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11 YR old BF - Page 6

post #101 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by gaffa

And with andriagirlie's comment about 11 year olds having sex themselves...he may not be using his mother's breast's sexually, but he is at an age where breast's become sexually appealing, and have been sexualized by the world around him and it's certainly been internalized by that age. Men are attacted to breasts, plain and simple. it's a differentiating female characteristic tha visually appeals to males, and could be very difficult for a developing young man to sort out. [/B]
Yes, much better said...thank you.
post #102 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by Devrock

Yes, it is wrong that the breast has been so completely sexualized by the culture around us. We need to change that aspect of our culture, so that people don't feel weird about breastfeeding. Let's focus our energies in the right direction. Instead of accepting and perpetuating the sexualization of the breast by allowing it to dictate our actions, let's desexualize the breast. And we can't say "okay, but in the mean time let's not openly bf our older children," because the only way to desexualize the breast is to openly bf our older children.

But really, I understand the concept of ending up accepting and perpetuating the sexualization and that we should focus our energies in the right direction. But, again, I think it is pretty much a given that to argue this point by breastfeeding a child of a sexually mature age is gonna get your child no where but in a therapist's office. And is that worth it? I think there are much more productive ways of combating our cultures sexualization of women than by justifying breastfeeding an 11 year old.
post #103 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by andriagirlie
I meant, having an 11 year old breastfeeding in a society where 11 year olds are having sex seems to automatically draw the correlation that breastfeeding a child of this age will be viewed as a sexual activity.
That doesn't make any logical sense to me. When "X" is done at an age when some kids have sex, that makes "X" a sexual activity? A mother kissing her child doesn't become a sexual activity once the child is 11. Thumb-sucking doesn't become sexual at age 11.


Quote:
Originally posted by andriagirlie
I believe that when you are talking about children who are old enough in our society that they are having sex, having their periods, beginning puberty and other signs of maturity, it is more than time to stop latching onto your mother's breast for comfort.
Why?

Quote:
Originally posted by andriagirlie
Even if these changes are distressing to a child, hugs and talking and other substitutes for breastfeeding would seem to go a long way.
Hugs and talking are great, but why must they replace bf? Why can't they supplement bf?
post #104 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by andriagirlie
I think there are much more productive ways of combating our cultures sexualization of women than by justifying breastfeeding an 11 year old.
Either child-led weaning is ok, or it isn't. We can't draw lines. Drawing lines is what everyone else is doing. It's what we need to fight. It simply isn't anyone else's business when a mother and child wean. If breastfeeding an 11 year old isn't your cup of tea, then don't do it. But we shouldn't be judging others.
post #105 of 160
See, that's where we differ, I think there are lines. I think once a child is sexually maturing, it's time to stop nursing. NOT because nursing/breasts = sex, but because I don't think our biology/nature intended it.

I also stick to the thought that by that age, boys ARE sexualizing breasts in ANY society, because they are uniqely female, and men are hardwired to be attracted to uniquely female features or feminized features. You can read on that in human sexuality studies that cross the lines of cultural boundaries. I think rubbing hands, feet, backs, is different because it is also acceptable in friendly settings amongst adults. Touching someone's breasts is not and the child is reaching biological adulthood.

An 11 year old boy may not be sexualizing his own mother's breasts, but I think at the onset on puberty, we are no longer meant to breastfeed given the biological evidence that it isn't common practice anywhere, and that other mammals wean before sexual maturity.

I think at any rate, we won't agree because I think there are lines and you don't. that's all right with me. i can disagree wihtout taking it personally, I do like a good debate though
post #106 of 160
This has been a very interesting dicussion and one that I find is expanding my mind. I have looked at this question (at least at a theoretical level) from all of the perspective presented and I see merit in all of them. But I do find that I haven't changed my mind. I hold to the contention that it is not developmentally normal for an 11 yo to need/want/be permitted to nurse...not here, not in any other place in the world that I have heard of (other than the literary/autobiographic reference provided by veggiewolf and that is one antecdotal account) So, if this child has not advanced developmentally in this area, there is likely an underlying reason.

