BF'ing - how old is too old

Jackie - posted on 07/22/2010 ( 179 moms have responded )

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So on my way to work this morning this topic came up b/c there was a judge (not sure exactly where, but I live in the northeaster US) who ruled that a woman must stop breastfeeding her 6 year old and it got me thinking.

Now I am ABSOLUTELY NOT trying to turn this into a debate of any of the following:
- Should the judge be able to tell her what to do with her child
- Breast vs. bottle
- When to stop the bottle
- BF'ing in public

But I am really curious as to what age (of the baby) everyone things is no longer considered acceptable to still be breastfeeding??

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[deleted account]

I will end my participation with this: breastfeeding is NOT child abuse, ever. If you choose not to continue breastfeeding your child, that's fine. But don't condemn other women who choose to do it longer, for whatever their reasons (comfort, bonding, joy, nutrition, etc.) A little boy who is breastfeeding doesn't look at his mothers breast as a sexual object. There is no purpose to hugging, kissing, telling your kids you love them other then to comfort them and nurture their emotional and physical well being, which is exactly what breastfeeding provides. Breastmilk never stops being nutritionally valuable.

Calling breastfeeding child abuse is not an accurate depiction of the relationship between a nursing mother and her child.

[deleted account]

This conversation is getting a bit contradictory. So lots of us agree that breasts are not sexual, they're meant to feed our babies. Then somewhere along the line, some mums seem to feel that breasts have reverted to being sexual again - there was even a suggestion of child abuse!

And concern about peer groups? Oh, he might be laughed at by his friends? Surely if the toddler/child wants to tell his friends, he will, if he doesn't want to, he won't.

Basically, I don't get all the fuss. It's no-one else's business but the mum and bub. If you're uncomfortable, don't do it,or don't watch, but I'm not going to be hampered by other people's judgements. I didn't set out to make others comfortable. I set out to bring up my children the way I saw fit.

Charlie - posted on 07/27/2010

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Quoting Melissa :I think formula actually helped in my first borns development patterns as well. He is well above average in physical development in his class. So just saying that formula or Bfing will both give your child the same benefits
..........................................................................................
I was the one who said Breast milk was the superior food for babies because Melissa's post implied they both gave the same benefits and that formula was to be credited for her sons development when that is simply not the case , Formula is wonderful , without it children would die but saying its just as good or implying that it helps developmentally ( or that breastmilk is developmentally inferior ) i cannot agree with .

[deleted account]

As I told my lawyer this morning... just because most of America weans before a year doesn't automatically make it right. :)

Kate - posted on 08/04/2010

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Babies have such an instintive urge to suck. From what I've read, taking the breast or dummy away from them when they're not ready can cause serious psychological problems and often causes finger sucking to go on way longer than appropriate which can cause deformities in the way the jaw and teeth are shaped.

And how crazy is this idea of being a human pacifier. that's what we're meant to be. Aren't dummies an artificial substitute for the nipple?

We "civilised" people think we're so clever. In some ways we're brilliant and we're able to better our lives all the time, and then in some ways we think we know better than nature. For example... babies cosleeping with their moms always end up on their back when they're little. So we design a cot and then order mom's to put their tiny babies to sleep on their tummies for many years leading to the deaths of many babies. Yes - we've corrected that one, but we still leave babies to CIO, force them to give up the breast or a dummy or a bottle before they're ready. Shame man. These poor kids get so forced to grow up. And yet kids are dependent on their parents till older now than at any other time in history.

I'm sure 6 seems strange to so many people because it is so unusual. But toddlers? come on guys. do you honestly think you know better than God or nature or whoever you believe in?

My baby is 13 months old and I'm pregnant with number 2. I never thought I'd carry on breastfeeding passed a year or while pregnant because OMG what would people think. Luckily my parenting instincts override what other people think.

