I was in the Waldorf school bookshop today and was curious what kind of advice about breastfeeding I'd find in the books sold there. (Found some really interesting new children's story books, btw--they weren't about nursing though
Anyway, it was unanimous in each of the 5 or 6 books I flipped through in which I found the subject mentioned. Nursing couldn't be more heavily advocated..... One even recommended those mothers donate milk who have a more than ample milk supply. Many recommended LLL to new mothers as well. There is no dissenting opinion on this in any of these anthroposophical books I saw there.
The subject of extended breast feeding was raised in two of them, and confirms what Deborah mentioned that there seems to be some differences of opinion on this among the anthroposophic medicine community. Neither of these books recommended against extended nursing, but did allude to some of the dissenting opinions on the subject.
In the new edition of "You Are Your Child's First Teacher", the author seems to have elaborated on her opinion from the first book, which I have myself at home. She comes from the point of view that she does not approve of others telling mothers what to do in this matter, and she includes LLL in this, who she reports (maybe unfairly) sometimes push mothers into nursing until their babies decide to wean themselves on their own. So Rahima Dancy is a big advocate of breast feeding until 9 months of age, and after that, one senses that she feels more cautions are in order for mamas who continue to BF than those that don't. She isn't persuaded that mamas should necessarily extended BF simply because tribal mamas do. She's worried about mamas who feel guilty about wanting or needing to wean--saying there's no real important need to BF after 12 mos, and she defends those mamas who are simply tired of it, physically or psychically. And she expresses some reservations that the value of separation between the mother and the child is too casually dismissed by those heavily pushing the 'child-led weaning' argument, maybe in the way that the importance of the nursing bond was too casually dismissed in the old days. So if I were to read between the lines, I'd say she's not real enthused about extended BF, thinks it's too much pushed on mothers, but she's careful not to push mothers with a "don't
do it" of her own.
The other book was just seriously pro nursing, but it's kind of funny to me because it delved into all these really "out there" rationales for it that even Dancy kind of snickered at in her book; numerology for example. But the author didn't list this connection to angels among them.
What I gather here is that, contrary to any set position against nursing in the anthroposophical community, there's essentially unanimity of thought in support of it, but there's a lot of diverse opinions about why they think it's a good thing. Things get more divided over extended breast feeding and you get a pretty diverse spectrum of reasons to go along with those opinions too. Though there weren't any books by advocates *against* extended BF currently sold in this store, some books responded to one particular issue that seems to have recurred in older anthroposophical medical texts--that being that mother's breast milk after a certain age ties the child too strongly to the mother, a kind of residual physical, biological inheritance. Risë Smythe-Freed argues pretty much the opposite, sounds like to me, with the angels and the Christ association.
Couple that with the numerology, symbology, and some of the other issues I saw discussed in these books, and I get the impression that there's no way there's any "official" anthroposophical view at all behind any of this. One of those to weigh in even argued about the meaning behind the close proximity of the human's breasts to the heart (as opposed to say, a cow's, which are situated closer to the hind quarters
). It's pretty much the *opposite* of any set position in anthroposophy, at least from what's represented in the books sold in our bookstore.