Breastfeeding.... how old is TOO old??

Erinn - posted on 04/26/2009 ( 229 moms have responded )

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I recently saw a video of a woman breastfeeding her 8 year old daughter, it was almost tooo difficult to watch... sickening in MY opinion! I was just wondering what other people thought of that.... would you breastfeed your children for THAT long?? I'm curious of other opionions??

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~Jennifer - posted on 04/27/2009

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I think that the woman breastfeeding an 8 year old is purely for the comfort of the woman and not for the benefits to her child.
There are ways to bond beyond the boob.

Chandra - posted on 04/27/2009

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I had a girlfriend who was too lazy to potty train her little girl and one day her daughtefr knocked on the door and said " mommy I have to pee" and she said but your not potty trained? even if you are in denial about whats best for your child, they know when it's time. for some moms it's hard to let go. they are going to grow up with or without your help.

Mandy - posted on 04/27/2009

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I breastfed my sons until they were 22months and about 3 yrs. The main reason that I did so was because their father and my maternal grandfather both had insulin dependent diabetes (both developed it in puberty). Studies have shown that extended breastfeeding lessens the risk of my children developing diabetes. I know that I have done everything within my power to hopefully stop my children from getting it too. Lots of people have different reasons for breastfeeding, I think that it is a personal decision for each family to decide what is right for them.

Jackie - posted on 04/27/2009

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I personally would be uncomfortable breastfeeding a child over the age of 2, but that's just my opinion. However, I do think 8 is way too old. I have 3.5 year old, and I could not imagine still breastfeeding her.

Mel - posted on 04/27/2009

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i agree with Vanessa from previous posts from this lady i think its jst a question to stir up emotions in people and get a debate started. also agree with Melissas posts. breast feeding a child at 3-4 is wrong! i would never do that to my poor kid! maybe up to 2 yrs and thats a stretch. if i chose to breast feed (which i dont as i prefer formula feeding) i would not do it longer then 1 year then switch to cows milk

Vanessa - posted on 04/26/2009

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Quoting Sarah:



Quoting Jenifer:




Quoting Sarah:

I don't think formula feeding a baby and breastfeeding an 8 year old is even in the same category, like Vanessa claims. I think 8 years is a long time. That child (if it was in the U.S.) would be in either 2nd or 3rd grade. I had my first sleep over at that age. I can't imagine playing with my friends then stopping to breastfeed. That seems crazy!







In traditional cultures (where formula isn't an option) the average age of weaning is between 2-5 years. I think that that is why the issue of formula was brought up - why is it that we are so disgusted by late weaning but not by early weaning?








I have no intention of breast feeding my son until he's 8, or even 4 for that matter, but I don't see why the rest of us should be so concerned about the nursing relationship between another mother and child - especially when there's no evidence that this is psychologically damaging.








I guess I see child-led weaning as a parenting choice like co-sleeping or cloth diapering - and the visceral "eww" response (which I got too when I first saw this story) has more to do with cultural conditioning that an actual problem with the practice.









I'm not sure why I was quoted in your post but Vanessa was not comparing late-weening vs. early weaning. She was talking about passing judgement on mothers breastfeeding an older child and passing judgement on mothers who formula feed in general. I don't believe the two are comparable.





i WAS comparing late weaning to early weaning.......thats was exactly the point.



it is completely 'biologically normal' for a newborn baby to suckle at its mothers breast.



it is not 'biologically normal' for a newborn to be drinking formula from a bottle.



western culture  isn't allowed to pass judgement on a mother formula feeding her newborn.



SO what makes you think you can pass judgement on a mother breastfeeding her child beyond 2 years of age....?????    it may not be CULTURALLY NORMAL but it is BIOLOGICALLY NORMAL.



thank you to those who understand my point.



i will definately not be breastfeeding any of my children at 8 years of age. but i don't care who does, and i certainly don't think its helpful to make a freak show out of breastfeeding children (as opposed to babies)......its perfectly natural for children who can talk to want to breastfeed, if thats how their mother has mothered them.

