Extended Breastfeeding: Time to give up?

Extended Breastfeeding: Time to give up?

Lord knows I am trying to give up, it is just not as easy as it looks.

She loves it, I love it, but I think it is time to call a close, to say goodbye to breastfeeding; she will be three in two weeks and I never envisioned feeding her this long.

For those who read this with eyes of disbelief I ask you not to judge but feel free to question about why I chose the path of extended breastfeeding and I will happily answer.

I only breastfeed in the morning, and it is a delicious way to start the day, my daughter calls me from her room, she is still babyish enough to not realise her legs will support her out of bed if she tries.  I collect her in my arms, sleep still sitting on my lids and I stumble back into bed and throw out an arm which she snuggles onto, her legs fold over mine and she fits like a jigsaw into the side of my body.  We are connected, harmonious and perfectly paired.

It is the closest I come to serenity, thirty minutes a day of calm cuddles with my swiftly growing up beautiful baby.

Breastfeeding was such a battle in the start and for six months I dream’t of the end, I cried through mastitis  sobbed through thrush, fed through a shield.  I envied mothers who simply raised a child to their breast and latched on.  When she was old enough to wean we reached a breakthrough and suddenly breastfeeding became more than giving her nutrition and the best of all I was.  It became a simple pleasure, a time for us, a bond that no one else could touch.

That bond is cemented between us, of this I have no doubt.

But I feel it is time, time to stop.

She is not giving up without a fight….

When I try and say no she plays me like a fiddle, she tells me she is not ‘big’ yet, she paws at my face and plants tiny kisses whilst using the old sign of milk.  She wins me over every time.

But tomorrow, tomorrow I will resist a milky cuddle and tomorrow it will be time to stop.


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  1. Kara
    May 13, 2013 / 10:47 pm

    It’s super tough to give up, especially when they ask for it. I ended up going cold turkey and it was three days of pain before she stopped asking for it. I still miss it sometimes although she does give the best cuddles!!

  2. @gourmetmummy
    May 14, 2013 / 5:27 am

    Every breastfeeding post you write is like I have written it (but more eloquently than I could!) I just thought I’d let you know that your posts about bf’ing a toddler have inspired me to continue breastfeeding and also make me realise that actually it is ok to feed beyond 6 months! My not-so-baby is 2 in a couple of months and like you I relish those moments of peace at the start and the end of the day.
    Thank you for sharing your journey and if this is really the end, treasure that last milky cuddle.
    Susan x

  3. Julie
    May 14, 2013 / 5:55 am

    Hi there. I wonder if it would be easier to stop the whole routine rather than part of it. So don’t even take her into bed with you. Either get up together or give her toys while you get up. I can imagine how hard this must be – I loved b/feeding and the morning is when we are probably least resistive (we still bring our son in when he wakes (normally too early for my liking) rather than try and teach him to play by himself until we are up).

  4. May 14, 2013 / 5:59 am

    Kids are so clever! As ever, I’d say just do what you want to do. If it feels like the right time, then carry on with what you’re doing. But don’t stop just because you feel “society” is telling you to. And that, my friend, is the one and only bit of parenting advice I will ever offer you. As a seasoned pro I’m sure you knew all that already anyway.

  5. May 14, 2013 / 6:03 am

    Ahhh I remember having to make this decision. Oscar was 20 months younger I know but still old enough for lots of people to judge. Which quite frankly I just thought you do your thing and we will do ours, thank you very much!

    My friend with only weeks between Oscar and her daughter was the same. Oscar in the end gave a up freely. It was a loss but then it wasn’t, I thought I miss that ultimate closeness but it got replaced by cuddles instead. My friend continued till her daughter was about 3 and a half by then the ultimate closeness had worn off I think.

    So I guess I would do what is right for you both and when it is well it just will be. x x x

  6. May 14, 2013 / 6:15 am

    For me, its the guilt. My eldest stopped herself at 7 months and I was told to stop Luka at 4 months… I never got over the guilt of that. But now Bella is messing about so much during feeds, and biting and clearly getting nothing more from me than her own chewing toy! I want to stop. I haven’t been out out since before I was pregnant with Luka. Thats not the only reason I want to stop by the way. If you find a secret method please let me know

  7. May 14, 2013 / 7:17 am

    I have a couple of friends who did extended breastfeeding, one stopped when she got pregnant with her second and it made her feel icky and the other just naturally came to an end. I stopped at 14 months because it felt like the right time back then, but I do wonder sometimes if I should have carried on longer, because it is such a lovely thing to do for a child and at 3 years old, my daughter will still only drink milk from her bottle. Good luck finding your way through, but if you both still find something special in what you are doing, then why stop just yet?

