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11 YR old BF - Page 4

post #61 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by pumpkinhead
at what age is EBF not acceptable? Is there a magical 'cut-off' age? When is a 'child' not a 'child' anymore. Also, it IS O.K. for a Mama to NOT want to nurse an 11 y.o. isn't it?
I don't believe SBF ever becomes unacceptable, as long as it is mutually desired by mother & child. I don't believe there is any magical cut-off age. I don't believe it matters if the child is not a child anymore. Once the child is no longer a child, then they are definitely capable of consent, so it can't (or shouldn't) be considered unethical.

Absolutely, it is OK for a mother to not want to breastfeed an 11 year old.
post #62 of 160
Quote:
Sustained breastfeeding (thank you for that term), on the other hand, is socially unacceptable because we live in a warped, twisted, backwards, depraved culture.
Could you cite sources pointing to a society where SN'ing an eleven year old is seen as acceptable behavior?
Someone mentioned Alaskan natives, but a mama who lives there said she had never heard of that. I haven't been able to find any resources about it. From my own reading, most children in hunting/gathering cultures (at least ones that are still around) wean when the mother is pregnant with the next child, which often happens after the mother's menstrual cycle returns around 18 months pp.
I'm honestly curious.
post #63 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by mrzmeg
Could you cite sources pointing to a society where SN'ing an eleven year old is seen as acceptable behavior?
No, I cannot. However, mothers have told me that they breastfeed 10 and 12 year olds *even in this country*, where they have NO support, and that's just among my tiny circle of acquaintances. I have to assume that in other cultures, where SBF is more accepted, there would be a lot more mothers breastfeeding 10 and 12 year olds. I would guess that there is no society in which the *average* mother breastfeeds to age 10. Probably in natural societies, the average mother breastfeeds to about age 6 or 7, with a few women on each extreme: a few women breastfeeding only to age 2 or 3, and a few women breastfeeding to age 10/11.

Hopefully someone here has solid data to backup my guesswork?
post #64 of 160
I would like to respectfully say that this is much more than "going against the flow" and tring to change society's view of SBF, homebirthing, or the like. I truly cannot believe that this is any longer consensual behavior, or mututally desirable for this kid. If it is, then I really feel there is something warped going on in that family. I also disagree that breasts are not inherently sexual. I fervently hope that this really is a "urban myth". I do think it is wrong and, if true, will ultimately mess up this child's future sexual health.
post #65 of 160
Why can't you believe that it is consensual? I can't imagine someone forcing an 11 year old to breastfeed against his will (that would be wrong, of course). I can't even imagine it being physically possible. You can lead a mouth to nipple, but you can't make it suck. If it is consensual, which I think (and hope!) it is, why is it warped? What is warped about it? I have to completely disagree with you if you think breasts are sex organs. They simply are NOT. They are not genitalia. They are mammary glands. They are no more inherently sexual than legs or ear lobes, although all three can be incorporated in sexual play. The fact that something arouses men or is used in foreplay does not make it inherently a sexual organ. Breasts are meant for offspring. Is there some other reason for considering SBF "wrong?" Since I do not believe breastfeeding is sexual, I do not believe it will mess up a child's future sexual health.
post #66 of 160

re: cross-cultural weaning ages

From anthropologist Meredith Small's 'Our Babies, Ourselves':
Quote:
Weaning in other cultures tells a similar story---the introduction of solid food and then either a gradual or abrupt cessation of mother's milk as the primary food source. In many cases, weaning is culturally mandated when the child is forced to stop nursing because the mother is pregnant again; many cultures have a taboo against nursing during pregnancy...Some cultures have a taboo against sex during nursing, and a mother will wean so that she can resume sexual relations.
From Katherine Dettweyler:
Quote:
In societies where children are allowed to nurse "as long as they want" they usually self-wean, with no arguments or emotional trauma, between 3 and 4 years of age.
She goes on to say (based on comparisons with primates):
Quote:
The minimum predicted age for a natural age of weaning in humans is 2.5 years, with a maximum of 7.0 years.
I guess my point is that most societies---no matter how close or removed from 'nature'---have cultural expectations that guide when children wean.
This child is nursing far beyond cultural and biological norms; there have to be some major outside influences. I agree that she can't force him, though she can certainly encourage him. Why does he still need to nurse?
post #67 of 160
OK, I'm too lazy to read any of this thread, so I'll just say that I don't see anything wrong with bfing a child of any age, in and of itself, as long as the child wants to continue. For me, I think I'd call it quits at age 4 or 5, but that's just me.

