BF Weaning - How young is too young?

Jackie - posted on 07/28/2010 ( 82 moms have responded )

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So as the "how old is too old" conversation regarding BF weaning keeps rolling on, someone played devil's advocate and wanted to know on the flip side then...how young is too young for those who don't opt for child led weaning??

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[deleted account]

Laura, all you have to do is read all these threads on COM and you constantly see moms saying, "mom's choice, mom's right" about bottle feeding. I agree with that, by the way. But you constantly see snide remarks and uninformed opinions about moms who breastfeed longer than one year. I'm not talking about to age 6. I'm talking about past age 2 or 3. On the debate communities I think there is a little more open mindedness about this. But go to the Welcome community or young moms community for example and you'll see people flat out making fun of people who believe in extended breastfeeding. I do agree that some breastfeeding mothers are rude about bottlefeeding, but the majority give their opinions on it, present facts, then say, "mom's choice."

[deleted account]

What if you believe that formula is bad for a child though? The opinion that breastfeeding a 6 year old is bad for a child is allowed to be valid, but the opinion that formula is bad for a child isn't allowed to be valid? You can't have it both ways w/out it being a double standard.

[deleted account]

I agree with Sara D. There seems to be a double standard where we walk on eggshells around mothers who don't breastfeed, and beat down mothers that chose to go past society's acceptable age of one. Both are fine. Neither is "abuse."

I wish more mothers would make the choice to breastfeed. The health benefits for baby and mom are too numerous to ignore. I understand that there will always be mothers who physically are unable to, for one reason or another. And I agree that a happy bottle-feeding mom is better than a stressed out, depressed breast feeding one. Happy mom, happy baby. I don't fault anyone for making the decisions they do, unless it is uninformed.

I also believe that if there was more support available more mothers would breastfeed longer. Better maternity, more flexibility at work, etc. I also place some blame on the medical profession. Someone very close to me gave up breastfeeding after faulty information from her pediatrician. With all three kids.

[deleted account]

Just like there shouldn't be a lower limit there shouldn't be an upper limit either. The mom can experience the same bad feelings when people comment on their choices. I feel like these topics are similar, but it's strange that bashing a mom for extended breastfeeding is ok, but it's not ok if she chooses to wean "early." And this is a general statement not directed at anyone. The attitude is just a lot different in this thread than in the other one.

Rosie - posted on 07/29/2010

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i feel exactly like dana does. i'm having a hard time with my bias towards people who breastfeed longer than a year, i am uncomfortable with it, but i am starting to understand it more! :) that should go both ways.

my personal experience has led me to believe that too many people breastfeed for longer than they want to because of guilt. going through that guilt myself i find it appalling that women will make themselves miserable for the sake of society, and some belief that formula is harmful, which is COMPLETELY FALSE. besides i'm positive my kid would rather have a happy well balanced mother and formula than a miserable, unbalanced mother and breastmilk. anybody who thinks different is diluding themselves. i have no doubt that motheres can be happy while breastfeeding, i just don't see how people don't understand that breastfeeding can be a HORRIBLE, DEPRESSING, AND YES, CREEPY thing for others. it should be stopped when it becomes a horrifying chore, rather than a happy bonding experience.
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[deleted account]

Toni, yes that makes much more sense. Thanks for clarifying. I'm sorry you could not bf. I actually only did it for a year, so I'm not one of the extended bf moms, but I side with them on these debates.

Dana, no we are not finding out! I think it will be fun to have a little surprise! I'm also tempted to be one of those annoying people who post asking for name suggestions. We haven't come up with anything good yet.

[deleted account]

Sara, I have NOT said that I think extended bf is wrong, I have said that I don't think it would work for me BUT if it works for your family fantastic I am not trying to put down the benefits I am just addressing this statement made by Teresa:

"I just don't think it's right to tell one mom it is ok to formula feed her newborn, but NOT tell the next mom that it is ok to breastfeed her 2-3 year old..... since being a mother is all about making CHOICES."

I was simply trying to explain why it is more accepted to tell a mom she can ff her baby but not so accepted to tell a mom to continue bf her child, one is a need the other is not.

I have no issues with people choosing to bf their children if it works for them, it is not abuse and should not be looked down on. I am NOT looking down on it I have no issues with it or people that do it. I actually applaud you if you extended bf your child because it is not easy to do.

