Extended Breastfeeding the Older Baby or Toddler

I’m a huge extended breastfeeding advocate, and let my son Griffin nurse as long as he wanted to.

When he was first born, I found so many awesome books and online resources about breastfeeding. I learned about the proper latch, the appropriate amounts and times to nurse (any and all times!), the best breastfeeding positions, etc.

Griff and I sailed through nicely for the first 8 months because, up to that point, he really wasn’t eating a ton of solids.

Once he did start incorporating food, he dropped his afternoon feeding. Like any first time mom, I started wondering… “was this OK?” I then started looking for books and online sources to learn more about the process of weaning.

I didn’t find much information about breastfeeding the older baby or toddler…

What I did find was vague and theoretical… I wanted a plan! Unlike the 8-12 feedings in 24 hour period guideline for newborns, all I saw were general statements like “the baby and you will figure it out.”

So here’s where I’m at now with breastfeeding my 16-month old

Extended breastfeeding: what I’ve learned along the way

So, I stumbled through the weaning process, and will continue to, by talking to other moms, a lactation consultant and La Leche League members. What I’ve learned along the way is trust yourself and trust your baby. The baby will lead the way.

The weaning process certainly isn’t linear

There’s no set plan or program for extended breastfeeding. All we can do is share our experience. We need to talk more about this so that we aren’t alone though.

By 13 months, Griffin went down to one nap a day, and dropped another feeding. At this point, he had just three feedings during the day; however he was still getting up two times a night for feedings.

At 14 months, Griffin started sleeping through the night 🙂

Griffin sleeping through the night is a whole other (joyous) post. What it meant for his nursing was that he was down to just three sessions a day and zero in the night (yippee!). He nurses once when he wakes up, once before his midday nap, and once before bed. Easy peasy!

In between, he’s eating a good amount of food, mostly fruits, vegetables, whole yogurt, cottage cheese, raw cheeses and some soaked or sprouted grains.

I have not supplemented with any other milk (cow, goat, etc.) because Griff is getting 16-20 ounces a day of breast milk which is plenty.

He pretty much sticks to our little schedule, but occasionally he’ll nurse spontaneously if he’s upset or tired, which I love.

And that’s where we are now with extended breastfeeding at 16 months

In retrospect, I think the reason there isn’t really specific weaning protocols is because of the huge variances between babies. Some kiddos are still nursing 5 times a day at 2 1/2 years old. Some babies fully wean at 10 months despite their mamas wanting them to continue. And there’s everything in-between.

So, let’s talk about extended breastfeeding and learn from each other.

Need  breastfeeding help?

Update!

I ended up weaning my extended breastfeeding toddler at 2 years of age. Click here to read and see how I did it.

How about you?

What’s your weaning experience been like? Are you extended breastfeeding on demand or setting limits?

Here are more breastfeeding resources:

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110 Comments

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  1. Thanks for sharing! It is very interesting how feedings for breastfed babies can vary SO much!

    My son will be one year old in less than two weeks and he still breastfeeds 5-6 times a day. He too wasn’t super keen on solid foods for awhile and didn’t really start eating them regularly until about a month ago. Now we can hardly eat something in front of him because he will want it too. He eats 2-3 solid meals a day now.

    As for breastfeeding, I have had a really tough time coming to terms with his decrease in breastfeeds. He was still breastfeeding 8 times per day at 10 months. Now he is down to 5-6. It happened very quickly, but in hindsight I think he was ready to decrease a little sooner. I think I was in denial LOL. I do still have to dreamfeed him before I go to bed or else he will wake up around 1am.

    I have been lucky enough to stay home with him since birth, but am beginning to look for work again. I am VERY nervous about potentially starting a job at a time when he is still breastfeeding heavily as I am worried I won’t be able to pump enough at work. But he is growing fast and eating less and less breastmilk, so hopefully by the time I return to work I won’t have to pump too much.

  2. My 13 month old has given up all daytime nursing. I finally gave up pumping at work as I was only pumping a few ounces at a time. He nurses before bed and gets anywhere from two to six times a night to nurse.

  3. My boy is 26 months and still breastfeeding on demand multiple times per day and multiple times at night. The night feedings are a bit of a drag but I’m so happy to still be nursing him. We do have a beautiful bond and he is so healthy!

  4. I am still nursing my 25 month old son. He nurses 4-5 times a day. When he wakes up, before nap, after nap, and before bed. Sometimes nursing between morning and nap time. I night weaned him at 13 months because he was having periods of waking up every few minutes several hours a night sometimes getting so awake that he would not go to sleep for 2-3 hours. My husband started going in with water and he caught on within a couple of days. He cried some but surprisingly took it very well. I’m not sure when we will stop. I am following him as of now. 🙂 the bond is wonderful and he is so healthy! If I get pregnant again I might think about weaning him.

  5. Genevieve,

    Thanks so much for posting this article. My daughter is only 11 months, but I plan on breastfeeding her for as long as she is interested. I feel like a lot of people don’t talk about extended breastfeeding and when I do talk about it, people look at me like I am weirdo. It feels good to know you are not alone!

  6. i am still breastfeeding little one. she will be 15 months on sept 11th. we are down to 3 times a day — morning, before her afternoon nap and at night. i am not doing any milk — she does eat cheese and yogurt during the day. is this ok? is she getting enough? when i have to work, i pump and leave a bottle — usually 5 to 6 oz — for 2pm. should she use a cup now for that feeding or should i stick to a bottle? thank you!!!

    • I have the same question and would love to hear from the author or other readers. My son is 16 months old and still takes a bottle of breast milk before his nap when I’m at work (he nurses to sleep when I’m home). Should he use a cup for that feeding?

      • Nope, the bottle is fine. Babies usually give up the bottle when they are ready. I don’t know of anyone who uses one as an adult!

  7. Hello! I really enjoyed the video you made! My daughter just turned 1 so I was wondering how many times should she be nursing along with eating solid foods and your video helped me! As of now, we nurse when she first wakes up (usually around 7am), before her 10:30 nap, then around the evening time sometime, then before she goes to bed. But she wakes up and I put her in my bed to nurse her and she wakes up to nurse about 2 to 3 times dieting the night. I’m wondering how did you get your son to sleep through the night?! Thank you!

