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135. Sample Schedule of Nursing Your Baby Past One Year

What exactly does nursing past one look like? Listen to moms from all over the world share their sample schedules past 12 months. Plus the research of how to increase your odds of meeting your lactation goals past 1 year of age.
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Read the full transcript here:


Welcome to the Breezy Babies podcast, where we talk about all things boobs, babies and breastfeeding. This is episode 135. Sample schedule of Nursing past One I'm Bree, the IBCLC, and I made Breezy Babies with you in mind to help ease your transition into parenthood. Becoming a parent changes your life in every way imaginable. Bumps in the road are going to come up as you move into your new role, but my goal is to help smooth out those bumps and help you become the most confident parent you can be. With good education and support, I know you can meet your breastfeeding and parenting goals. Let's do this together. Hello, my friends. Welcome back for another episode of the Breezy Babies podcast. So happy to be here with you today. I have a topic that was suggested by you. I was getting a bunch of messages asking, what does nursing past one really look like? And maybe I was just getting those a lot lately because my baby is older than one now. Let's see, she's 15 months old now. I can't even keep track. That's how you know you're the fourth baby, right? If your mom can't really keep track of how old you are. Anyway, she's a little over one year. She's still nursing, and a lot of people are curious about what that looks like. I don't know about you, but when I had my first, I just was under the understanding that you nursed till one and then you stopped because there was no reason to nurse past one, and so why wouldn't you stop breastfeeding at one? So I did that with my first baby, my second baby, my third. As soon as they hit one, I was like, okay, you're done. And that worked great for them. But I knew after a six year long gap, not wondering if I was going to have another baby and now breastfeeding again, I am not quite ready to let that go. We are still very much both enjoying it. And when we'll stop, I don't know. But I know what my schedule looks like with my baby. And I'll just give you a little spoiler alert. Right now, we don't really have much of a schedule. I'll share with you a little bit more about what we do right now, what we have done since she's turned one. And then I have loads of moms who wrote in when I asked on my Instagram stories for sample schedules from moms all over the world. I had loads of people send me what their daily routine looks like with breastfeeding their little baby. So I sprinkled those all throughout this episode. And it's actually really fun to hear what different people do depending on the age of their baby, depending on their goals, depending on where they live in the world, just so many things. It's going to be really fun to share with you. But before I jump into this episode, I want to read you a Google review that was left just a couple days ago. This was a Google review left by Jamie, and she is gushing about Holly, who is an IBCLC on the Breezy Babies team. If you don't already know. On my team, we have three IBCLCs, including myself. Holly is also located in Cavesville, Utah, and then Lex on my team, she's in Ogden, Utah. So if you're local to northern Utah, we are your girls. If you are not local to Utah, no problem. We meet with families all over the world. That's the cool thing about telehealth. We can meet with you over secure video no matter where you live. And a good chunk of the time, your consults are actually covered by insurance. The link in the show notes is always there for you to check. To see if your insurance covers free consults, you just click the link, it connects you with us, you put in your insurance information, and our billers at Lactation Network do their magic on the back end to see if you get free consults. And if you get an email saying yes, then you're in. You get six totally free consults. No deductible, no coinsurance, no copay, nothing. Totally free consultations. So worth checking out, especially if you have Blue Cross, Blue Shield or Cigna, then there's a really good chance that you get free consultations. Anyway, let me go back and read this review from Jamie. She says, Holly has been absolutely phenomenal in helping us on our breastfeeding journey. She is incredibly knowledgeable, and it has been so convenient having her visit us in our home. Not only does she answer all of our questions, but she also creates comprehensive notes for us to refer back to her positivity and encouragement makes this process a lot easier. I would recommend her to anyone wanting help meeting their Lactation goals. Thank you, Jamie. I love that so much. And I would 100% recommend Holly or Lex or myself or anyone on our team because we are just doing amazing work and helping families crush their goals all over the world. All right, let's get back to a sample schedule of nursing past one. Like I told you in the beginning, I did recently do a poll on Instagram where I asked all my followers if they would be willing to share a sample schedule that they follow for nursing their little 01:01. And I want to start it off with those three spots because I really love it. And this is pretty similar to what I do with my baby as well. Amy Kurzan from Utah. She says, I nursed my last until she was three. Here was my nursing