Breast feeding beyond 12 months

11 Jan

As soon as my baby girl arrived, I was looking forward to feeding her, the bond it created was so appealing to me and I was determined to do everything I could to make it work. I was always told that ‘breast is best’ and that’s certainly what I wanted for my daughter.

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A question I kept been asked whilst I was pregnant was ‘are you going to breast feed?’ To which I would answer,Yes, of course. I was shocked by the amount of responses that said ‘well, you might not be able too.’ I couldn’t understand how something we were made to do wouldn’t work, I blocked out those comments as I didn’t want to go into something feeling I was going to fail before I had even tried. Although I understand in some circumstances it can be impossible for some women to breast feed But i didn’t want to believe this was the norm. I was sticking to my guns and wanted to trust that my body could do it.

I decided to stay in the hospital over night to get help establishing her feeding, the midwives were amazing, they really made the effort to help me and encourage my decision. Once out of the hospital I knew I had to do this by myself and at first panicked a little but I was fortunate to have a great lady called Jo as breast feeding support. She was there if I had any questions and would visit to see if baby was latching on right. Those first 2 weeks were a little tricky at times, and could be sore, but at the same time I was just in awe of my body, I actually got butterflies whilst feeding and felt such a bond. I remember having my breast feeding books by me at all times and flicking quickly to the right chapter if I came across anything new.

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I didn’t realise how much I was going to enjoy breast feeding. My aim had always been to get to the six month mark, but by that time I got there I found she was feeding so quickly that it was just easier to keep going. We decided that we wanted to try the baby led weaning method (see earlier post) and by maintaining the breast feeding I was confident she was still getting the vital nutrients whilst discovering all the fun new foods.

Its funny how you have all these ideas on how you want to do things but I don’t think you can fully know until the time comes what you want to do, ultimately you want what’s best for your child so allow yourself to be adaptable, don’t pigeon hole yourself and get so caught up in you have to do things this way or that way, rather, just enjoy the time you have with your baby.

At 12 months, I started to introduce cows milk into her diet, i didn’t want to go cold turkey, although that works out for some mothers, i decided to do it slowly. I cut out the day breast feeds and replaced them with bottles or snacks and kept her on this routine until last month.

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breast feeding mummies still got style ๐Ÿ™‚

Eivissa is now 16 months old and I’m still breast feeding her once a day in the morning.(Some babies will wean them selves off by this point) I never thought I was going to breast feed for this long and to be honest, I thought mothers who fed passed 12 months were ‘the tree hugging type that didn’t wear bras,’ but i was wrong, the one thing I’ve realised as a mother is to be confident in your decisions and also be adaptable, if what you try doesn’t work or if you end doing something you thought you never would, it’s ok, just enjoy your journey.

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Hope this post encourages any mothers that are interested in extended breast feeding, it’s a natural thing for us to do and we shouldn’t try play it down out of embarrassment or fear that it may offend others. I’m proud to say I still breast feed and encourage other ‘closet breast feeding mums’ to come out and be proud of it!

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26 Responses to “Breast feeding beyond 12 months”

  1. Vanessa January 11, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    This is lovely and not patronising in the slightest – as a formula feeder to both my babies (first it just didnt happen due to a large blood loss in my emcs, second I was too scarred from my first experience) I come across a lot of patronising articles and comments from people which is sad as they don’t know my story.

    I have my son who is 5 week old colostrum but switched to formula at 3 days old. I regretted it pretty much instantly but once my milk came in after the delay from them elective section it was too late and he wouldn’t relatch. I tried to express but nothing came out though milk was there as I leaked constantly.

