Extended breastfeeding: am I a mom or a bottle?

Ryan is 15 months old and is still breastfeeding. My goal was 1 year. I don’t know what I thought would happen at that point… he’d magically stop? It’d just go away? It’s not so easy.

I’m not saying I want to quit because I don’t. I don’t see how I could! Ryan runs over and either gives me the sign for “milk” or he simply rips my shirt off–really. We’re trying to teach him that this is not okay to do in public haha… so then he just sticks his hand down my shirt. (See below).

There’s no way I could turn him away or say no! If he wants to nurse and I’m still making milk, why not?

Sometimes… the thought of quitting or having it end someday makes me want to cry. Then he won’t be my baby anymore! I can’t lose my baby! It’s just like co-sleeping. Steve mentioned the other day that he’d like it if Ryan slept in his crib all night so he could more easily sleep in our bed (we need a king!). I started crying. Seriously. Of course I love sleeping in bed with Steve, but I also love sleeping in bed with Ryan, my cuddle bug. And someday, he won’t want to sleep with me anymore! AHHHHHH!

But sometimes… the breastfeeding drives me CRAZY. Sometimes Ryan wants to do nothing ALL DAY but sit on my lap and nurse. I swear there isn’t even any milk coming out at some point, but he just wants to relax on the boob. And his new thing? He HAS to be touching/grabbing one side while he’s nursing from the other. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes I can’t stand it.

On Saturday night he slept over at my mom’s house and then I spent the entire day Sunday at a pregnancy expo (for our ICAN chapter). So it had been awhile since I had seen Ryan by the time I got home Sunday night. He ran over, excited to see me… I reached down to pick him up and give him a hug… but he backed away from me–to make the “milk” sign. Forget the hug, mom! I just want your milk!

I’m a pacifier, a lovey, a bottle and a pillow.

How long did you breastfeed or are you planning on it? How did you wean or when did your child wean on their own? I’d like to let Ryan decide when he’s ready to be done nursing, but at this rate… I’m afraid he’ll be 15, haha.

39 comments to Extended breastfeeding: am I a mom or a bottle?

  • Kim

    My son, who is now about 2 (his birthday is on Wednesday) really ramped up the nursing schedule after his first birthday, but still ended up self weaning at 18 months. He just stopped asking for it… he was too busy playing I guess! :)

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    babydickey Reply:

    Ohh, good to know! I thought nursing would lessen but I’m glad to hear that Ryan isn’t the only one who seems to be nursing MORE after age 1, haha.

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  • Stephanie

    Thanks for sharing this! I was sick for a while after my daughter was born ( 16 months) and couldn’t breast feed after we left the hospital. I am grateful for those few days. My daughter runs to me to give her a sippy cup of milk and you are a sippy cup :) Your son loves you for many reasons, I am sure, your milk is one of many.

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    babydickey Reply:

    Thanks :) I’m sorry you had a hard time, but that’s great you got a few days in!

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  • Megan

    My firstborn weaned simply and easily at 11 months. I’d intended the same for my second – but as it turned out, she had a hyperactive gag reflex (or so that was the conclusion we arrived at after the GI doc, 24 hour pH probe, upper GI, allergist, countless bloodwork, and four months of “feeding therapy” found all to be normal). I finally sought the help of La Leche League, out of sheer frustration, and was taught about child-lead weaning and encouraged to continue nursing. My daughter’s weight percentile finally jumped and she thrived – she self-weaned three days before her second birthday and I’m happy to report that while she’s a “picky” eater, she’s a very healthy girl and doing absolutely fantastic. Extended breatfeeding was exhausting and often frustrating, but turned out to be a blessing.

    [Reply]

    babydickey Reply:

    I’m a picky eater and so I figure Ryan will be, too, haha. I’m glad your daughter is healthy and doing well! And congrats on bfing till age 2, that’s awesome!

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  • Genelle G

    Hi Emily! I breastfed my son until he was 2. He only nursed once a day and I could tell it was mostly habit and something he enjoyed rather than something he needed emotionally. Once he turned two I just started telling him that he was a big boy and didn’t need to nurse anymore and then offered him milk in a sippy. He took it really well and never pitched a fit or got sad or angry. Just accepted it. Sometimes he still asks (he’s just over 25 months now) and I just remind him that we don’t do that anymore. It was a pretty easy transition. Sometimes (like right now while I’m talking about it) I do miss that time with him, but mostly I’m just so glad to be done with breast feeding – for now. To replace the time we got cuddling while I nursed him we try to get one or two good cuddle times a day. It’s actually more fun because now he interacts with me while we snuggle and we talk and laugh, we didn’t get to have the fun in our cuddle time when he was nursing.