schedule past one. Nurse on demand. The end. I bet that's super helpful for the podcast. She did, like, a little laughing emoji. I love that because, honestly, that's a little close to what I do as well. We kind of just go with the flow and nurse on demand. And soon after my baby turned twelve months, we pulled back quite a bit on nursing. She was only nursing three or four times a day, and then she got sick. She was pretty sick. I think it was November of last year, shortly after she had just turned one. And I was so happy that I had not weaned her because she was so sick. She did not eat anything for an entire 24 hours. She just literally laid on my chest and breastfed kind of nonstop. Like whenever she was willing to, I just offered the breast and that's all she ate for an entire day. Even though at this point, remember, she's twelve months old. She was taking solids at this point, but she did not eat anything. I'm sure her throat hurt. I'm sure she didn't feel well, and so I was really glad to be able to provide that for her after she was done being sick. However, I was not down with just nursing constantly, all day, every day. Totally fine to do that while she was sick, not interested once she was feeling better. So we slowly worked down to nursing about three or four times a day. Now that she's 15 months or so, we are just doing two or three times a day, and that works really well for us. So if you look up the American Academy of Pediatrics, they would advise you that continuing to breastfeed even past one has benefits not only for you, but also for your baby. If you look at the World Health Organization, they take it a step further by recommending that babies be breastfed for two years or more as long as their nutritional needs are being met. That wasn't quite the recommendation with my first. Things have changed a little bit. We've learned a little bit more. Does that mean that you have to breastfeed till at least two? No, totally not. Every family's journey looks so, so different. But for those of you who are interested in nursing past one, this podcast episode is really going to help you give some guidance and direction on what that looks like. Because I don't know about you, but sometimes it kind of feels like you just fall off the realm of getting help with breastfeeding past one, because it's kind of just like, oh, do what you want, whatever you want to do works. And it kind of feels like, well, what are my options? Could you just give me some examples, some options to go from? So that's what I'm providing for you today. Let me tell you now what Megan from Northern California shared about her journey nursing past one. She started by saying that she is an IBCLC candidate, so she's very grateful that she knew what to expect when it came to breastfeeding and pregnancy. Around 16 weeks, she saw a significant decrease in her production, but no real change in her feeding sessions. Her daughter is almost two and a half and still breastfeeds first thing in the morning before she heads to the hospital. As soon as she gets home at 05:00 P.m., roughly 10 hours later, which is a long time, she again usually around 2 hours later, right before bed. Well, okay, let me start that over. She breastfeeds again 2 hours later after nursing, after she gets home, and then right before bed, she nurses and then again at 330 a. M. That's kind of their regular schedule. So if she's home, she goes on to say, if I am home, I would say the only big adjustment is that she may add an additional session in around one to 02:00 p.m.. She goes on to say at this time, I am not pumping when I am away from her only feeding at the breast. She has tried pumping around 17 weeks due to being away for 12 hours. And the thing is that her milk has transitioned back to those thick droplets of colostrum since she is pregnant. She says, in ten minutes I pumped three GTT's, which were thick, creamy and a light hint of yellow. So if you don't know three GTT's are, it's not a lot. It's a very little amount, which we would expect to happen around the second trimester. In the second trimester, that's when you start producing colostrum. So if you are feeding a toddler while you're pregnant, you can expect a huge drop in supply around that time. So she goes on to say that they're officially at the state of dry nursing. If you don't know what dry nursing is, it means that your toddler is still breastfeeding, but they're not really getting a whole lot. Maybe a couple drops are transferring, but it's pretty close to nothing. It's more for bonding and closeness and also maintaining that breastfeeding relationship so that after baby is born, you have the option to either wean at that point or to continue on to tandem feed. And it sounds like that is what this mama's plan is because she's saying she goes on to say that as she is expecting, she's hopeful to tandem feed. She ends up by saying the hardest part is knowing that each nursing session could possibly be our last simply based on milk production. I loved that. Thank you, Megan, for sharing that. Just a little insight into what it can look like nursing an older baby while you are pregnant. Let's move into my top tips now. My tip number one for you as we talk about sample schedules for nursing past one is if you continue to nurse past one, you don't have to supplement with another milk. Okay. Did you know that? So what we learned is that if you continue to nurse your toddler and you're giving them a well balanced, well balanced mills, well balanced nutrition, as long as