    • Sorry for a the few typos in my post! I meant, during the night*. She still wakes up to nurse about 2 to 3 times and I would really love to see her sleeping the whole night through! ☺

  8. Referring to nursing your 13, 14 or 16 month old as “extending breastfeeding” suggests that you are stretching (i.e., extending) the normal period of nursing. A very common misperception in the U.S. is that nursing is something only done in the first year of a baby’s life and that anything beyond that is abnormal.
    The WHO recommends breastfeeding up to AT LEAST 2 years of life. In most other parts of the world, it is perfectly normal and widely accepted to breastfeed your infant well past the 1 year mark and certainly no one would say that you are “extending” anything. I would be careful in using this word as, in my opinion, it has a negative connotation.

  9. Senna January 26th 12:30
    Hi all mamas and Genevieve I’ve loved the site, very helpful.
    I’m a very proud mother of a healthy, gorgeous, happy 21 month old baby who enjoys his solid food a lot, although he loves goat and gold top jersey milk he still has his breastfeeding. Waking up, b4 naps, aftr meals, for comfort, when not so well and whenever and for whatever reason he feels like.
    Although some days it may feel a bit draining I love it and decided that it is our time and ride together, although he is really and truly the driver and he’ll know when he wants to stop as much as I may miss it once it happens, I’ve decided to enjoy it instead of controlling it.
    From 6 months old at times as been quite annoying having ppl expressing their opinions (without being requested) against breastfeeding him at this age as from 6 months they start on solids (so, your point is???!!!), just because he’s quite tall for his age and often ppl think that he’s 3+ (as if it matters) mostly if it involves feeding him in public places often I get the disproving looks and comments which it’s easy to ignore.
    Although in the last couple of weeks my nipples been very sore and I’m just not ready to have my body deciding to shut down production of milk, do you think the reason behind my soreness means that I’m drying? And if so how to avoid it? How to avoid it? I feel so betrayed by my own body…
    Please help me

    P.S. I am not pregnant.

    • My ds is currently 30 months still breastfeeeding. Have you tried olive oil? I think I remember a brief period I had to pull it back out. It was mostly because he was too busy playing to latch properly. But I used my milk to heal the cuts and olive oil to keep it moist till it healed.
      Painful week but found out he had his first molar coming in so I forgave him. Plus he’s so cute I couldn’t get mad at him. 🙂
      Not sure when I planning to wean or if. But he’s 2.5 now and still going strong about 4-5 times a day and once during the night (sometimes none). He drinks in morning as soon as he gets up, after breakfast, after lunch (before nap), after snack, and his longest period is before bed(before I head to work). But, it’s still can be more or less depending on what he’s doing.
      Not planning on actively weaning yet. (We’ll see how this year goes.) I’m wondering if I should start pumping again. That way I could wean from the breast smoothly without taking away the milk.

      • Not planning on weaning but I need to plan for times I am not around. Right now he is with me all day everyday but eventually I won’t be with him all day in trip to store, playdate, daddy time, day@ grandmas, and maybe one day a babysitter.

  10. I’m still nursing and pumping at 15.5months but he is starting to refuse milk in bottles during the day (or sippy cup, straw cup, etc). He is happy to nurse when I am home.

    My question is, how did you know how much milk he is getting from nursing?

  11. Hi, i have recently encounter nursing strike for my soon 1 year old baby. He wil stare n twiddle the nipple then refuse to latch, though he is hungry. Is he self weaning or just nursing strike? I am not ready to wean him yet.

    • Might have to burp or eliminate, or need some time to experience the breast with his toddler mind/vision/hands now, before latching on.
      My son will pause at the breast before or during breastfeeding, and even be prevented from falling into deep sleep, because of a need to eliminate gas..

  12. I’m still breastfeeding my 16 month old. I don’t think I’m producing alot because my nipple are sore everyday. He still want to drink breastmilk even tho he eats really good. Even after a good meal or snack he wants to drink breastmilk. I been trying to wean him off at nights I been successful. He loves cow milk and juices but he refuses to drink it in the mornings. He wants breastmilk. should I pump and store milk while I’m trying to wean him off?

    • Are you getting enough sleep and peace time for yourself, so that your body can produce? How is your liquid intake and stress levels?
      Also, I do believe that night time nursing can help your body to produce more per feed.. Or just be ready to offer the breast a few more times in the day, so the body knows to produce more for l.o.
      My fourth son has been so distracted and often ignored as I have become quite busy on a side job , so suddenly he is more needs needy for time on the breast when we finally get around to it again, and yet my breast is sore (for the first time) and empty sooner than my son would like..
      I believe, therefore, that I was ignoring cues to bring him to a quiet place to nurse because of our mutual busyness, and hence the drying up of milk supply. My l.o. is 29 months old.

    • Is your little on teething? I had a nurse/lactation specialist tell me that the newly sore nipples could be from a tooth bud that is coming through even though you can’t see it yet, I have found that within a few days of the soreness there is a new tooth popping through.

  13. For me, each child was weaned at a different age. #1 was about a year and a half. I was pregnant and was told to wean so I did (this was before facebook), #2 weaned at just over 2 years. # 3 was 5 1/2 and I was DONE. I tandem nursed her through #4’s pregnancy and for 2 years after. I got about a year of nursing #4 on her own until I got pregnant again. She weaned by herself 3 days before her brother was born at the age of 3 1/2. #4 is 1 1/2 and neither of us are ready for weaning.

    • That’s amazing. I’m tandem nursing my son who will be 3 in two months along with my 11 wk old daughter. I also nursed my now 15 and 11 yr old daughters for over 2 yrs each. I was only 19 with my first and I’m proud I nursed so long when I got so much negativity for it. I stuck to it and I’m so glad I did. I still regret making my first two wean before they were ready. With my boy now and this newborn girl, I am letting them self wean. Nursing through my pregnancy was pretty painful but, I’m so glad I continued.

  14. Hi,

    I’m currently EBF my 5 month old 🙂 plus BF my 3 year old who now wants me every time his brother has a feed, I don’t mind it because I love Breastfeeding but it’s hard dealing with others comments x

    • This sounds like me. I’m breastfeeding my 3 yr old and 3 1/2 month old except I’m annoyed by it. He’s always all over my breast and wants to nurse all day. Sometimes I can take it but other times I can’t. What do you can think I can do to feel better about it? I love that he’s getting the extra nutrients and I can see how much comfort it brings. I just feel over touched or sucked.