[deleted account]

Sarah, I quoted your post because you said that formula feeding and breast feeding and 8 year old are not comparable - I think they are. Formula feeding is not the biological norm, neither is breast feeding an 8 year old. Both are outside the average weaning of 2-5 years. But since neither have long term psychological implications, I don't think we should be so worried about what other moms choose to do. To call this "abusive", as many poster have, seems extreme to me.

Sarah - posted on 04/26/2009

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Quoting Jenifer:



Quoting Sarah:

I don't think formula feeding a baby and breastfeeding an 8 year old is even in the same category, like Vanessa claims. I think 8 years is a long time. That child (if it was in the U.S.) would be in either 2nd or 3rd grade. I had my first sleep over at that age. I can't imagine playing with my friends then stopping to breastfeed. That seems crazy!





In traditional cultures (where formula isn't an option) the average age of weaning is between 2-5 years. I think that that is why the issue of formula was brought up - why is it that we are so disgusted by late weaning but not by early weaning?






I have no intention of breast feeding my son until he's 8, or even 4 for that matter, but I don't see why the rest of us should be so concerned about the nursing relationship between another mother and child - especially when there's no evidence that this is psychologically damaging.






I guess I see child-led weaning as a parenting choice like co-sleeping or cloth diapering - and the visceral "eww" response (which I got too when I first saw this story) has more to do with cultural conditioning that an actual problem with the practice.





I'm not sure why I was quoted in your post but Vanessa was not comparing late-weening vs. early weaning. She was talking about passing judgement on mothers breastfeeding an older child and passing judgement on mothers who formula feed in general. I don't believe the two are comparable.

Shawna - posted on 04/26/2009

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I think 3 is a good cut off point. I plan to breastfeed until my son is 2.
Great response Megan :-)

[deleted account]

Quoting Sarah:

I don't think formula feeding a baby and breastfeeding an 8 year old is even in the same category, like Vanessa claims. I think 8 years is a long time. That child (if it was in the U.S.) would be in either 2nd or 3rd grade. I had my first sleep over at that age. I can't imagine playing with my friends then stopping to breastfeed. That seems crazy!


In traditional cultures (where formula isn't an option) the average age of weaning is between 2-5 years. I think that that is why the issue of formula was brought up - why is it that we are so disgusted by late weaning but not by early weaning?



I have no intention of breast feeding my son until he's 8, or even 4 for that matter, but I don't see why the rest of us should be so concerned about the nursing relationship between another mother and child - especially when there's no evidence that this is psychologically damaging.



I guess I see child-led weaning as a parenting choice like co-sleeping or cloth diapering - and the visceral "eww" response (which I got too when I first saw this story) has more to do with cultural conditioning that an actual problem with the practice.

Alicia - posted on 04/26/2009

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Now I personally think that breastfeeding a 8 year old is just out da way. They are too big for dat

Sarah - posted on 04/26/2009

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I don't think formula feeding a baby and breastfeeding an 8 year old is even in the same category, like Vanessa claims. I think 8 years is a long time. That child (if it was in the U.S.) would be in either 2nd or 3rd grade. I had my first sleep over at that age. I can't imagine playing with my friends then stopping to breastfeed. That seems crazy!

Libby - posted on 04/26/2009

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I don't see asking a question on people's opinions as stirring the pot. Anyway, there is absolutely no reason for a child to be breastfed that long. I agree with some other comments that it is weird or gross or whatever, as well as borders on child abuse...or something. For example, if a woman wasn't breastfeeding, there wouldn't be any reason for her to show her breasts to her child, especially at such an old age. My boys are 7 and 4 and I don't let them see me get dressed and sometimes I have to remind them to watch their hands. So, my point is, that a mother wouldn't lay in bed topless next to her child. And when they get to a certain age (different for all children) the kids become AWARE of the differences like someone else mentioned. At a certain point I don't think it's a don't like it don't look sorta thing. Yes, I do believe if some people can't handle watching someone breastfeed a baby, they should remove themselves from that situation b/c it is the mother's right to breastfeed. But 4, 5...8...come one people!

