How Long Did You Nurse?

by Susan

For Julia and me, it’ll be 2 years in a couple of weeks!!!

It’s hard to believe she’ll be two soon and I have to admit, I wouldn’t have guessed that she would have nursed this long.

But I’m finding being pregnant and nursing at the same time to be very difficult. My milk supply is getting lower every day and my breasts are sore. I’m afraid it’s soon going to be time to wean.

One of the reasons I have been hanging on and not yet weaning her is because I want to be able to nurse and comfort her both on the long plane trip to Italy and while we’re there. (We are visiting my husband’s family for a month.) I figure being able to nurse should ease the transition to her new surroundings — especially at bedtime.

So, I will hang on for another month and a bit… but I have already reduced many of her daytime feeds.

I am sure I will be sad when she’s finished nursing, but I suppose not for long… since soon thereafter I should have her new little sibling taking over.

For me nursing was a surprising joy and a blessing that I really hadn’t anticipated. I didn’t think I would enjoy nursing and I decided to nurse because obviously it’s the best for baby. But I was pleasantly surprised at how convenient and simple it became and I was especially surprised at what a wonderful bonding time it is.

So today to celebrate breastfeeding, I’d like to share with you a book called “Near Mama’s Heart” by Colleen Newman.

Colleen is a parent educator and offers classes and seminars on parenting techniques such as positive parenting. (Janice and I wish we lived in Maryland so we could go hear her teach in person!)

Colleen also has a fantastic, informative blog. If you are a mom with young children, I am sure you will find her site to be a great encouragement.

Near Mama’s Heart” is a wonderfully unique book full of photos of nursing babies and their families. You can view an online version that is put together as a slide show and set to music.

If your special time of nursing is over, you’ll enjoy the sweet reminder.

And if you want some parenting tips and encouragement, head over to Colleen’s blog and website.

What about you? How long did you nurse? We’d love to hear some of your nursing stories.



Email Author    |    Website About Susan

Susan Carraretto and her identical twin, Janice Croze, created 5 Minutes for Mom in 2006. Susan loves all social media, but her top addiction these days is Pinterest. She recently published a children's book titled "The Pest Detectives" which you can download now in digital format for free.

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

1 MommaBlogger April 15, 2007 at 10:13 pm

With all of my kids, they self-weaned by the time they were a year old. My oldest and youngest were both bottle-fed. I miss nursing, and I was heartbroken when I wasn’t able to with my last baby. I will hopefully be able to again with the next baby, if God wills us to have another one.

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2 Laura April 15, 2007 at 10:16 pm

On April 22, I will have been nursing for 8 years! I have tandem nursed two times… Levi is my only nursling right now and is 2 years and 8 months.

We believe in child-led weaning. During my pregnancies, both of the girls slowed down their nursings and never picked them up completely after the next baby was born.

Nursing has been such a rewarding experience for us and I wouldn’t change a thing!!

I encourage everyone to at least try your very hardest… call LLL early on and enlist the support of everyone you know. Support is so very important. :)

You’re doing awesome Susan… I know Julia will wean when she’s ready. Maybe soon, maybe not. But you are doing great!

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3 Tamara Cosby April 15, 2007 at 10:29 pm

I nursed my twins for 15 months…I loved nursing them…with my first two, I didn’t have the support I had with the twins…so they were only nursed for 4 months and 7 months…I love love love nursing…Love your idea of nursing to comfort on the plane, what a great idea!!!

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4 Adventures In Babywearing April 15, 2007 at 10:45 pm

I enjoy Colleen’s blog! I am so excited to hear you’ve nursed Julia for so long! I did nurse while pregnant with my middle son, but Noah had weaned before I got really big & pregnant! I’ve been nursing Gray for over 18 months now and do love it!! Another wonderful book on extended breastfeeding is Mothering Your Nursing Toddler.

Steph

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5 jen April 15, 2007 at 10:54 pm

I nursed Billy for a year I probaby could have weaned him at 8 months he was losing interest.
Daniel I only nursed for about 4 months

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6 mama k April 15, 2007 at 11:21 pm

I completely agree with your sentiment. I too, decided to nurse ’cause of the benefits for baby, but I can’t say I was looking fwd to it. I was surprised how much I enjoy it and surprised that I’m considering extended (beyond a year) BFing. My goal was to make it to one year.
We are currently 8 months and going strong!

