. I think the way in which everyone has been most supportive is allowing me and my child to define when weaning will happen, and not trying to influence it by some societal expectation. ~Kelly
    • I would say that my husband is supportive of extended breastfeeding - he sees the benefits and doesn't ever bring up weaning her. He leaves it up to us. My mother is supportive - she doesn't make any negative comments and she seems to think what I'm doing so far is good for Meggie. Other friends are not so supportive though - some of my male friends think it's a little weird but they would never tell me that I should stop and a few female friends are completely uncomfortable with me nursing Meggie. Of course, my LLL friends are supportive and that has been a great thing for me. ~Donya
    • My husband is extremely supportive. He knows that our child is not ready to wean. He trusts her to express her needs, and he trusts me to interpret her needs since I am with her more than he is.As for other family members, they have learned not to bring up the subject. ~Kathy
    • My husband is very supportive of EBF'ing. Friends & family pretty much feel it's at the discretion of the parents to make the choices for their own families as they see fit. ~Debi
    • My husband and friends are supportive by always acknowledging how great it is that I'm still nursing. My sister is supportive, I guess. She doesn't know much about it, but she never has anything negative to say about it. My father doesn't know. I don't know what he would think at this point. But I know that he is uncomfortable seeing me breastfeed, so.... ~Melissa
    • For the most part, my family and friends are very supportive. The couple of times I have discussed the issue with inlaws has been uncomfortable, with them declaring a child should be weaned by 1 or before. I just don't discuss it with them, and I don't see them often. If they had honest questions, I would be willing to discuss it with them. I have one good friend and a few acquaintances who practice/have practiced child led weaning, as well as my mom. I feel supported just by knowing they are there for me if I'm feeling discouraged. Honestly, it's become such the norm in my circle of friends that it's rarely mentioned anymore. It's hard to explain how my dh is supportive, he just is. He's never said a word against it, and sometimes he'll cuddle up with us when the baby is nursing, and my older child likes to do this, too, and he'll make a comment to the baby about his nummy being good for him, or something like that. ~Nikki
    • Very supportive. I have several EBF friends and my husband is my full partner in it, my mother has breastfed her own children for a year and is most interested in the health benefits. My parents in law don't ever comment, so I don't know what they think. ~Petra
    • Most of my support system in place prior to Sarah's birth really is after me to wean her. However, I've met some RL AP moms who actually believe in the benefits the same way that I do. As far as relatives go - don't speak to most of them so their opinions are of little importance to me. ~Michelle
    • My husband is fully supportive; reads info. about EBF, doesn't mention weaning, etc...basically just agrees with it. My mother is supportive for the time being ;) My siblings are supportive in their comments about my son's health. All other relatives, and in-laws are not supportive. ~Laura
    • My closest friends are all nursing toddlers so it is the 'norm'. My husband has no problem with it, in fact when she is sick (like right now)we are so glad to still be nursing. ~Terri B
    • My husband loved it he was behind he 100% and still is in what ever I decide to try. My mom was great my dad was terrible. The rest well I don't care they don’t bother me. ~Lisa
    • Yes, my sister. She is co-leader of our chapter of La Leche League. She is also giving breastfeeding seminars. ~Elizabeth
    • My husband is, my parents are not interested so far and my in-laws try to not say anything. Most of my friends are La Leche League friends and supportive but some other acquaintances think I'm too "gung-ho". ~Maria
    • They were far more supportive of the second than the first. I suppose this was because they all knew better than to challenge me on it. I was so much better educated on the subject than any of them. ~Susan
    • My husband is supportive. He often says, "We breastfeed." He tells me how pleased he is with our son's security. He initially did not want me to breastfeed, because he wanted to feed our son, too. His support is a great source of validation and strength for me, because he is a "convert." ~Terri
    • Husband very supportive, family pretty good--more used to it than supportive, friends are manly LLL members or like minded. Most are supportive by acting like it is normal!! ~Jennifer
    • My relatives were supportive at first, then skeptical as I continued, and now I think it's just normal for them. Although my aunt says if it was anyone else it would be gross:-) I have left my son's father mainly because of our differences in parenting philosophies. I am an extended breastfeeding single mom, how's that for a statistic! Pretty rare I bet, but would like to know exactly how many of us are out there. I guess I'd say they are supportive in the fact that they don't bug me. My baby's father's family thought it was insane to tie myself down to breastfeeding in these "modern times". They never understood. My almost MIL said she'd never show her breast in public and was ashamed that I would. The father thought it was a good idea up until a year, then he kept saying "wing him" I think he means wean:-) They're not very bright folks:-) ~Shannon
    • My husband is supportive but lately has been asking when do you normally wean? I don't think he means to sound unsupportive of extended breastfeeding, but I think that people just assume when the baby is one year that the nursing should end. When the AAP came out with their new guidelines to nurse for one year and beyond, it really helped to nail down to my parents that what I was doing did have purpose. I have to say that I have had to rely on friends (very few who still breastfed), and basically people on lists or chat rooms for support. ~Pam

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  • How do you deal with those who are not supportive of the Extended Breastfeeding relationship?