Vanessa - posted on 04/26/2009

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Quoting Erinn:

Vanessa.... I had no intention of "stirring the pot". That's not why I post questions on here. I was just curious of anyone had seen the video of the 8 year old breastfeeding and what people thought of it. I'm all for breatfeeding until about 2 years old, that's the longest that i've ever done it, but i'm certainly not trying to create chaos... just wanted to make that be known!



really Erinn????



could have fooled me!



seems to me you want everyone to go...."oh, shock, horror, thats awful....blah, blah, blah".



anyone who likes to senstationalise anything picks the most extreme case they can find and try to make a freak show out of it.



like i said in my previous post........any judgement passed on a mother formula feeding a newborn is not acceptable here.......but it seems to me that you and others want to pass judgement on mothers who breastfeed children who can hold a conversation.



each to their own!  do you really care if somewhere in the world a mother breastfed her 8 year old?

Erinn - posted on 04/26/2009

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Vanessa.... I had no intention of "stirring the pot". That's not why I post questions on here. I was just curious of anyone had seen the video of the 8 year old breastfeeding and what people thought of it. I'm all for breatfeeding until about 2 years old, that's the longest that i've ever done it, but i'm certainly not trying to create chaos... just wanted to make that be known!

Kim - posted on 04/26/2009

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When the child/baby has a name for your breast and can get 'it' out of your bra him/herself you have a problem. I yr is plenty.

[deleted account]

NNNNOOOOOOOO!!!!! I have memories from when I was like 3 or 4 years old... that girl is going to grow up with some issues!

The "rule" for my 2 girls was when they get teeth or start to bite! Beyond that, if they can unbutton my blouse time to quit! lol

Sarah - posted on 04/26/2009

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My oldest was just over 3 years old when I weaned him...I had been trying since he was 15 months old, and he was very insistant that he was not going to wean. I think it had something to do with his verbal apraxia and need for oral sensation. A pacifier just would not do for him, believe me I tried.

In a way it was good that he nursed that long as this is the first winter he has not had a bad case of gastroenteritis. Every other winter since he was born he has had a case that put him off his food for up to 10 days. He has gotten mildly dehydrated during illness because he would refuse everything in a cup. The last time I took him into the doctors office because he had been very sick the doctor asked me what he had been eating and I told him that he had pretty much not eaten more than a few bites of solid food a day for over a week, but that I was letting him nurse on demand. He thought it was great because he was getting protein and fats that he would not get in pedialyte. I think my son was about 26 months old at the time.

Vanessa - posted on 04/26/2009

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just because something is not culturally accepted in your part of the world does not make it wrong (or as one person put it, "child abuse").



the breastfeeding relationship is just that......a relationship between the mother and child. its not for anyone else to judge. God forbid if i judged a mother formula feeding her newborn!



if allowed unrestricted access to the breast, MOST children will continue to breastfeed untill around 4 years of age. once their needs are met they will stop. most children loose the ability to "suck" by about 5.



i think the case you have brought up Erinn is very extreme, and its very, very unlikely to be the "norm" in any part of the world.

if it makes you sick.......don't watch it!

certain things make me sick......but i said what they were on circle of Moms i would be

seen as being "judgemental, critical and unsupportive".

i think you just want to stir the pot! i don't think you are truly interested in extended breastfeeding.

Brittany - posted on 04/26/2009

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I nursed my son till he was 15 months. any older then 2 I think is pushing it. the nutrients in breast milk are amazing and it helps keep your figure but the when the child can talk well enough to say I want boobies then NO! thats too long.

