Not therefore long ago you an initial held your tiny newborn and also started on your breastfeeding journey together. Suddenly time has passed and also you discover yourself quiet breastfeeding one older baby or toddler – other you might never have actually envisaged doing! in ~ this suggest you might wonder whether your kid will finish up ‘nursing forever’.

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For plenty of mothers, the is other people’s expectations which are the problem. Almost as quickly as breastfeeding is walking well, world seem to begin asking as soon as you intend to stop! coping with pressure from others to prevent breastfeeding is no easy, however you will know in your heart what feels best for you and also your child.


Why parenting is quiet important

Your milk is still nutritiousAlthough you will be introducing your breastfed infant to the exciting people of solid foods items from around 6 month of age, your milk will continue to be his most essential food till at least 12 months. Beyond this, breastmilk is quiet a valuable contribution to your child’s diet, giving up come a third of both his day-to-day calories and protein requirements after 18 months, and also being a good source of vitamins and also minerals. Toddlers frequently eat varying amounts from day come day therefore it have the right to be reassuring to recognize your son is still getting your milk.

Protection from illnessBreastmilk continues to enhance and rise your children immune system. Whilst breastfeeding is no guarantee the a toddler won’t become ill, the can help reduce the severity of any kind of illness. Once he is ill, breastmilk may be the only food or drink he have the right to manage, especially throughout bouts that vomiting or diarrhoea. Parenting is also an extremely comforting come a poorly toddler and can make it much easier for you to cope through his illness. (See our article Amazing Milk.)

Comfort and also securityNursing offers security at a time once your child is arising fast and also the human being seems a confound place. A mommy is often surprised at how necessary breastfeeding stays to her older infant or toddler.

Breastfeeding past babyhood is normal

‘Weaning’ is the process whereby a kid learns to take nourishment various other than his mom milk. That starts once the kid is presented to foods and drinks in addition to breastmilk, and also ends when he lastly stops nursing. Girlfriend may concern that if you nothing initiate an end to breastfeeding, your child will ‘nurse forever’.

But youngsters outgrow breastfeeding on your own, just as lock outgrow various other toddler behaviours. This procedure of ‘natural weaning’ can enable a kid to construct at his very own pace, providing up breastfeeding follow to his very own timetable. All youngsters stop breastfeeding eventually, but some finish earlier than others. Rather than selecting a specific time to avoid breastfeeding, countless mothers just proceed nursing if it’s functioning well because that them and also see just how it goes.

Mixed feelings

Not every mothers space comfortable or great to breastfeed their babies past a particular point. Or possibly you feel that your son is nursing also much, or an ext than you room comfortable with? before rushing to wean, take into consideration whether breastfeeding yes, really does make her life harder. Your son will need your constant attention and care for years yet, whether he is breastfeeding or not. Periodically needs deserve to be met much more simply and also easily with nursing than in any kind of other way.

For many mothers, shortening feeds or reducing your frequency is sufficient to do them feel much more positive around breastfeeding and also confident the it will eventually end. Reasoning Of Weaning?, exactly how Breastfeeding Ends and the book Mothering her Nursing Toddler sell suggestions on exactly how to minimize or finish breastfeeding tenderness while still conference your children needs. Your neighborhood LLL Leader will have actually suggestions, and also other mother in your neighborhood LLL team will have uncovered their very own solutions too.

Comments indigenous others

Your biggest challenge may it is in coping v the opinions of others on just how long you should continue to breastfeed and also how weaning should happen. Explaining the importance of breastfeeding may seem threaten to world who made other choices. Instead, aid them feel an ext comfortable through mentioning just how breastfeeding makes life easier for you, her child and also your family. You can say that you didn’t plan to nurse this long: “At first I planned come breastfeed him for 6 months. At 6 months I made decision to wean him in ~ a year.” Or, “Before he to be born ns hadn’t taken into consideration nursing a toddler!” occasionally a smile and a witty an answer may execute the trick: “When is the going to prevent breastfeeding?”—“Oh, in around 5 minute or so ns expect!”

Out and also about

Criticism have the right to be less complicated to take care of when you are happy and also confident. Even so, you might start emotion uncomfortable about breastfeeding your older toddler in former of others. As a child establishes the

ability come wait, part mothers collection limits top top where and when castle nurse, or offer distractions at times as soon as it’s inconvenient. You can nurse before you go out and take a healthy snack and drink to birds your toddler over until you reach the car, house or other perfect place. Picking your own clothing carefully can aid avoid accidental overexposure and choosing a convenient codeword for breastfeeding such as ‘num-nums’ or ‘milkie’ provides it less evident when your son asks come nurse when out and also about.

