" Why I still breastfeed my 4 year old. "

[deleted account] ( 52 moms have responded )

Here's one mothers story! What are ur thoughts about long term or extended breastfeeding? At what age is too old





In December 2004, I wrote in these pages about how I found myself "still breastfeeding" a 14-month-old, when previously I had viewed "extended breastfeeders" as a bit odd, needy and, frankly, freaky. When I first became a mother, I had envisaged myself as a mother with a clipboard, with me in charge, not the baby. I never expected to be the sort of mother I am now, breastfeeding a four-year-old on demand. I thought I knew myself, but motherhood introduced me to a self I never even knew was lurking.





To pick up where I left off three years ago: at just over a year old, my daughter seemed to be losing interest in breastfeeding. But as it turned out, that was the lull before the storm. Just as she started walking, at 18 months, she started to feed intensively. This is normal: as babies reach major developmental stages, they need to feed more. Whereas she had never been able to tell me when she was hungry as a baby, now she beat her chest with her fists – like Tarzan's Cheetah – to tell me that she wanted milk. And she wanted milk a lot. I'd be lying if I said there weren't times when I wished I'd weaned her. I found it hard, but I was lucky. Far from being isolated, I co-run a pro-breastfeeding website that has lots of long-term breastfeeders as members. I wasn't going through anything others hadn't previously.



From the age of two, my daughter started to switch breasts – that is to say, she would no longer feed on one breast, then sedately take the other. She would switch, sometimes manically, between the two, because she had learnt that the let-down (the flow of milk) is faster if you stimulate the breasts in this way. It was also about this time that she started a habit I find extremely annoying to this day: twiddling. While she fed off one breast she would twiddle the other nipple, as if trying to tune in to a short wave radio station. Again, this was to stimulate the milk so that when she did latch on to the second breast, it was all ready to go.



I found feeding between the ages of two and four quite hard at times. She needed to feed a lot, sometimes 50 feeds a day, although they were quick. When we moved house, her feeding became almost frenzied, as if she thought I would leave her. Docking on to the "mothership" became vitally important. I'm not sure how I would have met her needs so quickly during this time without breastfeeding. And I'm not sure I could have parented during the terrible twos without it: it was like having an entire cavalry at your beck and call. Breasts are a powerful parenting tool.



Despite this, breastfeeding is often blamed for many childhood malaises. Your baby is hungry/ sleepy/won't sleep/colicky/you're tired? Give up breastfeeding! The very thing that can make life easier is jettisoned, purely out of ignorance. Imagine if every time you said you found parenting a little bit hard, someone said, "Put your child up for adoption." It'd be ridiculous, wouldn't it?



No matter how hard I found breastfeeding, however, I couldn't stop, for two reasons. The more knowledgeable I became, the more vital I knew sustained breastfeeding to be. And, second, because it is obvious how much breastfeeding means to my daughter. There's the beauty in feeding an older child: there is no second guessing – she tells me just how important my milk is to her, how it "makes everything better". When she gets a cold, she tells me that she needs my milk to "kill the cough". One night, she started to run a desperately high fever (104) and I had no medicine or way of getting any. I fed her all night; she injected her germs into me while my body made the antibodies she needed and fed them back to her. We both worked through the night and, by morning, she was better, as if the fever had never happened. Knowing that you have the wherewithal to comfort and cure your child within your own body is hugely magical and empowering. The bonuses that breastfeeding gifts you make the not-so-easy times fade into nothing.



Because we don't have a habit of feeding walking, talking children in this country, I stopped feeding my child in public when she got to be about two. I didn't want anyone else's ignorance to negate something she found so comforting. Now, there's a word: comfort. I remember, pre-motherhood, challenging a friend of mine who was breastfeeding her 18-month-old child. "But isn't it just for comfort?" I said. "What's wrong with wanting to comfort my child?" she said. Now, this is what I tell people, too. We – or rather, not me; not any longer – seem to be terribly afraid of comforting children. Sometimes it seems as if the more hands-off you are as a parent, the more of a success you are deemed to be.



Breastfeeding is about comfort, but it's also about nutrition, and that continues for as long as you breastfeed your child, whatever age they are. My milk is a living fluid – full of enzymes, macronutrients, minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids, T-cells and at least 200 types of immunoglobin. And that's just what's known – there are ingredients in breast milk that we don't even know about yet. My milk changes, hour by hour, to meet the needs of my child. It isn't like any other woman's milk, anywhere on the planet, because my daughter isn't like any other child in the world.



In September, just as my child was about to turn four, I went to Italy with her. I'd been the year before and had encountered gentle curiosity about us still feeding. This time was different. "It's a tragedy," said one aged cousin, "that she's still feeding." "Who," I asked, "is it a tragedy for? Not me and not my daughter."



I smiled and offered tea, but she wasn't able to answer. Breastfeeding is an emotive subject – the most emotive I've written about. It brings up all sorts of stuff in people; even friends that have hitherto been supportive probably think I'm in freak territory now, even though I'm just doing what Mother Nature intended – humans are the only mammals that don't let their offspring feed to term. I can't deny that I like to normalise breastfeeding in a world that sees it as increasingly alien, and I'm also aware that some women don't have the support network I do and feel they need to feed in secret or enforce weaning when they don't really want to, because family and friends put pressure on them.



Naomi Stadlen, a psychotherapist, breastfeeding counsellor and author of What Mothers Do, Especially When it Looks Like Nothing, once told me that she thought people might feel threatened by the intimacy between a mother and her breastfeeding child. An uncomplicated response to the information "Yes, I'm still breastfeeding", might be curiosity; any stronger reaction was likely to be the other person projecting their problem on to you. It was a useful piece of information.