      • It helps me to have routine planned activities for my children at home, so that they are not focused on the breast. They can be stimulated and connected to me through morning walk, books, and meal prep time, colour and scissors time, Lego puzzle time, and cleaning time, which we do regularly and with eye contact and conversation. This helps l.o. to meet me in new toddler activities, amd to distinguish from the baby’s activities..

  15. Just finding this blog and as a FTM I’m thankful for a post on extended breastfeeding!

    My 10m old is EBF but has only taken my left boob since 6 months. My right never made as much but now is almost totally dried up. I pump it when I can (I work from home 3 days and go “in” two days, so days home it’s sporadic). She is growing fine, eating 3 meals a day + snacks, nurses 1x during the night, and is generally happy. I only get 1/2oz or 1 oz when I pump. Is it worth the trouble? Should I just let it dry up and focus on the left. It is completely stressing me out and I’m so whop-sided. I’ve tried diluted basil/fennel oil on it but have had minimal results… again, everything is sporadic as I’m usually doing 20 things at one time. The other issues that causes stress with the one boob issue is that she is lactose intolerant so if my milk goes dry I’m unsure what to give her…

  16. Let me start by saying I love your blog. But this post has me a little baffled and concerned. It’s great that you are excited that your 14 month old is only nursing 3 times a day and sleeping all night. My 14 month old on the other hand still nurses 2-3 times at night and at least 5 times a day. You are absolutely right that every child is different and every mama finds something that works for them.

    My real concern is the statement that “some babies self wean at 10 months and that’s ok too” because actually it’s not. There is actually quite a bit of information out there (and a WHO recommendation) that breastfeeding should last a minimum of 2 years. So a baby weaning at 10 months isn’t really “ok” it typically means there is something else going on. If the mother isn’t leading weaning (intentionally or not) its very unlikely a child will wean before 2.

    • My thoughts exactly!!

    • I just want to say I think she means “don’t beat yourself up” if your child self weans at 10 months old.:) My first child and I struggled with nursing and she absolutely refused to nurse after 4 months old. I know, so sad! I went to exclusively pumping, but my milk dried up. My 2nd is nursing great and I plan on extending nursing. I absolutely understand all the benefits, but everything doesn’t always work out as planned. There are 2 people in the nursing relationship. My first is now an extremely intelligent and happy 3 year old! Another example is a good friend of mine who had to wean around 6 months because she had cancer and needed treatments. It’s OK though! She is doing well and her toddler is thriving as well! We all do our best with the circumstances we are given.

    • All my children self weaned. All 5 would wake up one morning and not once nurse, no matter how many timaes I offered. TTheywere 6 mos., 4 mos., 9 mos., 11 mos., and 13 mos. The 4 months old, we r sure y this happened, and it bothered me something awful! So yes, it is natural and goes with what their body needs at the time. Once you offer those solid foods, that’s when mine started to lose interest.

    • Night feeding helps with children “extending” breastfeeding to a healthier age, and so does a more routines and work-together environment in the home/family. <3

      • True

  17. I felt the same way about the lack of info. My now 26m old has been weaned for two months. It felt like,a,roller coaster ride from the time she was a year old and eating/ drinking a little besides me! She was never consistent from day to day. Finally when she was about 20 months she was sleeping through the night and was cutting back significantly when she decided she didn’t need a nap. Now that she’s weaned I’ve been looking for some post weaning feelings and weight gain.

  18. All my kids (5) have self weaned between 5 and 14 months. The one at 5 months, we found out my milk was too thin so she would just get mad at me and scream and push me away. So I had to change plans on that one. Usually it was they fed one day then starting the next day wanted nothing to do with it.

  19. I’m still nursing my 21-month old. I work full time, and pump, and he has about 7-10 oz of my milk bottled. He feeds overnight, I’d say 3-6x/night. When I spend time with him in the morning before work he will come to the breast but it’s not nursing so much as closeness…he knows I’ll be leaving soon. When I come home from work he feeds, maybe 2-4 oz. And on weekends when I am with him all day he nurses about every 90 minutes.

    I guess I’d describe him as still heavily nursing, more for food but a lot for closeness as well. It’s interesting…I’ve read that if left to their own devices, the average self-weaning age would be 4.2 years old. Who knows what can change, but my guess is my son may well reach that age and still be nursing, and perhaps a bit beyond.

    I’m most interested in how folks NIP with toddlers. I used to get sweet looks of approval from folks who figure out I’m NIP; now I sometimes get disapproving looks, and I realize it’s because they see an active toddler nursing and feel it’s too old. What are folks’ experiences with this?

    • Our little man is 19 months, still goin strong nursing. MAINLY 3 nursings also but throughout the day he’ll randomly want to nurse for a minute if it’s just me and him (no other kids to distract him). I didn’t think he was even close to weaning bc his interest in food wasn’t huge (mostly veggies fruit and yogurt and sometimes beans) but then the other day he was totally into lemon roasted chicken breast, then my chicken fajitas another night and then ate my meatloaf yesterday (he hadn’t previously been interested in meat much at all). So who knows what this new interest in meat may bring! We’ll see. We are talking about trying for baby #2 and I’m just not lovin the idea of nursing while pregnant so I’d like him to wean soon even though I know I’ll be sad when he does.

