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Speech delay and extended breastfeeding studies?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

My 21 month old has a speech delay and we have started seeing a speech therapist. At our last meeting she went on and on about extended breastfeeding/bottle/ and or pacifier use, and how its connected and can cause some speech issues, because he still nurses. She said that around 80% of the older kids she sees with major speech issues had extended breastfeeding/bottle/ and or pacifier use. I asked her what about other cultures where extended breastfeeding is the norm, and why not everyone in those places have speech issues. Since I use to travel a lot and I fondly remember seeing older children breastfeeding in India, Nepal and Thailand. Also heard about how in Mongolia and some places in Africa they breastfeed older children too. All she said was that they don't have the same sounds as our English has.   


I've never heard this before and was trying to look up info on-line and have not found any recent studies about this anywhere, actually just the opposite. I plan on letting my guy self wean and I can tell its not going to happen any time soon, which I have no problem with. I just would like to know if other mamas here know of any research done on this. I would also like to know about other cultures breastfeeding and any research on them connected to speech. Or just any related info or experience with this. 


Thank you,


post #2 of 5

I haven't read any studies regarding this issue but it sounds pretty ridiculous to me.  I can see where extended pacifier use might impact the development of the mouth and cause a speech issue but not extended nursing (aka - regular nursing). 80% of older kids with speech issues had extended breastfeeding?  I would ask her to show you some specific data and research for a number like that. What's her definition of "extended"?  The different cultures having different "sounds" logic sounds pretty lame to me as well.


For what it is worth...


My DS nursed until 3.5 y. He began speaking (clearly) at nine months.

My DD is still nursing at 2.5y. She had a mild speech delay but is starting to catch up.

My nephew had major speech issues until age 7, he was formula fed and didn't use a pacifier.

I had several speech impediments also until around age 7, I was breastfed until 6 months.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks Momasana, the more I think about it all the more ridiculous it all is to me too. I'm looking into switching speech therapist, since its seeming that we are just not a good fit. 


post #4 of 5
My son (2 yrs.) speaks German and English and has no speech delay, he is just average.
German would be classified as a language with "other sounds" I guess wink1.gif.
To me that sounds pretty crazy...it is not like they are attached 24/7 and never get to speak!
post #5 of 5


I am a speech-language pathologist and a strongly pro-breastfeeding mom.  I would urge you to find another therapist!  She is just wrong.  While extended bottle feeding and pacifier use have been loosely linked to articulation problems, such as a lisp or tongue thrust, they do NOT cause a speech DELAY.  Breastfeeding requires a different suck pattern that bottle/pacifier use, and is better for oral development overall.  It is not linked to articulation problems or speech delay.

Good luck!

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