My child turned four at the end of September; her need to breastfeed seems to have dramatically declined, although, yet again, this may change. Feeding her is a wonderful time we have together and no matter how busy I think I am, it makes me sit down and be with her. She has lots of skin-to-skin contact with me, which I now know is important for neurological development. I've learnt that the natural age of weaning is closer to six years – when the first permanent molars appear – than six months. If I have another baby, my daughter may wean during pregnancy as milk supply can dip at that time. But if she continues to feed during pregnancy and beyond – called tandem feeding and perfectly possible – or if I don't have another baby, then she's in charge. She will wean when she is, uniquely to her, developmentally and immunologically ready (a child's immune system doesn't mature until they are about seven); she will then lose the ability to suckle. I'm interested to see where this goes and how much more I can surprise myself. All I know is that I'm glad I've got this far.





Annalisa Barbieri is co-founder of www.iwantmymum.comFurther reading: The Drinks are On Me, by Veronika Robinson, £11.99 www.artofchange.co.ukwww.kathydettwyler.orgwww.lalecheleague.orgAnn Sincott is writing a book on long-term breastfeeding and asks women to compile a questionnaire: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/ann.sinnott...



Why mother's milk is best



* No scientific study has ever been carried out in the UK on breastmilk or breastfeeding beyond two years of age, despite strong anecdotal evidence of its benefits.



* Jack Newman, a paediatrician and world authority on breastfeeding, has this to say about breastfeeding an older child: "Possibly the most important aspect of nursing a toddler is not the nutritional or immunologic benefits, important as they are. I believe the most important aspect of nursing a toddler is the special relationship between child and mother. Breastfeeding is a life-affirming act of love. This continues when the baby becomes a toddler. Anyone without prejudices, who has ever observed an older baby or toddler nursing, can testify that there is something almost magical, something special, something far beyond food going on."



* The World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding for at least two years.



* Breast milk has 70kcal per millilitre.



* Beyond 18 months, breast milk can provide as much as 31 per cent of calories and 38 per cent of all dietary protein.



* The iron in breastmilk is much more readily absorbed – a child may get as much as 50 per cent of its iron from his or her mother's milk.



* By the 20th month of lactation, levels of igG and igA (two immunoglobulins) are still as high as in the second week.



* "Independence, not dependence, is one outstanding trait that breastfed children who self-wean have in common," one study found (Ferguson, 1987).



* Last week, new research was publiched that showed breastfeeding protected against heart disease and high cholesterol. Children with a particular gene who were also breastfed were shown in the majority of cases to have a higher IQ.



* Breastfeeding has already been shown to protect both mother and baby against diabetes and certain cancers.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

[deleted account]

I personally couldn't care less how long people breastfeed. It has nothing to do with me.

If a person chooses to feed past the toddler years then they are going to have to get used to judgements from others. Just as people will judge the parents of the 4 year old with the pacifier, in the stroller, drinking from a bottle... you will be judged if you whip your breasts out at the school gate! People won't always understand because it's not the norm .... such is the world in which we live.

Kylie - posted on 03/13/2010

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I loathe the POV that mothers who breastfeed after age one only do it for their won comfort/enjoyment. That’s the most bizarre statement and I’m sure any breastfeeding mother would agree. Extended bfing is about so much more than comfort but comfort is still an important factor If you don’t understand it kati..do a bit of reading, get educated then you wont find it quite so disturbing. Your surly entitled to your opinion but an educated opinion always holds more value. Heres a couple of links for you to read if you want
http://www.googobits.com/articles/1652-t...
http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/eb...

Jess - posted on 03/12/2010

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I know someone who was breastfed until the age of 5, it had no lasting effects.... Its going to take a lot more than breastmilk to help that guy ! hehehe.

But on a serious note, After reading the above, a lot of it doesn't apply to this situation or is rather specific. For example the higher IQ, those children were breastfed, but they all have the same gene. So those 2 factors clearly help, but does that mean we should all breastfeed for 6 years with the hope that they have this gene ?

As for the quote regarding dependance and independance.... that was one single study and it was conducted over 2 decades ago... back when babies slept on their belly's and car seats were a new invention !

And the research is for children under 2. Her child is now 4,

Im not saying this women is doing anything wrong, she needs to do what works for her child and her family. But personally I wouldn't be relying on the info she has provided because it doesn't apply to her.

A 4 year can drink from a cup. If I really wanted to give my child the benefits of breast milk at that age I would express the milk. Her daughter will be going to school soon, and she can't pack a breast in her lunch box... just in case she needs some comfort. I would be spending this next 12 months teaching my child other forms of comfort to help her cope at school. Chidren can be very cruel, and I think her daughter would end up being shamed into weaning but other children than doing it naturally. And that would be a shame and sad way to end a very close 4 year bond.

Johnny - posted on 03/13/2010

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Umm... Just to remind everyone, "Debating Moms" is where this thread is posted. What we do here is debate and often argue. We don't agree with what other people say just to be nice or supportive because that is not what this community is about. If you come on here posting something that I don't like, you'd better be prepared to hear about it. If you don't want to hear dissenting opinions, find somewhere else to post questions. Dana found the post offensive, and she is perfectly entitled to go off about it. I don't think any of us really expect to change anyone's mind, people alter their opinions very rarely. This is a place to post our opinions and be straight up about how we feel about stuff.

I tend to believe that if you don't have any real facts to back up your opinions, that then you're just spewing emotional bs. You are welcome to spew emotional bs all you like, as I said, this is a place to state how we feel on issues. But I don't ever plan to take any of that seriously.

I have personally had my opinions altered by reading other posters well-thought out and well-researched opinions on subjects. I actually used to think that breastfeeding past a year was unacceptable. After reading many informative posts and articles on the subject, I've since realized that I was completely uninformed.