    • I point out the facts [WHO, AAP, various research], point out how happy [not always healthy, but certainly happy] my children are, and state that it is OUR choice. ~Noel-Marie
    • I overload them w/ information about the importance and health factors to mother and baby. ~Kelly
    • Well, if they ask why I'm doing it, I explain my reasons - the benefits, etc. If they are unsupportive and uncomfortable, I find that I don't spend as much time around them because I will not put off feeding my daughter just because they don't like it. It hurts when people question what I'm doing and tell me they are uncomfortable seeing me nurse Meggie. It is just such a personal issue for me and a huge part of my relationship with me daughter - so when someone criticizes it, it really hurts. ~Donya
    • The only non-supportive people I've met have been family members, with whom I can discuss my reasoning. Plus, they love our daughter very much, they truly want what's best for her, even if her parents have some crackpot ideas. ;) ~Kathy
    • If they are interested, I talk about the risks involved with SIN and the benefits associated with EBF'ing. Very few people would have the audacity to argue with me face to face - it's never happened, but I'm sure it wouldn't be pretty ;) ~Debi
    • I haven't run into anyone not supporting me yet. ~Melissa
    • I've only encountered this twice. It was inlays, and it wasn't confrontational, just a passing comment. The first time, (years ago), I just nodded. The second time, I said there are many benefits to mom and baby, and that was that. ~Nikki
    • Have luckily not run into that, except surprise, but not nasty. I just explain the health benefits and the emotional benefits calmly. ~Petra
    • First try to educate them.. If that doesn't work - just ignoring usually gets my point across. ~Michelle
    • Basically, I have learned to say "this is what works for us". I do try to present information, but only if I feel like the person will actually listen a little! ~Laura
    • I have only had on comment in the 6 years I have been nursing, but I am so confident I am doing the right thing she immediately backed down. ~Terri B.
    • I ignore them , my husband has gotten to the point that he kind of deals with that he answers the questions and leaves me not to have to deal with it. If I’m alone well, If they don’t like it that’s there problem not mine. ~Lisa
    • I ignore them. After I present the reasons for this ideal relationship. If they do not believe and think it is too extreme, it is their loss. ~Elizabeth
    • I try to educate them about the health benefits and the rewards especially when a toddler has a difficult day, breastfeeding very often saves the day. ~Maria
    • I ignored them. ~Susan
    • I try to avoid the subject altogether. I am around my son almost all the time. I do not want him exposed to criticism and controversy about something that is so important to us. When I can't avoid the subject, I say something casually and change the subject. ~Terri
    • Pay no mind. ~Jennifer
    • At first, I would just spout facts at people. Then I just would say "it works for us" confidently. I currently find myself in the position of being around a new group of people since I am dating a man. I had to tell him, of course. That was strange:-) Now I have to go through it all over again, except now with a two year old! Wish me luck! ~Shannon
    • I hear what they say, but I know what I'm doing is right. I say "It works for us", and leave it at that. I don't get up on my soapbox. I have definitely learned that there are all different people out there with different opinions and beliefs. I respect their opinion and hope they respect mine. ~Pam

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  • Is your child's doctor supportive of the relationship. What kinds of things did the doctor tell you about the relationship? How did you respond?
