why are people less supportive of breastfeeding as your baby gets older?

Michelle - posted on 11/11/2009 ( 25 moms have responded )




I found that people were very supportive of breastfeeding when my girl was a baby, and I never had a problem feeding in public. But now that she is 15 months old when I say that I'm still breastfeeding I get comments like 'really doesn't it hurt with all her teeth?,, gee you are doing well but can't she drink milk from a cup now?" No-one sees her being breastfed because she only feeds first thing in the morning and before bed, and the occasional comfort suck during the night when she is teething. Has anyone else experienced this change in people's attitudes & how did you deal with it?


Minnie - posted on 11/13/2009




Because western culture has perverted the use of the breast and is backwards. They can't get away from sexualizing a toddler suckling his mother's breast.


View replies by

Jacquelyn - posted on 12/17/2010




When I was no longer feeding in public and people would ask and then have a dumb comment I would just tell them that if they didn't want to know they shouldn't ask :)

Jodi - posted on 12/17/2010




I nursed my daughter for 20 months. I would have nursed longer but I'm preg with twins and nursing causes uterine contractions...I'm at high risk for pre-term labor so was asked to stop by 24 wks pregnant. People could not believe I was nursing her still...and was pregnant to boot! In today's society, it's just not socially normal to nurse past a year, many people don't nurse past 6 months!!!
I just told people I was doing what was best for my daughter based on my doctor's reccomendations and lots of research, beyond that I would tell people it wasn't up for discussion unless they wanted to be educated...most didn't...they preferred their ignorant ideals...to each their own.

Janice - posted on 12/17/2010




II have definitely have experienced the same thing Michelle. My daughter is almost 14mo. and we are on the same schedule as you and your daughter. My family who are all supportive of BFing are beginning to ask when I will stop. They were all done by a year. My daughter has also drank from a sippy-cup since she was 6 mo. People are just really misinformed. They believe that there is no benefit past a year, or are afraid of teeth (My girl got her 1st at 5mo. and now has12), they don't realize kids dont use their teeth the whole time. I always tell peple the WHO recommendations and ignore them. In general I just try to inform anyone who comments. I never thought I would BF for so long because I was also very misinformed. Now I know, so I try to teach. I encourage you to do the same.

Briana - posted on 08/18/2010




Extended BFing freaks a lot of people out because many believe that you SHOULD stop at 1 year.

Cindy - posted on 08/18/2010




My son is only 6.5 months old & I'm already getting these comments! I can't stand it! I want to scream, "Would you stop feeding your baby formula from a bottle at 6 months?!?" Strangely enough, I find that my teenage male cousins & their friends are more respectful/supportive of my breastfeeding than my 40 year old aunt & 60 year old grandmother.

Camille - posted on 08/18/2010




I get a lot of people thinking mine should be having cow milk by now. I don't understand why everyone, including formula company, say breastmilk is superior for the first year. Why would it suddenly change? Why would human milk stop being superior for humans at age 1, and then cow milk would become preferable? It makes no sense and I just ignore it. I'll say the World Health Organization recommends it for 2 years, and my pediatrician encourages me to continue as long as possible because of all the healthy benefits. Then I just change the subject because it's not worth arguing. And I'm not going to stop doing what I feel is best because of anyone else. This is between me and my baby and maybe her father, no one else!

[deleted account]

Everyone has different opinions. If they ask or make a comment ("how do you manage with all those teeth?" just explain CALMLY, without getting angry. Too much anger and breastfeeders start getting that "nipple nazi" reputation.

Think of it as spreading the word.

Mindy - posted on 08/17/2010




Yes, I get that exact same reaction. My son is 16months now and everyone is always saying you need to wean him already.. that's enough. He's too big..cut him off... but I just ignore them. I know what's right for me and my baby. and breastmilk is definately it. If he decided he didn't want it any more then I would stop but he loves it and it makes him happy and his pediatrition doesn't recommend cows milk. We did let try a few different things like formula or next step stuff, like pedisure and organice and soy but he didn't like them and I have no problem continuing to nurse. So I say ignore them, let them be uncomfortable with it. It's completely natural and healthy. It's really sad that ppl react that way.

Julia - posted on 04/05/2010




i breastfed my daughter for 2 and a half years and also had comments about the length of time i was feeding,just ignore it only a mum knows their baby best and what's best for them,my daughter is now 4 and the most content little girl i could have hoped for,she still trys t put her hands down my top when she's sleepy or unwell for comfort and god help her dad if he tries to come any where near them haha they are her boobies!!

Kayle-Ann - posted on 04/05/2010




because some people are still Neanderthals. Continue Breastfeeding your baby for as long as you want. I was breastfeed as a baby till I was 4 years old, my mother says. You ignore them and do what is right for you and your baby.

[deleted account]

I think the more people get used to seeing toddlers breastfeeding, the more it will come to be regarded as the norm.

Celeste - posted on 04/05/2010




My family isn't very supportive. They say things like "Well, if they have to be off the bottle by a year, then they have to be off the breast by a year" "If they can talk, they're too old for it".

I think it's because, at least in my area, breastfeeding isn't the norm, and then when you add in a toddler/preschooler, it definitely isn't the norm!

As far as how I deal with it? Avoidance LOL They won't listen to me, and I just ignore them when they spout off their ignorance on the subject. And I don't bring it up either.. Probably not the best way to go, but I just don't want to hear it.