"I was addressing Toni who said not breastfeeding won't kill a child. To me, that's not a good reason to not do it"

I was not trying to give reasons why not to bf good god I REALLY wanted to bf my son but he just could not latch due to his size, I expressed onto a 5ml spoon, a syringe and finally into a bottle until my milk dried up at 3 weeks - I wanted to bf to at least a year but it was not to be, without formula my son would have died. My point was that some babies like my son NEED formula to live, children do not NEED extended bf to live (but it is great if they can have it). I would NEVER suggest that babies should not be bf where the baby and mother are willing to do so because the health benefits are amazing but for the moms who do not want to or cannot bf their baby formula is there to ensure their kids are healthy. I hope that makes my stance clearer.

Charlie - posted on 08/02/2010

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My sister remembers she was extended bF , i dont remember i think mum said she had lactation issues with me .

My sister isnt disturbed by it LOL we have a healthy attitude towards the human body we still sit in mums room and chat to her while she gets dressed , we still see her boobies to us its just a natural body , like looking at her bare arms or legs , we all have the same parts , it may be cultural , we lived in her home country for a few years Tonga where the body is accepted and its quiet common when we were at school to shower in one large open room with the other girls , it really wasnt that long ago that women were bare breasted .

Minnie - posted on 08/02/2010

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Kati- choices you make as a mother have absolutely nothing to do with the psychology of a child. If you were five and nursing and then grew up you likely wouldn't have horrific memories of it. We're not talking about you right now, but who you might have been if your mother HAD breastfed you until you could remember it- it would be normal for you and for her and you would probably remember the love shared.

Rosie - posted on 08/02/2010

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when, by the way, are you due? :)

and yes i do get that there are benefits of doing it past a year, and i have also come around to being a bit more open minded about those who do it until 2 actually. thanks COM!!! i'll just never be able to wrap my brain around that style of parenting. my priorities are elsewhere. :)

[deleted account]

That's cool Kati. =) You've never said it was wrong, just that you don't understand it. In my last post, I was addressing Toni who said not breastfeeding won't kill a child. To me, that's not a good reason to not do it.

To give you a little of my background, I weaned Eliza just before she was one, and will likely wean my next between 12 and 15 months. But I didn't make that decision based on misconceptions (not saying you did). I wanted to avoid formula, and I managed to do that with Eliza. I wanted the health benefits for her and for me. I really enjoyed it while it lasted, but after a year I'd had enough. But in the same breath, I'm going to defend those that chose to breastfeed longer. There are still benefits past one year so I totally understand why moms chose to nurse longer. What I don't understand is why people look down on it (again, not saying you do, talking in general).

Rosie - posted on 08/02/2010

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and sara, i don't think it's wrong. i just don't understand, and never will, why people will give their body like that for years upon years when there are other options. i just can't see the appeal in it at all. just as i don't see the appeal of having a drug free birth. i don't understand why people will submit themselves to that much pain just for the glory badge of "natural" mom. i prefer to be the pain free mom, lol!
doesn't mean i don't believe other women can enjoy it, but for me i have a really hard time understanding why anybody wants to do that for so long. especially after i HATED every moment he was attached to me. i have my blinders on, i know. but i truly don't understand how after a year they just don't say that's enough, i want my body back.

Rosie - posted on 08/02/2010

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lisa, how do you know you don't like CIO? or bottle feeding? or spanking? have you done any of those?



when you know you know...

[deleted account]

I'm just not getting why it's so wrong for a mom to want to provide her child with the vitamins and antibodies found in breastmilk just because the kid reaches a certain age. Children can survive without eating fruits and veggies but don't you want them to have them? Not breastfeeding won't kill a child, just like not eating veggies won't kill them.

[deleted account]

Lisa, yes I did assume you meant comfort, but even with the immunity bf offers children after 2 it is not a need - children are able to create their own antibodies to aid immunity so if they were not bf after this time it more than likely would not kill them. However, on the other hand for some babies if they were not to have formula it would kill them because not all babies can have/ get breast milk for whatever reason.

one is a need the other is not!

I do agree that unless you are in the situation where you can remember your mom bf you you cannot know how you would feel though - I know my mom bf me and I think it is great, I can't remember her doing it but if I did would I think it would make me uncomfortable I don't know, I would like to think not!

Minnie - posted on 08/02/2010

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There were a couple of posts here saying something like 'I know for sure I would definitely not want to remember nursing at my mother's breast'

How can you say that? I'll bet that if your mother had indeed nursed you for five years or so that you would have an entirely different perspective.

Minnie - posted on 08/02/2010

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Toni, you assumed I solely meant comfort but breastfeeding still provides MORE than that even :). A human's immune system is not fully mature until about six years- and before I get the whole 'so pump it and put it in a cup shpeel'- it does not work that way. There is an immunological exchange that occurs at the breast that does not in the cup.

Amber - posted on 08/02/2010

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Every family is different. If you want to bf your 6 yr old...do it. If you don't want to bf your infant...don't do it. Every mom has a different comfort level.
I know that my doctor, nurses, and spouse all encouraged bfing. But my son was borderline premature..and he never could latch on. We tried pumping, and those plastic nipple covers that are supposed to help small babies...I did everything that I could. And everybody around me was trying to help.
But after 2 weeks of pumping without my milk coming in and without him being able to latch on, it just didn't work. In the future, I'll try again. But everybody has their reasons on both sides. I don't understand why it's even a controversial subject. You do what's right for YOUR kid.

[deleted account]

No, but my mom did not practice extended/natural duration breastfeeding (otherwise I would because my memory is fantastic). I know one person (a teenage boy) who does remember it and he doesn't think it's gross and he isn't mad at his mom for doing it. I'm not sure if that's why you're asking. Like Sara, I saw my mom breastfeed my brother. My sister and I breastfed our dolls with them. I've also seen my mom pump which back then was a lot more difficult. She thinks it's really funny that I remember all that.

[deleted account]

No, my mom weaned me at a year. But I remember her breastfeeding my sister. And I remember breastfeeding my dolls.

[deleted account]

Aaaannnnd Vickie just proved my point and Lisa's point and Sara H's point and Teresa's point....

[deleted account]

Lisa I agree there is more to bf than just nutrition BUT I do not think children should have dummies and bottles past a year just for comfort - so bf should not be used for it either IMO, I comfort my baby by hugging him when he needs it.

I should have wrote one is needed nutrionally for survival the other is NOT.

Teresa - I have said that if it works for you great, here is what I said in my last post..."and if it works for your family that will be great - every family is different afterall!"... I may not agree with it for ME AND MY FAMILY but I do not neccessarily think it is wrong per se.

Vickie - posted on 07/31/2010

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I really don't know a lot about this subject because I tried to bf one of my children and after about a month I ran out of milk and couldn't do it so I had to ff. I know that both my children broke themselves from the bottle. I do know that if a mother wants to feed her child breast milk until it is grown then what is the big deal. I would have a big problem seeing an older child sitting on moms lap lets say in the park nursing on moms breast and I think when that child realizes that its friends at school doesn't drink milk the same way and it starts getting teased about it then the child is going to have a whole lot of emotional problems from it. I know this is suppose to be how young is too young, but I really don't think there is an answer for that because there are too many things that can happen to cause the mother to have to stop bf early, but as for doing it for a long time, it could become an emotional problem for the child.

Elizabeth - posted on 07/31/2010

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Doesn't the American Academy of Pediatrics now say benefits to BF for 2 years? Many moms have trouble BF for 2 yrs. but, ideally I think at least 2 years!

Isobel - posted on 07/30/2010

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Well that's just crazy, and I wouldn't put up with that either, it's not abuse.

Minnie - posted on 07/30/2010

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I don't recall anybody ever saying that you shouldn't be ALLOWED to feed you kid till 6 or 8

Yep, in the other thread the 'how old is too old' someone said she would call the police if she saw a mother nursing her six year old.

Actually, I have been called abusive here on COM for nursing a four year old and on more than one occasion someone told me they would call CPS on me if I nursed a six year old.

April - posted on 07/30/2010

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i hope my son nurses to at least 3 and i wouldn't mind if he wanted to nurse at 6!