    • 1st child: I got the standard "you have to wean if you get pregnant" speech. I refused to wean her, she chose to wean during the pregnancy. 2nd child: not supportive at all. He still doesn't touch solids [8 months old], and I am being told that "if you don't make him eat solids, he'll want to nurse for years" with the implication being "and that's a BAD thing". ~Noel-Marie
    • My doctor doesn't know that we're nursing. Not that I think he would be unsupportive, just that it didn't come up at the last 2 visits. He is very knowledgeable about breastfeeding though, and I don't believe he would have a problem w/ it. ~Kelly
    • Well, we just recently made a switch in pediatricians and this was one of the reasons we left the old dr. When Meggie was 9 months old, the dr. asked me if she ate baby food and how much, etc. I told her no, not really. The dr. was shocked and responded with a sarcastic "and may I ask why not?" I proceeded to tell her that Meggie wasn't interested in baby food at all and very rarely she would nibble a couple bites of something she could self-feed but that was it. She did not like this at all. At her one year appt., when the dr. entered the room, Meggie was tugging at the top of my shirt because she was hungry and scared and wanted to nurse. The dr. saw this and said "you're still nursing?" I said yes and then she said, "well, you better wean her soon, cause it's only gonna get worse". I told her it was not a problem for me. During the appt, she kept bringing up weaning her to cow's milk and how to make the transition. I told her we were not ready to wean and that Meggie still needs to nurse. She said, "well, she doesn't need it physically anymore". I was in shock. I later wrote a very detailed letter to her expressing my views on the subject and the facts about benefits of nursing into the second yr., etc. and also told her we were finding a new dr. I can not believe a pediatrician isn't aware of the benefits of nursing into the second yr. and was totally ignoring the WHO's recommendation of nursing till at least the age of two. ~Donya
    • Our pediatrician is very supportive. Many times he has told me that I'm doing the right thing. He told us that our child did not need to eat anything other than human milk for most of the first year. When I complained that a dentist told me to wean, he told me to find a new dentist. When I told him that at age 2.5 years, she hadn't eaten anything other than breast milk for five days (she had the flu), he said, "Nothing wrong with that." ~Kathy
    • My daughter's first doctor seemed to be on they payroll of all SIN manufactures and suggested that we supplement at every turn. I then found a doctor who is *very* supportive of EBF'ing. ~Debi
    • My child's current doctor thinks it's great that I'm nursing. He says I should continue until she's 2. I don't know what after that. The current doctor isn't much of a talker. All he said when I told him I was still nursing was "that's great. Then she probably won't get sick too much. Since you've gone this far, you should breastfeed until she's 2." I said okay, whatever. ~Melissa
    • I never discuss the issue of EBF with doctors. ~Nikki
    • Yes, very supportive and he hasn't told me anything, as I haven't asked ;). ~Petra
    • One of the partners is - the other isn't. Kind of the same with their reaction to delaying some of the vaccinations. The one that I like is really impressed at Sarah's iron count - considering her limited intake of 'food' and lack of intake of 'infant cereal'.. She's comfortable that Sarah is getting sufficient iron from my breastmilk. ~Michelle
    • The dr. was supportive so far; we'll see. I would switch if she gave me a hard time. ~Laura
    • My ped. has always been supportive, I have never had any problems although this is our second ped. The first told my husband to give our 2 week old formula at night so I could sleep!! That was our last visit to him. When we interviewed new peds. I was very up front and told them I only wanted someone who would support breastfeeding and would give me his opinions on illness but not insist on medication. ~Terri B.
    • My youngest is now 6 so we have to worry about that in awhile , but I always got great support for it, or I would have gone to some one that did support me. ~Lisa
    • Hasn't really been an issue and it won't either :) ~Maria
    • Our first pediatrician was not very supportive. So I changed. And I have educated our medical professionals on extended breastfeeding. I am a trained nursing counselor, btw. ~Susan
    • No, my son's doctor is not supportive. She told my to wean him at one year. She said to expect crying and manipulation. I tried it half-heartedly. I no longer bring it up. I expect she thinks he's weaned. At 18 months, she told me to wean him from the bottle, because she forgot he was breastfed. ~Terri
    • Yes, he knows that I am a Leader Applicant, so that has nipped most comments in the bud. ~Jennifer
    • We don't have a regular doctor. I did have one doctor say it was time to stop when baby was a year old, saying after six months it had no nutritional value at all. Hmm, how do all those third world babies survive past six months then? I responded I wasn't here to discuss breastfeeding with him could he please look at baby's ear? I had one doctor get extremely flustered recently when baby broke his collar bone and I suggested I nurse him to calm him down so he could be examined. He all but ran out the door! It was very funny, but sad, too. ~Shannon
    • My doctor seems to be supportive. Although I was told by one dr. in the practice (a woman) that he should not need to be breastfed at night, that I should give him a pacifier instead! My own dr. was supportive in a subtle way, he said "I'm not going to tell you to stop" and really didn't mention weaning at all. His wife, who is also a doctor, breastfed until 6 months. I think as long as the child is eating solids and seems well adjusted otherwise, he is supportive. About the getting up at night, he said "only when it becomes a problem for you, getting up at night, will I give you advice on how to handle it, (Ferberizing)". I never mentioned night time nursings again. ~Pam

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  • After the first year, how frequently did you nurse?