Anneke - posted on 04/05/2010




yeah I know what you mean apparently people think here you only do it for the first day they are born then its bottles. I got it from after a few days, told I had breastfed him enough after a week, a months I was told the same and every time after that. 14 months later and pregnant I am still breastfeeding him and even my healthy visitor says its no good to him past a year. And she even breastfed herself. As for biting when they have teeth ask them this "do you bit when your sucking?" :) shuts them up lol Everyone has given up now, I get lectures though from other half sis she only bf for 6 months and gave nothing after that! said the food was a good enough sub for breasttmilk. And one of her kids is really obese. People think there is something wrong with my son as he is lean, just right the hv and doc said. But to them he is to thin and needs to be fattened up. None of them have seen a properly breastfed baby.

Sammie - posted on 04/05/2010




I nursed my daughter until she was nearly 5yrs old and my son is 3yrs old and still happily nursing.
People are ignorant when it comes to breastfeeding an older child, they think it becomes sexual. Which any mother who has breastfed knows breastfeeding is so far from being a sexual act, rather the child is a newborn or in my case a preschooler.

Melisa - posted on 04/04/2010




As my daughter is only 3 months old I am not there yet, but am worried for the time when she is older. I do plan on feeding for 2 years plus -- let her self ween! I have begun telling my family and friends how importnant it is to me that I continue BF that long. I am a very proud breastfeeder so I would probably spend time explaining to strangers the benefits of extended BF.

I think someone should have a brochure template online that is available for extended BF mom's to print out to hand out to anyone who is curious as to why, or just has an issue with it. That would be clever.... maybe I'll do it! LOL

Venessa - posted on 04/04/2010




My son Aisaia is 13 months old, and YES !! I get such weird looks, and odd comments when I say I still breastfeed, like you Michelle, it's first thing in the morning, last thing at nigh, and occassionally during the night. No one has to see it, and my son is actually starting to wean himself, even though I hoped to breastfeed until he was 2.
But it's really sad that other people are so judgemental.

I had a friend who's daughter is 3 weeks younger than my son tell me it was disgusting that people still breastfeed once their child is walking. After much discussion (somewhat heated) I pointed out that some children walk early - my nephew from 7 months. She believes quite firmly from 9 months babies shouldn't be breastfeed. When I told her I still breastfeed and planned to continue until 2 years she all but told me I was the worst mother on the planet - Go Figure !! Each to their own but don't try to judge me for my decisions!

Ginni - posted on 11/14/2009




I have told people not to worry, I'll make sure she is weaned before high school. That generally shuts people up lol. also the world health org. and american academy of pediatrics both now recommend nursing until at least 2 years of age, so I usually tell people that.

[deleted account]

It is our society and it's sad. The WHO recommends breastfeeding until *at least* 2 years of age to get the full benefits. A child's immune system doesn't develop until then. If you feel you need to give a reason, that could be it. My dad is a little freaked out by extended breastfeeding so I just told him to get used to it because I plan to do at least 2 years (my daughter is 6 months). You don't need to defend yourself because you're doing the best thing for your daughter. Good for you!

[deleted account]

I think people have a very one-minded view of breasts nowdays unfortunately and it makes it awkward as your child grows less innocent baby-like and more into a little person for them. It's stupid, but people have their own hang-ups and it's not the norm in our society. I've heard a lot of people say when they can ask for it, it's time to wean. I say try explaining that to my 6 month old as he says 'Booba' and rolls for it himself.
It's sad but their problem with it is not your problem, boobs are not just for newborn babies, and bottles are not grown on trees, nature got it right and your child will let you know when they're ready to change.

Dawn - posted on 11/13/2009




I really appreciate your struggle, even my DH asks me if our DD will be weaned before she speaks, or walks! And I am struggling to nurse through the arrival of teeth! When moms like you (and I have a couple of great cousins) inspire me to continue nursing and plan to nurse until DD is 1yr, I am so grateful to you for you courage and strength and hope I can emulate you!!!!!!!! :)

Dawna - posted on 11/12/2009




yes. people in america think that once a baby is 10 months or definitely 1 year, they don't need breastmilk anymore. they don't get that just because a bay can drink from a cup that doesn't mean they should drink cow's milk. i mostly ignored them, or if it was someone close and i cared to, i explained that the american pediatric association recommends a child use milk as their main source of many nutrients up till age 2, and the best source of milk at that age is breastmilk or formula. cow's milk can cause many digestive problems in lots of people, especially kids that age. besides, in many parts of the world, kids aren't fully weaned until age 5. i am currently weaning my daughter at 2 years 2 months, because it felt right for both of us. if it feels right for you to go on until 5 years, do so. it's really only between you and your child, and the opinions of others can't replace your mothering instincts.

Nicole - posted on 11/12/2009




I haven't experienced this yet because I just had my first child 4 months ago, but I would just say something like " why would I feed her from a cup and make more dishes for me to do?!" or something like that, try to make a joke out of it but at the same time try to set them straight. Unfortunately most people don't think before the speak, all you need to know is that what you're doing for your daughter is amazing, a lot of women can't do it! Keep up the great work!

Kaz - posted on 11/12/2009




Yep it's a common reaction sadly, Like you I now normally only feed at/over night and first thing in the morning and occasionally at the breastfeeding group. Best way to deal with it is ignore them, it is ignorance and you know you are doing the best thing for your daughter.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms