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Is It Just Me, Or Does Anyone Else ...?

post #1 of 103
Thread Starter 
Okay is it just me or does anyone else find something wrong with breastfeeding after one year? I mean, continuing to give a child breast milk after a year is fine, but actually breast feeding. I have read stories on this board and countless others, about toddlers still being breastfeed. Not only do I find something wrong with a toddler being breast feed at 2,3, or 4 but I find something very wrong with a parent not having a problem with it. It is just my opinion, but I really think that children can develop a complex from this. I have see children countless times, in malls, stores, and restaurants grabbing at their mothers breast or just putting their mouths on their breast at 3 or 4 years old, and that is just ridiculous. I do plan on beast feeding, and mostly because of the bond that it creates, but after a year I think the mother child bond is well established and their is really no reason for actual breastfeeding to continue. I mean is it really okay to brestfeed a toddler. I mean no offence to anyone but I find this totally unappropriated. I am sure I will hear a lot about this, but it is just my opinion.
post #2 of 103
Worldwide, the avg. weaning age is around four and children continue to benefit from breastmilk and nursing. Read around on this board for more information about the benefits of nursing a toddler! You might change your mind.
post #3 of 103
Please read and educate yourself as completely as you can about this subject.

Some links for you below. There are so many advantages to child-led weaning and extended nursing. The information here can explain it to you better.

Once you have given birth and you begin to breastfeed this amazing, incredible person, you will understand the "whys". It is very beautiful, and so much better for the child's health, and I personally found, much less behavior problems than other people's children, who bottlefed or weaned early.

I wish you all the best.








Also, there are some good books out there.


to get you started.
post #4 of 103
I go to La Leche League meetings, and started to do so when I was about half-way through my pregnancy. The first time I went I saw several mothers breastfeeding their older children, and it struck me as odd because it's not something that's seen very commonly. Breasts are highly sexualized in our society, but their primary purpose is to provide nourishment for our young. My son just turned 1 and he still nurses many many times a day. I now believe in child-led weaning; the natural age for this is usually between the ages of 2 and 4. Breastfeeding is not just about the milk; it can also be an important way to stay connected with out children as they gradually become more independent. It's a wonderful way to soothe a child when s/he is hurt. It provides security and closeness. 'Extended' breastfeeding may not be for every mother, but it is natural. Perhaps the article 'Breastfeed a Toddler: Why on Earth?' by Dr. Jack Newman would be helpful for you:


- Laura
post #5 of 103
When I went to my first LLL meeting almost six years ago I was shocked and agast at some of the antics. Not only were there toddlers nursing, there were a few PRESCHOOL aged children. I reassured myself that I would do the "minimum" and nurse til two (at which point my child would naturally be down to nursing only once or twice a day) and then my child, as all children naturally should, would wean within the month.

Four years later, as I nursed my 4 year old dd and my 1.5 year old DS I reflected how funny it is while some people measure "readiness" to be nursing with first teeth, walking, talking or first birthday I was nursing a child who could competently read chapter books. When DD weaned at 50 months, my only regret was the artificial barriers I had erected to her natural nursing pattern while pg with DS.

Biologically, there is nothing sexual about the breast. No more than ears & hips (which both can function erotically, but that is not there *biolgical* function). Rather, the function of the mammary glands in all mammals is to provide milk for their young. While there is nothing wrong with adding to their funcitonality, to imply that the new functions must replace the old is just wrong.

For additional information on the natural age of weaning in humans, I encourage you to read articles by Kathryn Dettwyler (anthropologist) that suggest the biological age for weaning is between 2.5-7. While the AAP recommends a minimum of one year of bfeeding and then as long as mutually desired, other organizations (including Family Doctors in the US & the WHO) recommend a minimum of two years. The immune system is not fully formed until closer to six, suggesting that nursing is benificial until well into childhood.

And this is not even considering the many emotional benifits to both mother and child that comes with sustained nursing.

Good luck to you with your birth and the wonderful time following.

post #6 of 103
Yup. It's just you
post #7 of 103
One thing that I have learned since becoming a parent (dd is three) is that almost all the 'opinions' that I held about childrearing, dramatically changed once I actually was a parent.

Breastfeeding your child is a very personal relationship. It is a relationship between the Mom and the child. For external people beyond this relationship to have an opinion of that specific relationship is really counterproductive to all involved.

General blanket statements that breastfeeding toddlers is wrong are very naive. Sure everyonce in a while the relationship between the mother and breastfeeding toddler is less than healthy but this is rare. I don't think its appropriate for you to make a statement that includes all breastfeeding relationships, healthy or not.

Its like deciding you dislike a food without even trying it.

I think you should remember this thread and when you dc is one, and probably well away from weaning, you should reread your initial post.

For the record, I never imagined myself breastfeeding a toddler. I institually ended up here. Taking it day to day. Taking cues from my dd and myself.