    • First thing in morning, mid morning, before nap, after nap, bedtime, during the night. Plus any other time she requested. ~Noel-Marie
    • My daughter nursed at least ever 2 hours until she about 18 months old. She did not start solids at all until around 9 -10 months (after she got teeth), and did not really have a true interest until the last couple of months. Now we will nurse anywhere from 4-12 times a day. ~Kelly
    • Well, currently at almost 18months, she is nursing about 3 times during the night and about 7-8 times during the course of the day. These numbers are of course estimates and change very easily depending on teething, sickness, or if we are "on the move" and she feels too distracted to nurse. (She tends to not nurse when we aren't at home or in an environment she is familiar with). ~Donya
    • We nursed at least every two-three hours around the clock until she was close to three years old. ~Kathy
    • I'm not really sure, it would vary but I would say 4-5x's a day. ~Debi
    • At 12 months old, she was nursing about every hour and a half. Now, at 13 months, she nurses a couple of time (for a few minutes) every hour. She's nursing a lot more now and is less interested in solids. ~Melissa
    • In the second year, breastmilk was still a large part of my daughter's diet, so it was still several times a day. Gradually it lessened to a couple of times a day for quite awhile, then every few days right before she fully weaned herself. My 14 month old son still gets most of his nutrition from breastmilk, so he nurses several times a day. (Sorry to be vague, I just don't keep track!) ~Nikki
    • It's not up to me. My daughter determines this and it's anywhere from twice to ten times a day. ~Petra
    • Still almost as much as when she was born. A little less during the day - but still as much at night. ~Michelle
    • Still about 8 times in 24 hours. ~Terri B.
    • On demand , we never kept track I couldn't tell you how often when ever he was hungry. ~Lisa
    • I do not know. It was whenever the babies wanted. ~Elizabeth
    • We nurse about 10 times per day sometimes as little as 6. ~Maria
    • Who knows? Isn't that the beauty of breastfeeding? No measuring, no counting, no muss, no fuss. (But probably a thousand times a day, LOL.) ~Susan
    • I can't say. I don't keep track of these things. At 21mo., he always nurses to go down for a nap or the night and when he wakes up. He is also a frequent night nurser. He nurses whenever he feels insecure. And, when he doesn't know what to do with himself. Also, if he gets hungry, he will ask to nurse. I'm not sure if it's because he prefers nursing to eating or if he hasn't learned to ask to eat yet. ~Terri
    • ~ 10 times, not sure never really counted. ~Jennifer
    • It depended on the day, but almost the same as all along, about 6-8 times a day, maybe 4-6 times a night, but I'm not sure about the night. We've always shared a bed so I don't really wake up, you know. ~Shannon
    • My son nurses about 3-4 times per day and 1-2 times at night. ~Pam

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  • After the first year, did you nurse on demand? If not, during what times did you allow your child to nurse?
    • Yes. ~Noel-Marie
    • I continue to nurse on demand. ~Kelly
    • I nurse on demand. Although, there are times now, especially when she is teething that she wants to nurse constantly, where I tend to try to put her off a little until I can sit down with her and nurse for a while. ~Donya
    • We nurse totally on demand. Out of 100 times we nurse, maybe one time was my idea. No that's not true, because when it's my idea she won't nurse. ~Kathy
    • Yes. ~Debi
    • Yes, I nurse on demand. When she wants to nurse, she comes and pulls on my shirt. ~Melissa
    • I always nursed on demand. By the time she was an older toddler, my daughter was only nursing at naptime and bedtime anyway. ~Nikki
    • Yes, on demand. ~Petra
    • Still on demand. And if she doesn't demand - I offer. ~Michelle
    • We nurse on demand. ~Terri B.
