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Breastfeeding. It’s natural, it’s normal. It’s also controversial depending on who you’re discussing it with.

In today’s world, in Western Culture, there seems to be an unspoken rule among mothers that once your child can walk, talk and ask for it, it’s time to give it up.

 


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But there are mums out there that are challenging the ‘norm’. Mums such as Maha Al Musa who are breastfeeding their children well past the age that is considered ‘normal’. Maha will be appearing on The Discovery Channel’s Extreme Breastfeeding series, talking about her decision to continue to breastfeed her six year old daughter, Aminah.

Breastfeed_without-fear

Image source: Maha Al Musa Spiritual Birth Advocate

This topic certainly has tongues wagging around the globe and has sparked a conversation in the MoM office around what we did with our little ones, when and why we stopped breastfeeding.

Here is what 3 MoM mums had to say….

Lesley – Mum of 2

With my first I stopped at 5 months only because I didn’t enjoy it. With my second I stopped at 9 months ONLY because he wouldn’t take ANYTHING else, no bottles, NOTHING! I had planned to stop at 3 months lol!  For me I think it’s a personal decision, however I think 1 year would have been the limit for me as that’s when my boys teeth seemed to come. There was something about breastfeeding children with teeth that didn’t appeal to me.

Nikki – Mum of 4

I always assumed I would breastfeed.  From the time I had my own baby doll I remember telling my mum I was “feeding” my baby as I held her to my teeny tiny flat nipple! 30 years on I have breastfed all 4 of my children and am very happy that I did although it probably didn’t go quite as I planned.  No. 1 son was a muncher and loved to use me as a dummy so breastfeeding for the first few months involved nipple shields, hand expressing, cracks – you name it! But once we got into a rhythm, it all went well.  He actually weaned himself so to be honest, I felt a little let down. I had expected to feed him for much longer than that.  At close to 12 months, he decided he was far too busy to stay with me for a feed – preferring his sippy cup or drink bottle.

No. 2 son was a dream from the word go – either he or I had it down pat and he was very happy to have my breasts as his only form of milk. Forget the bottle, forget the cup he just wanted me. Although when I fell pregnant with my third child when he was only 7 months old, my milk either changed or dried up and he was hungry all the time so I had to wean him onto a bottle. Again, I was happy to be pregnant but quite let down that it was short lived.

Both my girls breastfed happily and well although by this stage I was back working and much busier and the girls were with carers more than the boys ever were so feeds were often just morning and evening and by 10 months, both the girls were fully weaned.

In total, I breastfed for well over 3 years. I don’t feel I missed anything but I do sometimes think I could have persevered a little longer to give my babes ‘the good stuff’ for at least the first year of their lives. Particularly now they are so grown up and moments of closeness are snatched in between the busyness of every day.

Thankfully I never felt judged for my choices. And I like to think I never judged anyone else. Breastfeeding has a functional purpose but there is so much emotion attached it’s become a real minefield of opinions.  Like I always used to say about how I gave birth, the objective is a healthy baby and a healthy mum.

Jacinta – Mum of 2

With my first I found breastfeeding HARD. It was either my nervousness or the fact that my bubba didn’t quite latch on as well as the midwives had promised – most likely a mix of both – but I struggled. I had really, really wanted to breastfeed. From the conversations I had had with midwives and nurses AND from all of the research I had conducted (yes I was going to be the BEST parent ever….) I was adamant that breastfeeding was THE ONLY choice for me. But when my little bundle arrived nothing went to plan. My nipples cracked, they bled, I used nipple shields, I expressed, I cried. Yet I persevered. Why? Because I felt pressured to do so. I kept going for 4 months, though it was mixed feeding for most of it. I finally gave up feeling guilty for formula feeding my baby and focused on being the best mum I could possibly be instead of putting pressure on myself. It was the right decision for me and I probably should have given up much earlier.

Then number 2 arrived, what a difference a second child can make! I completely expected to give birth, attempt to breastfeed and then move onto formula pretty quickly. But it just worked. Whether it was the fact that I was more relaxed, or that she latched easily (she certainly was a hungry baby!) or maybe it was just that with a two year old running around I didn’t have time to think about it – whatever it was, it worked. I fed my little one up until 14 months old, it was the only way she would have milk. When I started coming back into the office when she was 8 months old she would go the whole day refusing milk feeds, wait for me to come home and then refuse to get off me. Which secretly, I loved. It was hard to stop breastfeeding her, hard to remove the connection we had – but I had to wean her, the fact was, we all needed to get some sleep. If she had of slept through the night without wanting to be fed constantly I’m not sure when I would have given up, I could quite possibly still be feeding her (she is 21 months old).

