Extended BFing (18 months +)

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    Extended BFing (18 months +)

    I was just wanting to hear from some mamas who nursed past 18 months. DS#2 I will be 18 months this week and is still nursing strong both in the morning and before bed. There are occasional mornings that he gets fussy and just wants to get downstairs to his big brother and Elmo sippy, but by and large he BFs every morning and definitely does every night. He's a great eater, and does well with all sippys and straw cups, so there's no worry there that he only wants to BF. Because it's so easy and still satisfying for him, I'm just wondering how long he might continue to BF? When did your LOs wean at 18+? How did you know it was time? DS is definitely the last baby, so I know I will mourn weaning when we are done. But, on the other hand, I am really looking forward to non-nursing bras and hopefully dropping about 5 pounds that I can't shake even with good diet and exercise. What was it like for you ladies? TIA.

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    Re: Extended BFing (18 months +)

    Hi Kiwi!  DD nursed until about 25 months.  Like your DS, it was just first thing in the morning and right before bed.  I only have my own personal take (YMMV), but this actually comes up a lot on the Somerville Moms list, so I've seen a lot of other personal takes, too.  :)

    For us, I don't know if she would have quit on her own or not.  I was ready to be done, mostly because I was pregnant again and also felt a little constrained by always needing to be there when she woke up first thing in the AM.  I could also tell she wasn't getting much.  One thing that was surprising to me was that we ended the bedtime one first.  At that point, she wasn't "nursing to sleep", plus there was usually at least one night per week that I wasn't home because of my work schedule, and she didn't have a bottle or anything else at that time; she just skipped it.  So, we had a couple of evenings where we had plans to go to friends' houses or out to dinner and come home right at bedtime, so we put her in PJ's for the car and told her we'd go right to bed when we got home.  She didn't object to that, and I just put her to bed like normal but with no nursing.  The next night, she did ask, and I said something like, "how about we just rock and drink water at bedtime, and you can eat with Mommy in the morning?"  And she was surprisingly fine with that.

    The morning one was (surprisingly) harder, although in retrospect it made sense since I had already missed evenings with her but never missed morning.  At first, I tried the "don't offer, don't refuse", which had been what we did with all the daytime nursings (back around 13 months).  But it totally backfired.  She didn't ask for a couple of days, but then she started to get really upset in the mornings, and I realized it was because she didn't know what was going on.  Since she was older, she really liked knowing what to expect.  So I backtracked, went back to AM nursing for a couple of days, and then did the talking about it.  "You'll only eat with Mommy for three more days, then we'll just have milk in a cup, blah blah blah."  And I talked about it each of the last few days, including, "this is the last day, blah blah blah."  The next day I had her milk and water in cups ready, and she did ask and there were some tears, but since it had been explained already, I felt okay saying, "no, remember, yesterday was the last day.  Today we can have milk and snuggle."  After a couple of days, she didn't ask any more and instead would ask to have milk and snuggle.

    Anyway.  It was a tough decision, but I was ready to do it.  The key for me was realizing that she was older and needed a different strategy than what worked at 13 months.  I do see accounts on Somerville Moms that are much tougher, but a lot of those are kids who are nursing throughout the day into the toddler years, so they have to break the daytime habits as well.  Good luck with whatever you decide!