Is it possible to breastfeed too long?

Home Forums Debates, Issues & Talk Is it possible to breastfeed too long?

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 65 total)
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  • #121878
    nbpnbp
    Participant

    Just came across this link in another forum, posted by mohm (thanks mohm!). Thoughts?

    http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detwean.html

    #121888
    sahmdsahmd
    Participant

    Interesting!

    #121926
    nbpnbp
    Participant

    It is very interesting, but looking around her site more has disappointed me. I grabbed this quote from one of her commentaries:

    ” I can imagine a day when all cans of infant formula carry a series of rotating warning labels from the Surgeon General that clearly state: “Use of infant formula may be hazardous to your infant’s health. Infant formula is known to be a contributing factor in many cases of infant illness and death, including cancer and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The use of infant formula is known to reduce children’s IQ as much as lead poisoning does, and hinders the development of strong affective bonds between mother and child.” I can imagine a day when parents would have to sign a release when they buy infant formula, relieving the formula company of responsibility for causing higher rates of infant morbidity and mortality. I can imagine a day when heavy taxes are levied on the sale of every can of infant formula, both to discourage its use and to help offset the enormous medical costs incurred by those who use it. I can imagine a day when insurance companies charge higher life-long premiums for health care coverage of bottle-fed children. I can imagine a day when all pregnant women are fully informed of the costs of bottle-feeding, in terms of both their own health, and their children’s health.”

    She also explicitly compares “artificial feeding”, as she calls it, to smoking!

    Why is it that we can’t be super supportive of breastfeeding without looking down on people who, for whatever reason, bottle-feed? It’s so frustrating to me. Can’t we all just get along? 😛

    #121929
    southernmdsouthernmd
    Participant

    NBP – I agree with you a thousand percent. My sister developed staph infections due to a predisposition to clogged ducts that had to be drained once already from a surgeon in her breasts. She wasn’t able to breastfeed, and she cried her eyes out about this. In fact, she was even saying she could just periodically get her breasts drained by a surgeon and try to keep going with breastfeeding. I almost lost it on her. She was beating herself up so bad, and it took me a long time to get her to realize she wasn’t hurting her baby. I also have a friend whose milk never came in, and for whatever reason – any artificial means to get it to come in via drugs weren’t an option for her condition. Not sure of the details, but she was upset also. She also had to come to terms with not being able to breastfeed due to “judgement” from people. I think people who assume women and their breasts are going to function perfectly are unrealistic. We are not perfect and neither are all of our parts. No one should judge another woman for this. Not only that, some mothers may simply be unable to breastfeed due to jobs they hold or whatever.

    And I don’t really care what her data says – I still think 5-6 years of age is too much. My opinion though. I also don’t agree with her immunology statement either based on what I learned in school, but that’s another tirade for another day. LOL.

    #121932
    nbpnbp
    Participant

    [quote=southernmd]I think people who assume women and their breasts are going to function perfectly are unrealistic. [/quote]

    I completely agree. However, I also worry about some women getting the message that breastfeeding either works, or it doesn’t, when it really isn’t so cut and dry. For example: my brother’s fiancee told me about a friend of hers who had a lot of pain in the beginning, bleeding etc., so she “just couldn’t” breastfeed. Now I clearly don’t know the whole story, and I don’t judge this woman for stopping, but I do think that there are a lot of cases like this where, with the right support, a woman who would otherwise give up could actually go on to breastfeed successfully (and happily). But women really do need the support, from L/D, lactation consultants, pediatricians, family, etc.

    Again, not saying that I disapprove of someone making the decision to stop, just that sometimes people think they can’t when, if the support they needed was readily available, they could!

    #121936
    rydysrydys
    Participant

    In my experience, most children wean themselves between one and two years of age. While I have no problem with prolonged BF, I do think that 7 is too old. I’m not sure where I would put the cutoff, but in my mind it is somewhere around 3.