  20. Hey Mamas,
    I’m in this exact boat right now…loving breastfeeding my 9-month-old (EBF since birth), and he still loves it too! He’s been eating solids since 5.5 months and LOVES any/everything (solids and milk), recently going up to 3 meals a day just this week because he still seemed hungry with just 2 solid meals per day (crying after finishing the bowl). I also always nurse first an offer solids second, but I’m going out on a limb here by saying he has been sleeping *completely* through the night since 5 months!!! (didn’t night-wean on purpose, and I kind of loved it…don’t hate me, lol). So he’s actually only been nursing 5x/day since about 7/8 months, but seems completely satisfied and is in 90% percentile for height and 75% for weight. I definitely want a gentle end to nursing, and I’ll be honest that I’m going to miss it TONS! But at the same time, I just don’t feel quite comfortable nursing a toddler. I’m wanting to approach it with a combination of baby-led and mother-led, but not sure what that looks like. I’m also planning on working part-time once he’s around 14-15 months old and would be totally fine with nursing 1-3x day (like morning, evening/bedtime), but need him to take cow’s milk during the day. Just going to pray and take it one day at a time;)

  21. Hi I am new to the blog. I have so many questions and concerns about breastfeeding. My son is 6 weeks old and I have been away from him since he was 2 weeks old due to circumstances. Breastfeeding had its niggles in the beginning but we got into a nice routine. I then put him on formula since I wouldnt be with him in order to breastfeed. every formula used thus far has resulted in him not being very well (3 different brands- one made him sicker than the other). I then decided to put him back on the breast but because I am away from him its difficult. I am expressing milk but my supply is very low and not enough to last him. What should I do when formula messes him up? I hate having to see him unhappy and in pain. your advice would be appreciated xoxo Gigi

    • Hi there, I read your blog and hope I can help because my baby is a year today and I’ve gone through similar situations as you have. First off, there are ways you CAN increase your milk supply.
      1. Try taking fenugreek and blessed thistle. (3, 3x daily).
      2. Always nurse your baby first, then pump for 10 minutes afterward to drain breast more fully. If you do this for a week after each nursing, you will start to see it helping. Then feed it to your baby via bottle or little cup. My baby never had nipple confusion, but if your giving pumped milk/formula with bottle, ensure it’s a SLOW flow nipple so baby has to work for milk much like at the breast.
      3. Try giving a baby probiotic drops with formula to help with digestion of formula.
      4. Always nurse first, before offering any other supplement.
      I wish you the best! Stick with it, I know it’s hard but I’m proof it can get better!

      • Hi Briggy unfortunately I cannot nurse him as I am not with him very often. Could expressing milk take the place of nursing for milk production to increase?

        I hope its not an issue. Many people say I am a bad mother not to be with him all the time. Have a good Day Kind Regards and blessings to you and your family

        • Hi Gigi! Absolutely! Pump every time baby would nurse. At 6 weeks that would be every 2 hours. The more nipples are stimulated, the more milk production. Granted baby drains breast better than a pump, many women have successfully pumped for baby. I pumped 20 minutes on a dual pump meaning pumps on both breasts at the same time. Invest in a good one like a hospital one they are powerful. You can rent them monthly. I bought a medela which is okay but hospital ones are stronger. When milk is pumped fresh milk can stay at room temperature for 4 hours, in fridge for 4 days, freezer 4 months. I’d check on freezer guidelines, I never froze mine. Then gently swirl milk to mix it, never shake it as it will alter properties in milk and warm gently under hot tap water. You don’t want to microwave it, as it’ll kill it’s goodness. You’re not a bad mom and just try to ignore comments. You are doing the BEST for your baby by pumping and giving baby an excellent start in life! Any other questions id be happy to help you. All the best!!

          • Thank you! you are such a good source of information. I have so much anxiety about not being with him. I try to visit as much as I can. Feeling down. On breastfeeding, Have you ever been physically sick when feeding, like you would throw up? How do you purchase clothing when you buy it bigger so baby can grow into it? one size bigger or much more than that? I still struggle in that department. I think I need so much advice. It would be nice just to hear what a fellow mom has to say. I’ve been expressing by hand can’t afford a pump.

        • Gigi, also try to check out these sites: kellymom.com and jack newman website. They provide a wealth of information!

          • The only thing I can think of regarding feeling sick while nursing is maybe feeling dehydrated? Nursing uses up many calories so you need to also replenish yourself by drinking a lot of water. Have a water bottle out to drink from during the day and you need to keep up your calories because nursjng burns more hence maybe the dizziness. You need 2-3 extra servings of food while nursing/pumping to ensure good milk. Such as an addition slice of bread, extra yogurt. With then hand expressing, that’s fine because your still stimulating your nipples and draining milk. Could you talk to a service that could help you with getting a pump? With buying baby clothes, I go by the weight on the tag and it gives some growing room still. By 6 weeks, try 3 months clothing. Good luck and hang in there

        • why cant you be with your baby?

  22. Hi there! Great website!! I too have been looking for information regarding extending breastfeeding. My almost 12 month old daughter LOVES to explore the world around her and so I never “know” when she’d really like to breastfeed so I offer breasts to her and sometimes she takes it, sometimes not. As of 10 months, she basically will only nurse for 5 minutes on one breast, only taking both breasts if she nurses before naps, bedtime and through the night. I feed her 2-3 times at night. Having said that, is she getting enough on one breast for only 5 minutes? Her bowel movements change all the time, sometimes good, sometimes constipated. Is that due to perhaps not getting enough milk? She seems content all day, as she is happy to play and cruise all day long. Do I continue offering breast before each meal, or just during nap times and bedtime. In the morning I nurse her for only 5 minutes on one breast again, and pump afterward as I use the milk for her cereal. Also, if I ever started offering organic cows milk, would I offer it in a cup DURING meals and snacks, or before nap time as I would nurse? Also, she hates zippy cups and only loves open cups, yet I guide her. I am just afraid I’m not really teaching her how to use the cup, as she wants me to hold it to. Thanks for any advice! Love your blog!

  23. Going strong 5x daily at 20.5 months!

  24. Hello Everyone & Natural Mama!

    I am currently eating up this website, it is absolutely wonderful! It is one of a kind and well-needed! I know this is a really late post, but can anyone tell me their experience on introducing milk products (i.e. yogurt & cheese) to a breastfed baby? My daughter is 12 months and eats solid foods–mostly oatmeal, fruits & veggies but also breastfeeds 6-8 times in a 24 period. I haven’t given her yogurt or cheese b/c I always assumed that it would not be a good idea to mix human milk and cow’s milk, but I am beginning to think that my assumptions are wrong and it would be okay to introduce cow products (not necessarily milk). I would just like to know how and when. I can’t find a lot of information about this on the internet. Thanks for any advice or related experiences!

  25. I know I’m reading this a year and a half after it was posted, but keeping my fingers crossed for advice. My baby is 19 months and I’m at the stage of only nursing 3 times a day, the night feeds seem to have naturally stopped but I’m really stuck on how to stop nursing to sleep during the day and at night. I am pregnant again and would like to wean completely before the new baby arrives.
    I just don’t know how to get my toddler to nap without nursing. Thanks in anticipation.