you are nursing at least two to three times a day, you don't need to supplement your toddler with cow's milk or toddler formula or whatever choice of milk or supplementing you have at your fingertips. It's not necessary to give that if your baby is still nursing at least two to three times a day, because your breast milk is going to provide them with those needs. I really love what I read on Kelly mom. They kind of give us a little bit of a reality check because let's see, how do I put this? Sometimes nursing past one isn't all just rainbows. Sometimes it can be a little bit tricky. And they give us a little insight into how many families they say that when they're breastfeeding, they're twelve to 15 month old. Sometimes they go back to nursing like a newborn. And what I mean by that is that they are nursing often, so that can be the norm for some families. Now, on the other hand, some babies past one year only nurse once or twice a day. Some a few times a day on some days, and then the next day they hardly do any. So no matter what your personal breastfeeding pattern looks like, just know that usually the frequency of how often your baby is feeding generally decreases as your baby gets older. Once or twice a day, breastfeeding sessions can continue for months or even years. Did you know that? Yes, you can nurse just once or twice a day for years if you choose. But again, it just comes down to what your baby chooses. And also, you remember that you are half of the breastfeeding puzzle. This isn't just what you want or just what your baby wants. You are a diet. You are working together, so it matters what both of you want. Okay, let's hear from Nicole Daly from Wisconsin. She wrote in to me and she said, for my 13 month old, we're doing about six times a day upon waking before nap number one, after nap number one, before nap number two, after nap number two. And at bedtime. She goes on to say that sometimes we eliminate the pre feed naps if the solids meant just finishing or my baby was ready to go down for a nap ASAP. I love that. And I do find that most people, when they're breastfeeding a baby past one year, often when they breastfeed, really tends to be close to sleep schedules. So that's pretty normal. Okay, Amanda from Michigan, she said, nursing my 15 month old, we've had days where she only nursed a couple of times and some as often as a newborn. OOH, I love that. Kind of going back to what I just read from Kelly mom, it is so helpful that she can sign milk when she wants to nurse. P. S. Have you guys taught your little one how to sign milk? It just is an open and closed fist. And my little one, she does it all the time. I don't always give it every time she asks. It kind of just depends on the day. But I love that she can tell me when she is interested in milk and PS. We also another PS. We have an upcoming episode on baby sign language, and I have a guest coming on to talk about that. So if you're interested in learning more about baby signing, then make sure you subscribe to this podcast so that you don't miss the upcoming episode. It's really good. I have a really great guest coming on to talk about that. Okay, let's go back to what Amanda from Michigan was saying. So she was talking about how her baby signs milk when she wants to nurse. She goes on to say, and sometimes I offer when I want to sit down and take a break. Typically try to hold her off until about 04:00 A.m. Through the night, but we cosleep, and sometimes it's earlier than that. One day is never like the next. She also nurses to sleep for naps and bedtime. I love that. Thank you so much for sharing, Amanda. All right, let's move on to tip number two, and that is breastfeeding is great for pain, sickness, or discomfort, even past one year. So we do know that babies, even newborns, they breastfeed not only for nutrition, but also for comfort. It's the same for toddlers. Breastfeeding can work wonders when your baby is hurt, sad, upset. Nursing is great if your little one is throwing a tantrum or sick on Kelly mom. They go on to say that toddlers may also use breastfeeding as a quick way of checking in and reconnecting with mom throughout the day, which I totally agree. Carolina from Poland. She said that she does not have a strict schedule. Sometimes I nurse my daughter in the mornings, but that's only on days when I have the second shift and start working at 01:00 p.m.. By the way, I love hearing from working moms that they're still crushing their lactation goals. Carolina goes on to say, Then I nurse her after her nap, which takes place around ten to 11:00 A.m.. And the last one is when I come home from work around 06:30 p.m.. I nurse her three times a day, sometimes four, when she's teething or feeling sick. So good, Carolina. Love it. Mikhail from Utah she says, My daughter up to 18 months, nursed six to seven times at around 18 months. Three to four times is how often she nursed. Then around 20 months, she just nursed twice. Then she also shares that was for her daughter. She also shares what happened with her son. She says that he's currently 22 months old. He nurses a minimum of five to six times a day around 02:00 A.m., 05:00 A.m., 07:00 A.m., 1030 or 11:00 A.m., then again at 04:00 P.m., and last at 07:00 p.m.. She says that some nursing sessions are super short, just three to five minutes, and some are longer and a mix of nutritive and comfort. Love that. Thank you so much for sharing that, Mikhail. So we've learned that toddlers not only nurse for nutrition and bonding, sometimes they even can