Johnny - posted on 03/12/2010

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Perhaps before you dismiss this mother's claims that the act of breastfeeding in itself helps the mother to produce antibodies in her breast milk, you should do a little research first. Knowledge on a subject is always a good start when trying to engage in a reasonable debate. If you care to be informed on how it works in newborns, please read the following:



How Breast Milk Protects Newborns
By Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC


Some of the molecules and cells in human milk actively help infants stave off infection

Doctors have long known that infants who are breast-fed contract fewer infections than do those who are given formula. Until fairly recently, most physicians presumed that breast-fed children fared better simply because milk supplied directly from the breast is free of bacteria. Formula, which must often be mixed with water and placed in bottles, can become contaminated easily. Yet even infants who receive sterilized formula suffer from more meningitis and infection of the gut, ear, respiratory tract and urinary tract than do breast-fed youngsters.

The reason, it turns out, is that mother's milk actively helps newborns avoid disease in a variety of ways. Such assistance is particularly beneficial during the first few months of life, when an infant often cannot mount an effective immune response against foreign organisms. And although it is not the norm in most industrial cultures, UNICEF and the World Health Organization both advise breast-feeding to "two years and beyond." Indeed, a child's immune response does not reach its full strength until age five or so.

All human babies receive some coverage in advance of birth. During pregnancy, the mother passes antibodies to her fetus through the placenta. These proteins circulate in the infant's blood for weeks to months after birth, neutralizing microbes or marking them for destruction by phagocytes-immune cells that consume and break down bacteria, viruses and cellular debris. But breast-fed infants gain extra protection from antibodies, other proteins and immune cells in human milk.

Once ingested, these molecules and cells help to prevent microorganisms from penetrating the body's tissues. Some of the molecules bind to microbes in the hollow space (lumen) of the gastrointestinal tract. In this way, they block microbes from attaching to and crossing through the mucosa-the layer of cells, also known as the epithelium, that lines the digestive tract and other body cavities. Other molecules lessen the supply of particular minerals and vitamins that harmful bacteria need to survive in the digestive tract. Certain immune cells in human milk are phagocytes that attack microbes directly. Another set produces chemicals that invigorate the infant's own immune response.

Breast Milk Antibodies

Antibodies, which are also called immunoglobulins, take five basic forms, denoted as IgG, IgA, IgM, IgD and IgE. All have been found in human milk, but by far the most abundant type is IgA, specifically the form known as secretory IgA, which is found in great amounts throughout the gut and respiratory system of adults. These antibodies consist of two joined IgA molecules and a so-called secretory component that seems to shield the antibody molecules from being degraded by the gastric acid and digestive enzymes in the stomach and intestines. Infants who are bottle-fed have few means for battling ingested pathogens until they begin making secretory IgA on their own, often several weeks or even months after birth.

The secretory IgA molecules passed to the suckling child are helpful in ways that go beyond their ability to bind to microorganisms and keep them away from the body's tissues. First, the collection of antibodies transmitted to an infant is highly targeted against pathogens in that child's immediate surroundings. The mother synthesizes antibodies when she ingests, inhales or otherwise comes in contact with a disease-causing agent. Each antibody she makes is specific to that agent; that is, it binds to a single protein, or antigen, on the agent and will not waste time attacking irrelevant substances. Because the mother makes antibodies only to pathogens in her environment, the baby receives the protection it most needs-against the infectious agents it is most likely to encounter in the first weeks of life.

Second, the antibodies delivered to the infant ignore useful bacteria normally found in the gut. This flora serves to crowd out the growth of harmful organisms, thus providing another measure of resistance. Researchers do not yet know how the mother's immune system knows to make antibodies against only pathogenic and not normal bacteria, but whatever the process may be, it favors the establishment of "good bacteria" in a baby's gut.

Secretory IgA molecules further keep an infant from harm in that, unlike most other antibodies, they ward off disease without causing inflammation-a process in which various chemicals destroy microbes but potentially hurt healthy tissue. In an infant's developing gut, the mucosal membrane is extremely delicate, and an excess of these chemicals can do considerable damage. Interestingly, secretory IgA can probably protect mucosal surfaces other than those in the gut. In many countries, particularly in the Middle East, western South America and northern Africa, women put milk in their infants' eyes to treat infections there. I do not know if this remedy has ever been tested scientifically, but there are theoretical reasons to believe it would work. It probably does work at least some of the time, or the practice would have died out.

An Abundance of Helpful Molecules

Several molecules in human milk besides secretory IgA prevent microbes from attaching to mucosal surfaces. Oligosaccharides, which are simple chains of sugars, often contain domains that resemble the binding sites through which bacteria gain entry into the cells lining the intestinal tract. Thus, these sugars can intercept bacteria, forming harmless complexes that the baby excretes. In addition, human milk contains large molecules called mucins that include a great deal of protein and carbohydrate. They, too, are capable of adhering to bacteria and viruses and eliminating them from the body.

The molecules in milk have other valuable functions as well. Each molecule of a protein called lactoferrin, for example, can bind to two atoms of iron. Because many pathogenic bacteria thrive on iron, lactoferrin halts their spread by making iron unavailable. It is especially effective at stalling the proliferation of organisms that often cause serious illness in infants, including Staphylococcus aureus. Lactoferrin also disrupts the process by which bacteria digest carbohydrates, further limiting their growth. Similarly, B12 binding protein, as its name suggests, deprives microorganisms of vitamin B12. Bifidus factor, one of the oldest known disease-resistance factors in human milk, promotes the growth of a beneficial organism named Lactobacillus bifidus. Free fatty acids present in milk can damage the membranes of enveloped viruses, such as the chicken pox virus, which are packets of genetic material encased in protein shells. Interferon, found particularly in colostrum-the scant, sometimes yellowish milk a mother produces during the first few days after birth-also has strong antiviral activity. And fibronectin, present in large quantities in colostrum, can make certain phagocytes more aggressive so that they will ingest microbes even when the microbes have not been tagged by an antibody. Like secretory IgA, fibronectin minimizes inflammation; it also seems to aid in repairing tissue damaged by inflammation.