Good luck to you in all that is to come!
post #8 of 103
Before I got pregnant and had DS, I used to feel this way too. It seemed completely weird that anyone would even want to nurse a toddler. Even when I was pregnant, I still felt it was strange, and I was planning to nurse until a year only. I have to say though that the way I felt about it changed completely after I had DS and actually started nursing him. Wait until you get started and just see how you feel about it then. If you don't change your mind, that's fine, but if you do, that's even better!

post #9 of 103
Yes, if you'd asked me 4 years ago, I'd have agreed with you.

I recall telling the pediatrician that I'd nurse to one year, then that would be it. She said to just wait and see how I felt after the first year.

I nursed dd#1 to three years old, when she self-weaned. I tandem nursed my first two, then dd#2 self-weaned at two years old when I was very pregnant. I'm now into my fourth year of nursing and have forgotten those 'rules' that I had in mind for each child.

Just wait and see. You may be surprised at how your opinions will alter when you become a breastfeeding mother. Your baby will still seem like your baby at his/her first birthday.
post #10 of 103
I too used to think like that, then I had my son :LOL: . 31 months later and I can't imagine not breastfeeding as long as he wants to. You've been given a lot of great links but ultimately until you do it, you won't be able to know for sure how you will feel about it .
post #11 of 103
You probably will here a lot about it because Mothering supports extended nursing, and you may have even seen that we have an entire forum dedicated to it.

Before I understood it I did think there was something wrong with it. Then I read about it and meet people and have come to understand it is healthy and should be normal.
Sometimes we aren't exposed to things and tend to think they are wrong because we haven't had that experience.
What you may come to understand is that a two year old is still very much a baby.
post #12 of 103
It really does change once you nurse your own child. I *used* to think "I'm going to nurse for a year." I never really thought about what would happen at a year (did I assume DS would pop off one day and say, "Well, that's it for me. Thanks so much for a great year Mama!!" and shake my hand?? ) and I never realized what a baby they still *are* at a year...until I had DS. I used to see moms nursing toddlers and think, "ooo-kay, that one's a little old" but now I realize that it's not a weird or odd feeling to nurse a child beyond a year and into toddlerhood at all. Don't forget, it's not like you are one day nursing a newborn and suddenly someone switches him for a little kid, they get older and bigger so gradually and you do just get so used to nursing, it becomes the norm and you're just *used* to it. Now I see my 2 year old nephew (who was mother-led weaned at a year on the nose) and think (when I see him battling constant colds, etc., having attachment issues with his mom after a new baby has shown up, and being really difficult to soothe/comfort) "Oh man, that kid could really REALLY have benefited from extended nursing." Your perceptions do change.

I'm in a more mainstream group of mamas, all with the same age babies who have been together since the early months of pg and essentially ALL of the breastfeeders are still going strong (and three of us are preggo again!) Maybe one or two had planned on nursing beyond a year - and now all of us still do. There's no magical transformation that takes place one day, your milk is still as nutritious and the health and attachment benefits are still there.

I'm almost 24 wks pg with DC #2, and still nursing DS (well, he's hit or miss lately - some times he opts out) and I would be so sad to have him completely self-wean now. It's been a wonderful and special part of our relationship - and one I wish on any mother!!

PS I forgot a key part - it's the biggest gun in my arsenal! Meaning - hands down, there is no more efficient or better way to calm a freaked out toddler, settle down a wired one at bedtime, or easily get one who's woken up with excruciating teething pain and is screaming at 3am back to sleep. When we travel and I need to get DS settled into a completely new place to sleep, it never fails to soothe and comfort him. The thought of NOT having nursing in my "bag of tricks" anymore is a scary, scary idea!!! So, not only are the benefits clear to the child, they're pretty cool for the mom too
post #13 of 103
What could possibly be wrong about this?

What are YOU projecting onto something wholely innocent, loving, and natural, not to mention biologically normal?

I do plan on beast feeding, and mostly because of the bond that it creates, but after a year I think the mother child bond is well established and their is really no reason for actual breastfeeding to continue.
You plan to quit hugging at a year too for that reason? They're human children, not ducklings that imprint on one being and that's it for the nurture. Bonding is an ongoing process that never stops. Even when they're teenagers, there's bonding going on, through different means, but it's still bonding.
post #14 of 103
This is kind of funny because your thoughts were exactly my thoughts before I had children. My mom's cousin nursed her 2 year old in front of me one day (I think I was in my early teens) and I was so grossed out that a toddler that old, a toddler that could TALK <gasp> was actually being breastfed. Even when pregnant there was no way my children were going to breastfeed over 1 year. That was my limit. Anything over that was just plain gross.