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[deleted account]

I see where Kati is coming from. If I'm honest, I did have moments of feeling trapped when I was first feeding my daughter. And before you think "Oh, what a terrible mother", let me explain the situation. My daughter and I had a tough time latching. She was little, I have big breasts and we did manage to exclusively breastfeed for 4-5 months but it was definitely a labour of love for me to do it that long. For the first 4 weeks I had to use a nipple shield and an elaborate pillow system to achieve exclusive on demand breast feeding. As a result, I was pretty much glued to the couch or bed. I couldn't breastfeed out in public so either I went out and risked a crying baby or I stayed at home. Being my first child, sometimes you feel like things go on for ever and so every now and then I did feel trapped. Further down the line I developed very sore nipples from bad latching (which I did get help for from Lactation consultants), by the time I managed to sort that out, my daughter was having bottles (mostly expressed milk) and she just wasnt that into breastfeeding any more. She weaned at 9 months. Do I regret weaning before 12 months? No. Would I try for longer with my next child, Yes. Am I happy about having my body all to myself after 18 months of sharing it with my daughter? Yes. Do I think this makes me a bad mother? No. You have to do what's right for you, your child and your family. If you (and your child) want to breast feed for longer then good for you. Past 5 I think is too long. You need to let your children find alternate ways to soothe themselves. And also, I really like giving my daughter her bottle. I still think it's a bonding time. I cradle her in my arms and look into her eyes and stroke her legs (which I couldnt do when I was breastfeeding because I had to use both hands to feed. Another thing that made breastfeeding difficult for us) and the best bit is that her Dad can have that bonding time too. Breast is best, I don't dispute that, but you have to do what's best for you and your situation.

Minnie - posted on 08/04/2010

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after they spent a year giving themselves up like that.

We have a different perspective here. I don't see breastfeeding as 'giving myself up.' I see it as just another way I can love my children. We all do things for people we love. And I would hope that when we give of ourselves (but not giving ourselves up) that we don't see it as being detrimental to our self-worth but as a way to grow into better people.

Celeste - posted on 08/04/2010

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Honestly, I don't think anyone will "get" it until you've nursed a toddler yourself. I don't say this to be mean, but I used to have the same attitude. I never understood why anyone would nurse past 12 months. I was planning on stopping at 6 months or when she got teeth with my first. I didn't realize that you could nurse past one.

Then my twins were born. I knew I'd nurse past a year, but I said I'd stop at 18 months. Well, that came and went, and then I said I'd stop at 2. And now we're at 3. One of them has already weaned but one still nurses once a day. Right now, I would like him weaned before his 4th birthday.

There are still a ton of benefits, immunologically and nutritionally. Plus, benefits for me as well (decreased cancer risk, which is great for me since I have cancer in my family)

I don't think I'd nurse a 6 year old, but it's not my place to tell them that they can't do it because I wouldn't.

[deleted account]

Personally I think once they're at school, they're too old for breastfeeding. Milk is for babies. Older children and adults can get all their nutrients from food. And as far as the comforting side of breast feeding goes, I think it can be detrimental to a child not to allow them to find ways other than breastfeeding to soothe themselves. My daughter weaned herself at 9 months but if she had wanted to keep going, I would have until 2 years and then I would reevaluate it then, because I think 2 years is long enough for me and my family.

Rosa - posted on 08/02/2010

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I'm most interested in the health of my baby and secondly don't want to disturb people who wouldn't understand. That said, no matter how long I nurse, I will take him in another room if we're in mixed company or if another woman says it would make her uncomfortable. That way it's not a public issue.

[deleted account]

It is a different way to parent. A lot (though not all) moms who breastfeed beyond a year are AP style parents. It's not like my daughter gets anything and everything she asks for, but I've always been big in child-centered and child-led things. I went to college for education and children learn the best when the curriculum is child-centered. It interests them and they are involved in their own learning (instead of sitting at a desk and doing worksheets). That doesn't mean children are running wild in a classroom with no rules or learning. I parent the same way I used to teach (stay at home now).



So yes, I understand that everyone parents differently. I just don't want people to think that our children run our lives because that's not the case. If it were my daughter would be hanging from the ceiling fan while licking an electrical outlet lol but she's not because we do set limits. I just prefer to follow her lead for certain things although I understand that that doesn't work for all families.