  26. How do you know your son gets 16-20 oz per day? I’m sometimes confused when I pump at work 2 days a week vs the time I’m home and breastfeeding. My guy is 8.5 months and I only get 10 oz at work ( that’s 3 pump sessions).

  27. Hi, I am a working mom. I used to breast feed my son after work and in the morning up to 6 months. Since he started teething he rejects breast totally. I express via pump 6 – 8 times a day but yet the supply is low. I really want to get him to breastfeed directly. I sleep together with him, he rejects even in sleep. I even tried nipple shield, still rejects it. My little boy is growing up fast and I really want to breastfeed him. Please help

  28. I am still nursing my 12 mo 1 week old. I’ve stopped pumping at work. yay for that! I go see her during my lunch break. Then I nurse again after dinner but she still wakes up at night a couple of times and nurses. I co-sleep so I think this is the reason we are still at it.

    During the weekend we nurse as often as she wants wich is decreasing as she is into trying all sorts of food and loves water.

    I am loving it and want to continue until she says enough and starts sleeping through the night. She does get a bottle with whole milk at the daycare and she didn’t fuss about it. She really does like to eat everything.

    • My sweet 12 mo 3 wk baby is still nursing and I’m a working away from home mom. Any advise of pumping routine? I’ve consistently pumped every 3-5 hours (counting after her morning feeding before I leave for work). My nanny says Baby is rejecting milk in a bottle so we are trying a sippy cup. She drinks 2-7oz with her a day. She nurses right when I get home from work and then right before bed. Up multiple times a night to nurse. I don’t want my body to think weaning this pumping 2x a day.

  29. Hi, I posted a little over a month ago. I had to leave my son (now 23 months ) for the first time to attend a two-day graduate school interview process. Our first experience apart from one another posed no nursing problems whatsoever. On a side note, I was accepted into the graduate program 🙂

    My question today is about toddler nursing strikes. The only time my son ever refused to nurse was around 9 months when he cut his first tooth and that only lasted for a day. We haven’t nursed in three days and this drastic change seemed to happen overnight. One day we did our usual nursing sessions before nap and bedtime and then the next day he refused to nurse completely. The major difference is that every time we would sit down to nurse, he would get into position, almost latch, and then bite me. I would put him down and then it was exactly the same thing whenever we would try again. I’m just wondering if he is trying to tell me that he is ready to wean or if it’s just a strike.

    My husband thinks this is the end and couldn’t be happier. He was ready for us to wean several months ago and even tells our son that he is a big boy and needs to stop nursing. I still love nursing and don’t want to stop unless my son is ready.

    I would love to hear your thoughts.

    • My 12 mo baby was biting me too and of course teething early at 5 mo. I found an article that suggested having a teether handy and giving it to her to “bite it out” was a huge help. She got frustrated and would cry that I detached her but would jump right back in to latch without any biting. Give that a try. And regarding hubby not supporting your desire to breastfeed, be truthful with him and maybe until he “gets” it, go to nurse baby away from daddy. Praying for your sweet family.

  30. I just came across your site tonight and wish i had earlier! I’m a first time mom and constantly question the breastfeeding because I can’t actually see how much she is eating and she only ever does eat for 5 min, so am always looking for breastfeeding tips and stories. My little girl is just about 5 months so haven’t even considered when to wean yet but was concerned about introducing solids because everything I’ve read said between 4-6 months. It’s nice to see that later doesn’t actually affect the child. We had a very easy start with breastfeeding but then she started reacting to any dairy or caffeine in my diet. Now she is on the probiotic drops for infants and if we miss even a day she gets very bad gas pains and until her digestive systems straightens that all out I really didn’t want to mess with her diet. She can handle the cooked dairy now though. But I ramble, came on to say that out of the many sites I’ve looked at yours is my fave. Its informative but comfortable and fun, almost like chatting with the girls. I will be coming back to read more.

  31. Love your show Genevieve! You are a natural and a pleasure to watch. I have been lurking on your site for awhile but I wanted to leave a comment on how much I enjoy it! I can’t wait for the next mama natural show. . . .

    • Aw, thanks so much Steph! Hope and pray you are well!!!!! Would love to see you soon :).

  32. Hi Genevieve,

    My daughter is turning 2 on Monday and is also nursing 3 times a day still and then once at midnight. You mentioned that you and your hubby managed to get Griffin to sleep through the night without a feed. I would LOVE to know how you did that!!

  33. Thanks for the post – it’s so great to read others’ experiences. My daughter is almost 11 months and she is still nursing many times throughout the day (I don’t really pay attention to times anymore!). I do still offer before meals and after naps, and she definitely nurses for her naps and 2-3 times during the night (or more… last night it seemed to be every 1 1/2 hours… and I have a cold so it was a miserable night).

    She started solids pretty much at 6 months. I guess I didn’t realize delaying was okay – her ped would say things like “if they don’t start solids by a certain age” then, I don’t know, it doesn’t go as well or something. I thought, eh, okay, she does seem interested in food. Plus, the ped was pretty much pushing solids because of my daughter’s slow weight gain – only 6 oz between 4-6 months, and then over 2 lbs 6-9. The ped thought my supply was low, so I spent some time increasing it (I’m still taking Fenugreek every day). She finally hit 15 lbs at 9 months! I wanted to do baby led weaning (solids) but with the ped’s pressure we started doing purees. It was around 9 months that I started giving her yogurt just about every day, and she really seemed to want whatever it was I was eating, so we just give her what we’re having. She loves food, but loves nursing too. I’m all for letting her go as long as she wants, though she’s my first and we want more children, so we’ll see how that goes.

    So I mentioned I still offer her the breast several times a day – should I not do this and let her “ask”? She’s started pointing at everything and making “requests” that way especially at dinner, and now she’s pointing at my boobs too. It’s really cute. 🙂 Should I just wait for her to indicate when she wants to? I guess I just thought I “should” offer before all meals… sometimes she takes it, sometimes not.

    Thanks!