[deleted account]

Does my son need breastmilk to stay alive and be healthy at this point? No, of course not, but I very much agree w/ Lisa... at this time nursing (not just the milk) IS a real need for him. He CAN survive w/out it, but my job as his mother isn't just to make sure he survives. It's to do my best to do what is best for HIM (capitalized for emphasis since I'm not saying it is automatically the best choice for every child... just that I know my son and what he needs right now and I'm doing my best to provide that for him whether anyone else agrees w/ me or not).

Charlie - posted on 07/30/2010

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and for the record, I LOVE the idea of expressing breastmilk and giving it to older children in a cup...it is pure genius!

Laura - Cooper is enjoying a cup of breastmilk right now :D

Minnie - posted on 07/30/2010

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one is a need the other is not.



According to you, Toni.



There is definitely more to breastfeeding than simple nutrition.

[deleted account]

That is not what I am saying - I pointed out the hole in your arguement you cannot compare the 2 points because they are different one is a need the other is not. You are right I do not understand bf above 2 and IMO that is when weaning should occur BUT I also realise that just because I would not do it myself it is not wrong (as long as the child is not sexually aware) and if it works for your family that will be great - every family is different afterall!

[deleted account]

So parenting choices that you don't agree w/ don't deserve the same respect as choices that you do agree w/?

I am not one that will tell anyone that I don't want to see a baby/child being fed a bottle of formula. I don't feel that it is wrong in any way just because it's a choice I don't agree w/ or understand. You don't want to see me (theoretically speaking) nursing a 4 year old... don't look. I won't go right up next to you and pull up my shirt for him. :)

Rosie - posted on 07/30/2010

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but jackie, how can you seriously think that is even an option at all for most people? that amount of money is more than my mortgage. one week of feeding my child donated breastmilk and i wouldn't be able to live in my house. it's NOT an option, it's not even close to an option. i'm seriously tired of people telling me i should lose my house, my mental health, and everything else i have just so i can feed my kid breastmilk. the benefits of breastmilk are not that important compared to all of the other aspects i've just mentioned.
formula fed kids thrive, i've never met a kid who has had any type of problem because they were formula fed. or heard of one either. i just don't get that rationale, at all.

[deleted account]

"I just don't think it's right to tell one mom it is ok to formula feed her newborn, but NOT tell the next mom that it is ok to breastfeed her 2-3 year old..... since being a mother is all about making CHOICES."

The difference in a mom feeding her newborn formula is that a newborn baby can only have milk - and so if the mom is unable or doesn't want to use her breast milk the baby still needs to eat - the only option is formula or the baby starves! BF 2-3 year old children is NOT a neccessity because by that age they should be gaining nutrition and substance from solid food! Yes it is about choice but one is needed and the other is not.

Isobel - posted on 07/30/2010

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and for the record, I LOVE the idea of expressing breastmilk and giving it to older children in a cup...it is pure genius!

Isobel - posted on 07/30/2010

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and another difference in thiss timeless argument is the idea that BF moms always seem to end up saying women should only be ALLOWED to FF under certain circumstances...I don't recall anybody ever saying that you shouldn't be ALLOWED to feed you kid till 6 or 8, we may not think that it's a good idea...but that's a far cry from thinking it shouldn't be allowed.

Jackie - posted on 07/30/2010

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I agree with Laura that I can speak for myself in that I MOST CERTAINLY would not want memories of breastfeeding...and I am very much pro breastfeeding for babies.

Isobel - posted on 07/30/2010

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Formula is number 2 after breast milk...I'm sorry, what about expressed Breastmilk and donated Breastmilk make it cease to be Breastmilk.

I never make snide comments about mothers who breastfeed over a year...I said I am uncomfortable SEEING a child over 4 being breastfed...but if you wanna do it, go right ahead, it's not my decision.

I know for a fact, that I would feel uncomfortable remembering being breastfed. period.

[deleted account]

About donated milk, I'm not entirely sure how it works if you go about it outside of a milk bank. But my cousin was adopted at 11 days old. She was highly allergic to something in the formula. I know there is information out there about adoptive moms nursing, but my aunt just didn't have the info 28 years ago, or the time to make it work. She needed milk NOW! Our local LLL donated milk and wet nursed my cousin. I don't think my aunt paid a penny. Next time I see my aunt, I'll have to ask her exactly how that worked. Not sure if the milk was tested, but in those days I don't think people worried about that as much. Anyway, just saying that if you are in a tight spot, there are ways to get what you need.