I do want to clarify that I don't think that nursing a child is sexual. But it is sensual, which is correlated very closely in our society to sexual...there are likely people who do not distinguish the two. It has caused the warping of a lot of people's views about nursing and is something that I wholeheartedly agree needs to be fought against. I do that by nursing my children, loudly, proudly, publicly and telling everyone I know and meet about all of the joys and wonder of this blessed experience.

And I do believe in child-led weaning. I allowed my children to self-wean. Both did it before the age of three...that's our family, I certainly don't hold myself up as any "norm". I can see a child upwards to say the age of 5 or 6 having a developmental need to nurse occasionally for comfort/reassurance, and am even willing to give a varience for that to the age of 7 or 8 on the outside for children with developmental delays. But after that, if a child is still nursing, there is something else going on...whether it is something "wrong" (abuse) or an unwillingness by the child's mother to "get go" of that faze of their relationship, or an underlying emotional issue for the child that he cannot give it up. I don't know the details of this particular situation to make a call on thatin this case. BUT, IMO, the on-going nursing relationship at this stage of the child's life could stifle the child's ability to develop coping mechanisms for himself and once he has "weaned" may have him looking outside of himself for comfort and love at a time when many children are vulnerable to outside influences (especially if they have not been taught other healthy methods by then...again, I cannot speak to whatever else his mother may be doing to help him grow emotionally because the case lacks enough detail).

And yes, I know these are the same arguements used for 1, 3, 5 years olds, but we can all pretty much agree that in those cases the arguement lacks merit because we can look anthropologically and see that the argument is BS. But an 11 yo is on the brink of adulthood (at least physically, if not socially in this culture) and at some point we all have to find coping skills within ourselves to help us deal with stress, fear, resentment, anger, sadness and a whole host of other feelings that we all experience in life, especially in our teens. It is our jobs as mothers to help our children along the path to adulthood, hopefully helping them find healthy ways/outlets of coping with the "pains" of growing up. This particular method (nubbing) is not one that can/will be sustained more than likely and in a void, other less healthy influences and methods can come into play (like drugs, adolecent sex, and other potential self destructive activites).

...although I just got a horrifying vision (to me...okay I'm warped by our culture) of a 16 yo boy coming home after his girlfriend has broken up with him to nub with his mother. Can you honestly tell me that that would be a healthy expression/outlet to his stress? How far do we take the scenario before it can be construed a "jest a little bit warped"?

Would I rather see an 11 yo use nursing as opposed to drugs as a coping mechanism? Yes, I suppose I would. But I still don't think it is anywhere near the best way (damn those gray areas )
post #107 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by gaffa
I think there are lines. I think once a child is sexually maturing, it's time to stop nursing. NOT because nursing/breasts = sex, but because I don't think our biology/nature intended it.
Shouldn't that be for the individual mother and child to decide, rather than one person's judgement dictating to the rest of the world? If you think it's time to stop nursing, then stop. To each her own.

Quote:
Originally posted by gaffa
I think rubbing hands, feet, backs, is different because it is also acceptable in friendly settings amongst adults. Touching someone's breasts is not
It should be. Breasts should not be taboo.

Quote:
Originally posted by gaffa
An 11 year old boy may not be sexualizing his own mother's breasts, but I think at the onset on puberty, we are no longer meant to breastfeed given the biological evidence that it isn't common practice anywhere, and that other mammals wean before sexual maturity.
There's a great picture on my website of a cat nursing her offspring:

http://devrock.5u.com/custom.html

The "kittens" are fully as large as the mother. I wonder if the other cats in her culture disapprove, or think it's inappropriate, or think it's a sexual relationship? It's all so silly!
post #108 of 160
Quote:
Okay, I'm going to say it... that's weird. I know, I know--I shouldn't throw stones, but c'mon... 11 YEARS OLD?!
Sorry, I've got to agree! I think there is definately something wrong with that! Breast are first made for milk, then sexual objects, he's getting to the point that he KNOWS about the breasts as sexual objects and I don't think you can compare this to thumb sucking, etc. A thumb does not turn into a sexual object. And there is no milk left so I think it's time to find something else to comfort her son. JMO!
post #109 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by sadean
I hold to the contention that it is not developmentally normal for an 11 yo to need/want/be permitted to nurse...not here, not in any other place in the world that I have heard of (other than the literary/autobiographic reference provided by veggiewolf and that is one antecdotal account)
I think what is normal and healthy is for a child to be allowed to self-wean at whatever age s/he is ready. For most, this is between age 2 1/2 and age 7. There will always be a few who fall outside this scale, simply because everyone is different -- there is a lot of variation and diversity. It doesn't necessarily mean that there is something wrong with the person. I think the thing to focus on is not the age, not the numbers, but on the philosophy of the healthfulness and importance of child-led weaning.

Those single, anecdotal accounts of breastfed 10/12 year olds add up. I think there are a lot more than any of us realize. Our culture has driven them into the closet. Since most people fall within the scale, the people outside the scale are going to be uncommon, obviously. But just because something is uncommon doesn't mean it is wrong.

Quote:
Originally posted by sadean
And I do believe in child-led weaning.
Up to a certain point, anyway.

Quote:
Originally posted by sadean
But after that, if a child is still nursing, there is something else going on...whether it is something "wrong" (abuse) or an unwillingness by the child's mother to "get go" of that faze of their relationship, or an underlying emotional issue for the child that he cannot give it up. I don't know the details of this particular situation to make a call on thatin this case. BUT, IMO, the on-going nursing relationship at this stage of the child's life could stifle the child's ability to develop coping mechanisms for himself and once he has "weaned" may have him looking outside of himself for comfort and love at a time when many children are vulnerable to outside influences
How on earth do you know all of this? I am not aware of any evidence that any of that is true. What I do know it that it is the exact same things that are said about three year olds. As you pointed out, we know that this argument is BS about a three year old. What makes you think it is true for an 11 year old? Seems like we're just taking the exact same arguments that anti-SBFers use, and we're plugging in higher numbers. I think it's just a BS argument, no matter what numbers you plug in. (No offense intended.)

Quote:
Originally posted by sadean
This particular method (nubbing) is not one that can/will be sustained more than likely and in a void, other less healthy influences and methods can come into play (like drugs, adolecent sex, and other potential self destructive activites).
It was someone else's point that if you deny a child the breast before s/he is ready to give it up, s/he might fill the void with drugs, etc. The point is that it's healthier to sustain the bf relationship. How does it help to create the void earlier?

Quote:
Originally posted by sadean
...although I just got a horrifying vision (to me...okay I'm warped by our culture) of a 16 yo boy coming home after his girlfriend has broken up with him to nub with his mother. Can you honestly tell me that that would be a healthy expression/outlet to his stress? How far do we take the scenario before it can be construed a "jest a little bit warped"?
Yes, I can honestly tell you that it could be healthy, depending on the individual case. I don't think bf ever becomes warped just based on age alone. People used to say that big boys/grown men shouldn't cry. That it was infantile.
post #110 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by CyndyRR327
Breast are first made for milk, then sexual objects
Nope. Breasts are made for milk, period. They are not made to be sexual objects at all! We have turned them into sexual objects.

Quote:
Originally posted by CyndyRR327
I don't think you can compare this to thumb sucking, etc. A thumb does not turn into a sexual object.
Exactly. Neither should a breast.

Quote:
Originally posted by CyndyRR327
And there is no milk left so I think it's time to find something else to comfort her son.
Many mothers here continue to comfort feed after there's no milk left, and most of us here support it. There are many reasons for breastfeeding, other than the nutritional value of the milk.
post #111 of 160
whew, i read the whole thread!!!

candiland-
you mentioned earlier in this thread boys getting erections during nursing.

um, hello, my son has had continuous erections every single time he has nursed since the day he was born. Once he was 5 months old or so, he began to play with his erect penis while nursing. He will just sit and play with it now, he knows where and what it is and it is his body.