I will echo the previous comment… GET SUPPORT and educate yourself. Those early weeks can be difficult, but it is worth it if you can hang in there. : )

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7 Military Mommy April 15, 2007 at 11:29 pm

I nursed my daughter for 9 months and my son for 2 months. I weaned her due to a really bad bite and his weaning was due to my daughter’s health issues. She was hospitalized and with a military husband gone during much of that time, I just couldn’t juggle it all. I did enjoy it though and was very sad especially with my son. I didn’t get that “last time” and really mourned that.

Michelle

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8 Alexis April 15, 2007 at 11:30 pm

I tried with my first and honestly I gave up after a month. I was young and have no clue what I was doing. DS I nursed for 12 months and my 3rd I nursed for 23 months.

I miss nursing. (And the boobs that went along with it!)

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9 Heidi April 15, 2007 at 11:38 pm

I nursed my son for 22 months. I would have gone longer but he was just pretty much done. I went on a trip with him right before he weaned and he went from nursing once a day (if that sometimes just a few times a week) to nursing a TON on our trip. It made me sore and I wasn’t even pregnant, just no longer used to that much nursing. I was glad that he was able to use that as a comfort during our two week visit with my family and extended family without my hubby – so he was really in unfamiliar territory. When we got home he went back to once a day and then would skip a few days or even a week and then was just done.

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10 Kara April 15, 2007 at 11:44 pm

That’s wonderful you’ve gone so long! My first son I nursed until 11.5 months, and this one looks like it’ll be about the same, my baby’s 10.5 months and only nurses at night now. I would like to make it at least a year with the night time nursings, but not sure if my supply will stay that much longer. My next child I hope to go at least a year as well. I was surprised at how easily nursing was for me and my boys, after I’d heard how hard it would be from everyone, and it is wonderful bonding.

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11 Aimee April 16, 2007 at 12:22 am

I began nursing because of the benefits for my daughter and the savings in not having to buy the formula. I have a lot of friends that had babies within a year before my daughter was born and 2 of them lost their milk around the time their babies turned 6 months. So that was my goal…to make it to 6 months and we made it! But my milk supply has dwindled and unfortunately Abby is no longer nursing. I had to just let it happen and not think about it because if I had thought about it I would have probably cried! I didn’t want to be done nursing but I just wasn’t making enough milk. We plan to have another baby next year and I hope to nurse longer with that child. Congrats on nursing so long!

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12 Kilikina April 16, 2007 at 1:14 am

I nursed until 11 months….

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13 Atasha April 16, 2007 at 1:15 am

I nursed my son for 6 months and regretted stopping. I vowed to nurse my daughter much longer but sadly for me she decided she wanted nothing to do with the boob when she turned 11 months. I was so sad about this. I really wished both kids nursed longer. I’ll try to do it again with the next one if I get my way. I love being able to share that special bond with my babies.

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14 Nell T. April 16, 2007 at 1:28 am

I nursed both my sons for about 4 months. If I have more kids I hope to nurse longer.

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15 Natalija April 16, 2007 at 1:38 am

I wasn’t able to nurse my children that long. But I nursed them anywhere from 8 months to 18 months. Once I tamden nursed my 2 and half year old with the 7 month old after a across the sea move and her being very cranky and whiny (she had stopped nursing at 8 months). I offered, she accepted and since then completely changed. I tandem nursed them for about 2-3 months =).

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16 melody April 16, 2007 at 2:04 am

Ah, something I was not blessed to experience. My biological son had medical difficulties in the beginning of his life which prevented breastfeeding and my younger three sons are by adoption.

Enjoy the blessing.

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17 Janice April 16, 2007 at 2:15 am

It is so wonderful to read all your different experiences!

I nursed Jackson until he was 16 months – and he would have kept going, but I had to go back on antibiotics and the first dose gave him such a bad yeast infection, that I decided to wean.

The early support is so important! I think my early days of breastfeeding were even harder than labor!!!! I was in so much pain and so emotional. If I hadn’t been sooooo determined and had support, I might have given up!