Cellular Defenses

As is true of defensive molecules, immune cells are abundant in human milk. They consist of white blood cells, or leukocytes, that fight infection themselves and activate other defense mechanisms. The most impressive amount is found in colostrum. Most of the cells are neutrophils, a type of phagocyte that normally circulates in the bloodstream. Some evidence suggests that neutrophils continue to act as phagocytes in the infant's gut. Yet they are less aggressive than blood neutrophils and virtually disappear from breast milk six weeks after birth. So perhaps they serve some other function, such as protecting the breast from infection.

The next most common milk leukocyte is the macrophage, which is phagocytic like neutrophils and performs a number of other protective functions. Macrophages make up some 40 percent of all the leukocytes in colostrum. They are far more active than milk neutrophils, and recent experiments suggest that they are more motile than are their counterparts in blood. Aside from being phagocytic, the macrophages in breast milk manufacture lysozyme, increasing its amount in the infant's gastrointestinal tract. Lysozyme is an enzyme that destroys bacteria by disrupting their cell walls.

In addition, macrophages in the digestive tract can rally lymphocytes into action against invaders. Lymphocytes constitute the remaining 10 percent of white cells in the milk. About 20 percent of these cells are B lymphocytes, which give rise to antibodies; the rest are T lymphocytes, which kill infected cells directly or send out chemical messages that mobilize still other components of the immune system. Milk lymphocytes seem to behave differently from blood lymphocytes. Those in milk, for example, proliferate in the presence of Escherichia coli, a bacterium that can cause life-threatening illness in babies, but they are far less responsive than blood lymphocytes to agents posing less threat to infants. Milk lymphocytes also manufacture several chemicals-including gamma-interferon, migration inhibition factor and monocyte chemotactic factor-that can strengthen an infant's own immune response.

Added Benefits

Several studies indicate that some factors in human milk may induce an infant's immune system to mature more quickly than it would were the child fed artificially. For example, breast-fed babies produce higher levels of antibodies in response to immunizations. Also, certain hormones in milk (such as cortisol) and smaller proteins (including epidermal growth factor, nerve growth factor, insulinlike growth factor and somatomedin C) act to close up the leaky mucosal lining of the newborn, making it relatively impermeable to unwanted pathogens and other potentially harmful agents. Indeed, animal studies have demonstrated that postnatal development of the intestine occurs faster in animals fed their mother's milk. And animals that also receive colostrum, containing the highest concentrations of epidermal growth factor, mature even more rapidly.

Other unknown compounds in human milk must stimulate a baby's own production of secretory IgA, lactoferrin and lysozyme. All three molecules are found in larger amounts in the urine of breast-fed babies than in that of bottle-fed babies. Yet breast-fed babies cannot absorb these molecules from human milk into their gut. It would appear that the molecules must be produced in the mucosa of the youngsters' urinary tract. In other words, it seems that breast-feeding induces local immunity in the urinary tract.

In support of this notion, recent clinical studies have demonstrated that the breast-fed infant has a lower risk of acquiring urinary tract infections. Finally, some evidence also suggests that an unknown factor in human milk may cause breast-fed infants to produce more fibronectin on their own than do bottle-fed babies.

All things considered, breast milk is truly a fascinating fluid that supplies infants with far more than nutrition. It protects them against infection until they can protect themselves.

The Author: JACK NEWMAN founded the breast-feeding clinic at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto in 1984 and serves as its director. He has more recently established similar clinics at Doctors Hospital and St. Michael's Hospital, both in Toronto. Newman received his medical degree in 1970 from the University of Toronto, where he is now an assistant professor. He completed his postgraduate training in New Zealand and Canada. As a consultant for UNICEF, he has worked with pediatricians in Africa. He has also practiced in New Zealand and in Central and South America.



Now, that all being said. I am not suggesting that it is necessarily possible or probable that her 4 year old was able to create those antibodies in her mother's milk by nursing through the night. But no one has provided evidence to the contrary.

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Dana - posted on 03/15/2010

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That's how I feel Esther, before I would have thought it was insane to breastfeed a 4 yr old, now....not so much. What do I care, really... It's not for me but hey it's working fine for her and her daughter. I would imagine she's quite a healthy little girl too.

[deleted account]

Meh, who cares! LOL! I haven't no plans to take away my daughter's soother any time soon! We're focusing on potty training right now.....

[deleted account]

How old is ur son Esther? I don't judge at all! My 18 month old daughter just self weaned from her last bottle at bedtime and she's still using her soother at naptime and bedtime......

Esther - posted on 03/15/2010

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I don't really have anything to add that hasn't been said before. I think before I had my son I would have definitely judged this woman as "freaky". But becoming a mom has very much changed my perspectives. Breastfeeding was never for me and I never got the impression that my son enjoyed it either. So I pumped & bottle fed from an early age until he was 6.5 months old. But he's now 2 and he still drinks his milk from a bottle. Big no-no too. And they got him off of the bottles at his daycare at age 1 so I know he doesn't need it. But it's a different story at home and I'm just not there yet to go cold turkey on him. He also still uses pacifiers. Another big no-no and another one he got over at daycare a LOOOONG time ago. I have cut down on their use (he can now only have them at night and for his nap, and only in the home) but he's still pretty hooked. He also STILL wakes up in the middle of the night practically every night. And I have never let him cry. When he wakes up and summons me, I come running. So considering all this, who am I to judge? If I had breastfed, there is a very real chance that I would have a hard time weaning him of that too. So now everyone can judge me and tell me that letting him use a pacifier and a bottle still is pathetic and wrong and that I should toughen up and just take them away. That he would sleep through the night if only I wouldn't give him these things and if only I let him cry for a bit. But you know what, he's my kid and I do the best that I can with & for him. I'm sure eventually the bottle & the pacifier will go too. When we're good & ready.