nurse when they are teething or feeling sick, and that can be a great comfort for them. One thing to think about is how you're going to balance solids and breastfeeding with your toddler. And the nice thing is that past one breast milk is no longer their main source of nutrition. So again, you can kind of do what you want. And I think it's so helpful to hear these different examples from these mammals that are all over the world. Okay, have you ever heard of toddler gymnastics? This just basically means that you can nurse in literally any position. So with a newborn it feels a little bit like, okay, we're doing the cross cradle hold and then we're doing the football hold, and then we're going to learn how to do sideline, and then we're going to learn how to do an upright position. And you quickly learn that with a toddler, basically any position goes. Maybe your little one still likes to nurse in the cradle hold, or maybe they like to nurse while trying to crawl up over your shoulder and while upside down or standing in front of you or bouncing up and down. And you learn really quickly once you experience it, exactly what toddler gymnastics is. And it's pretty amazing. It's pretty amazing when you see how these toddlers can latch and feed and suck and swallow, even in the craziest of positions. So I just want to share a little side note here as well before we move on to tip number three, is that don't feel rushed to. Wean sure if you want to, wean go ahead and do that, but don't feel like you have to. Again, I'm so glad that I did not wean my baby right at one like I did with my others because she got so sick right after her first birthday. We were going into cold and flu season. So maybe take into account what time of year your little one will be turning one. We think that maybe she had RSV or influenza. I don't really know. We never had her tested, but she just was so sick and I was so glad to be able to nurse her and provide her that nourishment through her sickness. Okay, I want to share tip number three with you. And for this tip, I'm going to link a study for you. I'll link it in the show notes if you want to go in and look through it yourself and read through it. But first of all, tip number three is I want to talk to you about how to meet your goal of nursing past one. Now, as I talk about this study, you are going to hear some things and you might think, okay, that's great, but those aren't controllable things for me to meet my goal of nursing past one. Now, in the study I'm going to read to you how they say that not returning to work improves your chances for breastfeeding past one. But if hearing that makes you feel discouraged, then first let me tell you about my friend Jenny. Jenny is from Pennsylvania. She has a twelve month old. Let me talk you through what her schedule looks like. At 08:30 A.m., she wakes up and does a full feeding. At 09:30 A.m., her little baby has breakfast, eats some solids at eleven or 11:30 A.m., she nurses before nap number one. At 01:00 p.m is lunchtime. Baby has some solids. At 02:30 p.m., she nurses before she leaves for work. At four or 430, baby goes down for nap number two at 530 or six, baby has dinner, eats some solids at 630 or 07:00 p.m., her baby has a bottle or a cup of milk. And she makes a little note right here where she says that her baby only accepts one to 2oz, which I think is so sweet that her little baby waits for her to get home because at 07:30 p.m. She knows that mama is coming home and she nurses. And then last at 08:30 p.m., she nurses to sleep and then she nurses on demand every two to 3 hours, all night. So this is just one example of a family who is making at work nursing past one, even while mom is working. So in the study that I'm going to link it's on the NCBI website, there's one section that talks about it's called the Determinants of breastfeeding to twelve months. So basically in this study they are talking about things that make you more likely to be able to nurse past one year, if that is your goal. So the first thing they talk about is women who are multiparous, which if you don't know what that means, that just means that it's not your first baby, it's your second baby. You're third, your fourth, your fifth. However many, you're just more likely to nurse past one if it is not your first baby. They also say that your chances are increased if you have commenced or completed a university degree, which is kind of interesting. And they also talk about if you have not returned to work within twelve months of the birth of your child. So if you've done those three things, it's not your first baby. You've commenced or completed a university degree and you have not returned to work within twelve months, then they say you're significantly more likely to breastfeed to twelve months and beyond compared to primates, which just means it's your first baby, those with a high school or vocational level education, and also those who have returned to work. Now again, if that makes you feel discouraged, just remember I've given you lots of examples of moms who have returned to work and it's been all good. And I don't know about you, but here in the United States, if you have completed a university degree and not returned to work, I don't know, I just feel like that can be a rare instance. So don't get too caught up on this. I just think it's really cool and interesting information to kind of take in. Okay, I love this next part that they talk about in the study. They say women whose partners preferred breastfeeding were 