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Please share your experiences with nursing a gradeschooler

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
My daughter (6 in February) is still going strong with nursing, and showing no signs of wanting to wean.

I am concerned about others finding out about it in her kindergarten class, and it becoming a black mark against her. The kind of social ostracism that might come from such a fact is potentially a lot for a five year old to deal with....

I'm looking for others' experiences with nursing gradeschoolers who actually attend school (not homeschooled). Has it ever come up as an issue? Do you discuss it with your child beforehand?

TIA

Keri
post #2 of 20
My son self-weaned at 5, so not in grade school, but he attended preschool at ages 3 and 4 before we started homeschooling for K. It really never came up at school, so there was never a problem. We nursed before school and at bedtime (and of course any other time he needed) but not at school, obviously, so it just never came up.
post #3 of 20
DS weaned in May of his kindergarten year (so he was 5 years, 8 months) and it never came up as an issue. The people I was close to and had known for a long time knew he was still nursing, but the kids he went to school with didn't (the groups didn't overlap). Most of the people he went to preschool also didn't know he was "still" nursing either--- it just doesn't come up as much when the kids are 3,4...+ years old, kwim.
post #4 of 20
My dd turned 6 in Jan and is still nursing. By my choice it is just once a day. It really doesn't come up. I have talked with her a little about nursing being a private at home thing at her age and that most kids her age don't do it and won't understand it. She seemed to understand and accept that on face value. (although she is bewildered by why kids would choose to wean.) I also have explained to her that in some families it is the mom who decides it is time to wean.
She is mostly home schooled but does attend school one day a week.
post #5 of 20
My 6 yo (still nursing) attended Kindy last year. Honestly, it just never came up. He never seems to even think about it when we are away from home.

Lara
post #6 of 20
My kids (clw at 7 1/2 and mama led weaning at 6 1/2) were homeschooled, but were also involved in a lot of group activities. It did come up when dd wanted to spend the night at a friend's house when she had never fallen asleep without nursing before. The friend did hear us talking about it and just thought we were joking.

It really doesn't come up that often at that age. I wouldn't worry.

An interesting aside is that family and close friends who knew they nursed well past the societal norm used to tell me that i could always blackmail them when they were teenagers by threatening to "tell". When they were teenagers, we befriended a mama who was having difficulty with nursing a five year old and didn't know anyone else who had gone that long. It was my kids who brought it up and encouraged me to post about nursing past toddlerhood on Mothering dot com.
post #7 of 20
My daughter assumed that other kids who did not nurse were just weird, kind of like kids who eat meat or people who go to the hospital to have babies. She was never embarrassed and I don't think anyone ever teased her about it.
post #8 of 20
My just turned five year old does not talk about with others - I don't think. About six months ago, he would bring up with a stranger that he met and became comfortable with in certain situations: for instance, I was in dentist chair and his little sister bumped head and cried for milk-milk. He told receptionist (dentist's wife), "yes, my sister wants milk-milk. She has it lots. I only have it in the morning. "
He is not in school yet. But I do think he is becoming less comfortable with others knowing he is nursing (possibly contributed to by his father's disapproval)

Pattyla:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pattyla View Post
She is mostly home schooled but does attend school one day a week.
can you give me any info. on this type of situation? HS with limited schooling? pm me if you like. thanks!
post #9 of 20
My son just turned 5 and asked to nurse the day before his birthday. Prior to that, he nursed about every month or so. I am not going to say he has weaned yet. But close to it.

I would think starting K, is going to be the same for him as doing 3 full days at preschool for the last year. The fact that he nurses every so often doesnt come up. I have told a couple of parent friends from his preschool, who are not necessarily versed in the notion of child led weaning, that not only does my 2 year old still nurse, but so too does the big guy.

Its not an issue, since he only nurses at home, every so often, and never asks in public.

If he continues to ask when he starts K, then so be it. It will be no different.

I guess youve been through this anyway, since your child is older...
Maya
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by soso-lynn View Post
My daughter assumed that other kids who did not nurse were just weird, kind of like kids who eat meat or people who go to the hospital to have babies.

I'm not feeling the love, here...

I'm sure you must be joking with this statement, but please remember that we don't want people saying we are "weird" because of the choices we make and it is rude to say that about others.
post #11 of 20

I thought it was a great comment!

Originally Posted by soso-lynn View Post
My daughter assumed that other kids who did not nurse were just weird, kind of like kids who eat meat or people who go to the hospital to have babies.