    • We had a family bed so they nursed when ever and were ever they choose to. ~Lisa
    • Yes. ~Elizabeth
    • Yes, we nurse on demand. ~Maria
    • I always nursed on demand. But the demanding became less frequent. ~Susan
    • No, I do not nurse on demand anymore. Well, not always. I ask him to wait if I'm doing something or it is inconvenient. I also try to avoid public nursing. This is because I am currently very large busted and very modest, and he has resisted all my efforts to teach him to be a discreet nurser. I am not interested in showing the entirety of my breast, midriff and bra to total strangers. So, he has to wait. He seldom asks in public anymore. And if he does, he accepts my refusal calmly. If it's really important to him, I find somewhere private to nurse him. ~Terri
    • Yes, unless it was a hard situation, car, check out line etc. The closer to 2 years, the more she was able to hold off. ~Jennifer
    • Yes it's always been on demand, except times when he's had to wait because I was doing something. ~Shannon
    • I still nurse on demand, but actually he had developed his own type of schedule. Morning, noontime, and evening. ~Pam

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  • When did the nursing relationship end? Do you consider the end of the nursing relationship Child-Led or Mother-Led? If you considered it Child-Led, how did your child end the relationship? If you considered it Mother-Led, how did you go about weaning?
    • Ended at 22 months, when I was about 2 months pregnant. Child-led: she simply decided that nursing "tasted yucky" [from the pregnancy hormones, one assumes] and stopped. ~Noel-Marie
    • With my son, it was child-led nursing under extenuating circumstances. I was pregnant with my second when he weaned very abruptly at 7 1/2 months. Very suddenly, when put to the breast because he was hungry, he would latch on, then immediately pull of screaming and crying. I would try to put him back on but he refused. Over the course of a couple days, he completely weaned and I was forced to give him a bottle which he guzzled happily. It was very sad for me and hard to take that he was rejecting nursing from me. From what I understand, it is not that uncommon for a child to wean during a pregnancy though and that did comfort me some. ~Donya
    • The relationship hasn't ended, but it will be child-led. ~Melissa
    • My nursing relationship with my daughter ended when she was 4 1/2. It was definitely child-led. She cut down so gradually, that one day I just realized she hadn't done it in awhile. We never really talked about it. ~Nikki
    • My oldest - child led, but nursing strike, middle - combination, I was working part time and finally dwindled down to before bedtime feeding, then phased that out, youngest - child led, but still going. ~Petra
    • First child was mother led and child approved. I was pregnant and it hurt to nurse so my first daughter allowed me to wean her at 2yr 9mo, it took about 6 weeks to wean. The second child is still nursing on demand. ~Terri B.
    • It was child led , he got to the point that, he gave it over to the next baby. I was tandem nursing with the last 3 of them. It just stopped… that’s all… they were done. ~Lisa
    • When the eldest weaned. One day, he whispered to me that he no longer wanted to nursed. Then he nursed on and off for around one more month. Child-Led. ~Elizabeth
    • It hasn't ended. ~Maria
    • Definitely child-led. I was content as long as she was. We were on vacation when both of my children got too busy to bother. ~Susan
    • It hasn't ended yet, but I expect it to be child-led. But I guess not entirely since I have already put limits on the location of nursing. At home, we no longer lie on the floor for "nonny." I have four clearly defined locations. I will nurse in other places, but only when we are playing in his room, or he wants a quick nip while I am at the computer. ~Terri

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  • When did you resume menstruation?
    • Between 7 and 8 months with child 1 [who started solids at 3 months]. Have not resumed with child 2. ~Noel-Marie
    • At 15 months post partum. ~Kelly
    • With my son, at around 7 wk. - I had planned on returning to work and was giving him bottle a few weeks before my return only to find I couldn't leave him and had to quit my job so I could stay home with him. I then went back to nursing full-time but my body had already kicked back in. With my daughter, I didn't have a period until she was 12 months old, then didn't have a second one for three months later... I'm still having irregular cycles. ~Donya
    • I got my first period when my child was 21 months old. ~Kathy
    • Around 6 Months. ~Debi
    • At about 4 or 5 months post-partum. ~Melissa
    • LOL, I can't remember with my daughter! My son is 14 months, and I still haven't started again. ~Nikki
    • Around 6 months postpartum with each child. ~Petra
    • At one week shy of her first birthday. ~Michelle
    • Haven't yet (keep your fingers crossed for me) ;) ~Laura
    • 19 months with both. ~Terri B.