Breastfeeding manners

Setting part gentle boundaries on exactly how your older baby or toddler breastfeeds is the start of tenderness discipline and also guiding him into great behaviour. That starts as soon as you znjke.comanize his hand or provide him a toy to prevent twiddling if feeding. If your toddler tries to breastfeed in inexplicable or uncomfortable acrobatic positions, you have the right to let him recognize that it hurts and also that if he desires to nurse he needs to sit properly. It’s finest to begin to collection limits on just how you will certainly breastfeed before behaviour i do not care a problem. If a behaviour you aren’t happy v has come to be a habit, it may take a tiny perseverance to change things. However even young toddlers answer to constant loving guidance, particularly if rewarded through breastfeeding and a give thanks to you when they law appropriately.

Conflicting advice

Some people, even health professionals, who space unfamiliar with breastfeeding one older baby or toddler, may insurance claim that nursing past a particular age leads to spoiling, this decay, obesity or any variety of other consequences! there is no evidence for this. A child’s secure attachment actually leads come independence.

There is evidence that tooth decay is dependent on the existence of certain oral bacteria and also enamel defects. Limiting sugary foodstuffs (including dried fruit), drinks and also sweets, and also careful clean are far better preventions than ending breastfeeding. There is also evidence that obesity is more prevalent in kids who room not breastfed.

Children all develop at different rates: crawling, walking and also talking at different ages. Why need to weaning be any different? Children’s requirements for sucking and also closeness vary. If your son enjoys breastfeeding and also it provides him feel good, what a good reason for snuggling up through him

Benefits because that you

Breastfeeding helps:• calm an overtired or fussy child.

• Soothe you both if your kid is pains or in pain.• lull frustration and also recovery indigenous toddler tantrums. If clingy, demanding behaviour is typical in young children, part families find that as soon as breastfeeding continues, the ‘terrible twos’ turn into ‘terrific twos’.• You stay calmer and drift earlier to sleep more easily, thanks to those breastfeeding hormones.• minimize your hazard of occurring breast cancer

Thinking of weaning?

If you room thinking that taking active steps to end breastfeeding there are several suggestions in Thinking that Weaning? and just how Breastfeeding Ends. The ‘don’t offer, nothing refuse’ method can be a helpful technique after the an initial year. Simply proceed meeting her toddler’s should nurse if he is hurt, tired or upset and also wait until he asks once his need is less obvious. Offer a healthy and balanced snack, drink or a story instead—and see just how he reacts. Encouraging your boy to help you about the house and get connected in beat can provide natural distractions when he no really should nurse. Setup appropriate borders is the start of gentle discipline and can it is in a means of saving your breastfeeding relationship. Exactly how long your toddler is able to wait will count on the situation, his age and temperament. Do make sure that you monitor through and offer the promised feeding later, so he trusts you and also is ready to wait.

Wanting another baby

Regular periods typically signal the return the fertility. Whilst some mothers who aren’t utilizing contraception end up being pregnant when nursing a toddler, others don’t end up being pregnant until after breastfeeding ends. Every mommy responds in different ways to the economic stimulation of breastfeeding and there room no straightforward answers. Some mothers shot partial weaning in the expect of gaining pregnant, but many merely wait learning that, through time, the breastfeeding partnership will become less intense and also fertility will certainly return.



Pregnant nursing mothers periodically receive conflicting advice about whether to wean. Part mothers discover their child weans naturally during the pregnancy. Other mothers continue come breastfeed during pregnancy and also may walk on to feed both children. This is referred to as tandem nursing. See additional Reading for more information.

Finding support

It is easy to feel isolated as soon as the reality of life with a infant or toddler go not satisfy your expectations. Gift able to meet other mother in comparable situations have the right to be a good help. La Leche League groups welcome mother at any kind of stage the breastfeeding, so you will certainly often find mothers breastfeeding larger babies and also toddlers at your local team meeting. Part LLL groups run toddler meetings wherein you deserve to share experiences and tips.