  8. May 14, 2013 / 8:32 am

    A tough one but don’t force it if you are not ready. I went back to work with the first 2 and had to stop but Theo and The Triplets gave up themselves when they were ready at around 2. If they had still been happy to continue I would be where you are now at 3 and wondering the same. There is no rush or right or wrong so I would wait till you are both ready to stop.

  9. May 14, 2013 / 9:09 am

    This post made me cry. I miss feeding my girl soooooo much.

    I only fed her until she was one, and regret to this day bowing to external pressures.

    Do what’s right for you and your daughter, but only stop if you really really want to. It doesn’t sound like you do though ;0)

  10. May 14, 2013 / 10:08 am

    Beautifully written.
    So did you stop this morning?

  11. Kate
    May 14, 2013 / 12:18 pm

    All you can ever do is what is right for YOU and HER – if your morning feeding-snuggle-fest still works for you both, then why stop? If you feel you “should” stop because people are judging you, remember that things like this are often a no-win situation – you will be judged for extended feeding by those who “think” they know better in just the same way that someone who doesn’t Breastfeed at all will be judged……it’s about people not seeking to find out WHY you do what you do!!!
    I was not a breastfeeder – my Eldest was born with an undiagnosed cleft of her soft palate and, as a result, was unable to Breastfeed……..I was chastised in public by complete strangers who told me I was a terrible Mother who was letting her down – it took me a long time to realise that as long as she and I were happy and our situation worked for us, why would we or should we change things just because others thought we should!!

  12. May 14, 2013 / 3:00 pm

    What a lovely post…. I fed Little A until she was just over two years old, like you, I realised the time had come, I couldn’t carry on any more – and I basically used bribery – stickers, new toys, books, TV etc and mugs of warm milk. You can still carry on with those early morning cuddles….. very best of luck. X.

  13. May 14, 2013 / 7:03 pm

    Oh that’s so beautiful!
    If you are ready, go for it. Perhaps you can have a new routine of snuggles with a cup of warm milk instead?

  14. May 14, 2013 / 8:36 pm

    Good luck if you really decide to stop! My little man is only 12 weeks old but this post made me sad that eventually it will come to an end as there is nothing quite like that connection

  15. May 15, 2013 / 2:28 pm

    Only when you feel it is time to stop, is it time to stop. There is no rush, enjoy your time together.

  16. May 17, 2013 / 8:12 pm

    It doesn’t entirely sound as though you want to stop… If you do want to, I’d suggest changing your morning routine. I stopped feeding Baby Badger when she was 26 months old and I was three months pregnant as it hurt. We changed our routine around normal feeding time (bedtime and morning wake up) so that things were done in a different order and Father Badger took over for a few days. She barely seemed to notice…

  17. Holly Detre
    May 23, 2013 / 12:08 pm

    It is quite sad when you stop breast feeding for both mummy and baby so I understand your mixed emotions. I have been slowly stopping with my 13 month old and am now down to two feeds a day. My mum breastfed me until I was 3 and a half and found it quite difficult to stop as I was so reluctant. Eventually she dropped me at her friends house for the weekend. Her friend spent many hours trying to find something else I would have as a comfort instead of breast milk…sadly this was coffee (how things have changed lol) but could this be a possible solution if you really want to stop…not the coffee, the friends house 😉

  18. May 30, 2013 / 8:51 am

    Such a lovely story, stop when the time is right for you!

    • northernmum
      June 3, 2013 / 7:20 pm

      Thanks x

  19. Tasha
    September 23, 2013 / 2:02 am

    Never thought I would BF as long as I have either. Your story is motivational and I am hoping to BF as long as my daughter will, 15mos going strong. Thank you again for sharing your beautiful story.

    • northernmum
      September 23, 2013 / 9:34 am


  20. Emma
    September 24, 2013 / 7:38 am

    A friend of mine struggled to get her little girl to stop breastfeeding but had to at 3 years old as it was affecting her teeth. So in desperation she painted her nipples with ‘Stop and grow’ nail biting remedy and told her the milk had gone off. She insisted on trying and agreed and had a Pringle instead!

    • northernmum
      September 24, 2013 / 11:12 am

      Loved this! Thanks

    • May 4, 2014 / 8:14 pm

      That is so funny. I have no idea how I am going to convince my little guy to quit but I imagine that would do the trick!

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