    • I only had my cycle back long enough to get pregnant, all of my boys are 3 years apart, so I got it every 2 years . I use to kid my husband that I never had a cycle from 1982 through 1994. ~Lisa
    • One month after the birth of my first child. One month after the birth of my second child. ~Elizabeth
    • Haven't had a period yet. ~Maria
    • After three months. ~Susan
    • When my son was 17 months. ~Terri
    • Despite Family Bed, cue nursing etc.. It came back at 6mo. I was heavy, and had to much estrogen built up I guess. With my great weight loss, I hope my next will keep my monthly away just a bit longer. Funny though, I sure my fertility has just now come back "hormones" and all... ~Jennifer
    • At six months. I went to this Greek festival and he was busy looking around and hardly nursed that day. I feel this had something to do with it. ~Shannon
    • I got my period back when he turned one year. ~Pam

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  • In what ways do you feel that you and your child have benefited from Extended Breastfeeding? What kinds of things would you say to educate others about Extended Breastfeeding?
    • She's very self-assured and caring. She knows about nursing, and preaches about it to anyone who will listen. :) She has had better health than all of her early-weaned or never breastfed friends. ~Noel-Marie
    • My child is very healthy. Although she is around more children now that she is a toddler, she has not been sick all winter and she has only had 1 ear infection (around the time she started solids).I believe that I have benefited from EBF by the fact that I take care of my body much more than I believe I would if I were not nursing. I make sure to eat healthy foods, keep junk food and soda to a minimum, and take care of myself better. My daughter is very secure in her attachment to me, and can go all day w/o nursing if she wants to, but also feels comfortable asking to nurse anytime she needs it. I think that as she has grown older, it has become more and more fun since she can talk about it, and I hope that it will also influence her later on (possibly she will remember nursing as a positive thing, and be more likely to nurse her own children). ~Kelly
    • I feel my daughter and I are more in tune with one another and have a close relationship due in part to extended breastfeeding. I think nursing a toddler has some definite pluses - you can nurse the boo-boos away and make them feel better through all the trying times of the toddler years. With the activity level and independence that begins to emerge as your baby moves into the toddler stage, nursing has provided a welcome cuddle time that I did not have with my son. I love it and think every mother and child deserves to experience it. ~Donya
    • I get very aggravated when people think that children don't 'need' human milk after some preset age. Human milk is incredibly nutritious, it is comforting, it provides numerous health benefits. No matter how little a child nurses or how much else he eats, human milk is always good for him. I can't think of a more nutritious snack. ~Kathy
    • My daughter has only been sick twice, she's never had an ear infection, she's incredibly social, confident & bright (ok, I *am* the mom ;) perhaps a little biased too) but it's difficult to say how she would be different if we parented differently. ~Debi
    • We have benefited in many ways...the most important, I think, is the close bond we have. I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world! BF also comes in handy during stressful times. I would tell others that EBF makes life much easier when you have a busy toddler that isn't interested in solids, or has a rough day… ~Melissa
    • Well, I feel we both benefited health-wise. Emotionally, we're very close. It was such a wonderful way to wind down. No matter what had happened that day, no matter how '2' or '3' she was being, her having nummies would calm us both down. It's nice that she remembers nursing, and we can talk about it. How would I educate others? I would tell them that I believe a that breastmilk is very nutritious, no matter how old the child is, it's good for him/her. It always passes on immunities. I would tell them that a child's immune system isn't fully developed until around age 6, so the longer they can get the immunities the better. It's a great way to regroup. It benefits the mother by lowering her risks of certain types of cancer. It's normal in other countries, and should be here, and I would try very hard not to be too overbearing about it! ~Nikki
    • Calmer, healthier (oldest started getting ear infections as soon as she stopped BF-ing, nothing else changed). I'd tell others to follow their heart and not the norm. ~Petra
    • Actually breastfeeding in and of itself led me to AP. If Sarah wouldn't have had to nurse constantly - we never would have found the family bed, or probably a sling for that matter. I think that for me breastfeeding made me listen to my heart instead of those so-called experts. ~Michelle
    • N/A and I would tell people that there are many myths about EBF, and try to dispel them (I think we all know what they are). ~Laura
    • It has made us closer, because no matter how crazy they have made you feel all day you can reconnect while nursing. It is hard to be upset at a nursing child. It is also great when they are sick, my 2 year old is ill now and has eaten a hand full of food all week, I know that nursing has kept her hydrated and her energy level up. I don't have to worry about Pedialyte or any of that stuff. ~Terri B.