    It’s funny that you mention that Ryan wants to be holding the opposite side from the one he’s nursing on. My son was like that too! I thought the same as you, sometimes it was cute and sometimes it was irritating. lol!

    Good luck as you make your decisions… you’ll know when the timing is right. It’s also okay to stop if you are feeling overwhelmed or like you need the personal space back that you lose when you are a nursing mom. Fifteen months (or longer) is such and awesome milestone to reach for nursing a babe!

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    babydickey Reply:

    Awww, thanks for the comment, love this!! I love my little cuddle bug and you’re right–nursing time is great cuddle time, but we can still have that after he weans! That gives me something to look forward to :)

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  • How sweet, and he’s so cute!! My youngest 4 all self weaned past age 1. My 4th child stopped at 14 months, the same day he started walking. My 5th child stopped at 16 months when I was nearly 7 months pregnant with her little brother. My 6th stopped at 15 months, I had just became pregnant and my milk dried up that time. My 7th is still nursing and he’ll be 14 months in a few days. I was worried he was going to stop a few weeks ago because as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I had a drop in supply, but it’s back up to normal now.

    It’s bittersweet when they stop. For me it’s rough nursing through pregnancy because I’m so exhausted, plus the added hormones make my nipples very sensitive and sore – almost like a thrush feeling, so it can get really painful at times. By the time my kids have stopped I was ready on one hand to have my breasts back to myself for a couple months before the next baby arrived, but also sad that that special time between me and that child was gone.

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    babydickey Reply:

    All I can say is WOW… breastfeeding and 7 kids! Almost 8! You ROCK!!!

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    Jessica~Mom of all Trades Reply:

    Well lucky for me I didn’t have to nurse all 7 at the same time haha. If I were bottle feeding, I don’t know HOW I’d get anything done! With nursing it was easy for me to put baby in a sling and nurse while I fixed other kids lunch and stuff like that.

    I’ve never had 2 nursing at the same time though, mine always weaned at some point during the next pregnancy. I kinda hope Kason does the same and stops before November when this baby is due but I won’t force him to if he doesn’t want to.

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  • Lucas is 14 months and still nursing. I don’t see him weaning anytime soon! He doesn’t nurse as often as he used to, but still maybe 4 times a day. It’s great because he is a super quick nurser but it gives us like 10 minutes each nursing session to just relax and cuddle. But sometimes it’s frustrating because if Lukey doesn’t get his milkies RIGHT then and there, he turns into such a diva!

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    babydickey Reply:

    Hahaha. So true. We say “milkies” too and Ryan will pump those fists hard and fast (the sign for “milk”) with a crazy look on his face if I’m not fast enough, it’s hilarious. Congrats on 14 mo, mama!

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  • My goal is a year as well, but I have no problem going until 2 or even longer. I can’t imagine stopping. He’s only 6 months old now and does drive me crazy but that time on the boob is OUR TIME. He has little things he does with his dad and is always giggling for Daddy, but I get the milky snuggles. I get the cute little giggly-whiny sound he makes when he’s getting impatient as I pull my breast out. I LOVE how relaxing nursing naps are. I have difficulty falling asleep without him at the boob sometimes!

    I do hate the kicking and the scratching and pulling at my face, but you say it best when you point out that someday he will not want to sleep with me. The nursling period is a small part of my son’s childhood, something I try to remind myself when he’s clawing my eyelids and pulling my hair as he frantically latches and unlatches.

    LOVE that photo of him with his hand down your dress BTW!

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    babydickey Reply:

    Haha – so true – breastfeeding has a lot of phases. I’m glad we’re past the face scratching and hair pulling part of it! But now we’re at boob grabbing and shirt pulling lol. Congrats on 6 mo and good luck! :)

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  • Jared Harrison

    granted I pump exclusively because I had such a hard time breastfeeding so its very different, but you still have that emotional attachment to “i dont want to stop, its my baby” I went away-took a trip with my mom….hardest thing ever but I honestly believe that if I didnt do that I’d still be pumping just because I could and its healthy. Its holding on to whatever aspect of baby you can. I try to hold Stella like a baby-like the way you hold to breastfeed and she’s like yeah right…so treasure it. you are a bottle a pillow a lovey and a paci because you are a GREAT MOM! If you weren’t, you’d simply be a breastfeeding mom.