[deleted account]

As a long term breastfeeder who is now a grandmother, I've heard all this before, and let me tell you long-term breastfeeding in the1980s was a BIG no-no!! I breastfed my youngest daughter almost until she she started school. People inquired, sarcastically, whether I'd be going down to the school to breastfeed her at recess - I just said "Of course," just to stir! You've got to have sense of humour!



It wasn't the norm, so I (an a group of my friends who had similar views) copped a lot of flack because of that. Then's the breaks. As Cathy said, you can't expect not to be judged if you do something different.



We never used dummies and all the girls could comfort themselves with a cuddle from Mum or Dad or one of their sisters. Or a bandaid. But there's more than comfort involved here, although many people seem to feel comfort is the only reason for extended breastfeeding,I believe there are still nutritional benefits to long-term breastfeeding. Many people feel that this hasn't been proven, but it hasn't been disproved yet, either.



So for those of you who are disturbed or disgusted by the sight or concept of a toddler breastfeeding, I'm sorry, but them's the breaks, too.

Rosie - posted on 03/13/2010

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thank you dana!!! :) wording things on here gets tricky sometimes especially when i don't agree with someone. i try to get my point across without sounding too bitchy, but alot of times it just doesn't come across that way. i am sorry as well if i said something in a way that made you feel bad as well. ;P

Erin - posted on 03/13/2010

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* this is the same post as the other debate forum:) *



I didn't read the article but my mom breastfed for 6 straight years, my brother and I are 3 years apart so my brother got 3 years and I got 3 years. I'm not ashamed of my mom for what she did. It was what was best for her and us at the time. We were not exclusively BF, I believe it was a "everyonce in a while type" thing.



Would I ever breastfeed that long? Probably not, but I have no issues with any other woman doing it. I breastfed my son for one month until I was so sore that I had to quit and that was best for us.

Dana - posted on 03/13/2010

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Thank you, Kati. I appreciate your reply. I don't think there is anything wrong with bottle feeding nor do I think I'm better for breastfeeding. If I came across that way than I am sorry.

Tah - posted on 03/13/2010

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ok....and everybody has one....is hers going to change what you do with your children?...btw..no i'm not kidding...i know how strick we are on having our questions answered around here...

Rosie - posted on 03/13/2010

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first i would like to say that i don't think that you are disturbed, i (as in me) get disturbed when i see it. does that mean that it's wrong- no, not for you, but for me it is. every extended breastfeeding post or article i've ever read has mentioned comfort as a reason to breastfeed. on the same level that it pisses you off that i say that, it pisses me off that it's implied that what you are doing is soooo much better and makes me feel like you all don't think that a baby that is cup or bottle fed can be comforted by it's mother. and you are right alot of it does have to do with the fact that i failed at breastfeeding, and then there are judgemental turds (not specifically any of you) that shake their head or sigh when i say i bottle fed. while i know that what i did was the right decision for us, there will always be that lingering feeling that i couldn't do what was best for my child, and then add to that the turds that i mentioned before it doesn't make a good combo.



to answer your questions about giving a pacifier for comfort, no i never did after a year. never gave my kids a bottle after a year either. for the reason that i don't believe that kids should be getting that kind of comfort, they should be learning to soothe themselves, and if they get an ouchy they can always count on their mommy to kiss it and cuddle with them.



i will give you all credit for something, after seeing numerous posts about extended breastfeeding on here, i do know that i dont find breastfeeding up till age 2 NEARLY as disturbing as i had before. but the fact still remains that it does bother me, i can't help it. i'm not going to lie just ot make you feel better.

Dana - posted on 03/13/2010

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Are you kidding me? I have every right to get pissed when someone says breastfeeding is disturbing past a year. That's not a debate it's an opinion. I'll give mine right back then.

Tah - posted on 03/13/2010

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i'll answer, I don't do pacifiers, never have. my mother didn't do them and when she would see her nieces and nephews with them she would take them and hide them. my son's father's side of the family tried that with him, i nipped it..I don't feel like they needed them and they are a pain to stop. Also, people seem to get really defensive and condescending when people don't agree with them or see things the way they do.



I have noticed a lot of diggs at people's knowledge of subjects and bring up personal thing that people may have said and throw that in their faces. It is okay if people don't agree with breasfeeding past a year or 2. It is okay if you do it, I understand people may take some comments personal, but geez....it's a debate, nobody is gonna come to your house and rip you baby from your nip when it's 24 months and one day.



everyone who doesn't post a article to prove their point doesn't mean they don't have one. views come from so much more than what we read or watch on nightline. it can also come from personal experience or lack of for whatever reason, It can come from where or how you are raised, and things you have seen others exposed to. Now has anyone's posted articles or little digs changed my mind...nope...i don't get breastfeeding at age 4...if you or she wants to..by all means, but i don't get it, nobody has proven or disproven the benefits or disadvantages at this age, and she even mentioned comfort.

my view is just that. I haven't called any names and wouldn't, to anybody feeding at that age, but it's not for me and I don't get.



One breastfeeding expert and mid-wife questioned why we are letting children decide when they stop. and she promotes breast-feeding. so there are views and research on everyside, can we try to be a little more tolerant of those that don't match ours.