    I think that a lot of western society has become over-sexualized. I agree with the woman in the video that society has no problem with a woman baring her breasts in public. I see them on the street all the time. It seems as though as long as the nipples are covered, it is fine. So many things which should be kept private are today being aired out in the open, which cheapens them.

    Growing up, my mother taught me that there are parts of our bodies which are meant to be private. When something is kept private, it is special. My body is special, and something to be proud of, not embarrassed of. The crown Jewels are special, so they are kept under lock and key and only displayed on occasion. So, too, with out bodies.

    There are limits as to when we bare our body parts. Just as I would not get fully undressed in front of my 8 year old, why would I let her breastfeed? It is just not appropriate after a certain age. However, my breasts are meant to feed my babies. Therefore, it is appropriate to bare them at that point. What exactly the cutoff age is will be different for each mother/child, but as I mentioned above I think that 7 or 8 is way too old. Let them cuddle up a different way.

    #122111
    drruth82drruth82
    Participant

    I used to think weaning around 1 was appropriate, but my first child wouldn’t wean, even when I went away to meetings and didn’t nurse for 5 days, and so we maintained a bedtime nursing strategy until she was about 2 1/2 when I developed a rapidly-growing lump that turned out to be fibroadenoma, but I think she sensed my fear and weaned herself in about 2 days. My next child weaned herself at 14 months, and I found myself wishing she had wanted it longer. It’s like a lot of coping strategies, some kids outgrow them sooner than others, but I would think by preschool a child should be developing independence away from breastfeeding unless mom somehow encouraged the continuance in which case she needs to let go.

    #125826
    happymumhappymum
    Participant

    I agree with you! I have been bfing my son for exactly two years (now twice a day) and it has been the best thing I could have done for him. He benefits nutritionally and psychologicaly. When he is done he is so content and at peace with the world. He never gets sick and the few colds he has had have disappeared in a day or two. I even put a few drops of bm in his eyes when had the occasional congiunctivitis. It works!
    I am trying to introduce more whole, raw milk (to avoid constipation) so that we can gradually stop. I have loved it but I just am ready to stop.
    Do what is right for you and your baby. Usually they go through a little stress when you stop bf and that will show with altered appetite or sleep or bowel movements, etc.

    #125827
    happymumhappymum
    Participant

    Sorry! Forgot to add that the WHO recommends bfing at least until the age of 2 and even until 7 depending on culture and child’s needs.

    #126255
    clee03mclee03m
    Participant

    [quote=nbp]However, I also worry about some women getting the message that breastfeeding either works, or it doesn’t, when it really isn’t so cut and dry. For example: my brother’s fiancee told me about a friend of hers who had a lot of pain in the beginning, bleeding etc., so she “just couldn’t” breastfeed. Now I clearly don’t know the whole story, and I don’t judge this woman for stopping, but I do think that there are a lot of cases like this where, with the right support, a woman who would otherwise give up could actually go on to breastfeed successfully (and happily). But women really do need the support, from L/D, lactation consultants, pediatricians, family, etc.

    Again, not saying that I disapprove of someone making the decision to stop, just that sometimes people think they can’t when, if the support they needed was readily available, they could! [/quote]

    I had a similar experience. My milk never fully came in, and my baby lost so much weight he had to be put on supplemental formula. I worked with lactation consultant to promote milk production with pumping and feeding every 2-4 hours around the clock and taking supplements. I continued to not make enough milk where we needed to feed him formula. Eventually, I was told by the lactation consultants that I was one of the few people with a true supply problem. Their recommendation was to stop breastfeeding and pumping and just comfort nurse after a bottle. I could swear they gave up a bit easier when they learned that I was not a stay at home mom.

    I came home and cried. I fed him formula and ‘comfort’ nursed him, and I felt like I was giving up something I couldn’t replace. So I said forget lactation consultants. I continued to feed both formula and breast milk. My breast continued to make more and more milk, and by the time my son started to eat solids and decreasing his milk intake, I was able to feed him exclusively with breastmilk at least when I was home with him at nights, post call, and on weekends.

