This article is from the Breastfeeding
Past the First Year FAQ, by Kim Smith
I got (as usual, because this is such a great group of people) lots of
helpful posts and mail. Several of you asked me to summarize, so I am
posting the mail messages that I got. Many many thanks to all of you who
posted or wrote. I am still pumping and have decided to keep it up at least
until some time in the 2nd year, and the gymnastics have slowed down some.
Who knows what will happen next? I have ordered a copy of "Mothering Your
Nursing Toddler" because several of you recommended it. And I was glad to
see, from both the posts and letters, that I was able to give some of you a
good giggle from my description of my talented little gymnast.
I have to agree with the others who said the gymnastics *don't* show he wants
to wean. After all, he's keeping latched on! If he wanted to wean, he'd be on
the other side of the room... :-)
To answer your question about the nursing baby olympics, after
three kids, all of whom did this, I assume it's normal. My personal favorite
is when the child whips his/her head around to look over his/her shoulder
without bothering to let go of Mom first. I always yelled "Ouch" if one
of them did something that hurt, which probably scarred them for life (:-) ),
but they learned to be more careful. I think you're right to give Daniel
negative feedback, either by scolding him a little or stopping nursing, and
I agree with letting him start up again if he's still interested. My
experience is that just stopping for a moment is enough to get the point
Sometimes I tried holding the child very closely in order to prevent
her from standing up in my lap or rolling over while nursing, but that didn't
teach them not to do it.
I found I had to give up on public nursing at about that point,
because in addition to the acrobatics, the kids were starting to ask loudly
to nurse or pull up my shirt or pull away every time something interesting
came by. I limited nursing to non-public areas and gave them bottles
My kids gradually stopped doing the acrobatics as they got older
(after about one year of age). I didn't interpret the acrobatics as a sign
of weaning. I think it's more a sign of a baby that wants to do everything
I don't have any first hand experience with this, although I am hoping to
continue nursing Helene past 1 year. I was reading "Mothering Your Nursing
Toddler" last night, and it had something about this, so I would think it is
very common. They said that it was not necessarily a sign that the child was
ready to wean (but would you have expected them to say anything else? :-)
I continued pumping past 1 year with boh my kids. I work full time, and so
pumped twice-a-day. I would know when to cut back on pumping, when the
babysitter/my husband would tell me that the baby was beginning to refuse
I think all kids begin to twist and turn when they nurse. I think it is
a sign of beginning to wean. I didn't recognize it at first, but it became
more obvious as time wore on.
A friend of mine kept pumping until her baby was 16 months or so because the
child hated cow's milk. She and I were sharing a pump in my office. I was
wishing she'd hurry up and quit because I didn't really need the pump
myself--I saw Will for lunch every day and was really bad about remembering
to pump for morning/afternoon snacks. Eventually Ariel learned to drink
cow's milk, mixed with gradually decreasing proportions of mommy-milk.
I believe that nursing must take place in a boring bedroom after the child
reaches a certain age. Discretion is simply not a comprehensible topic to a
baby. It's as though they're saying "Look, world! This is my absolutely
favorite thing! Aren't you jealous?" On the bright side, this saves you from
having the kid start trying to undress you in public when they get hungry, if
nursing is something you only do at home or in somebody's borrowed bedroom.
I pumped until my son was about 21 months old, at which time he stopped
taking bottles at daycare (he used to drink them right before naptime). I
tried to pump at the times we would otherwise nurse, though towards the end,
I would pump so little at one time, I would pump twice a day to fill the one
bottle. I was really prepared to stop pumping at a year, but my son turned
out to be very allergic to milk. We tried a combination of soy milks/
formulas added to the pumped breastmilk (i had let my supply decline, in
anticipation of stopping pumping). Pumping regularly did bring my supply
back up. From 12 months to 21 months, my son dropped 3-4 daytime feedings
and 1 nighttime feeding (at 2 years, my son now only nurses at bedtime and
waking and whenever I'm home, before naptime). The last nursing we dropped
(was just recently) was on coming home from daycare. I was afraid of
stopping pumping (would I have enough supply on weekends if I stopped on
weekdays?). But it turned out not to be a problem. One of my friends told
me that your body knows to have milk on weekends, even if you don't nurse at
that time on weekdays. WEll, either that's true, or my son is simply nursing
for comfort (and getting a tiny amount of milk, too).