Is this disturbing? Not to me. Not anymore than my being able to have sexual fantasies and be a mother- my son can be a sexual creature AND nurse. (he is 14 months old). We are all sexual beings, from our birth, our lives, our own birthing and breast nurturing, every breath we take on the earth is sexual.

it is interesting, though, that many mothers in this society struggle with their roles as mother/ lover, that people desexualize labor and birth and nursing. interesting and sad.

there was a law & order show i saw ing where a mother of a 1/2 african american boy killed someone who was going to expose his heritage (you couldnt tell by looking, i guess) and she went to prison. i think this relates, because she claimed she desperately wanted to protect her child from a society that hates African Americans, but in the end, she was supporting bigotry, defending it almost, as something to be afraid of.

It is people feeling they need to do negative, or even just less-than-ideal things to shield their children (or themselves) that reinforce the society they are trying to shield their children from. im not saying you have to resist society all the time but it is important not to conform out of fear.

have i lost track of what i was saying?

i strongly believe that one of the reasons EBF is yet 'weird' even in this progressive area, is that the many EBFing mothers are afraid to do it in public. I will nurse my son anywhere, anytime. he lifts my shirt high in the air and yells, "boobie!". he loves to nurse. so do i.

will we be nursing at 11? who knows. My husband respects and trusts me, and wouldnt call 911 on me. If he would, i would have to wonder why i chose him? Arent you supposed to settle down and raise children with someone you trust? at least? how about someone who loves you, too? i guess i am lucky.

I dont think this discussion is about what age the child is. it is about comfort levels. culture shock, even. if nursing to 11 doesnt feel good to you, so be it. you can choose to wean at any age- unfortunately, no one can make all these american women bring their babies to their breasts. Some refuse even the first milk. It hurts me to think of all the babies denied their birthright each day. If you choose not to EBF, i dont think you will hurt your child. If you choose to i dont think it will hurt either- it is good! I wholeheartedly agree with Devrock and indeed everything she has written in this thread.

Tabitha
post #112 of 160
I personally would not be comfortable nursing a child that old. I also automatically think 'hmmm is something weird going on' when I hear of an eleven old child nursing....

However I agree with the argument Devrock has been speaking of. Who is going to draw the line? *Should* someone draw the line? I doubt we'd like a law that says 'stop breastfeeding @ age __'. We can't really say "I believe in child led weaning. Period." when we're speaking of say a 3 year old, and then come back and look at this situation and say "oh he should have weaned long ago." Its one or the other.

But, if this situation is true (and not an exageration), I very highly doubt the mother is sexually abusing or pressuring her child to breastfeed. I haven't heard of any sexual abuser running around their *workplace* bragging of their deeds.
post #113 of 160
Quote:
Breasts are made for milk, period. They are not made to be sexual objects at all! We have turned them into sexual objects.
Personally, I don't have any interest in totally desexualizing breasts. I do think our culture objectifies them and over-sexualizes them (so that their purpose as baby feeding organs is seen as secondary), but I like my breasts as sexual objects in the context of romantic intimacy. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water!

Besides, biologically, it makes sense that breasts would be a sexual turn-on to men precisely because they indicate a woman's ability to nurture a baby. (Same thing goes for that thing about waist-to-hip ratio. Statistically, men are most attracted to a body shape that indicates a good childbearing build.) Men are not even conciously aware of it -- it's a product of our evolution, like it or not. I'm all for trying to instill in men the ability to see inner beauty but ya gotta admit: it's an uphill battle! :
post #114 of 160
Thanks for all your eloquence, devrock. Personal opinion, I think it is OK for an 11 yr old, esp a boy to nurse, if he and his mom both want to. 11 is not puberty for boys. Unlike girls, boys sexually mature at about 14.

If I was doing it, I would not talk abt it at work, however.