I don't think bf is harmful emotionally to any children of any age or gender. I think it's good if a boy bfs when he will be old enough to remember it! The benefits NEVER end, even if there is no more milk left. I am pretty sure my dd doesn't draw any milk when she nurses, but I know she still needs to, otherwise she would quit, kwim?
post #68 of 160
A common point running thru the some of these posts is that breasts are not inherently sexual. But they are, in humans. The nipples are red (in Caucasians) or darker than the surrounding skin (in people of color) to resemble labia and the breasts are constantly round (as opposed to just round when lactating) to resemble the buttocks. It was an adaptation to the fact that human women stand upright and need to offer some sexual cues on the front of the body. That is the theory anyway, according to Desmond Morris in The Naked Ape...
post #69 of 160
Nipples may resemble labia in color and breasts may resemble buttocks in shape, but that doesn't mean that their purpose is sexual. The mouth resembles the vagina more than breasts do. Is the mouth inherently genitalia?
post #70 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by Devrock
Is the mouth inherently genitalia?

My dh would like to convince me of that....



ducks and runs away after making a joke during this incredible discussion
post #71 of 160
as would mine
:LOL

Really, though, that's fascinating.
post #72 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by Devrock
Why can't you believe that it is consensual? I can't imagine someone forcing an 11 year old to breastfeed against his will (that would be wrong, of course). I can't even imagine it being physically possible. You can lead a mouth to nipple, but you can't make it suck. If it is consensual, which I think (and hope!) it is, why is it warped? What is warped about it? I have to completely disagree with you if you think breasts are sex organs. They simply are NOT. They are not genitalia. They are mammary glands. They are no more inherently sexual than legs or ear lobes, although all three can be incorporated in sexual play. The fact that something arouses men or is used in foreplay does not make it inherently a sexual organ. Breasts are meant for offspring. Is there some other reason for considering SBF "wrong?" Since I do not believe breastfeeding is sexual, I do not believe it will mess up a child's future sexual health.
I believe that it is possible for the breastfeeding relationship to be dysfunctional. IMO, it is wrong to assume that the BF relationship could absolutely NOT be dysfunctional but it is also that BF at 11 is always dysfunctional.

I would prefer not to give an example on a open forum but I have seen ways in which the breastfeeding relationship was not healthy, even in younger children and I have seen ways in which breastfeeding was “forced” by means of coercion and manipulation.

That said, I’m a “assume the best kind” of person, especially with things like third hand info and I think it is possible for this to be a healthy situation. Like I said, perhaps the child is not developmentally normal.

Also, when someone mentioned the norms for an 11 year old in this culture, I think you forget the very likely possibility that this kid is not totally exposed to the culture. Perhaps they home school or he goes to an alternative school, which shelters him from some of the early sexual stuff and all the teasing and such.
post #73 of 160
I think we should assume that it is a healthy breastfeeding relationship unless there is some evidence to the contrary. At this point we have no reason to believe that anything wrong is going on here.

The single aspect that people are judging is the child's age. What I am hearing seems to be mostly knee-jerk reactions to an unusual situation. I haven't yet heard a reasonable explanation of why an 11 year old shouldn't breastfeed.
post #74 of 160
I would much rather hear of an 11-yr-old who bfs than of a baby who has never been bfed.

Strange how our culture calls the most perfect food "abuse" after a certain age; I think it's a lot more abusive to withhold it.

I'm sure whatever disapproving thoughts we may think about this kid, the majority of American society thinks of us.

Let the child decide...
post #75 of 160
Quote:
Is the mouth inherently genitalia?

Sorry Dev, couldnt pass on that one. I am part of the warped society you speak of.....

Dev, I do see what your saying, but as a mother of a 13yr old son who was a champion nurser, i not only wouldnt be comfortable with it, i would have to wonder why my 6th grader needed to "nub". Assuming this boy is developmentally on target, one would have to assume what on earth is going on that he would even want to nub in the first place, given the society we live in. My son knows he was nursed and smiles when i tell him how much time he spent at the boob, but even though i teach my son not to view women as sex objects, to be a kind respectful young man (oh, and he is!) it would really be a bit weird if he was still nursing when he was in middle school. Can you at least see where it might be a bit strange? and if for some medical reason he could only eat breastmilk, i would pump and he would be drinking it from a thermos. does that make me the weird one?

Lisa
post #76 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by sweetbaby3
i would have to wonder why my 6th grader needed to "nub". Assuming this boy is developmentally on target, one would have to assume what on earth is going on that he would even want to nub in the first place...it would really be a bit weird if he was still nursing when he was in middle school.
Most of the people in this country would say the exact same things about a three year old breastfeeding -- or younger!

