Breastfeeding at 16 Months

by Meghan Yost

I’ve been breastfeeding Grace now for 16 months. Sixteen months. Sometimes I can’t believe we’ve made it this far. That’s because from the get go we got off to a rocky start. Before having Grace I had visions of breastfeeding being something that happened naturally … Something that was easy. But that’s not how things played out.

It took four months until the pain went away and I could finally stop using a nipple shield every time I nursed. If you missed my blog post last year, you can read all about my early breastfeeding journey here. As a first-time mom, my goal in writing that post was to help shed light on what to expect as a newbie breastfeeder.

So now I want to share where we’re at sixteen months in. My goal has always been to breastfeed Grace for two years, because that’s what the World Health Organization recommends for optimal health. But I’ve known all along that Grace will ultimately dictate the length of time she nurses.


Over the past months Grace’s feedings have gradually cut down to twice a day: Upon waking and again just before going to bed. Prior to that it was three times a day: In the morning, before one of her naps and night. And before that, it was four times a day. You get the gist.

But over the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed Grace cutting down even more on how much she drinks. Some days she’ll only drink half of a feeding in the morning or night and sometimes she’ll skip feedings entirely – even more so this past week. I wonder if she will soon self wean entirely.

The first time Grace skipped a feeding at night, I cried. I felt like I had been rejected. Like I was losing a piece of my baby. Now, breastfeeding at 16 months, I feel much different. I’m okay with it … ready for it even. It almost feels like I’m getting a little bit of my former self back.


I’ve found Grace skips feedings depending on where I’m at in my menstrual cycle. I’ve noticed she refuses to nurse at night sometimes around ovulation or right before my period starts (my period returned around the time she turned one year old).


A month or so ago I also started experimenting with giving Grace non dairy milk in a sippy cup. I bought a bunch of different kinds and found she likes vanilla oak milk the best. So that’s what we’ve stuck with. I also add in a bit of macadamia nut milk because it’s fortified with B12, which Grace needs since we don’t eat meat in our house.

While Grace doesn’t always drink much of the milk, I suspect that introducing it has something to do with her wanting to nurse less lately. I’ve read that once babies/toddlers realize they can get milk much quicker from a cup, they prefer that over nursing.

I’m proud I’ve made it this far with breastfeeding Grace. We’ll see what happens and how long she continues. Only time will tell.

What was your breastfeeding journey like? Did your little one wean on their own or did you decide to help them wean? I’d love to hear. Leave a comment below.

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