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What is your difinition of Extended Nursing?

Poll Results: At what age do you consider nursing you baby as Extended Nursing?

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 40% (118)
    Nursing a baby over 12 months old.
  • 42% (124)
    Nursing a baby over 2 years old.
  • 12% (37)
    Nursing a child over 3 years old.
  • 5% (15)
    Nursing a child over 5 years old.
294 Total Votes  
post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
In our culture most people seem to feel that nursing over a year old is strange and a baby who is 12 mo or older is two "big" to be nursing.

But in your mind what do you see as "extended nursing". To me a toddler is still a baby and has baby needs yet. I would consider nursing a preschooler as extended nursing. Nursing preschoolers still have needs that only nursing could fulfill but the are no longer babies. Do I even make sense? Or is this confusing? :

post #2 of 45
I think in our society, nursing past a year qualifies as 'extended nursing' - you certainly start having to put up with all of 'those' comments.

For me, though, I think once a child is being nursed past the age of 2, that is when I start thinking about it as 'extended nursing'. A 14-15 month old still seems like a total baby to me, you know? It amazes me that society considers it strange to nurse a baby of that age.

Interesting question. My perception of what constitutes extended nursing has definitely changed as my own children have gotten older!

post #3 of 45
I also feel like "extended" nursing refers to nursing past the point where most of your society is comfortable with it. That'd be 12 months here in the U.S.

If you think about it, if the world average length of breastfeeding is over 4 years, and if you believe the very compelling evidence that humans are biologically made to nurse that long, then there's really nothing biologically "extended" about nursing for 3 or 4 years. You'd have to get into nursing past 7 years or something for it to be extended, I would think.

But sociologically (is that the right word?) I think the term should have to do with your particular society's comfort level with it.
post #4 of 45
My ds is 13 months and I don't consider our nursing to be "extended nursing" (although I might have thought so 6 or 7 months ago). He still depends so much on nursing to meet many different needs (although less now then even a month ago). I figure past 2 will be considered extented breastfeeding (for me anyway) because it is so far past what our society considers 'normal'. {did that make any sense, I need more coffee before I become coherent LOL }
post #5 of 45
At 1 year. Of course I see all nursing no matter how old as normal for a child. But here in the U.S. most people do not nurse past 6 months some not even to 3 months.
post #6 of 45
Extended Nursing, to me, is when people start asking "are you still nursing?" and you may start feeling like you're the only one left. For some people this can be as early as 6 months (unfortunately), for others it can be years later depending on the community/society they live in, friends and family, and what the "norm" is.
post #7 of 45
Originally posted by bigcats
I also feel like "extended" nursing refers to nursing past the point where most of your society is comfortable with it. That'd be 12 months here in the U.S.

That's exactly why I voted 12 months.
post #8 of 45
I voted for 'over 2 years'. I believe that ideally children should nurse for a minimum of 2 years. Anything beyond that, I think of as extended (and great!) I agree that our society considers nursing past 12 months as extended breastfeeding - but I don't.
post #9 of 45
I said over 5. Nursing your 2 or three year old isn't really extended, except in our culture. It's what natured intended.
post #10 of 45
I believe for society it would be over a year, but for me two felt like the time when our nursing relationship changed the most. I guess at about that point I felt like I was nursing a toddler, and my milk wasn't necessarily needed in the same ways. I don't know if I said that the way I intended but it's getting late.
BTW, I nursed Alex til' four and his sister Maddy all the while(she's three and still nursing, and I'm expecting in Dec.).
post #11 of 45
I voted anything over 1 year because of what I learned from talking to people. One of my daughter's daycare teachers breastfed, on demand, for 3 years! She was from the Phillipines and very good with the babies. I know there are people who go beyond a year but there's a few people I've talked to who don't think there's any benefit or that it's disgusting and sick (I ask how informed their decision was.. but am usually met with an icy stare or indifference).

I don't have an end date in mind, just going along and doing what comes naturally.
post #12 of 45
my vote is: "The phrase 'extended nursing' should be stricken from the language, so that there is simply...nursing."

How's that?

"Extended" implies a "stretching out" of something--I haven't stretched out my children's nursing time, I've just met their needs.
post #13 of 45
Just wanted to say I love that!! I second the motion to remove extended from breastfeeding. If my children need to nurse until they are 4 or 5 it doesn't mean it's extended, that's just how long they need the benifits. Every child is different. Thank you for that phenominal(sp?) idea!!
post #14 of 45
I think extended nursing is when the child can say "I want the other one now, Mommy." Just kidding. I'm so glad I'm nursing my 2 year old. He says things about nursing that just warm my heart, like:

"It's my favorite."
"It makes me all better."
"This tastes so good, Mommy."
post #15 of 45


my defenition of extended nursing changes about every six months. my daughter is moving on four and still has a great need to nurse. with another baby in the mix now it gives hannah and i special time together. extended to me means
longer than the norm, and for our family our nusing groove is completely normal .
post #16 of 45
I clicked 12 months, because I feel like society defines it. Plus, dd#1 actually weaned herself at 13 mos. I was ready to go for a while yet. I was trying to track down MYNT, etc.
post #17 of 45
"Extended" implies a "stretching out" of something
Do my stretched out nipples from four years of nursing (two children) count as extended?:LOL
post #18 of 45
post #19 of 45
HA! I didn't even realize the pun when I wrote that! I'll have to change my answer to the poll if that's the definition of "extended!"
post #20 of 45
I think you need a 18 month option. I voted 2, because 12 definately wasn't for me but sometime after 18 months was. Although at 31 months we both still love our nursing time. What will get difficult is if/when her12 month cousin isweaned before my dd chooses to wean. I will really start to hear about it then I suspect.
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