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Dear All

I am really enjoying my breastfeeding relationship with my 17 month old girl, but recently have been experiencing a few bumps along the road and wondered if anyone had any advice. She is my third child but I stopped bf the other two at 10 and 14 months respectively so this is relatively new territory. I am in no hurry to stop this time but I do feel like I need to iron out these issues before I stop resenting bf.

My little one absolutely loves her milk and the closeness it offers, and looks to bf whenever she can. This can include when bored, hurt etc as well as hungry. She also feeds to sleep most of the time. I am ok with all the above (for now) except perhaps the bored reason. If we are home and don’t have much on she would happily feed every hour or so and gets cross if I say no, later etc. She knows her own mind!

How do people manage these requests to bf? Do you continue to bf on demand or do you draw clear boundaries and say no when it feels right to you? Have your toddlers gradually got the message if so? I don’t want to deny her closeness or milk but also aware I get resentful if feeding when I don’t really want to or don’t feel she needs to.

Thank you for any thoughts!

Mum to two boys, Roan (Nov 08) and Jude (Oct 11) and a little girl, Amalie (Jan 14). Trying to parent as gently and lovingly as I can.

I BF ds#1 until he was 2 1/2 he went through changes towards the end where he would feed constantly more so than when he was a newborn so it seemed and then gradually trickled off until he simply stopped.
I really just went with whatever he wanted/needed until it came to a natural end which was sad from my point of view but from his it was his first taste of being independent from me xx

Home Eding Mama of 2 gorgeous boys! Trying to live magically on this wild and crazy earth.

Do you think it it would work trying to do something when you think she is asking to feed through boredom.  A sort of distraction activity?  Can you tell when she is bored and try and preempt the feeding request?  Helping her to find a way to get through her boredom without actually doing it for her.  It is a fine balance!  Saying no is really hard smile

Toby is 3 years and 3 months old, and his main meal is still breast milk. He has it during the day and night whenever he wants it, quite openly even when out and about. He’s never went to sleep without milk, and still breastfeeding during night and quite intensively towards the morning. We love our breastfeeding relationship and don’t think will end any time soon. And I look forward to tandem feeding as we’re planning to have a second baby. Probably it will be quite tough, but realistically this is the only time when I get a chance to sit down… so I kind of treasure these moments. Would it be possible you’re rushing around all the time, and your little one might want some quiet time, so she knows how to make you slow down?

Yes, there are times when during daytime I can’t just sit down whenever he wants and breastfeed him, so I’m known to hop around with him sort of hanging; he feels is uncomfortable so he ends the session pretty quickly. I sometimes tell him that once I finish what I’m doing I’ll sit down and breastfeed him. Night time when I feel he’s done, I just ask him to stop so I can get some sleep as well, and most of the time, he lets go and turns his back to me.

So, take it as a sign, sometimes you might just need to rest, so sitting down and breastfeeding is a great way to compose yourself and rest. When is really not possible to do that, just explain she needs to wait. You can also ask her if she’s hungry, she can eat something else; if she’s bored, then find something for her to do to distract her. Of course, I always stop and breastfeed him when he hurt himself.

Good luck and happy breastfeeding!

Attachment and travelling mama, home educating Toby, 17.02.2012. Vegs. Neither telly nor car. Brompton bikes. Live in Reading, Berkshire.
Skills You Need to Change the World
http://www.truefood.coop/, http://www.mooncup.co.uk/, http://www.storyofstuff.co/

I breastfed my older daughter for over 5.5 years, and the little one at 2.5 is still going strong, so I can very much relate to what you are saying. Like you, I am fine with all of it except for when she’s just bored. Some days it does seem to be nearly hourly, and such long feeds, too, each time—if she’s poorly or very tired then of course it makes sense, but often it really is that things are moving too slowly for her liking and she hasn’t anything better to do grin . We’re not at all a rushing around sort of family, Bianca, so I don’t know what the case is for Sara, but here it’s rather the opposite—I don’t think she’s wanting to slow down, as we could hardly be slower! We spend most days at home on our own, with precious little structured time. For example she will invariably ask to feed when I’m reading a chapter book or longer story with fewer pictures (which her sister has chosen), as she can’t totally follow the story but also doesn’t want to find something else to do.

In fact I’ve noticed that if I do get us out of the house, to an environment that is interesting to her without being stressful (it’s a fine balance sometimes!), then she doesn’t ask to feed. But I would say this has been since around age 2, that she can be distracted from thoughts of feeding, not before that. So it might be a bit early for your little one? My advice would be to be firm but gentle about boundaries when you are tired, but keep in mind when setting your boundaries that in long-term BFing terms she is still very little, and it might be easier to shift the boundaries when she is bigger/more verbal/more capable of understanding your explanations. I started this with DD1 at about 2.5, and again now with DD2—I will say, Mummy’s tired, or Mummy needs to rest now, or (during the night) Mummy really needs to stretch out her back—and if they are a bit upset, I will try and offer a cuddle instead, or something else fun to do, or, if DH is available, he will lure her away with promises of various interesting activities grin . Of course if they are *very* upset then one needs to be flexible too—sometimes no alternative will do, and then I tell myself that the need is clearly there.

Hi thank you all, this has given me plenty to think about and also a good boost and encouragement to carry on in our breast feeding journey. You are all fab! xx

Mum to two boys, Roan (Nov 08) and Jude (Oct 11) and a little girl, Amalie (Jan 14). Trying to parent as gently and lovingly as I can.

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