I used to be a youth worker and for the last two years with my job, I worked with teen moms. Unfortunately most of the young moms I knew gave up breastfeeding very early. It is really hard I think when you are a young, single mom without a support system to help in those early weeks. It was so sad not only because the baby and the mom were missing out on all the wonderful benefits of nursing, but these moms could hardly afford the extra burden of formula! I tried so hard to encourage them, but alas, most just couldn’t make it work for them.

For those of you like Melody who didn’t get to nurse your babies for whatever reason, my heart goes out to you. BUT remember it isn’t the end of the world! You still got to love and bond with your babies, and that is all that matters.

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18 Doris April 16, 2007 at 6:01 am

Clayton is 2.5 yo today and we are still in the nursing journey. At some point, I get tired from lack of sleep and can’t wait to end it. But when I held him in my arms, I felt so blessed to offer this gift to my boy; it’s so a joy to be a comfort to him to. I know that it would be harder for me than for him when this nursing journey ends… when? I don’t know :) In his and HIS own time…

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19 Twisted Cinderella April 16, 2007 at 7:54 am

I only nursed for six weeks. for us it was hard. She was soooo tiny (4 lbs 10 oz when she left the hospital) and she had such a hard time. My milk never came in right and I had to pump and supplement with formula. It was the worst 6 weeks of my life. I was so caught up in trying to feed her that I didn’t really enjoy her until after that cycle of get up try to breast feed her, give her a bottle, put her to bed, pump for 1/2 hour, go to bed and get up 1/2 hour later to start all over again.

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20 Twisted Cinderella April 16, 2007 at 7:55 am

actually it was so bad that I am truly scared to try again should I blessed with another child.

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21 katherine April 16, 2007 at 8:25 am

Wow! 2 Years. That’s wonderful. We’re at 15 1/2 months and no signs of stopping, so we’ll see . . .
I hope your trip goes well, and that your soreness eases up a bit so that you can nurse comfortably while pregnant!
:)

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22 Melissa R. Garrett April 16, 2007 at 8:44 am

With my first daughter, I nursed for three months. With my son, just one month. But with my third child, we are still going strong at 21 months (with no signs from her of giving up). Unlike the other two, Bridget caught on very quickly and has always shunned bottles and pacifiers. I’m reluctant to give it up ~ it’s the only way I can get her to sleep at night!

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23 Heather April 16, 2007 at 8:58 am

I nursed my 1st son 15 months. He quit one week before I discovered I was pregnant. I’m still nursing that baby. He’s 10 months now and no end in sight. I feel so blessed to have been able to nurse my boys.

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24 Maria April 16, 2007 at 9:25 am

My daughter just turnd 2 on Saturday. I am still nursing her and although I have slowly been weaning her over the past 2 months I will be very sorry to have this come to an end.

My son only nursed for 9 months. He didn’t want to lie down anymore so I pumped until he was 1.

With my daughter I was going to nurse her until she was done. I had no idea it would be this long. She never took to a bottle or pacifer.

She calls it “all done” “I want all done” was heard about 15 times a day. I nursed on demand until 2 months ago when I slowly started taking feedings away. Now it is before bed (until she falls asleep) and 1 X in the middle of the night. I miss it! Besides it being sad because she is the last baby, I don’t get to sit down until about 9:00 p.m. at night. It used to force me to sit. Hopefully I will drop some pounds in the next few months strictly from moving around.

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25 dcrmom April 16, 2007 at 9:59 am

I, too, was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed nursing, once I gave it a try. I nursed my first for 21 months. We gradually weaned, and then I got pregnant a few months later.

I nursed my second for 26 months, at which time I found out I was pregnant with #3. I was miserably sick, and nursing was giving me oogies, so I quickly weaned. Fortunately, we had already cut down to once a day at that point, so it went fairly smoothly.

I nursed my third for just 15 months, at which time I was going thru some medical issues and needed to have some tests run and possibly go on medication that wasn’t compatible with nursing. She was also extremely demanding about it, unlike the other two, so I decided to wean. She’s my last, and it was sad to wean and know that this stage of my life is over, but not as sad as I thought it would be. I’m ready to move on, and I still cuddle and snuggle her to sleep. (She’s 18 mos old.)

Good luck to you with your new little one!