Carla - posted on 04/26/2009

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An 8 year old!!! Have to be concerned for the childs self-esteem? We are not in a third world country were it would have to be life sestaining. No, our society requirs our children to have self worth,self-confidence, & independance(to a certain degree). I've BF all mine until they were two & felt that was long enough! They have to be tought independance. Mom will always be there, no need to raise more children with more insecurities in an insecure world.

Helen - posted on 04/26/2009

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i think 1 is fine 2 is just about ok but at 3 they are able to compare themselves (on a very basic level) to others - there is no nutritional benefits and i think when a child is walking and talking confidently they it should be phased out - at that age it is only done for comfort and by 3 a child should be able to self comfort ( i also think no dummies at this age to but that is just as much about speech problems as comfort) PS surely your breasts would be down to your knees after 8 years!!!

Christine - posted on 04/26/2009

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I can't picture an 8 year old lifting up her mom's shirt asking for a snack. I'd hand her a capri sun and a granola bar and tell her to g play. Sounds like the mom has some issues. There are other ways to bond with your daughter. Nail painting, doing hair, shopping, going to the park...you know....normal stuff!

Lisa - posted on 04/26/2009

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NO, I only breast feed for about 9 months...We just had our third child and I am going to try to breast feed him until he is around 1...But I am ok with him stopping before that too. I think at time after that is not good....Especially when they start getting there teeth in..My sons always seem to bite...NOT GOOD!!!!

Amy - posted on 04/26/2009

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Ummm...8 years seems more than a little excessive. I would find it difficult to believe that even during Medieval times children would be breast fed for that long. I stopped around 14 months or so. At that point my son was eating food and drinking dairy of his own accord and my body wasn't producing much milk anymore anyway. It was a pretty natural transition.

Katie - posted on 04/26/2009

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I breastfed my oldest until 20 months and my youngest 7 months. It was a great experience and helped give me an early bond with my boys. I miss that time sometimes, too.

I think it is beneficial for health and bonding. The american academy of pediatrics recomends BFing for two years or more. The International Health community recomends 3 years.

I think extended BFing is great....to a point. 8 is definatly too old, in my opinion. Find time to cuddle and read a book or make up a story together. Close physical contact with parents is great and can help kids develop socially, emotionally and intellectually. But there are many other ways to get it besides breastfeeding. I think 3 would be my cut off cause 4 is probably too old.

Abby - posted on 04/26/2009

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i completely agree with u it is sickening! it's almost child abuse IN MY OPINION (before anyone shoots me down) it's as though the mother cant let go. i cannot understand how this can eb seen as normal. ok in parts of the world where it is the safest/cleanest thing for a child to drink then yes ok, but even in the poorest parts of the world, i THINK the average age of stopping is about 4 and a half years. all i can think of is those children and how people will react to them, it's not comforting the child, let them suck their thumb or something.

Amie - posted on 04/26/2009

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I understand some women feel this bond between them and their children as they breastfeed. BUT in my opinion ewww. If I could live through the teething stage I'd probably have BF mine until they were around a 1 year. After that I just don't get it. I look at my toddler who will be 2 next month and go why? Like really, I don't get it. The nutritional value they get from it by this point is moot since if you teach your child to eat a balanced diet and keep them away from junk there is no point other than the bond. Which to me is selfish and just weird. I have a great bond with my kids without having to breastfeed them so long. Mine still like to cuddle with me and hubby, our oldest will be 9 in July. We are a close knit family, all of us, so I don't really get it.

Though I do personally know someone who BF until their child was 4. That to me was very disturbing, especially when your sitting there visiting and the kid comes walking in and goes mom I want to eat now and points at their breasts. If they can walk and talk and eat well... no not for me. But again that's ME so hopefully any mom's that do breastfeed for very long periods don't take offense. =)

Megan - posted on 04/26/2009

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I just recently stopped nursing at a month shy of three years. I think that when the child and mother want to stop then you should. If you're not comfortable with it after a certain age, the stop. It's not something that should be tainted by any negative feelings. Even though I was ready to quit nursing, I still miss it. It's time you'll never get back so do it as long as you like.

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