Dana - posted on 03/13/2010

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Kati, I've got to be honest, your comment pisses me off. I breastfeed my son still at 19 months. He was a preemie and I will do anything and everything to make sure he has what he needs. It has NOTHING to do with his or my comfort as I have already stated previously. I purposely do not breastfeed him when he is need of comfort from being upset or getting hurt even though breast milk does contain a natural pain reliever for babies.



Did you quit giving your child formula or a bottle at one year?



Also, when children are teething and won't eat because it hurts, I was able to feed my child. When children are sick and have no appetite, I am able to feed my child.



I will ask AGAIN, how many of you give your children pacifiers for COMFORT. Not one person has answered that. Yet many of you make asinine statements about breastfeeding being for comfort only.



Everyone will stand up for any crack pot bullshit, vote for the underdog, make sure that they're PC about every little word they utter yet they will sit here and put down women who breastfeed past a year or two.



This isn't *just* directed at you, Kati, but I will add one more thing to you, maybe you are mad because you feel you failed at breastfeeding (your words not mine, I would never say such a thing to anyone) but that gives you no right to sit here and say us mothers who breastfeed past one year or our children are "disturbed".

Johnny - posted on 03/13/2010

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I wish I could mark a post double helpful. But I can't so I'll just say, Kylie that was "helpful"!!!!!!

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I'm supportive of a mothers right to EBF beyond age 2 providing the nursing child and the whole family is happy with the arrangement. But this woman stated that her toddler was sometimes nursing 50 times in a day. I don't buy into the theory that traditional societies nurse their children this way.

Yes, there are examples of older children being able to nurse, but I assume these families also have other children. Surely the youngest baby in a traditional society gets priority when it comes to breast milk. These mothers have other things tasks do apart from being milk machines. An only child who is a toddler/preschooler being allowed to nurse on demand, sometimes having 50 feeds in a day sounds like over indulgence to me.

Rosie - posted on 03/13/2010

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i agree that to me it is kindof disturbing. while you are right in saying it has no effect on me or my life, i still think it's disturbing -my opinion. if seems like everyone that breastfeeds past a year does it for comfort. i don't understand why they think they can't comfort their child without sticking a boob in their mouth. i don't understand it, most likely because i didn't breastfeed (i tried, but failed), but i certainly don't think that it will have some long term damaging effects on the child. too each their own, i guess, but definitely not for me.

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Thanks Carol! Would you believe my daughter had never been sick until just recently at 18 months!? I'd like to think that was due to the fact that I breastfed/ fed breast milk but I guess there's just know way of knowing?

Johnny - posted on 03/13/2010

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One good reason for breastfeeding instead of pumping is indeed the creation of antibodies in the breastmilk. When the child gets sick, the mother is directly exposed to the germs through her breast ducts on the nipple. This speeds the creation of antibodies in the breast milk. Pumped milk, while excellent, is not the same (and I say this as a mom who pumped a lot). Pumped milk from 5 months ago simply does not contain the specific antibodies that a child needs today. In fact, the immune benefits of breastfeeding in the 2nd year may be greater than the first because the child is commonly exposed to more germs meaning that they are also receiving more antibodies from mother's milk. I do not know of any evidence about the immune benefits of breast feeding past 2 years, but I also do not know of any evidence that it is at all harmful. If mommy wants to, then why should she stop?

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Other Dana! LOL! Thanks! Just for the record.........I wish I would have breastfed longer but the whole tooth thing creeped me out! That being said, I commend any woman who can go the distance because I think its admirable! I had a rough time breastfeeding and honestly I was surprised that I made it to 6 months.......I gave myself a pat on the back and kept pumping! You're right though, once I switched to just pumpin it was hard to keep up with her.......good thing I had tons frozen from her first 6 months!

Anyhow, I agree....it isn't hurting anyone and I definitely wouldn't consider it disgusting!

Dana - posted on 03/13/2010

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Of course you can pump but generally your milk will dry up faster because you're not getting the same stimulation as you would if it were a baby/toddler.



I still find it strange that people continue to put down a women who decides to breastfeed a 4 yr old. Who is it hurting? It's not hurting the child. The only reason their would be negative feelings or saying that it's disgusting is if you look at the breasts for a sexual reason. Otherwise, what's so disgusting about it? Like I said, I'm not breastfeeding my son past 2 but, I'm just still shocked that people are so negative about it. Who really cares, you don't want to do it, don't do it.

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Just a question : I get wanting ur child to have breastmilk but couldn't you just pump? I stopped breastfeeding my daughter at six months.....her first tooth popped up and quite frankly that was enought to discourage me....LOL! However, for the first six months I had been pumping and freezing my milk and continued to do that until she was about a year! My daughter had the benefits of breastmilk until she was almost 15 months when I ran out!

Tah - posted on 03/13/2010

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i kinda get the feeling that because i don't get it with a four year old that i don't know anything about breastfeeding. Not the case, i have read articles, read and studied studies, sometimes because I had to. I breasfed all three of mine, until one year old, I know the manner in which breastfeeding helps newborns, the way it helps four year olds has not been proven. I believe that is stated also. so if I don't get it I don't, if i think it's funny the way she words things than ha ha ha....there are social norms, and maybe one day this will be one of them, it may help the little girl as they worked through the night(lol)..sorry, it's funny to me, maybe this is a breakthrough and in a couple years I will be ordering my food in a restaurant and I will see a four year old get down from her fries and lay across the bench to get breastfed, but right now it isn't something any of us sees often, it isn't something that has been proven has the same effects as on a newborn as a four year old has a better developed immune system. I can see it being more for comfort at this point than nutritional value or immunity

Celia - posted on 03/12/2010

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My son is only 7 months old but I will breastfeed him untill he self weans however long that takes.
I know some people find it strange and gross to breastfeed a child after 2 but I had a childhood friend who was breastfed along with her 2 sisters till she was 6 or 7 and they are all healthy well adjusted 30 somethings with kids of their own and husbands and careers.
So to each their own :D

Erin - posted on 03/12/2010

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Carol Sapriken
12:33 pm

The other thing is that it sounds from the article like her daughter has not developed any coping mechanisms aside from nursing. When she does finally wean, this really could be a problem.