    Good luck in your continued journey Eivissa is beautiful xx

    • heatherfrancesca January 11, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

      Thanks Vanessa for that. Your comments mean a lot, all mums, no matter what they do choose or in your instance had to choose are doing an amazing job. It’s great to know that women can be encouraged no matter what there experience xxx

      • Vanessa January 12, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

        Thanks Heather ๐Ÿ™‚ as long as all our children are happy individuals that’s all we an ask for isn’t it xx

  2. Leanne January 11, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    Yet again a great blog Heather, my 13 month old zachariah is still breast fed, I was very similar to you and thought I would just get to 6 months but it’s so hard to break something that they take so much comfort from! At least I feel more normal now ha ha. Eivissa is so beautiful and looks extremely happy xx

  3. theoaktreejewellery January 11, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

    Fantastic post. It’s lovely to see someone being so open and positive about extended feeding. I’m still feeding my 13 month old son and am constantly asked the question of when I am going to stop!

  4. theoaktreejewellery January 11, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    Fantastic post. It’s lovely to see such a positive and honest post regarding extended feeding as there is so much negative stuff about it in the press.
    I am still feeding my 13month old son and am constantly being asked when I’m going to stop! I’ve learnt to just smile politely but it’s great to know I’m not alone!

    http://www.theoaktreejewellery.blogspot.co.uk

  5. Claire January 12, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    Great blog. It’s great to see such a relaxed and happy approach to something that is the most natural thing in the world. So much stress and guilt surrounds feeding and this attitude is just a breath of fresh air. I know amongst very young mothers breast feeding is seen as almost disgusting or icky … It would be great if they saw that its not just ‘earth mothers’ who breast feed.
    My daughter is nearly 9 months old. I had the most wonderful, water birth experience with her – you were my inspiration. I remember all my preg friends at the time OBEM aired talking about ‘the girl in the red bikini’. Thank you for sharing your birth and giving me the confidence to have the same experience. Xx

    • heatherfrancesca January 12, 2013 at 11:08 am #

      Glad I could have helped you, it’s true, such a natural, beautiful thing to do but sadly isn’t always seen this way. Congratulations on your birth and good luck in everything you do. Xxx

  6. Polly January 12, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    A lovely post Heather. I really struggled with feeding in the beginning and honestly didn’t think I would stick with it but now, five months in, I can’t imagine not doing it. It creates such a wonderful bond that cannot be replicated by anything else x

  7. Sara March 8, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

    What a lovely post Heather. Like you, with my eldest my aim was to get to 6 months, but it was going so well that I didn’t see the point in switching to formula at that point when my milk was free. At 7 months she refused all bottles of ebm I gave her so I continued to fed her past the year mark and by her birthday she was feeding in the morning and before bed. She would spit out cows milk! By 16 months she’d ropped the bedtime feed and at 20 months had self weaned and dropped the morning one. I never thought I’d feed so long but I’m glad I did. Even at 3 she still won’t drink cows milk! I’m currently feeding my second daughter who is 5 months and hope to be able to feed her long term and allow her to self wean as her big sister did. Thank you for the fab blog post. Sara xx

  8. Sarah March 8, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    Lovely ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m still breastfeeding my 17 month old twice a day – I never thought I’d feed him this long but we both still enjoy it and I haven’t found any reason to stop!

  9. blondie March 8, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    Lovely post, though 16 months isn’t really ‘extended’ when 2 years is the recommendation and natural weaning occurs between 2&7 years! It’s so nice and encouraging when a mom changes her feelings (to a more positive view!) of nursing beyond x weeks/months/years. It doesn’t suddenly get weird the day after the imaginary time limit: if baby needed breastfed yesterday, baby will likely need to breastfeed tomorrow, too!

    My little guy is still nursing (right now, actually…bed time!), and he will be 2 1/2 tomorrow! He nurses regularly throughout the day and usually a couple times in the night. Nursing may last a few minutes or he may wish to linger. I’m ok with that and I don’t feel ready to encourage weaning, especially since he is definitely not ready yet!