Rosie - posted on 08/02/2010

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i still don't understand, but it was a valiant try! :)

and yes 12 months is the magic number for my family. why not? what makes it any different than 14 months 4 days? or any other date you can come up with? it's just a date, you've got to decide to do it someday, why not set a date and go from there? and before you answer i know what you'll say, lol!!" why do YOU have to decide to do it someday, why can't the child decide?" and that is where we differ. i don't want my child dictating what they want when they want. you guys don't mind if your child does.

and no, giving up "baby" things was not to mean that they wouldn't grow up to be independent adults, but it does mean that they aren't being more independent at that moment in time, which is important to me. i have other things to do than make bottles for my child after doing it for a year, and i just don't get why anybody would want to be physically attached to their child, after they spent a year giving themselves up like that.

and like i've said a thousand times before, i could care less if YOU do it, i just don't understand the why's behind it. it's not child abuse, like someone else has mentioned. it's just not something that appeals to me AT ALL, and i have a hard time wrappng my brain around why somebody would want to do it for years upon years, when there are other viable options for everything that has been mentioned.
i think we just need to conceed that neither of us will understand the others point of view, but i can tell you that i do respect yours, i just don't get it. :)

Allison - posted on 08/02/2010

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@ Starr - I think the other ladies explained it pretty well, but there are still lots of emotional and nutritional benefits to a 1,2 and 3 year old from breastfeeding - both the milk and the actual bonding time. I did a bit of research to back up my instinct that extended nursing was best for my son, and most trusted sources agree that the benefits extend well into toddler-hood :) After 1 1/2 my son did not nurse very much (just 1-2 times a day, when he really needed it) and by 2 1/2 my he was showing signs of wanting more independence, so I followed his lead and encouraged him to stop nursing.



There were MANY times between age 1-2 that I felt it was a godsend - during bad colds it was a key way I kept him hydrated; like other ladies said I was SO glad for the nutrition when he was being a super picky eater; when he would fall and get a really bad scrape it would keep him calm while I or someone else did the disinfecting and bandaid; and when we would fly (which was a LOT) it was a wonderful way to calm him down (and get him to sleep) during take-off and landing. Just to name a few :)

Sarah - posted on 08/02/2010

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I have heard of older children still breastfeeding because mom liked it / helped her maintain weight, but my personal views on this is to start cutting back as they start getting their teeth... ;)

Geralyn - posted on 08/01/2010

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I agree with Sara and Teresa. If I had had an arbitrary cut off in mind, say 12 months, my son was not "solid" with solids at that point. His nutritional needs would not have been met by solids and cow's milk... I have let things happen based upon the cues of my child with foood but with many other things. And I have NEVER had the experience where my son did not want to take it to the next level when he was ready. He has always been adventurous and wanting to gain more independence as he is ready to.... They know when they are ready for the next steps.... We have to give our children some credit instead of dictating their every move based on society's norms that are not necessarily established in the best interest of the child....



I also find it humorous that a 12 month old needs to give up "baby" things.... What? As if they won't grow to be independent as adults if that time line is not met.... To me a 12 month old is still a baby.

[deleted account]

So true Sara. My son has been pretty sick a few times in the past year and the ONLY thing he would take by mouth for several days was to nurse. Makes me feel better knowing that even if he won't eat or drink anything else... he's in no danger of starving or dehydrating.

[deleted account]

Well, my mom did nurse me and my brother til 2-3 years old. :)

My son definitely uses a cup.. even drinks cow's milk pretty regularly. I am trying to help him 'grow up', but not by pushing him to wean. His needs vary depending on the day. Yesterday he didn't nurse from 3:30am all the way til 4:30pm, but this morning... w/in the first 2 hours he was awake he nursed 4 times!

Not sure why I'm posting again. I guess I just like to share. :)

[deleted account]

I was thinking about this earlier today, but forgot to add it. My daughter (15 months) has recently become a very picky eater. I'm super happy that she's still breastfeeding 3-4 times a day. It's like giving her a vitamin drink that's made just for her and absorbed easily by her body. It makes me feel better when she's throwing her veggies on the floor :). So yes, she could get all of her nutrition from other foods, but when she's on a food strike she will still get what she needs from my milk.

[deleted account]

I have no issues with my daughter growing up. I love seeing her grow and change every day, but like Geralyn said at 12 months and 1 day she didn't magically stop needing or wanting to nurse. People parent in different ways. I prefer to watch her cues and allow her to let me know when she's ready to move on. Some moms prefer to lead the way with weaning. Both are fine. It's whatever works for you and your family. Excellent point about the cup, Cassie. My daughter has been using a sippy since she started solids at 8 months old.