Jackie - posted on 07/30/2010

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I took Lisa's post to simply correct that formula is not the second best option to feed a child...not to say you have $840/week...but to say there are other options better than formula.

If you chose for whatever reason to not use that option that's fine, but the fact is it still exists and is ranked above formula.

Rosie - posted on 07/30/2010

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um, lisa so you have any idea how much donated milk costs? there are 7 banks in america, the one in denver costs $2.25 an ounce, plus 25 cents per ounce for shipping. so if you have a child who eats 8 ounces per feed, 6 times a day that's $120 a day. i don't make $120 in one day, my paycheck for the week is about $200. you also have to have a doctor prescribe it for you. i don't know about you, but i don't have an extra $840 a week just lying around....

Minnie - posted on 07/30/2010

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I'm not talking about to age 6. I'm talking about past age 2 or 3.



But why not talk about to age six?



Why can't I say that weaning a child prior to natural duration may be harmful to his or her physical and emotional health but someone can say that if they saw me nursing my six year old (I don't yet have a nursing six year old, but if I did) she would call the police on me?



It definitely IS all about choice- and mothers should be able to make an informed choice- whether she chooses to formula feed or nurse her child natural duration, even if that means nursing a six year old.

[deleted account]

For the record.... I don't believe that formula is bad for a child and I'm not sure about my opinion on breastfeeding a 6 year old. I HIGHLY doubt I would be comfortable w/ it, but my son is only 2 years and 4 months right now...... I just don't think it's right to tell one mom it is ok to formula feed her newborn, but NOT tell the next mom that it is ok to breastfeed her 2-3 year old..... since being a mother is all about making CHOICES. :)

Charlie - posted on 07/30/2010

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I read that on LLL website the other day Lisa , i wasnt aware of that .

Gemma - posted on 07/30/2010

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I believe the choice to BF or FF is just that, the choice of the mother. When I was pregnant I didn't even consider FF as I was determined to BF. When my wee one was only 2 weeks old the midwives told me I had to "top up" with FF. As this was my first pregnancy I had full faith in the medical professionals and followed their reccomendations without question. I found out afterwards that they should have offered me more support with BF before insisting on top ups, but by then it was too late to reverse. With support I tried to return to BF only but the wee one wouldn't have it. I now have to give a combination of BF and FF, with the wee one wanting more and more formula at each feed. No amount of pumping or not offering has made any difference. I really wanted to BF until 1yr but I don't think this will happen now because of the initial bad advice. I was not against formula, it just wasn't what I wanted to do. When someone you trust gives you a choice of formula or returning to hospital because your baby is suffering I feel any mother would take the formula, no matter how strongly they felt about it. I would add that it was not explained that there were other options to help improve milk production and BF. I was lead to believe that refusing to give the formula would make me a neglectful mother. I cried all day but bought bottles and formula as instructed as I thought I was doing what was best.

My wee one is growing well. She is healthy and happy and that is what is important. My brother and I were entirely FF as children as my mother was unable to BF for medical reasons. We have both grown up healthily. We are not more sickly than other people, in fact we rarely take time off sick and have better attendance than other staff where we work. Neither are we obese. Women should not be judged for giving FF as it is their choice, same as it is anyone else's choice to BF.

Minnie - posted on 07/29/2010

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Laura, according to the World Health Organization, formula is only fourth on the list on what to feed an infant. Mother's milk from her breast, mother's expressed milk, donor milk, and then formula.

Isobel - posted on 07/29/2010

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If you don't want to know what I think of breastfeeding a 6 or 8 year old...don't ask.

I rarely if ever hear FF mothers ask BF mothers what they think of Formula...it seems always to be volunteered. While many are calm and honest, there are always the few arrogant jerks who ruin it...that's when the FF mothers feel the need to defend themselves.

I have NEVER seen it go the other way.

Isobel - posted on 07/29/2010

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formula is the second best food for a baby. period...the other choice is either a dead child or a miserable mother who cannot bond with her child because of her misery.

I never said that it isn't ok to SAY that you think formula is "bad" for a baby, just expect some disagreement from me, that's all.

Everybody is allowed their opinion, but if you are going to express it, expect other people to express theirs...I know I do.

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