Extended Breastfeeding: I Thought I Was Ready

So the conversation went;

Friend: You’re not still feeding her!
Me: I am.
Friend: How many times a day?
Me: Three
Friend: You really have to cut that out, or at least drop it down to one or two times a day.
Me: (sounding uncertain, guilty, somewhat afraid) Yes.

That was about three months ago and even though I have been thinking that it is nearly time, Immy is now 17 months old and she is still breastfeeding three times a day. The arrival of her first four molars have made it somewhat less comfortable at times (for me that is, no problems for her!), so for about the past three weeks I have been thinking a bit more seriously about weaning her.

With Dad 101 off work this week, I feel this is the ideal time to begin weaning her off the feed before her daytime sleep. But I am torn.

When I started breastfeeding, I tried to not have any preconceptions about how we would do or how long I would feed for and I can take absolutely no credit for Immy’s uncanny ability to latch on and feed like a champion. It was good that one of us knew what to do! In fact, I had so little knowledge about feeding that I was once scolded by a hospital midwife for feeding her for much too long. Needless to say, she only dropped 120gms during her six days in hospital.

I make excuses not to, “It is part of our bedtime routine. I don’t want to upset the routine,” and “It is good for her immunity, she has been getting so many colds you know,” or “Don’t you know that the World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding for at least 2 years?”

And then I think about the upsides for me: a greater sense of freedom, not always having to be there at those three times of day, the flexibility to have a nice glass of wine (I chose not to drink alcohol when I am feeding).

In reality, I think I am just scared of the actual weaning process. I don’t really like to think of the battles we will have when I say, “No.” She has never been one to take a bottle or a dummy, this is all she has known. This is her comfort, her security. How do I take that away?

Given my age, she is in all likelihood the only baby I will have. I feel sad, a real sense of loss. I thought I was ready but now the time is here, I am not so sure.

Help! I would love to hear tips from other Mums who have weaned their toddlers.


  1. I think I know what you are feeling. I didn't wean your uncle until he was nearly 12 months old (that was quite old in THOSE days, at least amongst my friends feeding their babies) and he had never had a bottle at all. I got down to only feeding him going to bed at night and then gradually reduced that as well to every second night and so on. It seemed to work quite well, for us anyway. I do understand the closeness you feel to your little one while still breast feeding her but that closeness will not fade. It is a big step to take but other things will eventually take the place of those daily feeds. Whatever you decide to do I know will be the right thing for you both so don't take any notice of other people's comments but just do your own thing for as long as you feel you need to. Good luck.

  2. The time has to be right for both of you – not your friends, not your family (not meaning DH but extended family). Don't feel pressure to stop because someone seems to not understand, or maybe you still feeding makes them feel guilty they gave up early. I would have loved to have breastfed all my children. I was given bad advice from doctors to stop when in fact I should have continued and so one I only feed for 6 weeks and the another for about 10 months. Another of my daughters chose to stop at about 9-10 months. My youngest I feed until he was around 14 months and I was ready then and so was he. But if it is still right for you and for Immy then do it. If you still enjoy it and so does she then what is the harm. She is still little not yet 2 but if it is time for both of you then slowly stop and while it means she is growing and no longer that little baby girl. Look forward to the exciting life ahead as she grows and you can be there encouraging her every step of the way. xxx

  3. Christie Burnett says:

    Thank you for your comments. Today was day three and Immy did really well. Still a little upset but not so much. Now I just have to stop shedding a tear each time. And to think this is only giving up one feed!

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