How Long Did You Breastfeed?

Question of the day here . . . How long did you breastfeed?

The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages new moms to breastfeed exclusively for at least six months and to continue to nurse through baby's first birthday. Many moms are happy to oblige. Other moms are ready to quit after a few months and for a variety of reasons: they want their body back, their milk-supply is dropping, they've returned to work and the stress of pumping at the office is causing problems.

A new study conducted at Brigham Young University says that out of a sample of 60,000 kids, only 36 percent of babies were breastfed up to six months of age. Eighteen percent of babies were breastfed until the they were a year old. Women who had to return to work, were smokers or lived in the Northeast were more likely to discontinue breastfeeding sooner.

Another point in the study that I thought was interesting: The odds were higher for any breastfeeding for babies who resided in the western part of the United States versus babies who lived in in the Northeast. Education also plays a role. "Educated parents" were more likely to nurse longer versus "less educated parents." You can find the full study details here and a blog post (and interesting comments) from The New York Times here. (by Charlene Prince Birkeland, Shine staff, on Mon Aug 11, 2008)

My Breastfeeding Experience

I nursed my first baby for 14 months. He was still enjoying it, I was still enjoying it. I was pregnant again, my Dr said it was completely fine . . .  BUT, my husband gave me a hard time. My MIL gave me a hard time. The two of them together ganged up on me. Everyone gave me a hard time that I was STILL nursing my 14 month old son. So I was guilted and bullied into stopping. I didn't want to stop -- more importantly, my first born child didn't want to stop -- this is a decision that I still regret TO THIS DAY!! Mommas - don't ever let anyone guilt you into doing something that you know is right for you and your baby!

Baby two came along and I was a nursing pro! She nursed, exclusively as well, for 17 months. Baby girl just weened herself and stopped coming to me to eat. When baby number two and I came home and I was nursing her, baby number one, who was now 22 months old, wanted to nurse like his baby sister. I was happy to oblige! Like I said earlier, he never wanted to stop, so it didn't bother me in the least. My husband saw me nursing him and literally exploded! My son was so scared that he never asked me again. It was a terrible experience for me and one that still makes me shake my head that I didn't stand up to my husband!

My last baby, nursed for 33 successful months!  She enjoyed it, I enjoyed it. This last baby, I started receiving A LOT of flax from family members again after two years of exclusive nursing and I didn't stand for any of it! I told everyone to mind their own business this time! I really wish I had done that with all three of my babies! I am a firm believer in long term nursing - IF it works for you!!

Not a single one of my children ever took a bottle. I never pumped, except for a few desperate attempts (it simply just DID NOT work for me). I exclusively nursed all three of my babies. It is tough, it is at moments INTENSE. But I am happy that I did and I wouldn't have done it any other way!

So, did you nurse?
How long did you nurse? Why did you stop?
Did you feel pressure to continue or to stop?