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26 amanda April 16, 2007 at 10:02 am

I nursed my daughter for 14 months and 5 days. She’s 15 months now. I was someone who didn’t even want to talk or think about bf before I was pregnant. Now I feel like a bf advocate! I loved it. I just wrote a blog about it…

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27 Robin April 16, 2007 at 10:13 am

My first daughter weened herself just prior to the first year. Now my second had a soy and dairy allergy at 4 1/2 months. I went on that diet to be able to nurse her but I started getting sick. At first it was the best feeling, never ate so healthy in all my life, but I couldn’t keep it up so I had to wean her early. I’ve always felt like I missed out on months of bonding because of that.

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28 Jenn April 16, 2007 at 10:38 am

Zachary will be exactly 3 1/2 on May 13th of this year – and is still nursing! He nurses somewhere around 2-3 times a day and then nurses at night too (sometimes/most times) all night long – I never imagined I would STILL be nursing at three, and as a matter of fact I often write about our continued nursing!

I love it though, and after I had to pump with my daughter (I did not realize back then all the great support there was so I quite nursing and started pumping for a YEAR), I just KNEW I WOULD make nursing work for Zachary and I -

I am soo glad I worked soo hard at it now, looking back it was a blink that it took to figure it all out and now it’s such a comfort to him! :)

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29 Susan April 16, 2007 at 11:57 am

Thank you all so much for your wonderful stories. It’s so great to hear everyone’s different experiences.

And it sounds like everyone agrees that nursing is an amazing blessing for both mom and baby!!!

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30 Lu April 16, 2007 at 12:59 pm

I was unable to breastfeed with first child and I am very encouraged by everyone’s comments. We are trying to get pregnant with our second and look forward to breastfeeding this time…. I’ve never thought about breastfeeding after a year so its great to think about it now while I’ve got the chance. Thanks!

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31 Celeste April 16, 2007 at 4:08 pm

Unfortunately I was only able to nurse for about a week when she rejected my milk.
I have a friend Kas, that is still nursing. Her baby is 4 I believe. Another friend nursed for a year and the baby weaned herself.

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32 Jen April 16, 2007 at 5:10 pm

I nursed both my girls… my oldest daughter I weaned her at 14 months because my supply was just about nothing since I was 2 months pregnant with my second daughter. I should have read up more and nursed longer :(.

My second daughter I weaned her around 18 months. She was really loved her nursing time but the waking every hour to nurse at 18 months was getting to me hehe.

Good luck on your trip to Italy. I think it is a very wise decision to nurse her during that time. Make the plan ride more at ease and less stressful.

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33 Stefanie April 16, 2007 at 9:16 pm

I nursed for 10 months when my daughter actually self weened herself (plus she had 10 teeth and became a biter when she was finished) when my supply took a dive. It really saddened me. what shocked/sadden me more was people who were amazed that people nurse that long and said, way to go sticking it out for that long! Sticking it out?!?! it was the best thing I could do for my daughter and the bond it brought us has been indescribable.

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34 Lauren April 16, 2007 at 9:43 pm

I had every intention of nursing until my daughter self-weaned, or at least well into the 2nd year. My Mom overcame difficulties and nursed all 3 of us until at least 2 years, almost 3 with my younger sis. My sis in law nursed her girls for 18 months and 21 months, respectively. In addition to some other stressors (not just normal first-time-Mom jitters), I think I ended up putting a lot of pressure on myself that hindered my attempts to nurse. We tried for 12 weeks, but I had to supplement after every feeding, and I was worn out from the whole pumping process which interfered with our bonding time. She would always be hungry 20 minutes after nursing If we didn’t supplement, no matter what. I pumped enough to supply milk for a couple of more weeks after that, and then I gave up. In the process, I gained a whole new appreciation for military wives and single moms who don’t have a husband or another live-in support person, since my hubby was away for 7 of our daughter’s first 8 weeks of life.

It’s always encouraging to read stories from people who had difficulties and overcame them. Next time around, Lord Willing, I may just go to LLL meetings before the baby is even born instead of waiting to contact a Lactation Consultant when I feel desperate. (The hospital-recommended LLC I used had a one-approach-fits all, or seemed to, and seemed to contradict everything I was hearing from my Mom, the LLL, my PCP and other supportive people in my life. It was SO confusing.)