This is precisely the point I was going to raise. As Carol indicated, by 4 or 5 a child should have other coping strategies to help them deal with any stress and upset in their day. If they don't, and then the child gets sent off to kindergarten, how is that going to work?

I can accept the immunological benefits, but that would not be enough for me to breastfeed beyond toddlerhood.

Kylie - posted on 03/12/2010

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i plan to let my bf toddler self wean though i do hope that will be around 2-3 yrs. i remember when my 4 yr old asked to breastfeed while i was nursing her newborn brother and i just couldn't let her.. she had been weaned at 2 and she just seemed so big and toothy compared to her brother..the idea felt really wrong. but saying that i know a 4 year old that still breastfeeds occasionally. Shes a confident, intelligent little girl and her mother would like her to stop but she wont cut her off because she strongly believes in the benefits of self weaning. I've seen her nursing and it lovely and natural..she had a drink and a cuddle then went off to play with the other kids.
I don't think its wrong.. i think if a mother wants to commit to 4 years of breastfeeding and it's working for the family then good on her and I don't see why breast milk would lose it's nutritional and immunological (could b the wrong word?) composition after the age of two..i wonder why no studies have been done after this age?

Tah - posted on 03/12/2010

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maybe they should,i'm sure at least some of these physicians have seen that argument, apparently it wan't enough to change how they treat their patients,there are studies for and against many things...like this topic.....it depends on how studies are conducted and whose doing them., who are they done on and so on. so sometimes you have to agree to disagree...i don't know how anyone could be so sure of anything unless they were doing the study themselves, studies change often, coffee is bad for you, no it's good, no it's bad....endless cycle....

Dana - posted on 03/12/2010

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I will admit that it seems a bit crazy to say that she was injected with her germs all night but it is a proven fact that breast milk has healing properties too. I assume she's saying she caught whatever she got from her daughter and made antibodies.

Dana - posted on 03/12/2010

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Tah Dula
10:50 pm
well they still teach the tale in nursing school and doctors still limit dairy intake when people are having productive coughs and mucuos, i see the orders for dietary often, and my children's pediatricians also...gotta be something to it...
There have been studies to disprove it. Maybe they should read them.

Tah - posted on 03/12/2010

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i'm with sharon..lol.....i have never heard such...thats why i called her the baby doctor...lol..and asked where the heck was she that there was no wal-mart, walgreens, rite-aid...nothing, no cab, car, tricycle...puhleaseee

Tah - posted on 03/12/2010

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well they still teach the tale in nursing school and doctors still limit dairy intake when people are having productive coughs and mucuos, i see the orders for dietary often, and my children's pediatricians also...gotta be something to it...

Sharon - posted on 03/12/2010

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Honestly - its such a load of shit Quote: When she gets a cold, she tells me that she needs my milk to "kill the cough". One night, she started to run a desperately high fever (104) and I had no medicine or way of getting any. I fed her all night; she injected her germs into me while my body made the antibodies she needed and fed them back to her. We both worked through the night and, by morning, she was better, as if the fever had never happened." End Quote

Really she "injected" her germs into her mother... and her mother created antibodies for her? What a load of horseshit. She's a crackhead.

Charlene - posted on 03/12/2010

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Dana, I didn't have enough time to read it, so I didn't really comment on the article itself. Instead I commented on extended breast feeding, since I've researched it before. :)

I'll probably finish it tonight though, then I might comment on the article itself.

Dana - posted on 03/12/2010

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Tah, that's an old wives tale, milk does not add to mucus.

As far as breastfeeding past the age of two, I find it a tad strange that so many people condom something that isn't proven one way or the other.

Dana - posted on 03/12/2010

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Maybe you should read it Sharon because she's not saying anything like that.

I would like to add, that I only plan on breastfeeding until 2 yrs but it's not like I''m going to cut him off right at 2 yrs and he may possibly quit before then on his own. I also don't breastfeed him for comfort. If he gets hurt or is upset we work through it without the breast. He's not a baby who uses a pacifier/dummy either. I'm curious how many parents are quick to give their child a pacifier/dummy when they're upset. Why do people see that as different?

Tah - posted on 03/12/2010

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i'm not sold, when i hear that a four year old with all their teeth(more or less) is still nursing and twittling the other nipple, when it isn't proven that it helps one way or the other at this age. this child can eat what she eats, there are many different ways to comfort and teach a child to comfort. I just wonder what they are going to do when its time for school and When is the husband gonna get fed up...like excuse me princess, can daddy get a turn...still not buying it, but, to each it's own...just don't expect to see me with a child almost my height laid across the couch nursing and watching spongebob...(creepy) and citing nutrional values to me at the same time, milk actually adds to mucuos so i hope the baby doctor was talking about a dry cough...but, again, to each it's own...

Sharon - posted on 03/12/2010

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I can't even read it. I'm sorry its disgusting.

From what I've read - 2 years is the latest for nutritional value. With that knoweldge, she's just disgusting. Of course the child prefers sweet milk to balsamic chicken or salty soggy cooked carrots.

Johnny - posted on 03/12/2010

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I liked the article and I am glad that it worked for her. Like Mary said, it is quite sweet. I am still nursing my 19 month old, but I am hoping she will choose to self-wean shortly after her 2nd birthday. And if not, I will begin to practice "don't offer, don't refuse" and if that does not get her down to at least only once a day at night, then my boobies will break when she's 3. It's not that I think nursing until 4 or 5 is wrong or weird, I just simply don't want to do it, and I don't think my daughter needs it.