I am now nursing my 3+ year old and let me tell you, there is nothing "gross" about it. Even at the ripe old age of 3 years old, my baby is still my baby. She certainly doesn't look like the older kids I've seen nursing way back in my teens.
post #15 of 103
I agree with everyone else. you may change your mind after you baby is born. My goal was a year. I fuly intended to stop after that afterall they are only on formula a year. I began to eductae myself and learn just how superior BM is to formula. It is a substitute that's why it is only intended for a year. Yana turned one and a year came too soon. My milk dried up when she was 16 months because I was pregnant with morissa. I am still very sad that we stopped so soon. Morissa is 21 months and my goal now is until two. If I can get the gymanstcts and nipple tweaking to a minimum.
post #16 of 103
What is so different about a child who is 365 days old and one that is 366 days old? Nothing magical happens at 1 yr. They are still very much babies at that age. 2, 3, 4+ year olds benefit from the nutrition and comfort of nursing as much as a 1 yo. The "wrongness" is in the eye of the beholder and not in the nurturing/feeding act itself.
post #17 of 103
I may not have felt as strongly, but I did have some reservations regarding breastfeeding after a year. I just thought that once a baby can walk up to you and ask for milk it becomes "gross". I am now still bf'ing DS at 7 months and lurking here a lot trying to get an idea of what it would be like if we are still nursing at 1yr, 2yrs, 3 yrs etc. Sometimes I feel angry that my cultural conditioning predisposes me to early weaning. I am struggling with something that should be easy. I have already decided to make 2yrs at least my goal, but that decision was made logically, ie. I want DS to stay healthy, I want him to remain easy to calm and sooth (best weapon in my arsenal too!). I wish it was a choice I could make with my heart: I love BF'ing my baby. (nice and simple, but untrue) The reality is that I love Bf'ing him BUT... I feel uncomfortable with the idea of BF'ing him when he is able to walk and talk, I really do not want to deal with other peoples snarky comments and rude looks, and the closer we get to a year and not weaning, the more apprehensive I get.

The good thing is the more I come here and just look around, the more comfortable with it I feel! Best of luck to you!
post #18 of 103
I remember feeling that a one year old was SO old when I held my newborn. I told everyone I'd get to a year nursing and "then decide". At 10 months I started freaking out a little because I knew I didn't want to stop and pressure was mounting from relatives so I started doing research on extended nursing and found MDC and found friends IRL that I can be around that make me feel a lot better - I have more internal fortitude about my decision to continue. Society has taught us that toddler and beyond nursing is "wrong" - it's only tolerable for little babies, but beyond we all have been told it suddenly becomes sexual and perverse and inappropriate. But that is so silly! We're biologically designed to need breastmilk for several years in early childhood - why would we be designed to do something 'wrong'? I've had to do a lot of examination of our Victorian American parenting ideas and question them. It sickens me now to think of how wierd and screwed up we've become on so many parenting issues - all in the name of having "seen and not heard" children.
post #19 of 103
Originally Posted by newlife
Okay is it just me or does anyone else find something wrong with breastfeeding after one year?
Unfortunately many people in society share your views. Society has sexualized breasts, so that many people have forgotten that all mammals are supposed to nurse their young. Anthropoligcal studies have shown the natural weaning age for humans to be between 2.5 and 7 years of age. Many health organizations, including the widely respected World Health Organization, encourage breastfeeding for a MINIMUM of TWO YEARS!

So no, there is nothing wrong with breastfeeding past 1, 2, 3, 4, 5... years as long as both mother and child are comfortable with the relationship. I for one hope my child remembers his nursing experience so that he will have a "healthy view" of breastfeeding and not a "sick/sexualized" view.

Take the time to educate yourself about breastfeeding and you might surprise yourself with the way you feel about it after your baby is born!
post #20 of 103
I would just say "ditto" and leave it at that... but I'm not one to keep quiet on something as important to me and my children (both of them) as extended breastfeeding Honestly, I can totally relate to not only what the op has said, but all the replies to it as well.

Yup, before my first was born, I'd have agreed with what you, the OP, said 100%.

I'll let that sentence stand alone because I want to emphasize the point. After Jenny was born, she was physically unable to nurse. I cannot describe to anyone who has not experienced the same thing just how devastating that was for me. This was coming directly on the heels of a very traumatic hospital intervention avalanche turned cesarean, and I not only had some pretty bad PPD going on, but PTSD as well. I was on a mission to make breastfeeding work, and I did eventually make it work. It was definitely the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. Now, that perhaps colors everything I feel and believe about breastfeeding, so I am putting that out there first.
I saw for myself, first-hand, the huge difference in my child when she was nursing, and when she was being bottle-fed formula. Not just a difference in her physical body (and that alone should be convincing enough) but a huge difference in her emotional well-being! Breastfeeding, even though she was unable to get enough milk from my breasts, made that much of a difference, was that important to my baby. I saw just how much she really needed to nurse, whether she was getting any milk from me or not.

ok, so my baby just woke up and I'll have to make this short...
That you are here at MDC shows at least a passing interest in attachment parenting. AP is all about doing what's best for you and your baby. Once your baby is here you will most likely have to decide for yourself just what is best for that precious little one. And, if you really pay attention to your baby's needs, you will most likely find that nursing beyond the first year (or two or three) is indeed what your child really needs. It's not just about the milk. Nursing is about a very complex multitude of emotional and psychological issues. You'll see....
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