    • I am so close to my kids , my 11 year old had a heart condition that I nursed him through. My 6 year old had clubfoot and he has had 5 surgeries since 8 months gone on hunger strikes and all he would do is nurse. It 's the best thing in the world for you and your child . It doesn't get any better than this. ~Lisa
    • We are closer. Healthier. He is more independent. It has given me a lot more patience. It has made me very happy to fulfill a basic need. It has made me a better mother because of it. Do it. You will never regret it. ~Elizabeth
    • It’s a really wonderful tool for difficult times, when she is overwhelmed and tired nursing lets her be a "baby" and she can forget that she is an active toddler full of energy and curiosity. ~Maria
    • It is possible, it is desirable, it is a beautiful thing. And don't take any crap from anybody about it. ~Susan
    • My son and I are very close. I believe our relationship has allowed his full personality to flower (warts, screaming, and all). He still breastfeeds because he needs it. I think continuing the breastfeeding relationship is one way I have of allowing him to develop at his pace. He will wean himself from the breast on his timetable, the same way he learned his motor-skills. ~Terri
    • I know she is healthier, closer to me--more hands on parenting, her emotional needs have been meet better. I am healthier, a better mother than I ever thought I would be. Nursing is how I have learned to parent, to learn my daughters needs and wants. I do this on a weekly basis, a living example, showing new moms that this is not strange, but very normal. ~Jennifer
    • I am definitely a better mother, this I am sure of. I was not happy to be pregnant, and the father said, "Oh fuck" when he found out, you get the picture? It took me several months to fall in love with my son, and it has been a gradual thing. Now I would give him body parts if he needed them, or rescue him at the risk of my own life. It certainly bonded us. It gave me the private cocoon I needed to bond with him, when you nurse, people don't come to close to you, you know? It's like two really great dancers clearing the dance floor:-) He's only had one ear infection. People always say he's so happy and good-natured. I don't really know how we've benefited otherwise because I have no prior experience to compare it too. ~Shannon
    • I feel we have both benefited from the closeness and I have learned to know my baby and have been able to provide him with a great start in life. I would say to others that extended breastfeeding creates a very independent and happy child whose needs are met. ~Pam

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  • How has breastfeeding affected you physically? (e.g., side effects, weight gain or loss, increased or decreased appetite, energy level, sex drive, etc.)
    • Severe decrease in sex drive. Increased appetite. Has made weight loss difficult. ~Noel-Marie
    • Until I got my periods back, I had very little sex drive. I have had trouble keeping weight on, but that has always been a problem for me. I definitely had an increased appetite. ~Kelly
    • I've gained weight. I can't attribute it to extended nursing though... granted while nursing, I tend to be famished at times and over-eat... Sex drive isn't too great - but again, there are other contributing factors. My energy level is fine - normal for me. I tend to be very thirsty most of the time and experience dry mouth as well. I know nursing does make this situation worse but that at least half of it is due to a medication I'm on. ~Donya
    • I think I'm more at peace with myself as a woman, a nurturer and a mother now. I'm more confident in my body and it's ability to do what comes naturally. I didn't notice many weight changes with nursing though ;D daanng...... ~Debi
    • Definitely increased my appetite! ~Melissa
    • I have experienced lower libido after both my children's births, but I think that's normal for anyone. With my son, I have noticed that I eat a lot more than usual, and have lost weight. ~Nikki
    • I gained weight after the first 3 months and can't get it off, though I exercise a lot. I can't diet though, as my appetite is huge and I start feeling ill when I don't give in to the hunger. There'll be enough time to diet after she weans though, no big deal. Sex drive is not great, but not because of the breastfeeding, more because of exhaustion :). Energy level seems unaffected by breastfeeding. ~Petra
    • Side affects - prolonged delay of return of period (yeah - a real downer). This had probably aided in the return of my endometriosis. Weight - I'm now 10 pounds less than when I got pregnant (yeah - another real downer). Appetite - Please don't mention food to me or I'll just have to eat this computer. Seriously - if food is in sight - I eat it. My favorite meal is not whatever someone else is cooking. Energy level - I'm definitely sapped of energy. Although I'm not sure if this is from breastfeeding - or being the sole (disabled) parent of a very active child. Sex-drive - What sex-drive? Last time for that was the night before Sarah was made (see Turkey baster story). Etc - LOVE that prolactin. I think I'm addicted. ~Michelle