  10. Catey March 8, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    Lovely blog. I have three children. One formula fed from 10 days, one BF until 8 months and the third is 17 months and is still going strong. He feeds all day and all night, for comfort, nutrition and thirst. He’d rather mummy milk than anything else. But I love it too. He’s recently been in hospital and his recovery was exceptionally quick. The doctors put it down to his favourite food ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Caroline March 8, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    great blog-just one point, its not extended breastfeeding. its normal to nurse a child, self weaning doesnt make you tree hugging braless women. I am nursing 2 children, one is 4yrs old and the other 2 years old and if i didnt wear a bra id have big dangly mammories!
    Continue doing what is the best for your daughter for as long as she needs. Well done.

  12. Sammy Austin March 8, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    Just read your post. How amazing are u!! I’m still breastfeeding my beautiful 10.5 month 2nd son and plan to carry on until he decides he doesn’t want it anymore.
    I get so annoyed with the fact people question you if you are breastfeeding a baby over 6month’s but it’s socially acceptable to give a 3yr old a bottle and dummy! It’s also ok for page 3 models and underwear adverts to show as much flesh as they want but a picture of a woman breastfeeding is classed as offensive! Young women/girls

  13. Laura Troiano (@AonachEagach) March 8, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    Lovely post. Breastfeeding after 12 months even 6 months gets so much bad press. Its nice to read such a positve blog.

    I felt very like you when I was pregnant, and took it a day at time when I started feeding my son. Got great support from midwives and had close friends who had breastfeeding experience which really help me through the first few weeks and the sore nipples. Like you I felt it got easier as time went on and a six months I didn’t see any point in stopping. I fed my son till he was 18 months, having only fed once a day for the final 3 months. I cherish the memory of our last feed and he never got upset we stopped.

    Enjoy you little girl. Feed her for as long as you feel comfortable.

  14. Lyndsay North March 8, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    Well done you! You’re right, the bond from breast feeding is simply amazing. I’m still breastfeeding my 14 month old and can’t see us stopping for a while yet, it’s nice to know there are other mummies out there doing the same, I get lots of comments about how it’s time to stop now! x

  15. Trudi Brannon March 8, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

    Great post! We’re at 10months and planning to just keep going for the forseeable future. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Mollie Ellis March 8, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

    You go mama! My little girl pointblank refuses to drink anything other than bm even now at 16 months! I am hoping she self weans before she goes to primary school but I will cherish every feed until she does x

  17. Rebecca March 9, 2013 at 12:32 am #

    In awe of you ๐Ÿ™‚ currently breastfeeding my 8 month old and doing so until he self weans. It’s nice to see someone so open about breastfeeding in the media and hopefully will encourage more women to breastfeed for longer or at least breastfeed in the first place! Thankyou x

  18. Jeff March 9, 2013 at 1:29 am #

    My wife has being going with her instincts with breast feeding. We have the most wonderful little boy full of confidence and really bright still breast feeding when he needs it at 3 1/2. His mum is amazing for giving him everything he needs from day 1.

  19. theninjamummy March 9, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    What a wonderful post and phrased in such an optimistic and open way. I love reading stories like this. My wee girl stopped breast feeding at 13 months. She just point blank refused, but I know I’d have gone onwards if she’d wanted to.

  20. mariacoughlan December 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    Hi Heather,
    I just found your blog the other day and I LOVE IT! You are an amazing mommy! ๐Ÿ™‚ I too had the intention of feeding to 6 months. It was so hard at the start and I was far from perfect at it but by 6 months it was so much easier and it seemed more hassle to switch to formula. I hope the new little one is settling in nicely into you beautiful family.
    hugs
    Maria.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. **Guest Post** Breastfeeding Beyond 12 Months…. | Our Breastfeeding Experiences - March 11, 2013

    […] I am delighted to announce that this is our very first guest post and it is from Heather Francesca from One Born Every Minute. Some of you may remember her `Glabour` birthing outfit. You can read more about Heather here on her awesone blog (highly recommend you follow) and her glabour outfits hereย – and her Baby Friday clothing range.ย Here is Heather’s story, reproduced with kind permission, from her own blog back in January. […]

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