Congratulations to all of you who have had positive nursing experiences, especially those of you who stuck it out when it was extremely difficult in the beginning.

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35 Kelli April 16, 2007 at 10:13 pm

In exactly 2 months my little angel will be 4! And I have absolutely no intention of forcing the weaning issue. I have loved nursing and feel blessed to have been able to experience this most elemental bond with my daughter.

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36 Mommy Dearest April 16, 2007 at 11:37 pm

I’ve averaged around a year for most of the kids, but Lily, my youngest, nursed for 18 months.

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37 Frog Princess April 17, 2007 at 1:37 pm

Amazing. I can’t say that I wanted to nurse that long. I nursed my first child for 8 months…I found out I was pregnant when he was six months. He started waking up in the middle of the night at about 7 months because he was not getting enough to eat. He had been sleeping through the night since 8 weeks so I wasn’t about to revert back since as parents our goal is children who sleep through the night. We asked our doctor who is a believer about nursing him longer but he has 10 or 12 kids (i can never remember) ,said that 8 months is plenty long enough. And that much afetr 12 months is more of a comfort thing that a nutrition thing. By that point they are getting all thier needed nutrition or at least should be from solid foods. Then with my daughter we had big problems she weighed more but she had a sucking problem and just couldn’t get enough. I tried the pumping thing but that got tiresome and finally afetr she screamed one day for 6 hours straight (no she didn’t have colic. I gave her and eyedropper full of formula. She slept all night and has been ever since. That was at three weeks old. She is very healthy but that was the first full feeding she had since the day she was born. I longed to nurse her more but the pain that was caused ..physical pain..she sucked a hole right in my breast. I hope this next one is easier. She latched on fine but the strange sucking nise came from the back of her throat.

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38 My Baby and More >> Blog Archive >> Lots of Babies Near Mama’s Heart April 24, 2007 at 1:30 pm

[...] The answers range from weeks to months to years and it was very touching to read the struggles, challenges and triumphs of the mothers who posted. The love in the words of these Mamas just filled my heart. (I needed that today, so thanks!) [...]

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39 Kimiko Washington-Jones December 2, 2008 at 3:35 am

I am still nursing my 27mo old. @yrs and 3mo…Crazy! I didn’t think I would have been doing it this long either. My other 2 boys were nursed for around a year and no problem weaning. This one is a girl and I am a stay at home mom and I took a break form school so I am always there for her to nurse. I just don’t know how to wean when the only reason because she is just so big. I love the bonding time but I just don’t know what to do.

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40 Jen P December 14, 2008 at 3:10 am

Kimiko….Did you live in Okinawa?

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41 Carrie December 20, 2008 at 1:37 am

I feel so much better reading your blog – my son is now 27 months old and even asks to nurse (those exact words) – I just don’t have the heart to tell him no. I truly believe that they self wean when they are ready. As his mother, I feel that the child decides when they are ready. When he is upset or extremely tired is the only time he wants to nurse now so he is probably about ready. Actually, sometimes it is just out of the blue – but they do start slacking off – so – all of you that forced them off – I feel you may of been wrong. It is whatever works for you and your child – just roll with it and the best to you. HAPPY PARENTING!! It is a blessing and goes by so quickly (I know because I also have a 17 year old) – Just do what feels right!

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42 ellen fleming January 17, 2009 at 3:36 am

I nursed my son until he was about 9 months old (got pregnant with my daughter) and I nursed her until she was about thirteen months old. Since then I have had another baby in March of 2008 and would love to nurse him until he tells me he is ready to wean ( I had my last 2 completely natural and would love to nurse him as long as possible) He is on solids now… how do I keep him interested in a sippy cup, the breast as well as other foods… I love nursing and want to keep it up as long as possible as he is my last

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43 Kristina March 12, 2009 at 10:45 am

I highly expected to nurse my son beyond 2 years, but as that 2nd year approached, I was ready to be done! I realized that I am simply not a person who can relax completely into giving over my time and body and energy to my child. So he was weaned abruptly the day I decided I was done. Surprisingly, he adjusted relatively easily. Do I miss it? Definitely. Do I regret weaning as we did? Not for a minute. I’m glad that I had the courage to do what was right for our continued mother-son relationship.

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