From the La Leche League Leader Handbook:

one of the 10 concepts that form LLL philosophy:

Quote:
Ideally, the breastfeeding relationship will continue until the baby outgows the need.
Quote:
Natural weaning is the gradual ending of the breastfeeding relationship between a responsive mother and her growing child. As the child matures, his changing physical and emotional needs are increasingly satisfied through means other than breastfeeding. Although the child usually initiates natural weaning, the mother continues to take an active role by determining in each situation whether nursing or some other approach will best meet her child's needs. A mother demonstrates her commitment to natural weaning through her sensitivity to her child's individual nededs and readiness; her flexibility in responding to the unpredictable course of natural weaning and her understanding of and trust in the fundamental stages of a child's development. -- LLL Board of Directors 1992
Having seen 3 of the 7 Founders of LLL speak at LLL conferences, and having read 7 Voices, 1 Dream, by Marian Thomson, one of the Founders, I get the definite idea the Founders themselves (all in their 70's) think bfing is something babies do, and should be weaned by 2 yrs! Note the word "baby" in the original statement. Obviously, the rest of LLL has grown beyond this idea.
post #115 of 160
Quote:
... by barbara
... I believe in self-weaning, but IMO if a child of this age is not ready to wean, there are other issues involved. Somewhere along the line the beautiful mother/child nursing relationship must have gotten distorted, and the needs of the child are no longer being met. A child of 11 has new and different needs of his mother and the mother needs to find more effective ways to relate to her child as the child grows.


barbara, may I quote you?



Precisely what I was thinking throughout this thread.

The mama may be well-intentioned, but her parenting skills, IMO, need some work.
post #116 of 160
As the second poster to the thread I have been able to follow it through it's twists and turns. My opinion has been expressed very eloquently already, but I would like to state it one more time.

Primates wean at the onset of puberty, which, chemically (read hormonally) starts at about age 5-10 in humans. 11 Falls just outside that range, so no, I do not think it is biologically innapropriate. Some babies don't walk until 19 months, and they grow up to be normal, healthy people. Sometimes, folks just fall outside the range.

Every breastfeeding relationship is different, there are no rules about them. There is no way to draw the line, because we would all draw it in a different place. Do I expect to nurse dd until she is 11? No, I don't expect that, but my mind is open- once I thought that 3 was a great age for weaning, and now I am open to the idea of nursing beyond age 7. It is really her choice, I will remain open to her needs as she dictates them to me.

We do not really know much about this nursing relationship- if it exists at all. I agree that if she is so open and responsive to her child needs as to SBF, then she is probably not dumb enough to go around talking baout it since someone will probably decide it is abuse and try to take action against her.

When I was 7 and 8 I can remember a few times I saw my mom changing her shirt and wanted to try to nurse again. My mother, being an open minded, kind hearted person, allowed me to try again. I didn't really remember how to do it, but I did get my little 'nub' on. She had undergone a mastectomy, so I may have been feeling sadness over the loss of her breast and felt like I needed to reconnect or something. I did this same thing when I was about 9. It was completely non sexual in nature. Just curiousity, comfort. I weaned at a little over 2 1/2, a.k.a. almost 3.

As I believe I said in my first post to this thread, I have never walked in those shoes, so it is not my place to judge. Every mother knows her own child best. Age 11 does sound odd to me, but I certainly am not one to call anyone odd.

I am so glad this thread has not gotten nasty.

Devrock, keep fighting the good fight! You are far more eloquent than I.


Lauren
post #117 of 160
Thank you, Tabitha and veganmamma.

Quote:
Originally posted by luv my 2 sweeties
I like my breasts as sexual objects in the context of romantic intimacy.
Any part of the body can become a sexual object in the context of romantic intimacy. I have been trying to say all along that there is nothing wrong with using breasts, or any other part of the body, for sex.