    • I lost all the weight gained in pregnancy by 5 months PP. And I gained 50lbs! I have a decreased sex drive, a slightly increased appetite, much increased thirst! I feel more happy and more weepy too though. ~Laura
    • There are no side effects unless a smile every time you think about it is one.<G> ~Lisa
    • After the initial post-partum weight loss, I have not lost any weight. Other than that, nothing to report. ~Elizabeth
    • I am thinner than pre-pregnancy which is great but I feel the need to increase it in order to start my period again. I'm a normally thin person and breastfeeding keeps me thinner. ~Maria
    • Weight loss was great in the first six months, then no real noticeable effects, other than the lower risk of cancer, etc. ~Susan
    • I lost my pre-pregnancy weight very quickly, plus 20 more pounds, then leveled off. Since my period resumed, my metabolism is very much like it was pre-pregnancy. I am having a difficult time keeping off the weight I've lost. ~Terri
    • I have lost a great deal of weight, energy is high, sex is different--"softer" more quiet. My body is very different, so is my mental image--self esteem. I am a better person for having gone through the kind of pregnancy and birth experience that I did, and my redemption--my nursing experience. ~Jennifer
    • Well... my nipples are really long, now. They were flat before. They scare me sometimes:-) As far as sex drive, I don't know because I didn't like the father anyhow so I don't know if I would have wanted sex or not. I was really hungry for about six months, but it tapered off. My energy level was the same, other than those sleepless first months. No noticeable weight differences, my baby weight came off slowly, it took about 8 months. ~Shannon
    • I lost all of my pregnancy weight quick. My appetite is big on some days and small on others. My energy level is about the same, only nights when I don't sleep much is it less. I have to say, I'm not as interested in sex as before, but it is slowing coming back. ~Pam

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  • Any other comments?
    • I have found that the longer I nurse the more adamant I have become that it is the only choice for us. I have also become more understanding of the system and more aware of the misinformation that exists and how women need to see other women nursing their babies (and yes, a 30 month old is still a baby) to realize that this IS the norm or at least should be. ~Debi
    • Breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding made a world of difference for my self-esteem. I had very low self-esteem before my daughter was born over 7 years ago. I was embarrassed of my body, I thought it was ugly, and really didn't think I had much to offer. When I became a mother, and began breastfeeding my daughter, I was in awe that my body, which I hated, was doing something so wonderful! I found respect and love for my body that I didn't know was possible. I'm not saying breastfeeding was the only contributing factor, I think motherhood in general was the main one, but it was a big part. I am amazed now, with this body that is nothing like it was 10 years ago, I feel better about myself than I did then! ~Nikki
    • Don't set a limit of breastfeeding before you even have a child. Just let it happen and see how it goes. Saying "I'm going to breastfeed for one year" will only make you doubt yourself at that year mark. Join a supportive e-mail list :). Very important! Also, scope out a good, board certified lactation consultant before having a baby, he/she can be vital to a successful breastfeeding relationship. Same goes for the pediatrician. ~Petra
    • Only one - thanks for the great list. I've learned so much and met (not in RL) some great women… ~Michelle
    • I guess I would just say that I used to think people that nursed their children after age 3 a bit "radical". Now, I don't think that :) The breastfeeding relationship is a wonderful thing! ~Laura
    • It has made me more committed to help other woman discover the joy of having a healthy baby. ~Elizabeth
    • I'd recommend it to anyone who can do it. And I do believe that anyone can do it. ~Susan
    • I am so lucky to have chosen breastfeeding. I have learned about giving and *sustaining* life, and how emotionally gratifying nurturing can be. Motherhood and nursing have completed me. What a privilege. ~Terri
    • Some have laughed when I say nursing my daughter has changed my life. I would not be the woman, the parent, the person I am today if I had not breastfed my daughter. ~Jennifer

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Compiled by Karen Henderson

 

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