    • I was like you and always offered breast first but at around 1 year, I started making the transition to offering food more. Griffin is also “smaller” and I don’t think my breast milk could keep up! It’s all part of the natural process. So, I still did a first morning nursing but then I would offer food “first” throughout day and then he stilled nursed for naps, bed and middle of night so he was getting plenty of breast milk too. But, I do think it was important for me to make that transition to offering food as main source of calories because that’s where it needs to go as they approach 1 1/2, etc. Hope this helps!

  34. PS
    Treasure it all, you may never know when that last nursing happens.

  35. Love the video. It took me back as mine are now 2o, 17, and 9. With child led weaning they all bf into their 5th year and some past. I tandem nursed for about 3 years. My middle one actually began weaning the earliest about 4 years old. She was even skipping a day or two here and there. Then, she became extremely ill with Kawasaki’s disease and could not keep anything down except breast milk. My milk came in at full force.
    The nursing relationship is amazing. I know the fact that she was still bfing kept her alive.

    It’s great to find your site and relive those nursing the older choked memories – how well I remember the giggles, the hands up the nose, in the mouth and down the other side of the shirt. My youngest insisted it tasted like root beer!

    Keep it going, mommas!

    denise
    former chilbirth educator, ibclc, and sometimes doula

  36. Holy smokes!! Over 8 years non stop Liz?! You are my hero. That is incredible and very selfless!!
    Thank you for your responses Liz, Lilja and Veronica – they really helped! As long as I know its possible, I will not worry and give it a try.
    Much appreciated! Thanks for creating this community Mama Natural and yes, hilarious Crunchy Mom video! That’s totally me also!! haha..

  37. Just found your site! Love the Crunchy Mama’s video – that’s me!!! lol!

    Anyhow. I’ve BF’d 3 daughters. My older 2 were tandem, since my first had just turned 2 and wasn’t ready to wean. We did that for 3 months and then my DD#2 had thrush (so awful and always comes back for the first 6-9 months, at least in my experience w/2 bb’s having it) and I couldn’t nurse both, it was too painful. So DD#2 was weaned at about 27 months, and she was okay with it, but a little sad. It was a really tough decision.
    DD#2 however, was done at 26 months with a declaration of it being “too spicy!” haha! It was wonderful to have a self -weaner!
    DD#3, is still nursing at 31 months. I have to say I’ve cut her back to just at nap-time and it’s better. Up until last week it was still 6 – 8 times a day, even though she ate food. She just loves to nurse! But I was getting sick and not getting better from being so drained and not sleeping. So I cut back to once a day and suprisingly, she’s fine with it! I keep telling her when she’s 3 she won’t nurse any longer. I just don’t think I can do it past 3. I’ve been nursing now non-stop for over 8 years! Mama needs a break.
    Anyhow, sorry for the loooong post! But I love your blog!

    • Thanks Liz. I’m glad you’re taking care of you :). Mama needs to do that. XOXO.

  38. Another question – anyone continue breastfeeding while pregnant? I am planning on having another baby by the time my daughter is 2 and I have heard of people nursing while pregnant and then nursing both babies. Mama Natural do you know anything about this?

    • I did. I got pregnant when my son was about 12 months, and he noticed right away due to some change in taste or quantity of milk. He went from 7 to 4 feedings per day – cutting out the snacks, and focusing on meals before naps, bed time, and dinner. I nursed him until he was 18 months, I was 6 months pregnant and uncomfortable. My breasts were tender, my belly huge, it was uncomfortable for me, and he was ready to take a break.
      After my new baby was born, and my milk came back in force, my son was interested in nursing again – although he had forgotten how. He would still put his mouth on my nipple, but didn’t remember how to suck. He got a cold at around 24 months, and I expressed milk into his mouth, and he suddenly remembered how to nurse. He is almost 3, I have attempted to wean him a few times since then, but he really likes nursing, and seems to do better when I nurse him – at least every few days – or even once a week.
      I have mixed feelings about nursing him still. I know it is good for him, but sometimes I want my body back. I’ve weaned him a few times, going a month or two between nursing him (if you scroll above, on January 24th when I posted, I had him weaned since Thanksgiving, but now I’m nursing him again). It just seems like the right thing to do, even though sometimes I need to say, “no, I’m all done”
      oh, but your question is nursing through a pregnancy and tandem nursing. It is completely do-able.
      Good luck!

    • I breastfeed through the entire pregnancy and am currently tandem nursing.
      When my firstborn was eight months we reduced the nursing to two times a day due to me starting working again. When he was 12 months old I got pregnant and pretty much nothing changed. About four months into the pregnancy my nipples got pretty soar, I’m told it’s probably caused by hormones. I decided to see if it would stop but it wasn’t until about my last trimester that it got better. I can recall him nursing for a shorter period of time, probably because it tasted differently because of the hormones.
      When the baby was born the first days and weeks were much better than when I had my firstborn. I knew better how to latch him on and my breasts didn’t get as full when the milk came as the first time, just as needed. The downside was that my nipples did get soar again, but it didn’t last long (about 10 days). It also hurt when the toddler was nursing although nothing had changed about how he nursed, so I’m guessing it was, again, a hormone issue.
      I can’t remember when we reduced the toddler nursing down to once a day, if it was while pregnant because of the nipple tenderness or after the baby being born. But now he’s back on long nursing periods and he clearly enjoys it very much.
      I’m very happy that I didn’t wean him, neither of us was ready for that. Now he’s 24 months old and his little brother is about to be 3 months and everything is going great 🙂 We just changed his morning nursing to evening-bedtime nursing in hope he’ll sleep a little longer in the morning 🙂
      God bless you on your nursing journey!
      -Lilja Írena
      Iceland

      • I just remembered: I reduced the nursing to once a day during the pregnancy due to nipple soreness. Normally I just give one breast at a time but because I was just nursing him once a day I had to give him both so the milk supply wouldn’t get weird 🙂
        It was either reduce to once a day or stop all together, it was a pretty good choice and the soreness got less!

  39. Hi! Great post Natural Mama! It’s one of the first good ones I have seen on this topic – you are right, not much out there.
    My daughter is over 9 months now and I still nurse her about 6 times and day and sometimes once or twice at night. She hasn’t taken a huge liking to real food yet but will eat small bits thought the day of a variety of veggies and fruit. I have started her on some organic kefir lately and she seems to love that.