Quote:
Originally posted by luv my 2 sweeties
Besides, biologically, it makes sense that breasts would be a sexual turn-on to men precisely because they indicate a woman's ability to nurture a baby. (Same thing goes for that thing about waist-to-hip ratio. Statistically, men are most attracted to a body shape that indicates a good childbearing build.)
That's true. We agree that hips attract and arouse men, and yet they are not considered genitals. It is not indecent to carry a child on your hip. Hips are not inherently sex organs, in the sense that there must be sexual implications whenever you do anything with them.
post #118 of 160
Gaffa "I think once a child is sexually maturing, it's time to stop nursing. NOT because nursing/breasts = sex, but because I don't think our biology/nature intended it."

This makes no sense to me. If that child's biology or nature didnt intend it, he simply wouldnt nurse. For whatever reason, he does want to.

Now, there might be other things wrong with the mother-child relationship, but the fact he nurses isn't proof of that.

The thing I do wonder about is the mother talking about it at work. But we've been through that before with the discussion about the child taken by social services for ebf. (cant' remember the name, sorry). On the one hand, good for her for being public - I wouldnt be that brave. But on the other hand, maybe it is a little foolhardy, given this culture's attitude towards nursing beyond 6 months. If I were her, I wouldn't be talking about it. My job is to parent my children before it is to change the world.

I also think that stories like this do ebf no favours. If a thousand women went public over nursing 2 or 3 or even 4 year olds, it would do much more good than one woman going public over a nine year old or eleven year old. That is ammunition to the anti-nursing brigade, not good PR about extended breastfeeding.

Interesting discussion. I do think that the sexual concerns are a red herring - most eleven year olds I worked with had more interest in football and computer games than breasts, except in a giggling sense. The girls would despair at their immaturity. :
post #119 of 160
I believe that part of my job as my child's parent is to change the world.

I think that a thousand women bfing 2, 3 & 4 year olds need to go public, and a hundred women bfing 5-10 yr olds need to go public, as well as one woman bfing an 11 year old. The one woman bfing the 11 year old did her part. The 1100 women bfing 2-10 year olds need to do their part.
post #120 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by Britishmum
[B I also think that stories like this do ebf no favours. If a thousand women went public over nursing 2 or 3 or even 4 year olds, it would do much more good than one woman going public over a nine year old or eleven year old. That is ammunition to the anti-nursing brigade, not good PR about extended breastfeeding.
[/B]
I totally agree! Have been thinking as I read through this thread that it reminds me of the gun debate in this country. My dh (much to my dismay - many, many discussions about this over the years) is a gun lover and belonged to the NRA for years. But when the NRA took a "any gun can be owned by any American" type stance - mainly in trying to keep semi-automatic weapons legal to the public - they turned the American public at large against their cause. My dh no longer belongs to the NRA because he blames them for being too far to one side and causing most people to side with restricting gun rights.

If I knew personally a woman nursing an 11 year old, I would call the police to report it. I can't understand how we can say there is no line - of course there is a line. There are lines for everything! We are not allowed to do anything imaginable just because we think it is our right. I feel so badly for that boy - he has absolutely zero chance of ever growing up to have a healthy relationship IMO. That mother is not helping him. I find it very sad. For whatever odd reason, probably abuse in her own childhood, she is trying to connect with her son in an unhealthy way. Breastfeeding at one, two, three is not the same thing as an 11 year old. It simply is not. There are appropriate ages for things.

If people really are nursing 10, 11, 12 year olds, we should not support that with "they can decide" as that will lead to laws (which I believe would be appropriate for those cases) but could filter down to us. My personal comfort level is 12 to 18 months - am ok in general with up to 3 I suppose. I think I am conservative in this forum but really quite liberal in our society in general - do you want the vote to come down to 12 months? This just really doesn't help our cause - and I am not even talking about EBF, just BF in general.

Flame away! I know I am not going to be "listened to" as much since I "only" nurse to a year/year and a half. But I support breastfeeding in all my friends, and everyone I come in contact with. I can tell you there are many on this thread who agree it is wrong to nurse an 11 year old but are not saying it as it is not PC on MDC to say so.
Kirsten
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