Geralyn - posted on 08/01/2010

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How is it that magically at 12 months and one day old, the baby's needs change that dramatically or they become this small person who doesn't need the comfort or nutrition of nursing? Or 18 months and one day? Or 24 months and 1 day for that matter? Seems arbitrary to come up with a number and then ignorantly say for that child, he/she doesn't need BF'ing any more or wouldn't benefit from it. Its arbitrary given how each baby walks, talks, meets all his/her developmental milestones at different ages.... And who frankly cares if there are people that would be grossed out by seeing a 2 year old nurse? Don't look... Its a mom's decision concerning breastfeeding.

Starr - posted on 08/01/2010

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I guess as most of you ladies said, I/We wont understand unless we have done it. I was just trying to wrap my head around it thats all. I didnt know if it was because of having problems letting go of your child being a baby or problems with them not wanting to wean, maybe ur mother bf that long or just what it was in general the nursing instead of a cup. But thanks for the effort. Either way it doesnt bother me, just curiosity. No judgement coming from my way.

[deleted account]

If you've read the responses from the moms who nurse a child over 2 and still don't understand... I really don't think there is anything we could say that would help you understand. :)

Cassie - posted on 08/01/2010

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Don't you think a toddler could still be nursing AND use a cup?

I nursed my first daughter until she was 17 months old (weaned due to stress of my pregnancy with my second daughter). At that point, she was nursing once or twice a day but had been drinking water from a cup for months.

Just wanted to point that out. Typically, a nursing toddler does not just run up to mommy, lift her shirt, and ask to nurse. It is so annoying that people assume that mothers who nurse toddlers don't teach their toddlers nursing manners or set up boundaries. What you see in movies that mock older nursing children usually depicts it in an incorrect manner....

Just thought I'd throw that in there.

Starr - posted on 08/01/2010

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I have rung in on this conversation a bit late..But Im trying to still figure out what is the point of actually nursing a child over the age of 2? I for one started weaning mine at 11 months but still pumped and gave the milk in a cup til around 14 months. But note, in a cup! So can someone please explain why you feel the need to nurse? I understand the bonding but you have done that for a whole yr. or so is that not enough? Do you now want to help teach your child to be a child and drink from a cup. it seems a little odd to me for a child to walk up, lift ur shirt, say mommy Im gettin mine and have at it. To each their own, I just would like to understand.

[deleted account]

Lori - I never said you thought bf was gross. Although I think that babies should be weaned between 1-2 years for bf, I think it is harsh to say that extended bf is gross - it is still natural. If it wasn't our bodies would not produce milk for that duration of time.

Lori - posted on 07/30/2010

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Toni, Breastfeeding is natural. I didnt say breastfeeding is gross. I meant bfing a 6 year old is. I bf both my girls for a year each.

Lisa - posted on 07/29/2010

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I have read through this whole debate. It is something that holds a great interest to me as I am pregnant with my second. Breastfeeding only worked out for my son and I for a few months because of a dwindling milk supply due to the birth control I was given. I would loved to have bf'd for at least a year, and was very disappointed and felt like a failure when he had to completely switch to formula. I hope for things to go well with my daughter.
As far as extended breastfeeding, I am not sure that I would do it, and I also agree that the school age children should probably use a different delivery method (cup... etc.) But to each their own has been said before. And as for kissing on the lips... I have always kissed my son on the lips... he is 20 months old now and loves to run up and kiss mommy. I see nothing wrong with or sexual about it. I still kiss my grandma on the lips and that is how it has always been... obviously nothing sexual! It isn't like being with your significant other... it is a peck! If you are comfortable with it and the other person is, whose to say it is wrong!

[deleted account]

Lori I don't think its gross thats a little harsh do you not think? Although I don't agree with it, it is still natural!

Lori - posted on 07/29/2010

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I dont think the judge has any right to tell a woman when to stop breastfeeding her child. I do think 6 years old is way to old to be bfing though. Gross!!

Stephanie - posted on 07/28/2010

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i believe in lettin' the baby tell u when it's time to stop, i have four kids and my three oldest wanted to stop at a year and a half, i didn't discourage my babies now i have a 6 week old and if he stops or goes past a year and a half it will be ok and if he wants to stop before that ok

Geralyn - posted on 07/28/2010

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Let's see... how old is too old. Maybe 55 or 60? Depending on the circumstances? Depends on the breasts I suppose....