Feelings, needs and also expectations

Your own feelingsHowever you feel, carry out take care of yourself so you deserve to enjoy caring for her child. Avoid making fast decisions to wean. A break, a nap, a bath, or simply something come eat or drink, might be all you need to recharge before deciding what you want to do. Breastfeeding is a two-way relationship, and your demands are essential too. You can change your approach as cases change. It isn’t easy as soon as you are ready to prevent breastfeeding, and also your infant isn’t. To assist your child move on, shot to end breastfeeding gradually and with love while providing him her time and also attention in other ways. Encouragement and also support are always helpful once our kids are moving on in life, native toddlerhood come teenage years.
An intense need for mum
A baby has actually an intense have to be with his mom that is as necessary as his require for food. Breastfeeding is not just food—it helps her toddler maintain the close attachment to friend that has been his security up till now. The defense of a baby’s bond with his mom is the basis because that all other relationships and also will assist him come become an ext independent as he grows and develops.

There are numerous reasons why kids need extra reassurance from nursing. Many tiny ones desire to nurse only occasionally, perhaps for going come sleep and if they hurt themselves. However if her child appears to breastfeed avidly, it can aid to look in ~ what is happening in his life and also yours. Probably he security time away from friend or details demands on her time and attention take it you far from him, together as various other children, the telephone, the internet or her job. Space you conference his demands for attention, conversation and also playmates, in addition to snacks and also drinks, before he asks come nurse? friend too might have gained used to thinking that nursing meets every need. Together they obtain older, children crave your concentrated attention as well. Periodically nursing replaces other necessary contact: playing, trying out the good outdoors and taking component in family tasks.

If you must be apart in ~ times, his require for closeness might be much more intense than ever before when you space together. To solve this need will aid equip your boy for times once you are away. Numerous older kids enjoy security time v dad and also only ask to nurse as soon as mum is around. Young children often choose up on any type of emotional anxiety in the family, or changes such as relocating house. Significant growth and advancement milestones, condition or allergy could likewise be determinants that influence his require for you. If you are feeling uncertain or worried about limiting nursing, you may uncover your kid becomes anxious and asks to nurse an ext frequently. Top top the various other hand, if you room confident about your decision and able to offer of yourself lovingly in various other ways, weaning is likely to go an ext smoothly.Dad’s feelingsPerhaps your companion isn’t comfortable through his child continuing to breastfeed currently that the is older. He might feel his toddler is too dependent top top you, or the breastfeeding is only for babies. In her eyes your son is still her baby

whilst others view him or her as a huge boy or girl who can walk and also talk. It can help to share your feelings honestly v your partner and listen closely to exactly how he feels. He might find talk to another dad whose kid nursed longer, or conference a i was sure independent boy who breastfed because that a lengthy time helps lull his concerns.


Sometimes ours expectations merely don’t fit with the requirements of our separation, personal, instance children. While our culture often expects babies to it is in weaned indigenous the chest within a year, no one appears to inquiry that plenty of two and also three year olds tho suck ~ above bottles, thumbs, or dummies, or require a lull object. If you satisfy your child’s need for closeness and also security the require will be fulfilled, permitting him to grow and move on in ~ his own pace. Even the clingiest toddlers have grown into independent, adventurous adults.

All youngsters are different, yet Ruth’s story reflects how permitting a son to enjoy the parenting relationship and also develop at his very own pace pays dividends in the end:

“I understand that some human being look at a tiny boy climb on his mum’s knee come nurse, hiding his challenge shyly in mum’s shoulder, or probably insisting on climbing into the household bed rather than his own, and also worry that this little chap will grow up to be a ‘mummy’s boy’.

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If anyone you know has expressed together concerns, you can like to let the know about my son Michael. That nursed until he to be four, wanted to continue to be home and also not go to playgroup till he to be four and a quarter, and frequented the family members bed for a quite a while. But at the age of eighteen Michael perfect his RAF Regiment training, a an extremely physically demanding course. Only eight the the original thirty-one recruits obtained through. Now a Corporal, Michael is a confident, tires and really caring young man.”

Written through Karen Butler, Sue Upstone and mothers of LLLGB.‘Breastfeeding on the Tube’ – photograph courtesy Brendan Williams

Further Reading

Adventures in tenderness Discipline Flower, H. Schaumburg, IL: LLLI, 2005.Adventures in Tandem Nursing. Flower, H. Schaumburg, IL: LLLI, 2003.Mothering her Nursing Toddler. Bumgarner, NJ. Schaumburg, IL: LLLI, 2000.