    [Reply]

    babydickey Reply:

    Exactly! I want to hold on to my “baby!” I know someday he won’t want to cuddle and be held like this anymore, so I’m trying to treasure it! Thanks for the reminder and kind words :)

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  • I got a lot of really great advice on my post similar to yours. I started giving sippy cups or snacks when he’d ask at inopportune times. I’m like you, some days I LOVE it, some days I’m like “ENOUGH ALREADY!” Being a mom is hard! I’ve started telling Austin “Booboobs are only for Ni-Night” and that helped a lot (until he got sick and would only nurse & my current sitch) and I’m currently trying to teach him he canNOT pull my shirt off.
    Good luck!!! May be Ryan and Austin can just room together at college and we’ll still be cosleeping, nursing them all night… ;)

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    babydickey Reply:

    Hahahaha, I died at that last part. Can you imagine?!?! LOL. Ryan does drink whole milk sometimes–with meals or if I’m not home–but still mainly breastmilk. I don’t want to quit – it’s just those days that he nurses SO MUCH I can’t take it anymore lol. I reallllly need to teach him to not pull my shirt off in public. He gets so “I WANT IT NOW” that he yanks and pulls and rips and he’s so hard to stop! Haha. Hey at least if they’re still co-sleeping and nursing in college, we’ll be the only women in their life and we don’t have to worry about any whores. ;)

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    Katie Reply:

    Genius. Let’s keep it up. 1 year down, 20 more to go!

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    Katie Reply:

    oh and, Austin doesn’t like whole milk. He much prefers 2%. If you’re still nursing I don’t see the reason why you would need whole milk since he’s getting the nutrients from you. 2% is much thinner, more like our milk. and less…. milky.

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    babydickey Reply:

    Ha funny that you say that – Steve JUST got home from the grocery store and said he bought 2% instead of whole milk. Why is he so much smarter than me? ;)

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  • B

    I feel like I could’ve written this post myself! A is 15 months also (12/28), and she seems to be going through either a growth spurt or a newfound love of mama milk, because she wants it all the time. I love love love nursing her and can’t imagine ever stopping, but I border on irritated sometimes as well when it comes to her wanting to nurse, or pulling my hair as she does!

    Glad to know I’m not alone!

    [Reply]

    babydickey Reply:

    Yes, exactly! Love it and can’t at all imagine quitting, but sometimes I want to pull my own hair out, haha. Congrats on 15 mo, mama!

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  • LB

    I have 3 children but the oldest wasn’t breastfed and the middle one is my step son so I didn’t need to for him but I now have a 8 week old little girl and we breastfeed AND co-sleep so I can see where you’re at!

    I feel like a walking buffet a lot of the time and we had thrush so every time I would feed her i’d get shooting, burning pains from nipple to armpit then randomly down my leg! It was enough to consider the bottle but instead we’re working through it and it is much better now after medication!

    I don’t plan on having any more children so I am thoroughly enjoying being a mother again and taking it in my stride. I don’t know how long I plan to nurse but I figured 6 months minimum and after that the skys the limit and we’ll see how it goes – I really don’t mind nursing as long as it takes as long as i’m not sitting here with her at 4 or 5 nursing!

    As for co-sleeping, I wasn’t a fan before I had her but she won’t sleep as well anywhere else! Before we co-slept she would sleep 10-15 min then wake up, which would go on all night! Since starting to co-sleep she’s going from 10/11 to 3/4am then feeding and back to sleep until 7ish! It rocks! I love it and we have a queen bed so lots of space. I am slowly getting her transitioned to her crib though but there’s no rush :)

    I think we all do what works for us and as long as we’re happy, its all good :)

    You look like you’re doing a great job! And trust me – my oldest is going to be 15 this year, but he’ll always be my baby :)

    xxxx

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  • I only breasted Jackson until he was 12.5 months and he pretty much weaned himself. I wouldn’t have minded going longer, it is definitely a very special time!

    I think it’s awesome you guys have continued the relationship for this long. Go for it as long as you can, I miss it!! :)

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  • Umm, breastfed, full of typos today! LOL

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  • I had a really hard time nursing my daughter as she didn’t latch on right. I was raw all the time. Even the breast pads would stick and I would scream when I took them off like I was peeling off another layer of skin. My husband would have to hold my hand each time and I was in excruciating pain. My goal was one year for her health. It did finally get a bit better but I never had that ‘bonding’ feeling and not wanting to stop. At a year, I slowly weaned her and in a few days it was done. She was fine and I had no side effects of stopping.