76% more likely to breastfeed to twelve months than those who reported that their partner preferred formula feeding or was ambivalent about how they fed their child. Kind of meaning they didn't really care. So this might be something that maybe you do have more control under, you do have more control over, maybe you don't have control over whether you return to work or not. But educating and getting your partner excited for breastfeeding can be so helpful because again, if they are supporting you, then you are 76% more likely to be breastfeeding at twelve months. And then they finally go on to say that finally, breastfeeding at twelve months was independently negatively associated with the use of formula and the very early introduction of complementary foods. So again, formula is great. It has its place when it's used, when it's not needed, that decreases your chance of breastfeeding to one year. And then also if you introduce solid foods too early, which if you look up the current recommendation that's before six months, then that decreases, also decreases your chance of breastfeeding to one year. Let's see, in this specific study, they talked about women who introduced complementary foods before 17 weeks were less likely to be breastfeeding at twelve months compared to women who introduced complementary foods at or after 26 weeks. The introduction of formula at any age before twelve months was strongly negatively associated with breastfeeding at twelve months. And then they go on to say that there was no real indication that maternal age or country of birth really seemed to matter. Super interesting, right? So again, using formula any age up to twelve months strongly decreases your chance of breastfeeding to twelve months and even up to 24 months if that's your goal. And that's the recommendation that you want to follow. So again, if you want to read through that entire study yourself, I just pulled a small little chunk out of that that was specific to nursing past one. But if you want to look at that yourself, I will link it in the show notes. And again, just remember that your partner support is so important to you meeting your goals. Okay, let's hear from a couple other moms as we wrap up this podcast episode. Angela from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she said she's still nursing at 18 months. Her nursing sessions look like this. She wakes up at 07:00 A.m., she nurses and then at bedtime 07:00 p.m.. And then she said typically one overnight session around 03:00 a.m. To get him back to sleep if he wakes. She also does pumping sessions at 10:30 A.m. And 02:30 P.m.. That's so she can provide two three ounce bottles for daycare on weekends. She says it's kind of a crapshoot. She goes on to say that he loves nursing for comfort or when he's bored. So the schedule is nonexistent on weekends. So that's a great example of how the weekdays and the weekends can even look so different. Nisha. She shared that her nursing look like this. She fed first in the morning when they first waked up before the first nap, before the second nap, and before baby went to bed for the night. And then she said, sometimes baby takes an extra feed just because, I don't know. So that's an option too. Even if you have a schedule, you can still be like, oh, now feels like the right time to nurse, and that's totally fine to do. Okay, two more for you, Shelley. She is actually at Twin Mom Guide on Instagram. She's from Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She talked about how with her twins and her singleton, nursing past one look like this. She nursed upon waking, breakfast, nursed before nap one, nurse when waking from nap one, lunch nurse before nap two, nurse when waking from nap two, dinner nurse before bed, nurse for night, wakings until 18 months for the twins and then two years with her singleton. And she goes on to say, I did breastfeed on demand. So sometimes there were some extra sessions in there if they were teething or sick or needed extra comfort. So helpful. And then the last one, this is Lena from Norway. She said, we have no schedule, but we always feed to sleep for naps and nighttime. Isn't that so cool? I love that we have these amazing examples from moms that are literally from all over the world. And you can see that no two schedules really look the same. And for the most part, most of them are not really set in stone. Most of these moms are just going with the flow. It can look a little different from day to day, but there may be some who do follow a bit more of a strict schedule, and that works for them. So I hope that this episode today gave you a little bit of clarity on what nursing past one can look like. If this episode was helpful for you, then would you please leave a podcast review? This helps so much. This helps for other families to find this podcast and connect with this podcast and get help with this podcast again, my top three tips for you are number one, if you continue to nurse past one, you do not have to supplement with a different milk. Tip number two was breastfeeding is great for pain, sickness, or discomfort, even past one. And then tip number three was all about how to meet your goals of nursing. Past one from. That study that I linked in the show notes. I can't wait to come back and talk with you more next week. I hope you have a great rest of your week and of course I'm going to leave you with. You are strong, you are smart, you are beautiful, you are a good friend to all. Bye.

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