As I've been reading this thread, I've been reminded of this article:http://www.continuum-concept.org/rea...InControl.html
It doesn't deal specifically with co-sleeping or with weaning, but what it does deal with is the consequences of overdoing "child-centered" to the point that a parent become a martyr, and clarifies the difference between "in-arms" parenting, and "child-led" parenting.
To me, it's a very telling point. I do not believe in being "child-centered," and that makes me stand out in this neck of the woods. I do believe in co-sleeping for infants; I think there is a real biological need for mother and baby to be in physical contact all night. But I don't believe this in-arms phase was meant to continue uninterrupted into early childhood. There are some children who will naturally wean themselves out of the family bed, but there are some who take much longer, and I don't see where the idea came from that it is somehow wrong for the parent to take charge and direct a gentle weaning process.
The same for breastfeeding and weaning.
I don't think there's anything WRONG with extended nursing or extended co-sleeping, but I worry that families are persisting with arrangements that are clearly not working out of the idea that it is wrong to take an active hand in gently transitioning to arrangements that work better for the individuals involved.
I think of the analogy of other animals nursing. My cat nursed her kittens on demand for about 5 weeks or so, and then she started chewing cat food for them and putting it in their mouths, and nursing less. When they wanted to nurse and she didn't want to, she'd gently paw them on the nose and push them away. And somewhere around 10 weeks, she said enough is enough and actually started biting them if they tried to nurse. No hard feelings on either end, but she knew it was time to push them out of the nest and she did so.
I know I'm not making much sense here. I've got an 8-mo grabbing at the mouse and getting angry because I won't let her have it, so I have to go, but I wanted to jump in and say I'm glad of this thread and I think we're saying things that really need saying.