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    LB Reply:

    Ouch!!! xx

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  • I plan on going to one year (my daughter is 8 months); I really want my breasts back. I just got to the point that I’m not constantly leaking and soaking through my breast pads. I love the bonding and consider it very special and I’m sure this year is a short period in the grand scheme of things, but I’m so looking forward to not have to strategically decide what I’m going to wear each day (dark colors mostly and easily accessible tops).

    I also laughed when I read: “He HAS to be touching/grabbing one side while he’s nursing from the other. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes I can’t stand it.” My daughter just started doing this a couple months ago. Sometimes she doesn’t even want to nurse, just “examine” LOL!

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  • I think it’s great that he still wants to nurse! My boys were both preemies and I had to pump for a while and then my milk dried up before they were able to nurse.

    Have a great weekend!

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  • I’m still nursing at 12 months. He nurses a little less then he did when he was younger, but he still nurses several times a day and often a couple at night. I don’t mind a bit; I’m really loving it. I do wish we could nurse without the hair-pulling and nose-grabbing and kicking, though. He’s just so wiggly. :P

    I’m willing to go on at least another year, if he wants to. I kind of doubt that he’ll want to go past that, though — he’s an active guy and prefers food a lot of the time. But with all the trouble we had breastfeeding at the start, I just don’t want to quit now that things are so much easier! Besides, it’s nice to always have a snack ready, especially if we’re out and about and he suddenly gets hungry. A nurse before he gets in his carseat makes things so much easier! And, of course, I have no idea how I’d get him to sleep without nursing.

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  • The answer is bottle ;)

    I’m going through the same exact thing right now. Sometimes I’m just over it and want it to stop. But other times I’m like he’s just a baby. He needs me he needs his milk etc. I think 18 months is my stopping point but at the same time, how do I make it stop?

    B and I had the same conversation about co-sleeping too. We don’t even sleep in the same bed because B is so nervous about sleeping with Mason he’s afraid he’ll crush him or something but he’s over it. He wants Mason to sleep in his crib but where do I even begin with that?!

    yea so I wasn’t much help LOL

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  • Brittney

    I’m about to go on month 5 of breastfeeding my daughter and I actually just called my husband this morning and asked if we could afford for me to stop at 6 months. I give you huge kudos for continuing this long, I am so beyond frustrated with it! I love her, but I also have an almost 3 year old son to tend to as well. If she were my only baby it may be different, but she’s not…I have to share the love! :) If I can’t stop at 6 months I will have to cold turkey her at 1 year. I don’t want to upset her, or rather piss her off, but I need my boobs back.

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    babydickey Reply:

    I remember that feeling… and I promise that you finally reach a point where the nursing becomes second nature and you hardly notice it anymore. I think after 6 months when you can start some solids too (my son started solids around 8 months..) they do nurse less and that helps. Of course my son picked up again around 1 year, but that too was just a phase and he’s pretty much totally weaned now (22 months). Good luck, mama!! And CONGRATS for 6 months of breastfeeding (if not more)!

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  • Great post!

    QUOTE I’m a pacifier, a lovey, a bottle and a pillow END

    No, pacifiers, loveys, bottles and pillows are attempts at replicating you, your baby gets the real McCoy! & he gets the best “hug” feeding – hormones to relax him, snuggled next to your heartbeat, warmth and your scent.

    I’ve known LOTS of toddlers pick up around a year, then drop off again later – very normal developmentally. Aside from emotionally & nutritionally still a really important aspect is immunologically. Antibodies to protect against new found mobility and exposure, HAMLET which causes cell suicide in over 40 types of cancer, stem cells, t-cells, thymus growth – all of which have a much longer lasting impact than childhood.

    The other breast/nipple fiddling speeds up flow as they feed ;)

    Of course you can also absolutely set limitations and boundaries for your nursling as they mature, like with everything else. I couldn’t stand the other breast fiddling so that was a big no here lol

    Be super proud of yourself!
    AA

    [Reply]

    babydickey Reply:

    Ohh, that makes sense – that the other breast fiddling is to help speed up flow. It really drove me nuts though! Most of the time I’d remove his hand and say no and if he didn’t listen, I’d end the nursing session… so he kind of learned not to do that…. but he’s now 22 months old and has pretty much stopped nursing. I’m 6 months pregnant and think a couple months ago my milk dried up and that’s why he stopped. The weaning was really gradual and not anything I really tried to do… he went down to 2-3x a day and then just once a day, in the morning when he woke up. Now nothing :( Although once in awhile he does ask to nurse and I let him, but he only latches on for a second. Thanks for the comment! :)

    [Reply]

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