Breastfeeding older children......

Mother - posted on 01/06/2011 ( 352 moms have responded )

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Breastfeeding older children......How old is TOO old??
What age would make you go Hmmmmmmmm.........Is school aged children too old?

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Celeste - posted on 01/07/2011

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Marina, yes, you're right, there isn't any research. But I doubt that breastmilk turns into water either.

[deleted account]

yes there is marina, we are told by every doctor that when a child is dont bf or formula, to put them on WHOLE cows milk or an alternative, cows milk is an ALTERNATIVE to breast milk...breast milk isn't high sodium though.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 01/07/2011

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Actually Jennifer, I looked it up today, and there is no proof that it is beneficial past the age of 4 either. There is no proof either way.

Jennifer - posted on 01/07/2011

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Tina, why should you "definitely take them off?"

the benefits of breastfeeding don't magically disappear at a certain age.

Tina - posted on 01/07/2011

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Breastfeeding is absolutely the best thing for babies BUT once they get a year old you should def take them off.

Minnie - posted on 01/07/2011

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Shauna- it is rare for milk production to just 'end.' Certain medications can cause drastic reduction in milk supply but the most common reason for milk production to slow is a snowball effect involving not enough demand.

Things that can slow milk production are scheduled feeding sessions, timed feeding sessions, sleep training (forcing the baby to not nurse during the night), pumping, offering pacifiers/bottles and too many/early solids.

It can be frustrating and downright angering to learn that we could have continued to our goal if we only had the correct information. We do the best we can with what we have. If you are eagerly seeking breastfeeding support you may find your local La Leche League Group helpful. Commiserating with mothers who have had similar experiences can help get past the regret- and having that support network in place really improves future breastfeeding success.

Minnie - posted on 01/07/2011

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There isn't evidence of benefit because no one has done research on it is all. But I must point out that no one has any evidence that there is harm in breastfeeding that long either as stated by the AAP.



Anyways, I don't particularly care if a child can gain all the nutrition he or she needs after age three from other foods. My daughter thoroughly enjoys breastfeeding and I enjoy breastfeeding her. It's mutually agreeable and I think we'll continue for as long as this works for us.



I am not sure of my personal comfort with nursing a seven or eight year old and I don't suspect that I'll need to worry about it because it is so very rare for a child to continue the relationship that long. But I'm not going to judge a mother/child pair who chooses to do this. It's between them and it is my hope that there is open communication between them. It's the least I would do if I was in that situation.

Celeste - posted on 01/07/2011

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Carol, there isn't any research for or against for older children, though the WHO, UNICEF recommend 2 or beyond. And I honestly don't think that breastmilk would magically lose its value over a certain age. Sure, they might not NEED it but there are a lot of things that we eat and do that we don't NEED to do.



But, I think 8 isn't common to be still nursing and MOST children are weaned, self or otherwise WAY before that.



Shauna, no, milk doesn't just go away unless there are other factors.The *best* way to know if your supply is low is by diaper count. But please don't beat yourself up. You made the best choice for the information you had. If you are having more children and desire to breastfeed, there's a breastfeeding support group!

Johnny - posted on 01/07/2011

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No, but I was not able to find any evidence that anyone has actually researched breastmilk nutrition in children over the age of 2 or 3. Perhaps there is new work being done in this field, but nothing I was able to find.

Becky - posted on 01/07/2011

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Carol.

Chocolate isn't nutritionally beneficial for eight year olds but its bloody nice!

Have you found any evidence that breast milk is not nutritious for an eight year old?

Jennifer - posted on 01/07/2011

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shauna, as Teresa said, don't beat your self up about it...you did the best you could with the situation you had at the time. learn from it, and move forward :) milk typically wont just go away unless there are other things interfering the nursing relationship...even just introducing solids foods can become an issue for some women if they are not careful. pumping, bottle feeding/supplementing, solid foods, illness, medications can all contribute to milk prematurely drying up.

[deleted account]

average like i said, for self weening is 2.5-7, the child is "almost 8" not 8, still 7. which is in the average, high average, but still there.

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bm can just go away Shauna, sometimes peoples bodies can't produce it because they lack the essentials to create it, at any point during BF it can dry up because of malnutrition or another underlying issue.

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Shauna, don't beat yourself up. Stuff happens. I'll support you. ;) And just learn from it and then you will have the ability to do things differently if you choose to next time.

Johnny - posted on 01/07/2011

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And if you don't forcefully wean your 8 year old they could likely end up "with social anxiety, separation anxiety, abandonment issues or a poor self esteem." I think it's probably unlikely that a child of that age would be likely to end up that way if mommy says it's time to be done.

And I find it quite ridiculous to suggest that weaning children results in your aforementioned mental issues. Almost everyone I know was weaned at one time or another, but they aren't all walking around with serious mental health problems.

And no, there is absolutely no medical evidence that breastmilk is nutritionally necessary for older children. On a thread some time ago when I was arguing FOR self-weaning, I spent a great deal of time searching for evidence to support my assertion that 3 and 4 year olds benefit nutritionally from breastmilk. Unfortunately, I was not able to find any.

Shauna - posted on 01/07/2011

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OK so can breast milk just "go away" or is that a myth.... holy cow im mad.

[deleted account]

yea some people are born with mental disorders that make them jerks, but for the most part its taught to us.

[deleted account]

kids pass judgment because pretty much EVERYONE judges others, we are not born as jerks, its taught to us.

[deleted account]

yes there is, a physical and mental reason to allow your child to self ween. IF you forcefully ween your child could end up with social anxiety, separation anxiety, abandonment issues or a poor self esteem. Plus they could have a poor immune system, or be malnourished. Babies and children develop at a different rate. EVERYONE knows this. If the child feels its natural to do thats because INSTINCTS are telling them to. NOT society. In other cultures its ideal, because its natural. Instincts know better than any scientist, and its proven that WE NEED all the stuff in breast milk AS CHILDREN not just babies. WE supplement with other foods.

[deleted account]

Weaning is harder on the mom than the kid? You're right. I don't particularly like watching/listening to my son scream hysterically. Bad mommy!..... ;)

Johnny - posted on 01/07/2011

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There is no physical reason for an 8 year old to be breastfed. It is simply a developmental delay at that point.

I'd also like to add that 8 year old in pull-ups will also get teased in school as will kids who wet the bed at sleep overs. Have we all forgotten what it is like to be that age? It doesn't all come from the parents. Like I said, kids see what most other kids are doing and are able to identify when another's behavior falls outside the range of the norm. And while adults should be expected not to pass judgment on other families, kids will do it even if they were taught differently.

I had a serious speech impediment as a child. My lower jaw was too small for my tongue and I required extensive orthodontic work that couldn't start until I was about 9 or 10. So when I was 8, I was a bit difficult to understand, could not pronounce all the letters and frankly, despite a high level of comprehension, I sounded like a 4 year old. I was mercilessly teased about it, and always well out of the range of adult ears. The adults understood my problem and supported me. They tried their best to help me socialize with the other kids, and to teach that bullying and such was completely wrong. It did not work. Those kids didn't learn to mock my problem from their parents, quite the opposite.

My parents couldn't prevent my problem. But I can not comprehend why a parent would risk their kids being bullied and ostracized for something that they could prevent when there is no recognizable benefit from it.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 01/07/2011

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At that age, it is more about the mother than what the child needs. Weening is harder on the mum than the kid IMO....letting a child self ween is easier for the faint of heart...but I don't think it is benefiting anyone in that long span of breastfeeding....sorry...I don't see anything anyone has said about it beneficial past the age of 2.5.

Jodi - posted on 01/07/2011

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Kelly, I get what you're saying, a child CAN get fats and calcium from other sources, but they don't NEED to get it from other sources either. A child doesn't NEED to eat a balanced diet these days to get their vitamins and minerals, they can just take vitamins and supplements, it doesn't make it better, it doesn't mean they shouldn't eat a balanced diet. Just because there is a comfort level to nursing, it doesn't negate the nutritional aspect and make it so that the only acceptable way to gain said fats and calcium is from other sources. We could also eliminate milk altogether and have children use supplements and gain what they need from other foods. My child follows this diet actually, we do not rely on milk to get what she needs, lots of foods out there give it to us. Does this mean I think EVERYONE should avoid milk because it's a convenient source of calcium? Absolutely not.

(I do realize you're not saying milk is the beat all end all, but some people could take it that way.)

Jenn - posted on 01/07/2011

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I think when one of either Mom or child feels done, then they're done. Until that point - nurse away!

[deleted account]

we supplement with other food by using other animals milk...we can use our own that is specifically designed for the baby. ALTERNATIVES exist yes, but why use an alternative when the real thing is better.

[deleted account]

and wetting the bed can be psychological too, my stepbrothers mom use to yell at him for wetting the bed. My mom was understanding about it. When he moved in with us he stopped wetting the bed, every time he stayed at his moms he pissed himself.

Mother - posted on 01/07/2011

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As a Natural Health Practitioner I can say you are 100% correct that children need fat and calcium BUT they can get their essential fatty acids elsewhere as well as their calcium. Breast milk is not a NEED at that point. I have to agree with Kati on this one....its for comfort.

[deleted account]

yes.... children need fat and calcium, doctors say so, nutritionists say so, its common sense..people supplement with cows milk.

Rosie - posted on 01/07/2011

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there is no physical need for an 8 year old to breastfeed. at that age it's completely about the comfort.

[deleted account]

"our society will always find it odd." not if they learn not to discriminate against others. Which we have been making a great deal of progress.

Rosie - posted on 01/07/2011

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that's great for you celeste that you can be that open minded about it! :) i feel that i feel the same way you do-to a point. sure it's not my business, but if i see it i certainly will find it odd, and wonder what the hell they are doing. the part where we differ is that i think it may be damaging to the child if their friends found out about it.
we can say society should change all we want, but the fact is it won't. our society will always find it odd. why would anybody want to let their child be made fun of, when there are perfectly other acceptable ways of comforting a child without them getting made fun of.

[deleted account]

some children need to wear pullups at 8, should we tell these children because they develop slower then others, that they need to grow up and part with the diaper???

Rosie - posted on 01/07/2011

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oh and i would like to add that labeling it as sexual abuse is completely wrong. there's nothing sexual about it. if the kid didn't want it, he wouldn't be doing it. i cannot imagine an eight year old child just doing it cause their mother wanted them to, they would also have to like it. there doesn't seem to be any way around that.

Celeste - posted on 01/07/2011

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Kati, I have an 8 year old (she's in my profile pic) Would I nurse an 8 year old? No. And I do find it "weird" because it's just not common. But I wouldn't judge their situation because I have no idea what the circumstances are.

Rosie - posted on 01/07/2011

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see that's where the difference in parenting style comes in jodi. i'm not about AP, it doesn't feel natural to me. i don't understand why people who have children that are all clingy like that, don't teach them earlier on in life that their mother isn't the be all end all to help them out.- me :)

by saying that i didn't mean to imply that practicing AP means you will have clingy children, even though it certainly sounds like it did .:( i don't know, i want to be the one in control, not my child, i don't like child led anything except for potty training. it just is odd to me that people want to wear their children, or have them attached to their breast for years, or sleep with them. i would never do it. i can't help it, it just isn't something that i find normal. you may think it is -and that's great, but that doesn't mean i can't sit back and wonder what the hell you all are thinking.

why would anybody want to breastfeed for that long? 8 fucking years?? seriously?? i only can think of one person who has a child that old that has debated this topic before that agrees with you all. everyone else has teeny children who are around the age of 2 or younger. this is going to sound high and mighty and i don't mean it to be, but seriously when your kid is 8 you will understand what i'm talking about. it's just to damn old.

Jodi - posted on 01/07/2011

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"Mommy kids are making fun of me cause they think I'm a baby. They say that cause I said I still drink from your bitty."

"Well, honey, they need to learn that breastfeeding is natural and normal thing to do at any age a child dictates."

"But, Jimmy said I'm a baby."

"Well, Jimmy's parents need to change their thinking."

Wow, I have more indepth converstations with my 2 year old than this. to imply that one who nurses to school aged would not have an open conversations about the issue seems a bit off. I can't imagine I wouldn't have a MUCH more indepth conversation with my child if we nursed that long, including how THEY felt about nursing, how THEY felt about what the other child said, how and why other people may think and feel differently about our different choices and my child would like to do about it. I can't imagine I would ever leave the conversation at "Jimmy's parents need to change their thinking." Not only does that NOT address the actual issue, it doesn't teach tolerance for other's opinions/beliefs and doesn't leave any room open for further discussion with my child if she felt the need. Like I said, I explain things better than that to my 2 year old, much less an 8 year old?

Mrs. - posted on 01/07/2011

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Society may suck..but punishing a child because it should be something else...that sucks too.

Becky - posted on 01/07/2011

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In the video the child was almost 8. The child Kelly was talking about was 8, going on 9.
Man, I wish my children were using the potty by age 1! My almost 3 year old can use it, but he just doesn't want to! I'm going to be one of those who sends their child to kindgergarten still in diapers, I think, lol! But he won't be breastfeeding! Haha! (that's just a joke, not meant as anything!)

[deleted account]

"i agree that maybe there are developmental issues with an eight year old breastfeeding, since it is so far off the range of average. "



The child is about to turn 8



average from stats is 2.5-7, shes still 7 so its not far off from average. 8 may seem extreme to you people, but i think its extreme to have a 4 year old still in diapers. yet its common. I thought that by 1 a child should have use the potty at least a few times. Yet its normal for this not to occur. I'm just using this as an example, i dont have an issue with a 4 year old in diapers



bottom line....society sucks.

Becky - posted on 01/07/2011

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Breastfeeding may not be only for babies, but many children at school whose mothers only breastfed their siblings as infants and maybe young toddlers, are going to see it as being for babies. And when an 8 year old child asks for "nummies" and points at his mother's chest (which is what Kelly indicated happened, I believe), that is babyish behavior, not 8 year old behavior. To me, that is the problem, not really the fact that he is still breastfeeding at 8. It sounds to me like either, he has some developmental delays or his mother is trying to keep him her "baby." Him asking in this manner in public kind of makes me suspect maybe he has some developmental delays.

Mother - posted on 01/07/2011

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OMG!!!!!!!!!!! That video of the man nursing from his mother!!!!!

Next time Rebecca, could you kindly give some warning to the content. I near about spit my tea out all over the monitor!!!!!!!! LOL

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