Quote:
Originally posted by sweetbaby3
Can you at least see where it might be a bit strange?
I can see that it might be a bit unusual. That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with it.
post #77 of 160
So, by your logic, Devrock, if my 18 yr old wants to suckle "one last time" before he moves into his college dorm, I should let him? Give me a friekin' break. It is clear that you are shut out to everyone else's sensibilities and ways of thinking outside your own. I am out of this increasingly surreal and ridiculous argument.
post #78 of 160
Quote:
Originally posted by chemigogo
So, by your logic, Devrock, if my 18 yr old wants to suckle "one last time" before he moves into his college dorm, I should let him?
Only if you want to. I'm just saying it's not immoral. I really can't see that situation happening, though.
post #79 of 160
Quote:
Most of the people in this country would say the exact same things about a three
year old breastfeeding -- or younger!
But we're not saying this about a 3, 4, 5 or 6 year old. We're referring to an eleven year old here, a pre-adolescent as opposed to a child. What if this 11 yo wasn't 'nubbing' but sucking his thumb instead, or drinking from a bottle? Could he or she not be using this as an emotional crutch to avoid deeper issues?

The point I tried to make earlier was that most kids left to self wean do just that by the age of 2-6
,
Quote:
Katherine Dettweyler:

quote:
In societies where children are allowed to nurse "as long as they want" they usually self-wean, with no arguments or emotional trauma,between 3 and 4 years of age.
What if this was a case, like the one I described in an earlier case (about an 8 year old), where the boy decided after weaning, he'd like to start nursing again? In the case of the 8 year old, it was due to jealousy and the want of attention. I really don't believe this should be encouraged as the child is substituting one type of attention for another. IMO it would be better to just make an effort to spend more one on one time with the child. There are other ways to nuture!
post #80 of 160
Thought I would chime in. And hopefully I will not offend, but I think that maybe some people are thinking this, but don't want to say what I am going to say.


I don't think it is appropriate to nurse an 11 yo. There are major developmental differences between a 3 yo (or even a 7 yo) and an almost teenager. Puberty, even in boys this age, is already beginning or is in full force. I just don't see it as being a developmentally appropriate activity to be encouraging on the part of the mother and I cannot fathom an otherwise developmentally normal child of that age wanting to or needing to "nub".

If this case is true, which I have doubts about, than there are other issues going on and I do believe that this could have other long term phychological ramifications, especially if the child finds out later (if he doesn't already know) that he and his mother were engaged in what can easily be construed by others in our society, as a socially and sexually deviate activity.

Now to my more controversial thoughts:

To the arguement that breasts are not inherantly sexual, I disagree. I view breasts as a multi-purpose "organ". Yes, breasts are primarily for feeding children...that is why they make milk. But breasts are complex in their phsiological make-up and breast-feeding by it evolutionary and biological nature is usually an enjoyable and often sensual experience. It feels good. There is a biological purpose for that in that it allows us to have a bonding and intimate relationship with our children (and therefore will encourage us to protect and nuture them, which allows for the propogation of our species). Sensuality and sexuality are very closely linked and are often difficult to distiguish from one another...I think that is why our society in general is so weird about breastfeeding beyond infancy. I wholeheartedly disagree that if we enjoy breastfeeding then that means it is "wrong". I EBF both of my children. But there comes a natural end to this developmental stage of childrearing and IMO, this pair is LONG past their "expiration" date.

To put it bluntly, we release hormones when we nurse our children that provide us with a physical "payoff" (sense of calm, relaxation, love) and in many people the potential for sexual arousal. I certainly am able to get sexual enjoyment from breast stimulation by my partner that I just don't get from getting my feet rubbed (without getting to graphic, yes it can take me all the way). And I don't think it is "all in my head" (i.e. that because our brains are our primary sexual organ that I can convince myself that it is pleasurable and therefore can "preform").

She may not have milk any more, but she certainly could be benefiting from the hormonal release that comes with the physical act of putting breast to mouth. That, in my opinion is not appropriate when we are dealing with a child entering their second decade of life and into their own blossoming sexuality.

IMO, like anything else that involves sensuality and intamacy, breastfeeding/nurturing CAN be sexual and CAN be used as a form of abuse, whether intentionally or unintentionally (I don't want to believe that this mother is intentionally hurting her child). And I also take exception to the premise that you cannot "force" a child to breastfeed/nurture. How is it different than coersing a child to be sexually/sensually intimate in other ways (at least in theory)? I think that the young men abused by some priests over the course of the last 1/2 century (and longer) would disagree that you cannot be coerced or forced to do things you don't want to do, ESPECIALLY by people in the position of power/authority/or love.

This case, if true, just leads me to wonder what the long term ramifications will be for this child and his relationship with his mother and other people he may choose to be intimate with later in life, as I do not view it as a healthy and age/developmentally appropriate activity and could potentially be very harmful...
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