I think Soso-Lynn just meant that our kids grow up to think that what their family does is "normal" and what others do is "weird." I don't think she meant it to be offensive to people who make other choices. That is just how children tend to see the world. I learned this when I was a teenager and met my husband. I learned that his family did not use air conditioning, eat fresh fruit, or use conditioner when they washed their hair. I thought they were totally weird! But I got used to them and realized that people make different choices for different reasons.
post #12 of 20
I'm going to jump in and ask that we tread lightly, please. MDC does not host negative generalizations about groups of people, no matter how long they nurse, what they eat, or where they were born. While I do understand the intent behind the comment-- your daughter assumed that what you did in your family was the norm-- I am going to ask that we please steer clear of loaded words like "weird".

From the User Agreement:
Quote:
MDC serves an online community of parents, families, and parent, child and family advocates considering, learning, practicing, and advocating attachment parenting and natural family living. Our discussions concern the real world of mothering and are first and foremost, for support, information, and community. Mothering invites you to read and participate in the discussions. In doing so we ask that you agree to respect and uphold the integrity of this community. Through your direct or indirect participation here you agree to make a personal effort to maintain a comfortable and respectful atmosphere for our guests and members. Please avoid negative characterizations and generalizations about others to respect the diversity of our online community.
Please feel free to PM me with any questions or concerns.
post #13 of 20
My daughter is only 4, but she goes to pre-school 3 days per week. She was recently surprised when I told her that most of her friends at school were probably weaned. I don't think it's something that they talk about together. And we only nurse at home, so I guess she assumed that they nurse at home too!
post #14 of 20
The only thing is that I'd probably emphasize that nursing is a private, at home thing, that we don't talk about at school. Chances are the subject will never come up on its own.

I know it is in no way abuse, but you might get a teacher/counselor/school nurse or someone that is not as understanding of full-term nursing and clw. And they call CPS with a complaint that your dc is being (sexually) abused and open that can of worms.
post #15 of 20
DD is turning 6 in a couple of weeks. She still isn't fully weaned yet, but we're getting there (she's been asking to nurse about once a week for the past two months or so).

She's been in school for a couple of years (that's the law in my country) and it just hasn't ever come up with teachers or classmates. She is aware that other children/families do different things and she has not wondered yet why this is so or anything.

If your child is very vocal about nursing, then I'd probably talk about it being something you both choose to do in private, but I've really come to believe this subject just does not come up in 4-5-6 y-o's conversations.

post #16 of 20

Depending your region, no one may think it is especially remarkable. Where I live, it's common that folks of different cultures, nationalities, and religions have different parenting practices. For instance, it's common here to allow brothers & sisters to share a bedroom but where I grew up that was rare. Similarly, some religious practices support extended breastfeeding, there's a mother's group through my neighborhood's mosque that supports breastfeeding into childhood.

post #17 of 20

DD wasn't in grade school when she weaned, but she had been in nursery school for more than a year already. i simply said that most kids don't get mama milk when they get older, many only get it as babies and some don't get mama milk at all, they use just bottles. i explained that it was something special between us, and that since many other kids don't get mama milk, they might not understand that it is special. from what i can tell, it never came up - except when a teacher noticed that she and i were extremely close, and she asked when DD weaned. my response? "well, she's turning 4 next month.. i imagine it'll be in the next 6 months after that." :) luckily, the teacher was wonderfully supportive!

post #18 of 20

My twins weaned at 5 1/2 and 6.  Although we do homeschool, we are enrolled in an independent study school with the school district, so they are in workshops and meet with a teacher.  It was never an issue.  I don't think anyone knew they were still nursing, because it just never came up.  It was simply part of our routine, and by that point they only nursed once or twice a day, so it wasn't something that their peers would have witnessed.  It's like brushing teeth before bed - have you ever heard little kids talking about that?  Why would they if it's a normal part of their routine?

 

I have several friends who have continued to nurse into K and 1st grade, and they also report that it rarely comes up.  When it has, it's been positive; their peers haven't absorbed society's attitude that breastfeeding is only for babies and are typically curious and open about it.  I think it will help to talk to your child about differences in families, about how many children wean earlier, and how their peers might be curious or surprised.  If your child is private and quiet, it will probably never be discussed.  If your child is more open or outgoing, then it might get discussed but I doubt your child will be ostracized or teased!  I actually think it's more likely to be an issue if you give your child the idea that it's something you need to hide or avoid talking about, because your child is more likely to respond to your attitude than their peers, especiallly at this age. 

post #19 of 20

My daughters (7DD nursed until 6, 5DD is still nursing) don't go to school, but when we're among friends, it's not come up. As they've gotten older I just have told them that it's something private, like changing clothes or using a bathroom, and that it doesn't need to be discussed. We live in kind of an uptight snooty area with very polarized attitudes toward BFing in general, so I don't want them to say something around the wrong crowd and have the social consequences make it hard on them and make them think of it as something taboo.

post #20 of 20

I never knew this CLW part of the forums was here! I found this post from the New Posts, so thanks for posting this! :)

 

We homeschool, and my DS and I only nurse at our home now, so my experience isn't relevant to your situation. 

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