Jaime - posted on 07/28/2010

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This is a non-issue for me because if the parent and child are both comfortable with extended breast feeding then I say go for it! There are pros and cons for sure, but at the base of it, there is absolutely no wrong, no harm and no abuse in this practice. My own personal comfort would not see me breast feeding past 2 or 3 at the very most...but I have no ill judgment of others that choose to go beyond this point.

[deleted account]

WOW! Thanks for the well thought out response.

I think you touched on something extremely important. "not setting limits on things early on". BRILLIANT! I agree with most everything you said and it all boils down to that statement. You can allow things like bottles, pacifiers etc. without any problem if you set boundaries early on. I NEVER in a million years, prior to having children, thought I would be the type of parent to encourage self weaning. I found with my daughter that because I set boundaries VERY early on we've never had a problem with the "lovey items". My daughter self weaned from the breast at 6 months (knowing what I know now I probably would have fought a lil' harder to try and continue breastfeeding her but when her first couple teeth popped up she didn't seem to have any interest in nursing and I was worried so I continued pumping and freezing my milk which she had via bottle until she was 11 months when I ran out) which is when I went out and bought a pacifier because she began sucking her thumb. Anyhow, my point is *I* set boundaries that *I* was comfortable with and after that I allowed her to determine, within those boundaries, when she wanted to give up the bottle/pacifier etc. She's NEVER been allowed to use the pacifier for anything other than sleeptime and on RARE occasion when she's been really sick. Same went for her bottles....I refused to let her carry around her bottle....you drink, you're done, you play and as a result she very quickly dropped her daytime bottles and they were replaced by a cup at 13 months.....her bottle in the evenings she decided she didn't want around 17 months. She was sick and refused it one evening and that was that.

Anyhow, I'm rambling, which isn't totally uncommon but I'm going to stop now.

In summary, I believe that if we set healthy boundaries early on children can have healthy relationships with "lovey items"....

Jackie - posted on 07/28/2010

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OK I started 2 new conversations to help keep them on topic so that we can get viewpoints from everyone, not just those still managing to keep up with this convo.

Jackie - posted on 07/28/2010

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Allison...can you copy and paste...give me 5 minutes...Dana insists that I start the trouble this time =)

Allison - posted on 07/28/2010

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That's a really good question Dana - I think about it a lot...because instinctively, I feel very different about those things than BFing! I did not use either with my son - except for bottles of breastmilk when I was gone, and he weaned off those daytime bottle feedings at the same rate he weaned from breastfeeding during the day. However, if used occasionally with limits (like breastfeeding is), I don't think they do any harm, and I feel that most kids will gradually stop using them in time - no biggie. There are a few key differences, though, which I've thought about a lot, and which are why I personally stayed away from them for the most part:



1) They are not people - they are objects. I would prefer my son to form bonds with people instead, and the breastfeeding time was a SHORT, infrequent break-time for he and I to bond. I would never let it interfere with his social time - this was his preference, too. However, if he HAD wanted to nurse more frequently or during play times, etc, as an older tot, or use it as some sort of "crutch" for comfort I would have gently said no (and did occasionally).



2) Like any "lovey" my son has, I didn't want him to be SO SO attached to something (like a paci or bottle) that he needs it all the time. With pacifiers, I see a lot of kids use them for HOURS every day, and I think this is not good because...



3) I feel like pacifiers inhibit verbal skills in kids over about age 1. I've seen this in my friends' kids - they can't talk with a paci in their mouth. If they need it for a few minutes in the car or before bed to calm down, that's great - but not when they are playing/interacting with others and should be developing their communication skills.



4) Also, pacifier use in older kids can negatively impact dental development (although I don't know much about that).



5) When kids are so attached to their bottle/paci, they seem to become hysterical when they can't have it whenever they want. Breastfeeding seems quite different - my son and other extended nursers I knew never did this. In fact, he (and they) gradually wanted it less and less, not more. Not quite sure why this is, but might be a whole parenting style that is different...such as not setting limits on things early on?



6) Bottles can provide too many calories. With breastfeeding, there is a limited supply, and if they drink more, it naturally becomes more watered down. With a bottle, it can be filled with more juice or milk than a kid needs, and if they are sucking for comfort, they are also getting unneccessary calories. Breastfeeding provides a better balance of calories vs comfort, I think. Also, it's not as mobile, so they naturally don't want to sit and do it for very long - so that limits the amount of time they spend on it, as they want to get up and move! With a bottle or paci, they can do it AND keep playing or looking around, so they don't feel as strong a need to limit their time at it.



7) Breastmilk has the proper natural balance of immune cells, enzymes and sugars for humans, so it does not lead to tooth decay as readily as pasteurized cow milk and juices. Many kids who drink a lot out of bottles past age one have increased cavities and tooth decay. This is quite rare with older breastfeeding kids. Even kids who nurse every night before bed rarely have cavities. This is the opposite for bottle-feeders.



Wow, sorry I am just so long winded - I do over analyze quite a bit...

Jackie - posted on 07/28/2010

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Come on Dana...I know you are itching to post that as a new conversation =)

[deleted account]

Hard to say (for me) Dana as my son has never had a bottle or a pacifier and I didn't believe in child led weaning when my girls were little....

[deleted account]

Allison, and the other moms who believe in child led weaning.....does that also apply to things like bottles and pacifiers?

Jackie - posted on 07/28/2010

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It could lead to interesting conversation Allison...post it and see what happens.

Allison - posted on 07/28/2010

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I'm with Celeste on the "too old if they can ask for it" comments - that makes no sense to me. We taught my son some signs, so he could sign for it by about 8 months old, and ask for it verbally by 14 or 16 months. He could also lift my shirt up for it by age 1, but I never let him do that b/c I just didn't like it - I taught him to wait until I was ready for him. So we never had a problem with that. I'm not sure what all the worry is about anyway...as long as the mom pays attention to their kids' emotional/social needs, they will be able to tell if they are ready to be done nursing. There certainly is not some specific "age limit" to that - it's only detrimental if the mom is not paying attention to what her kid really needs. I personally have never even heard of nursing beyond 6-8 years, even in "extreme" cases, so they all stop at some time...



WAY more often in my experience - like, almost everyone I know - the mom quit nursing for her OWN personal comfort, not to do what was best for her child. In fact, the weaning usually led to a LOT of emotional trauma for their child, but it was soon forgotten (even if I do feel it has some lasting effects...) - and they still fed them with the second best nutrition (cow's milk or cow's milk formula), so they turned out just fine, of course :) Still, I think the effects of early weaning are MUCH more prevalent in our (US) society than the effect of a few people who nurse a child too long. I'm pretty sure the (very sad) statistics back me up on that (early weaning = higher risk of childhood obesity, higher rates of illness, higher risk of cancer in child and mother, etc.)...



I would like to phrase a different question "Weaning - how young is too young?" - but I think early weaning is so prevalent that it would just turn into yet another formula vs breastmilk debate...

Celeste - posted on 07/28/2010

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True, and I understand that people have their own comfort levels. I know for me personally, I hope my twin boys to be weaned by 4. Would it still be good for them? Of course, but it's ok to have your own comfort level.



And honestly, I never understood the "if they can ask for it, they're too old" comments.

Jackie - posted on 07/28/2010

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But Celeste alot of this discussion hasn't been so much around what others are comfortable with. Yes it's been brought up, but more of it has focused on is it good for the child to still be BF'ing to an older age (NOT drinking BM, 99% of us agree that is clearly best...but actually receiving it from the breast still).

Pumps are expensive. Pumping is a hassle...a huge hassle...but it's to benefit your child!

I think at the baby stage it def. depends on wehre you live, but everyone I know is very supportive of it for babies...it only becomes controversial when you have the kids old enough to ask for it or walk over and get you "set up" themselves

Celeste - posted on 07/28/2010

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As far as the pumping issue, I don't own a pump anymore. Why would I go and buy a pump just because someone is uncomfortable with me nursing past 1? Besides, pumping is a huge hassle and I can only pump a few drops.

As far as being "guilted", in my experience, more people pushed me to use formula, including my twin boys' pediatrician and well meaning family and friends because I had some issues at the beginning. Maybe it depends on where you live?

Pamela - posted on 07/28/2010

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I say screw society. Do what is right for you, your baby and your family. If breastfeeding, then breastfeed. If formula feeding, then feed 'em formula. If skydiving while feeding them, maybe not.

Rosie - posted on 07/28/2010

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i don't know if most moms would want to breastfeed longer, i don't know if they don't want to either, but from MY experience, and several other peoples experiences that i've noticed, that they don't want to, but they feel guilted into it from society.

isn't it ironic how formula feeding is considered such a no-no in our society, yet breastfeeding in public, or extended breastfeeding is considered a no-no as well? what more can we do to drive mothers crazy?!!!

Pamela - posted on 07/28/2010

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When I was part of LLL, we had a young woman come in with a 10-week-old infant, wanting desperately to bf her newborn. Sadly, her husband and his mother (who was a nurse working for a formula company) were totally opposed to bf-ing. It was really sad because she had no support (other than LLL) - in fact, she was strongly discouraged from bf-ing by her family. It was really sad - I don't know if she stuck it out. It would have been quite difficult to do so.

Minnie - posted on 07/28/2010

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why would anyone want to breast feed a six year old?



Oh, let's see...



Because our children grow only one day at a time and a child who is five years and 364 days who is nursing will probably want to nurse tomorrow



Because a human child's immune system typically does not mature until about six years



Because ending the breastfeeding relationship prior to natural duration increases the risk of me developing uterine, ovarian and breast cancer, and my daughters as well.



Because the 'benefits' of breastfeeding are dose-related



Because nursing is just another way to show love (who is anyone to determine that it is not a worthy way of showing love?)



Because human milk is made for the young of the human species and humans are biologically designed to nurse for several years. Not six months, not one year..several.



Because breastfeeding is normal.

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I guess I took it for granted that Chad was SO supportive, as was the rest of my family. WHY wouldn't a husband and other family be supportive? I just can't understand that!

Pamela - posted on 07/28/2010

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An excellent organization for breastfeeding support is the Le Leche League. I would have given up without the other breastfeeding ladies surrounding me. The U.S. culture is absolutely bizarre regarding a woman's breasts. The original purpose of our boobs is to feed our babies.

I am very lucky in that my husband (though not the extended family necessarily) was 100% supportive of my choice to breastfeed. Not all men (or families) are and it is extremely difficult to bf your child if you don't have the support.

I breastfed my boys as infants all the time in public, but got very little flak for it because no one could actually tell. I breastfed them in church in the pews. When they got older (and more squirrely) it became harder to stay covered, so I kept it pretty much at home. Though not always.

Kelsey - posted on 07/27/2010

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i think that when a child is old enough to come up and pull up your shirt they are too old... but if you teach your kid when its ok to breastfeed its all good its the mothers choice when to stop my friend was breastfeeding 5 kids 5 and under but they understod that it wasnt ok to come up to mommy and pull up her shirt.. so when a mom makes the choice to Stop thats whe its to old for that child..

Allison - posted on 07/27/2010

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Didn't read all the posts, but I was thinking that "too old" is different for every kid. I think there is probably a time for every kid when it could be detrimental to their social/emotional development, but as mom's we will be able to figure that out for our own child - i.e. see signs that it's no longer "going well". I would *guess* that age is anywhere between 3 years and 6 years for most kids. Also, I think it would only really be detrimental if mom was still encouraging it even after the child was wanting to stop.



For my guy, I could tell at age 2 1/2 that it was starting to hold him back a little from getting to sleep on his own (we mostly nursed at nap and bedtime), and in other subtle ways I saw he was wanting more independence. So I decided to encourage the gradual weaning to advance his own independence and self-confidence. I thought we would nurse longer, but I saw it was the right time for *him*.



I am totally surprised that only 5.7% of US women nurse past 18 months! Only now I understand why people were so surprised we nursed til almost age 3. I didn't pay too much attention after a while, though, and just did what was working and felt right for both of us. I would like to see more support in the US for extended breastfeeding (i.e. child-led weaning), because it does seem to me that a lot of mom's and kids would like to do it and benefit from it if only they saw how it worked and had more support.

Sherri - posted on 07/27/2010

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I only posted the statistics for Tina who was curious on the statistics in the US.



I agree most moms probably do want to bf longer. I personally would never have made it to a year but I would have liked to have made it to 6mo's but could only did it for 3 1/2 mo's because of returning back to work.



I am also not sure if I take statistics as sad it just is what it is.

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