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Extended breast/bottle feeding?

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  • Extended breast/bottle feeding?

    It is always mentioned by LLL and also in AATH that extended breastfeeding provides so many benefits. How long have you or are you breast or bottle feeding? If you are breast or bottle feeding past a year, what keeps you motivated to continue breast or bottle feeding? What are your reasons? Have you seen any benefits to this extension?

    For our family, I extended breastfeeding till she was 3.5 years old. I truly believe this extension made it easier for her to outgrow many of her food allergies. I have also noticed that she rarely gets sick (her whole 6 years of life we have only had to go into the doctor's office for visits due to her extreme reflux and torticollis) or if she does get sick it doesn't last past 3 days. I also think the extension did in some way did provide comfort with her severe reflux.

    I'm looking forward to hearing your results/story.

  • #2
    My son is 16 months and I am still breastfeeding and plan to continue til he is around 3....maybe longer. I am even taking herbal supplements to try to bring in more milk so I can contuinue to bf for as long as I want. I dont need much motivation as I love to do it and love spending the time with my son and after 16 months of defending the idea to those who dont support it everyone has backed off.
    I am doing it partially due to the fact that I have a lot of food allergies and want to help my son avoid getting them if possible and partially just cause I enjoy it. I also just believe it is a great way to improve his health and well being.
    I dont know if Ive really seen any drastic benefits to it yet but its only been a few months over a year and he is a healthy happy baby and maybe it wouldnt be so had I not chosen to bf. I was worried for a few weeks that maybe I was doing it more for me than for him but I dont think so....if he is ready to stop before I am than I wont force it but as long as he wants it, I dont see why not!


    • #3
      I love your enthusiasm in extended breastfeeding. I never thought that it could also stave off allergies if you are allergic so that you can possibly not pass them down to your son. How long do you envision the breastfeeding relationship to continue?


      • #4
        Delilah is now 20mo. and we are still going strong in our breastfeeding relationship. I do it because I can't imagine not. She is so attached to nursing, and is such a happy child that I wouldn't be able to stop until she's ready. I love how she nurses her dolls, and now anything she can get hands on, how calm it makes her and how centered we both get. Now that we are expecting our second I am buckling down to tandem nurse, and I am so thankful to have a nursing toddler, it makes my life so much easier to just rest and get some time without running around.


        • #5
          I'm still breastfeeding our 2nd dd, who is now 25 months old. I don't see us stopping anytime soon, though I am starting to set some limits.

          With our first dd, I didn't make it past 1 week breastfeeding (long story, told to supplement, nipple preference, lots of pumping, etc). But she used a bottle well past 1 yr, and a pacifier until she was almost 3. I got lots of comments on how she shouldn't be using either of those anymore, and lots of helpful suggestions on how to cut her off cold turkey. But I think they both served a very important comforting purpose for her, and decided to follow some baby led weaning principles instead. She threw her last pacifier in the trash can herself when she was finished.


          • #6
            Currently breastfeeding my third toddler. My older two (twins, now 8 1/2) nursed for 5 1/2 and 6 years. We decided early on that child-led weaning made sense from so many viewpoints - nutritionally, immunologically, emotionally. Didn't really think that meant 5-6 years (I expected more like 2-3), but that just shows that our children know their needs if we simply pay attention.

            As science catches up with our innate wisdom, it's becoming more and more clear that nursing beyond 1 year is not "extended" but normal. It helps supprt the toddler nutritionally at a time when they're often too busy to eat balanced meals. It continues to support the developing immune system. And it provides an emotional connection and normalizes dependency (something that I think our society forces on children way too early).

            I am definitely an information junkie and have collected a fair amount of research on the affects of long-term breastfeeding. Would be happy to share if anyone is interested or getting criticism.

            I used to be rather smugly satisified re. my older children's health. They were never sick until about a year old. Now that I have a young child again, I realize they were never sick because they weren't exposed to anything! The toddler had a cold every month from 1 month to a year. But a cold in a breastfed baby tends to be a day or two with a runny nose, instead of a week or two of unhappiness. I do see that my children are generally healthy; I don't think now that they get fewer illnesses, but definitely less severe symptoms and faster recovery, even years later.

            I heard the most criticism of our choice when my twins were between 1-2 years, still nursing very frequently and obviously (nursing toddler twins is not "discreet" ). By the time they were 2, 2 1/2, those around me had either accepted our reasons for continuing or had stopped verbalizing their disagreement. And this time around, my friends and circle of acquantainces are mostly those who nursed their children for several years, so it's just normal. In fact, I was asked the other day if my toddler was still nursing and was shocked that someone would think to ask.