How to Support Breastfeeding Mothers Who Nurse Beyond One Year

We asked moms just like you to share their best advice for partners of longer-term breastfeeding mamas. Check out some of our favorite responses below!

Advice for Partners and Loved Ones of Longer-Term Breastfeeding Moms

There are so many great reasons to continue feeding your little one with breast milk for as long as you both choose. Though the different stages of your breast milk feeding journey may encounter unique challenges – such as returning to work, having your little one in daycare, or traveling overnight without your toddler – persevering through those challenges, allowing yourself (and your expectations!) to be flexible, and leaving goals open-ended can be helpful to achieving longer-term breastfeeding.

In the past, we reached out to our social communities to hear straight from moms why they chose to breastfeed their babies beyond 12 months and loved the thoughtful responses we received! Because partner support (or lack thereof) plays an important role in breast milk feeding duration, we decided to reach out to our social audiences again to hear what advice they’d give partners on how to support breastfeeding mothers past a year. We are excited to share many of our personal favorite responses here:

  • “Don’t let society decide how you continue to feed your baby. There’s nothing wrong in continuing breastfeeding past one year.”
  • “Be patient.”
  • “Partners should always be supportive. Don’t say things like ‘isn’t she too old to nurse?’ or ‘you met your goal, now she can have cow’s milk’. Tell her she’s doing a great job and acknowledge that breastfeeding is hard work.”
  • “Accept the normal.”
  • “Support her in any way you can. Also tell her she’s doing a great job.”
  • “Be supportive!!! Bring us snacks.”
  • “Advocate when relatives think it’s not ‘normal.’”
  • “Support, support, support any decision mom makes!”
  • “Support them! It’s emotionally hard and when mom and baby are ready, they’ll wean.”
  • “Don’t listen to what other people might say.”
  • “Change the diapers! And always have positive encouragement!”
  • “Be prepared to defend her in front of friends and family.”
  • “Just be helpful. Bring her water without being asked.”
  • “Tell them you still find them sexy. Not just attractive, but that she still has sex appeal.”
  • “Be patient. Be patient when she feeds baby out and about. Be patient at night. Get snacks.”
  • “Embrace it and enjoy – it was lovely to celebrate the 1-year mark and just have fun!”
  • “Be supportive! Ask questions. Ask how you can help.”
  • “Just because she’s nursing doesn’t mean she doesn’t still need help with feedings!”
  • “Continue to support them and enjoy the fact that you get some quiet alone time.”
  • “Do one night feeding so mom can get more consecutive hours of sleep.”
  • “Keep bringing snacks!”
  • “Just be there for them. Wash their pump parts. Encouragement and love.”
  • “Pumping should be ‘mommy time’. It should be stress-free and relaxing.”
  • “The boob is the best answer to tantrums, you’ll thank your partner later!”
  • “Be supportive, acknowledge all the benefits to both mom and baby!”
  • “Be an active participant. Become part of the feeding routine, even though you aren’t the boob.”
  • “Always bring us water and snacks!”
  • “Be supportive. Let her and baby decide when it’s time to wean.”

How to support breastfeeding mothers is often simple, consistent acts of kindness and solidarity – from helping wash pump parts and bringing snacks or water to advocating for their partner’s unique breast milk feeding goals and learning about all the longer-term benefits of breast milk. Remember, the length of your breastfeeding journey is entirely up to you and your little one – and healthy communication with your partner may help make any challenges or bumps in the road that much easier to overcome, so you can enjoy this special time with your little one. Keep going, mama – You’re doing a great job!

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