  40. Do you get engorged from not nursing at night? If not, did you when he first started sleeping through the night and if so how long until it calmed down? Thank you for the information. I think all EBF moms struggle with introducing solids, including myself.

  41. I just found your site and I am so happy to know that I am not the only one breastfeeding an older baby. My son is 22 months and we are pretty much down to 3 times a day unless he is sick or teething, in which case he will revert back to wanting to nurse all the time. I am leaving town next week for a few days to attend graduate school interviews. I have never been separated from my son for more than 12 hours, so this is going to be a challenge for both of us. I was just wondering if anyone has any tips or advice.

    • Pump three times a day at the same times that you’d normally nurse for 15 minutes +. Good luck with your travels and you and son will learn so much from the experience. In my opinion, little breaks are good for mamas and babies… makes us more flexible and adaptable. XO.

      • Agreed. It’s the best way to keep things going. And if your body doesn’t respond well to the pump, keep it up anyway. At the end of the day, a few days isn’t enough to dry you up. If you don’t do well pumping, just be prepared for the “milk building” session upon arrival home.

        Good luck with your interviews! Hope you can enjoy some of your alone time!

    • I just wanted to give you an update on my first experience away from my 22 month-old: I pumped about 3 times each day and even hand expressed in a bathroom when my pump wasn’t available. I never became engorged and my son is doing great. Thanks for all of your support!

      • YIPPEE!!!! So happy to hear, Courtney. Thank you for circling back. XOXO.

  42. I love this video. I was the mom that would’ve been happy to get through 6 weeks (and that was a goal based on finances over health back then!). I wound up nursing my son until he self-weaned two weeks before his FIFTH (you read that right, FIFTH) birthday (likely because I had JUST gotten pregnant). It’s funny: by 3yo people just assumed he’d stopped because it was mostly upon waking and going to sleep. He definitely kicked it up a notch (or four) when he was getting sick, but it was nothing like what people expect when they think of nursing a toddler.

    Great video!

    • Thank you for sharing Heather as other mamas need to hear your story! XO

      • Worthy of note is that pre-baby, I was one of those women who said “If they’re old enough to walk over, pull up your shirt and latch on–they’re old enough to be done!”

        Funny how life likes to bite ya in the arse sometimes, right? 😛 I can’t wait to see the video of when Griffin is 3 and still nursing (should that day come)

  43. Oh my goodness, THANK YOU for this post! I stumbled across your site today. I’ve been so worried lately about my son’s nursing to eating solids ratio, also his sleeping habits. I am around a bunch of other mom’s who weaned their children by 12-15 months, and their babies ate solids regularly starting at 6-8 months. Hunter, my little boy, took a long time to show any interest in solids but even now he only eats a tiny bit, not substantial enough to drop a feeding. He loves to nurse frequently and it made me think he was not developing normally. He is 9 months old and still feeds every 2-2.5 hours, day and night. My other mom friends make me feel like this is not normal and I should do something about it so I can “get more sleep”. I love how you said to trust yourself and your baby. He’s only 9 months and I shouldn’t feel pressure to wean him by the time he’s 12-15 months just because it’s not the norm!

    • It’s so crazy because globally weaning at 1 year is unheard of… You’re doing great!

    • Thank you Jessie for yourcomment. Our baby girl is 9 months and 1 week today. At night she wakes for feedings every 1/2 hrs at night. During the day it is about every 2-2.5 hrs, family & friends like you think I am crazy and should get more sleep, and start her on solids…I started wondering what mothers in africa do ( found a good link by a Kenyan lady – J. Claire K. Niala http://www.drmomma.org/2010/09/why-african-babies-dont-cry.html)…with no interferance from western thinking. I feed her when she’s hungry, needing comfort and putting to sleep. I have stopped taking note of how often I breastfeed her…that to me is more comforting 🙂 My naturopath doctor told me not to start solids until her teethpush through that way you are sure her digestive workings are ready. I’m wondering if we are going to hit the 1 year mark, I don’t find much info on this either except for what I have found here, thanks to Genevieve and all who have commented. I will sleep better at night even if I have to wake every 1-2 hrs, I want what is best and most natural for my little angel

  44. My son is soon 24 months old and me and my husband have been talking about weening him because now he wakes up so early for his morning nursing. It’s great to read about your stories, it encourages me to try everything to keep on nursing him. He only nurses once a day now and I think I’ll try move it to the bed time routine and see if that works better for us. He has a 2 1/2 month old little brother and it’s been great to nurse the both of them, though I felt I had to reduce my older boys nursing from twice a day two once, mainly because of nipple soreness. My older boy definetly likes to nurse because he wakes up so early, says “dúda” ((súpa) which is our Icelandic word for nurse) all the time (my husband tries to delay the nursing) and when he finally laches on he stays on forever. So, thank’s for sharing everyone, it’s been really encouraging!

    • Aw, I hear you about the son adoring nursing. That’s how Griffin is. I think if he had his way, he’d nurse instead of eat! Good for you for tandem nursing, mama. Thanks for stopping by all the way from Iceland :)>. XOXO

  45. A really great book on baby feeding is “Real Food for Mother and Baby” by Nina Planck. It also covers pre-conception, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and that weaning process which begins with their first bites of food. I love it. I recommend it to everyone, all of the time. She focuses on eating a diet rich in whole foods, ahem…. real foods.

    • I have that book :)>. I thought it was pretty good.