re: freestyle nursing: my son does this somewhat -- I keep turning him back
the way it's comfortable for me, mindful that he, too, may be in an
uncomfortable position. One behavior that's sort of funny, is that he'll
sometimes bring a book with him to nurse. I think he picked that up from me,
since I tend to read while nursing. I have drawn the line at big books, so
he has started bringing the little books (3"x3") or medium sized books
(6"x6"?) and he'll flip thru the pages.
PS (you know, the really amazing thing is that I *never* realized that I
would be nursing this long - I recall when I was pregnant, that I thought I
would be lucky to make it six months. And to think, here I am at 2 years...)
Lynn was doing this at 15-18 months, so I weaned. (Lynn was into jumping on
the bed and nursing at the same time. Sigh.) But I didn't have to, people
tell me that if you are consistent about taking him off the instant he starts
to play, he will eventually stop doing it.
You might want to ask your doctor about the pumped milk vs whole milk
question. I don't know anything about the vitamin content of the two,, and
suspect that would be a major consideration. I'm amazed that you want to
continue pumping. I HATED pumping. I pumped until Jordan was six months
old, obsessed about how much milk we had in the freezer, freaked out if I was
out on the weekend and dean ahd to defrost milk,etc. I was horrible. I was
so glad to give up pumping--I rationalized it to myself at six months, since
he was starting to eat other foods, etc., it wouldn't hurt him to get formula
three days a week. I'm totally impressed by you!
Marilyn, I can assure you that breastmilk will still be beneficial to Daniel
after age 1. The World Health Organization (WHO) now recommends that babies
receive breastmilk for at least the first two years of life and that
introduction of cow's milk be delayed until age 2. The only reason I can
think of to switch him to cow's milk is if you're tired of pumping. If you
want to, you can wean him while you're working and then nurse him when you're
together. If you're happy to keep pumping, I don't see why you should stop.
I have a breastpump rented to a firefighter with a 17 month old daughter.
She still pumps during her work days (she's on for 72 hours in a row and then
off for several days).
re: nursing gymnastics: Welcome to toddlerhood. It sounds like you're doing
the right thing. I warn the child that she's hurting me, and tell her that
I'll end the nursing if she continues to hurt me. Morganne was pretty civil
again by about 18 months. Matisse and I are working on pinching right now.
Moms aren't required to be punching bags.
"Be gentle with Mama. I'm the only Mama you've got."
Sometime in the second half of the first year, I stop nursing in public
except for in secluded places. Toddlers are too distractable. Also, toddlers
don't need to be demand fed and can start understanding "when we get to the
car", "in a few minutes" and "when we get home". I started talking to
Morganne about acceptable places for nursing when she was about 9 months and
she and I had pretty much come to an agreement by 18 months. If Daniel has
been a squirmy nurser in public, you can tell him that you only want to nurse
in private, or at home, or in the car, or in the bedroom at Grandma's.
Distraction is usually pretty easy in public.
"Mama, I want to nuggle" (our code word)
"When we get to the car. Do you want to go look at Grandma's fish
Good luck! I found Norma Jane Bumgarner's book _Mothering Your Nursing
Toddler_ to be very helpful when Morganne was around Daniel's age.
I stopped pumping at 1 year, so no help there. However, I did have two
olympic nursers. No, it wasn't really a sign of weaning, for me, but it did
make life interesting.
I'm responding to question 2, since I didn't provide pumped milk past age 1
(although I think it is great that you're going too. I was tired of the
hassle and Liana was okay on regular milk). I don't think your baby wants to
wean -- he's just active. Liana went through this stage too, and I also
wondered whether she was starting to wean. She was so busy during the day
(trying to keep up with big sister) that she didn't have time to nurse.
She'd make up for it night usually :(. She seems to have learned now that
nursing time is for nursing, not playing (although Mom sometimes violates
this rule by tickling).
One of the best benefits of older baby nursing is that it turns a screaming
toddler into a happy toddler in 5 seconds or less.