what is the natural age of weaning?

Rosie - posted on 06/20/2011 ( 14 moms have responded )

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i've keep hearing about how the natural age of weaning is around 2,5-7 years, often siting kathy dettwyler in their quest to prove that EBF is the right, natural thing to do. but, kathy dettwyler herself even admits she just made up those numbers, yes, made up, based on her observations of primates and HER calculations of gestational age, growth rate, age at sexual maturity etc. so why do so many people site this woman when trying to justify their extended breastfeeding? why not use an actual study (although done in 1940's) that showed average age was 2.8 years? why give such a large window of 2.5 yrs through 7 yrs when it's not true?

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Minnie - posted on 06/20/2011

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But anyways, I don't use Ms. Dettwyler's research to tell a mother that she SHOULD be breastfeeding that long- it's a defense of breastfeeding that long. For those who tell me that I SHOULDN'T.

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Merry - posted on 06/20/2011

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Aahh, well then I'm sure he won't be too devastated when he comes back, I mean if there's no milk it's not likely he will want to anyways.

[deleted account]

Neither would I (he did it when he was gone a week), but I need to be done for other reasons and am not keeping up my supply for the month. :(

[deleted account]

I don't quote studies or anything. I just listen to my kid and I can tell you that at 3.25 years.... he's not ready to wean. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a choice since he's about to leave for a month. Who knows how long he'd go if not for that?.....

Rosie - posted on 06/20/2011

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The problem I have with that one is that she only used kids 3 and older. Of course the age is gonna be higher. Still interesting though.

Minnie - posted on 06/20/2011

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There aren't any peer reviewed studies on the natural age of weaning. That's why anthropological observations on early humans and great apes are our best bet for determining what is biologically appropriate. Kathy Dettwyler doesn't practice 'crap' science. It's her field of study.



However, it might help to know that the American Academy of Pediatrics states that there is no evidence of harm in breastfeeding a child older than three years old.

Merry - posted on 06/20/2011

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I think it's just nice to have a big range to think about so moms aren't all freaking out about their three year old not weaning yet. So many moms think if they don't force their kid to wean the kid will nurse till college or something, and honestly I doubt that ever would happen.
Every kid is going to quit at some point, so I think it's just nice to have a range that allows moms to relax and let their kid wean when they are ready.
But I agree, I just say, he can wean when he wants. No need to 'prove it's ok' although I find Kathy dettwylers research to be quite interesting, and it does seem pretty well informed and educated.

Vicki - posted on 06/20/2011

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My boy will be 2 next month, and is nowhere near weaning. I don't need any study to show, by Dettwyler or from the 1940's, to show me what's right. I'm just taking cues from my son. I waited until he wanted to eat solids rather than spoonfeeding him, and I'll wait until he wants to stop breastfeeding (to some extent, I do negotiate now and distract him occasionally if it's not convenient, but mostly follow his lead.)

Do you have a link to the 1940's study? Not that I want to follow it lol but it sounds interesting. The cynic in me wonders about all sorts of variables that would have affected that average.

Lady Heather - posted on 06/20/2011

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I'm pretty sure it's impossible to say what's normal because kids are all going to be different, like they are with anything. I apparently weaned myself at 10 months old, while my brother went to 2 years. Mum was none too pleased with me, but what can you do?

I don't know anything about this lady and I don't care what she thinks. I figure I will always just do what seems right for the individual kid and the experts can bugger off.

Rosie - posted on 06/20/2011

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i'd also like to say, i'm not trying to pick on EBF, here. i'm just trying to understand why people use this womans crap science when they can simply say it's my child and this is what i want to do?

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