I really think that these decisions need to be the right choice for the individual family. There is no wrong decision, IMO. I do have concerns for a child's integration into our culture when they are still nursing at school age. It's not that I think it is wrong, but that our culture condemns it so universally that I think it could lead to problems for a kid. And I can not see how the benefits of nursing at that age can really counteract those possible negatives.

The other thing is that it sounds from the article like her daughter has not developed any coping mechanisms aside from nursing. When she does finally wean, this really could be a problem. With my daughter, I do nurse for comfort. I think that is one of the great benefits of breastfeeding and I find it odd when people have a problem with "comfort nursing" specifically. But I have focused on making sure that my daughter has other "tricks" for self-comfort and parental comfort. I want her to be able to find other ways to feel better or feel good besides nursing. I like that she will also go to my husband when she is upset, and that sometimes she hugs her little bear and feels "all done".

Mary - posted on 03/12/2010

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Well, my daughter self weaned at 13.5 months...it was probably hastened by the fact that I worked 7p-7a 2 nights a week, meaning I was gone for both the morning and nighttime nursings...which were really about all she was doing by that time. We all got a nasty stomach virus, and that was the end of it for us. I was both sad, and a little relieved as well (I hated pumping at work!). I really had hoped to get to 2 years, but, ut just wasn't meant to be (12-15 months seems to be common amongst my fellow night shift gals, probably for the same reason).



Now, I do think I would have been uncomfortable with it beyond that...and I KNOW my husband would not have been okay with it. You can say that he's closed minded or that it wasn't his call to make...but we are a family, and his feelings and opinions do matter to both Molly and I. I'm sure I would have gotten a lot of negative imput from other family members and friends as well...not quite as important to me, but still the world I have to live in. So overall, perhaps due to societal influences, breastfeeding beyond the 2 year mark does seem a bit odd to me, and not something I would have chosen.



But...I read this article, and was touched. I guess, for some, it really does continue to be as sweet, comforting, and special as time goes by. I admired her, and felt a twinge of envy at her self-confidence. No, there is may not be irrefutable scientific evidence to support the nutritional benefits of breastfeeding beyond 2 years, but I'm sure it's NOT bad for them either...I can only imagine it is beneficial, even if it is only is a negligible amount. Perhaps it's most significant contribution at this point IS comfort...but does that make it a bad thing? Who is to say, with any certainty, what the absolute "best" way is to comfort a 4 y/o?

Dana - posted on 03/12/2010

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What about the immunoglobulin factors. I know I was comforted by the fact that if I got the swine flu or any flu, I would make antibodies for it and Ethan would most likely be fine. Hell I was going to sell my milk $5 dollars a shot. lol

Sara - posted on 03/12/2010

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I'm not saying there's no nutritional value to breast milk, Dana, I'm just saying that a 4 year old's main source of nutrition comes from other foods, not from breast milk. That's why I think it boils down to being a comfort thing, because they don't need to do it to survive or sustain themselves at that point.

Tah - posted on 03/12/2010

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i think at this point it is about being a security blanket and the mother wanting to feel needed. i wonder where she lives that she had no medicine for a fever and no way to get it. how does a 4 year old know that your milk kills the cough. there are other ways to comfort a child about to go into elementary school, will she sit in the back of class and wait for her to need comfort. maybe i am ignorant, since studies i've read show that there is no nutritional value for the child after a year. but studies change....i try not to judge, what i also try not to lie. i just don't get it...

Dana - posted on 03/12/2010

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Charlene, I'm curious how you can form an opinion on this article or extended breastfeeding if you don't read the whole thing.

I always thought extended breastfeeding was extreme but after reading this article I'm not so sure. One thing I HAVE to comment on is the "twiddling" of the nipple. That made me laugh out loud as Ethan tries to do that himself. I stop him and it annoys the hell out of me, it's like a violation of my breasts. I feel kind of bad since I know why he's doing it, but, I'm not letting him "twiddle".

As far as the benefits, I think they're wonderful. I'm curious as to why you, Sara, say there aren't any besides comfort when it has been proven there is? What age do you think it stops becoming nutritional and starts being about comfort?

Now I say this all in a nice manner, just questions. ;)

Jocelyn - posted on 03/12/2010

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I am a huge supporter of breastfeeding (I bf-ed my son until he was 21 months, so does that make it extended?) I just can't wrap my head around bfing your 4 year old. Sure it could still be nutritious, but at that age all I can think is that it is a comfort thing. A security nipple.

Sara - posted on 03/12/2010

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I think that it's up to the individual choice of the mother and child how long to BF. I don't think people have any right to judge a woman or her child for extended BFing, it's unecessary, rude and hurtful.



In my mind, extended breastfeeding isn't about nutrition, it's just a comfort thing like a pacifier or a blankie or a stuffed bear. I doubt the mother pumps and sends it to school with a child, I would guess it's something that's only done at night by that age, or only once or twice during the course of a day.

Charlene - posted on 03/12/2010

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I started reading it.. then to be honest, I just skimmed the rest.

Extended breastfeeding is just not for me. If you (general) want to keep breastfeeding until 4, all the more power to you. It's your choice and as long as someone is not forcing a child to continue, despite them trying to self wean, then I don't really care. I don't have to look if I don't want to see it.

I'm just curious... if the child didn't self wean by school age, would you still breastfeed? Would you pump and send it with them in a reusable juice box or would you pick them up and nurse them? These are honest questions.. not trying to be rude or snarky or anything like that. I am genuinely curious.

[deleted account]

WOW! Sorry, I know that's a lot to read but I'm sure you have an opinion even if you haven't read her story!??

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