 

What about you mums? When did you stop? How did you stop and WHY did you stop? No judgement here please, this post is simply about SHARING each mums feeding journey.

  • I only planned to feed for 6 months. My first born stopped on his second birthday and my second is still going strong at 15 months. Some days I’d like the freedom not to do it… but it’s so good for them even into toddler-hood.

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  • Bub basically decided for me. Once they were getting all they needed from solids and bottles, they weaned themselves

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  • My step mum asked me today if I was starting to wean my baby 11 month old as I am about to return to work. I don’t think we are ready for it yet, I love being able to breastfeed and my son loves it too.

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  • I said from the beginning I would bf till 12 months, as by the time he turns 1 I will be back at work. DS is now 9 months and I am lucky enough to still be able to bf him 3 or 4 times a day.
    I am now thinking should I feed him for longer or stop at 12 months as it has taken a huge toll on my body. I think only I can make that decision. I think I am going to miss it come time we stop.

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  • Thanks for sharing your personal stories ladies! I lasted 13 months and was exhausted! I was also one month pregnant and got nipped a couple of times. Was done to one feed a day at that time and hoping she’d self wean. She didn’t come lookign for it after the shop shut though. I’m due in a few weeks and not looking forward to breastfeeding again – I found it very draining, nipple pads every day, leaking boobs. It didn’t make me feel any closer to bub. Hoping this time around will be different!

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  • 16 months is the longest I did

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  • my first, my daughter was a breeze i didnt even put my nipple in her mouth for her first feed i just held her near it and she did it all herself and perfect attachment, so i was very luck, i enjoyed breastfeeding and would have happily gone to 12-18 months, but i was a young first time mum i had her 10 days after my 19th birthday, so i caved to the pressure from my mother in law to stop breastfeeding because “theres no way you have enough milk in you little boobs to feed that growing baby, you cant even measure how much shes getting” well i did have enough because she was an extremely happy and healthy baby. so i cut down at 4 months and started half bottle feeds, then by 5-6 months bottles only. then number 2 my son, he latched ok but he was always coming off then getting back on, he had bad colic so he was a crier, i persevered with it and fed him breast only till he was 6 months then cut back and stopped by 9 months. with my 3rd, my second son, i was 28 much more confident, and plan on this being my last baby so determined to make the most of it and keep him a baby as long as possible and feed him as long as possible, i breastfed him until he was 9 months then cut down and his last feed was a couple of days after his first birthday. i did struggle with supply for the first couple of days and he had 2 bottles while in the hospital because he had a temp and my low supply was not enough to bring his temp down.


    • yeah it is all up to the individual mum and bub. take cues from bub

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  • thanks for sharing this great story

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  • I will happily feed my son for as long as he wants it. Breastfeeding is our time together and I love it completely, he is my second and last bub and I’m going to be devastated when he doesn’t want it anymore. My first wouldn’t breastfeed (I was a very nervous and anxious mother so didn’t persevere as much as I now wish I had) and I was so happy my second was so easy to feed. I think it’s great that as a society we are finally starting to accept breastfeeding more openly.

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  • it s nice and good

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  • My first bub was hospitalised at 8 months and I was unable to breast feed him, so that was that. The second one, I just thought it was 8 months with the first, so it was the same with the second. I gradually reduced the amount of feeds gradually over time

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  • My first stopped at 14 months when I fell pregnant.
    My second is still having 2-3 feeds a day an is 12 months, unsure how long we will continue for.

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  • I think it depends on the bub and the mum! all bubs are different. I could not breast feed my first because there was no milk! The second bub fed ok only because they discovered that my milk did not come in till day 10! It hurt like hell at first but then after 5 weeks I did not feel any hurt at all. With the 3rd and 4th bubs feeding was a breeze! I fed my 4th one for 18 months!

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  • Stopped expressing at 12 months. It wasn’t giving him enough to fill him up by then.,

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  • Every one of my children were different. My first I fed till approx 18 months & it was a really natural transition, the grades to stop was the bedtime feed but a week of persistence got him gong off to sleep with a handhold instead. My second just wouldn’t feed for long enough to get the hind milk & wasn’t gaining enough weight, long story short after many trials she was formula fed from about 3 months & finally slept & put on the weight, yay! So now. Have number three, at nearly 7 months he is not showing any signs of quitting the breast any time soon. He will take a bottle though which is great for since I’ve started back a work part time. So number three is undecided but one & two a big beautiful 9 & 12 year olds now so I must’ve done something right! Haha!

    Reply

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