  46. Thanks for this information! I have been breastfeeding my baby since birth and it really has been a hard journey. I want to encourage all moms who are thinking about quitting to not quit.
    Here is my story: I gave birth to my daughter in June 2011.
    As a newborn, she nursed constantly until about four months. It was like she was on a never-ending feeding. After four up to about six months, she was eating almost every hour and a half. I attempted pumping up until the fifth month and it stressed me out!! Luckily, my oldest sister had a baby a month before me. She decided to nurse as well. Had deep freezers filled with milk, she was a pumping mean machine! Now she is 7 and 1/2 months old. Lately, it’s seem to have been getting better. I feed her once when she wakes up in the morning, lunch, two or three snacks, and then through the night. Jasmine sleeping habits recently started to show signs of getting better. As of now, Jasmine only wakes up about three times to feed. My story sounds like it has been a lot of trouble. I will not hide the fact that it has been, but was it all worth it? Yes, I would not have done it differently. By the way, My lactation nurse mention a natural herb called fenugreek to help increase my milk supply. ( Please speak with a medical doctor or lactation nurse before using this.) It definitely works great for me!
    God Bless

  47. Hi! My son is 27 months and he nurses 8+ times a day 🙂 I don’t mind it at all and he loves. I think it just depends on your approach, before 2 years of age I believe in offering frequently unless you’re trying to wean. I’m sure my son will nurse until age 3 or 4 and I’m all for it. Studies show that the longer a child nurses, the higher the IQ, the bigger the brain, and the even lower the risks of childhood cancers, and other serious diseases. And the mothers risk of breast cancer is reduced significantly if she breastfeeds for a minimum of 2 years. :thumbsup:

  48. I found your site through the Getting the Love you Want site and this video kinda cracked me up. I had one biological child who was born 9 weeks early due to my medical problems and as I knew I would probably never nurse another child EVER (since we decided not to have any more due to my issues) I chose to let her nurse as long as possible. Finally, when she was FOUR years old, I sat down with her. She was nursing only twice a day, morning and night, and said, “Okay, we need to talk about this and make a decision.” I suggested we end on her fifth birthday and that’s what we did. I think she wanted to keep going but it was beginning to get a little hard to justify given that she was going into kindergarten. She is now 22, about to graduate college and is a happy, beautiful, healthy young woman.

    Oh, and we adopted a little boy when she was 12 and he was 8 weeks old. He’s not 9 and a whole different set of parenting issues as Mommy is now past menopause!

    • Oh my, I love your story! Your girl like to nurse, alright! Woo hoo! Way to go the distance :)> And, I can imagine having a youngster again would be an adjustment. Thanks for stopping by! XOXO.

  49. My 9 month old eats solid food and drinks water from a sippy cup 3 times a day. She has never had a bottle or cow’s milk or juice. She likes every food we have given her including fruit, veggies, meat, and grains – either tiny bits or mashed up. She co-sleeps about half the night. She nurses about 6 times per 24 hours. We have been following her lead – she started grabbing for food at 5 months and grabbing for our drinking cups around 6 months.

    • PERFECT, mama! Griff didn’t really get interested in water till around 1 year old, same as the food. I think they go hand in hand.

  50. Very informative post! Could you share with us some of the breastfeeding resources and books that you mentioned?

    • I like kelly mom for easy access to info. Jack Newman also has a tremendous website with lots of great videos on latches, etc. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is a classic. La Leche League has tons of great posts on their site. But I felt that there still wasn’t really specific or good info on the later nursing stage. Hope this helps!

      • YES. it is really hard to find info on nursing older babies. Before mine was “older” I didn’t know when that magic line of ‘older’ occured… then one day i realized — Oh MY! She is an older baby now! Not a toddler, not a newborn! Anyway -I think this is a really tricky stage for some of us, maybe esp. first time moms. I worried A LOT about her disinterest (ie hatred) of solid foods. I am more relaxed now, but still wonder about what kinds of foods to try and what form they should be in. (issues of food sensitivities, digestion and elimination come in to play as well!) I wish i knew what the poo should look like at this stage! (mostly breastmilk with occasional bits of solids whether raw, pureed or just mushy). How digested should they be? well, at any rate, she is doing well and is 9 months. She just began pushing herself up from tummy and is getting top teeth so it will be interesting if that coincides with more interest in food.

  51. My baby is only 5 months old and exclusively breastfed, but I’m really interested in this topic, since the time is coming when we’ll soon start solid food and there will be less breastmilk and (hopefully) more night time sleeping. So I don’t know yet how I’m gonna do it and when I’m gonna start it exactly. I have a question though. I understand that you don’t give him any cow or goat’s milk, but do u give him WATER at all? Or is the 3x a day breastmilk enough liquid for him? I was wondering about this. Thank you for your answer.

    • Good question! I didn’t start regularly giving Griffin water till around 13-14 months when he went down to 3 feedings a day. Before then, I would give him drinks here and there but he was nursing 5-6 times a day so was getting lots of liquids through me. Now, he’s OBSESSED with water. Can’t get enough. He thinks he’s mister big boy as he slugs back his sippy with abandon :)> LOL!

    • It is actually recommended that babies still receive 90% of calories from breastmilk until AFTER their first birthday. Also, I would look into delaying solids as there are many benefits to starting solids later rather than sooner. The signs of readiness that I look for are: teeth, pincher grasp, and being able to get into a seated position from a laying position. We actually waited until 12 months to start solids and I think it was a great decision.
      Here’s a great link from kellymom about delaying solids.
      http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/solids/delay-solids.html#reasons

  52. My 20 month old is still nursing and he likes it.

    It is calming for him, it is only before bedtimes and naptimes and first thing in the morning.

    • Nice! That’s about where we’re at…

      • I know I don’t know when I will stop.

        He is a happy baby mostly and really chills him out if he gets a little upset.

        There is nothing like having the option after having a fall or a boo boo.

  53. Sounds very similar to our EB story. Our little guy is 18 months now. He nurses when he wakes up, once at naptime, and before bed. It’s the ideal situation for both of us. We left him for the night for the first time recently, and supplemented with whole (organic) cow’s milk then (since I don’t have enough milk to pump anymore). I just asked that my mom follow the same routine (morning, naptime, bed) with the cow’s milk so that nothing would interrupt our breastfeeding routine and it worked out perfectly! It’s nice to know that if I need to be away from him for an extended time we can supplement with the cow’s milk – or if I happen to want a glass of wine or something like that 🙂 – and we can still continue with nursing after that time. Loving every minute of it!

    • Awesome, mama! Sounds like your guy goes with the flow. When Mike puts Griffin down, he doesn’t give him any drink. Just a few rocks, a cuddle and it’s night night time. He tried brining in a sippy but Griff wasn’t having it. He also doesn’t like any other milk but mine.

  54. I think that I would be overwhelmed with twins. I used to think it would be so great, but having a 2 year old and a new born kinda overwhelmed me at times. And hubby says we are done now, so no chance of twins for me. 😉

    • Yes, you have 2 babies now and that’s plenty :)> God bless.

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