    I can’t believe even the lactation consultants had this all or nothing thinking. My baby is 10 months now, and we are still happily breastfeeding along.

    To answer the original question, I’m with the Academy. One year if possible, as long as both mom and baby are comfortable. Personally, weaning is not a priority, but pumping stops 366th day of my baby’s birth.

    #126322
    rydysrydys
    Participant

    I have an amazing mom in my practice. She is one of those “rare” women with an inability to produce any real amount of milk. After trying everything with her first, she started using an SNS. She now uses that with each of her kids (she just had #4). For each feeding she fills the SNS, tapes it to her breast and “breastfeeds”.

    I have told her several times how much I admire her. It would be so much simpler to use a bottle instead, as the babies are really formula fed. However, she feels that this way they get some of the benefits of breastfeeding as well.

    #127834
    Cac6Cac6
    Participant

    As a mom of 4 previously breastfed children and a pediatrician, I wholeheartedly support any mom and child dyad to breastfeed as long as mutually agreeable.

    #127969
    kpzr /9145kpzr/9145
    Participant

    Actually I don’t think this scenario is at all rare. Moms often will decide on their own to switch to bottle when they don’t feel the baby is getting enough so the true incidence of breast feeding insufficiency is unknown.

    With my first son, because of early engorgement my supply was inhibited and never fully came in. This is what happens when non-breast-feeding mothers dry up their milk. This early decline in milk production, unlike a temporary decline later when there has already been a full milk supply, is very difficult to reverse. I tried the SNS but had an allergic reaction to the tape (ouch). Combined bottle and nursing/pumping to six months. The second time, I pumped like crazy early on and was successful in bringing in a good supply. Nursed him exclusively to six months then continued nursing until he was almost two! By then he was just as happy to have his father put him down for nap sans nursing.

    I agree though that mothers should not feel they have to choose between nursing and bottle. No reason you can’t do both and combine them in what ever way works for you and your family. Except for in the case of allergies or poor weight gain, it should be the mother’s choice. I think people are combining the two more now than ten years ago, I see lots of mothers who do this naturally.

    #127972
    Docmomof4Docmomof4
    Participant

    I would add that at least here in the US,many women have to go back to work long before they would naturally wean their babies, and this has a huge impact on breastfeeding. My own history is a case in point-my first two self weaned at 10 months, but even with a lot of pumping, I had to supplement with formula for each around 7 months or so. I was working basically full time and very stressed, that reeks havoc with supply. My third, I breastfed exclusively until she was 11 1/2 months and she self weaned to milk at that point-she had barely any formula. I was part time and sleeping more and spent a lot more time with her. If I hadn’t been working, i think I could have BF all three of them for a longer time, just b/c we would have been together more often. I am not one of those women blessed with an abundance of milk, I really have to work for it. I actually have a very supportive work environment for pumping-my patients who are waitresses or work in fast food, for example, usually cannot pump. But I notice a marked supply drop as soon as I go back to work. And my period came back each time about a month after starting work.

    Until our society supports longer maternity leaves, with 60-70% of women in the workforce, breastfeeding is likely to continue to be difficult for many.

    #127978
    southernmdsouthernmd
    Participant

    Docmomof3 – I completely agree. I would have never given a bottle so much if I wasn’t in school and felt like I had to. I would have much preferred to keep just breastfeeding from the breast (despite my earlier posts of pain- you were all right – it turned out just fine, and I loved breastfeeding!!!).

    Now, my son won’t breastfeed at all, and I am pumping around the clock now, and I hate it. I’m going to do it, but I hate it. Part of me wonders how my supply is going to handle clerkships. Guess we’ll see.

    Sometimes I am sad I am not just a stay at home mom that could just breastfeed on demand. But then I also know I would be a miserable stay at home mom, because that isn’t me at all, so I guess this works fine.

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