Teenager still being breastfed? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, first of all, I'm asking for input on a story that I heard third hand. I'm really trying to get some perspective on this "situation", not start a huge debate or anything.

A friend was over the other night, and we were talking about CLW (yes, I know I already have a thread about talking CLW with this friend, but this is a whole different can of worms). When she asked if I felt that it was okay to nurse however long my child wanted to, even if they were "really old", I said yes, but only because I thought she was referring to a five or six year old, since I had already told her that the natural age for weaning was between four and seven. She proceeded to tell me that she has a client (my friend does hair) who is an attorney. According to the attorney, she is currently representing a mother who is in a legal battle becuase she is still breastfeeding her teenager (15 or 16, I can't remember now). I was taken aback, because even in my time as a lactivist, I've never heard of anything like that.

I was trying to think of reasons why it could still be happening; are there major developmental issues, some kind of disability, etc.? Even with any of those, I don't know that I, myself, could justify nursing a teenager, but I was just trying to look at it with an unbiased perspective. No she said, nothing like that, but there are some major emotional and attachment issues.

That's about as far as it got, since my friend was only relaying what her client told her. Really though, I can't stop thinking about it, and trying to reason it out in my head. So, my question is, have there been other cases like this? Is this something that goes on, it's just tabboo to talk about?

Again, I didn't start this thread to say "OMG, guess what I heard!", I just want to get some perspective on the situation. Honestly, it sounds a little fishy to me, but I thought I'd come here to ask all you experts what you think!

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#2 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 04:30 PM
 
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I think I read somewhere maybe it was a psych book on someone who studied the American Indians that there was one case of an older nurser, but I think that was stopped around puberty. I might be getting that mixed up with something else though.
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#3 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 04:32 PM
 
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The only time I've ever heard of anything like this was in the movie The Last Emperor. Though I'm not sure exactly how old he was. I know it was based on fact, but not sure how factual that section of it was.
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#4 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 04:37 PM
 
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Why would a lawyer reveal something like that to a hairdresser? Even without naming names it is still unethical to say ANYTHING about your clients to anyone.

Anyway, I think there was a discussion here a while back that in Asia it used to be common, like the Last Emporer, and there are people alive today who were BF till 12-ish. But 15-16, in the US, very wierd.

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#5 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 04:46 PM
 
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There must be something else to the story if it's true. That just seems a little odd to me. Personally, I think that even 7 is too old to be nursing, but that's just me.

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#6 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 05:08 PM
 
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6, 7 is still considered within the norm of biological weaning from what I just read (K Dettwyler).

BTW, you tube has a video of an 8 year old still nursing-- this came up on a mainstream board. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHRyRCHuQ7g

I think most often people throw out the 'what if s/he is a teenager...' but I really think that is a rarity, as is an 8 year old still consistently nursing... but it just seems to not merit worry or arguement. And I have heard that occasionally an older child (yes even a tween/teen) may ask to nurse but just once). But saying, is it okay for a teenager is more a reactionary response than based in reality.


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#7 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 05:38 PM
 
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#8 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 05:40 PM
 
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Care to explain??

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#9 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 05:49 PM
 
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Why would a lawyer reveal something like that to a hairdresser? Even without naming names it is still unethical to say ANYTHING about your clients to anyone.

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#10 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 05:55 PM
 
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Unless there is something developmentally wrong with the child I think that nursing past puberty is unacceptable. I seriously doubt that the story is true though.
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#11 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benji'sMom View Post
Why would a lawyer reveal something like that to a hairdresser? Even without naming names it is still unethical to say ANYTHING about your clients to anyone.
Good point. I was so busy trying to reason it out, I didn't even think about that! : It's one of the reasons I'm a little skeptical of the validity of the story. I don't think that my friend is making it up, but her client could be grossly exaggerating something, or just trying to make her life as a lawyer seem more interesting.


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BTW, you tube has a video of an 8 year old still nursing-- this came up on a mainstream board. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHRyRCHuQ7g

I think most often people throw out the 'what if s/he is a teenager...' but I really think that is a rarity, as is an 8 year old still consistently nursing... but it just seems to not merit worry or arguement. And I have heard that occasionally an older child (yes even a tween/teen) may ask to nurse but just once). But saying, is it okay for a teenager is more a reactionary response than based in reality.
Interesting video, thanks. OT, there were a few more "related" videos on the side of this one that make extended BFers and APers look a little nuts. :

Back to the subject though, yes, I hear the "what if he's a teenager" thing once in a while. I always just say that the natural age for weaning is between four and seven, so I'm not really worried about it, but hearing this story got me a little more interested. I really can't say that I would be comfortable nursing a child who was even as young as twelve...

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#12 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 06:00 PM
 
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Unless there are serious developmental issues, I doubt that nursing a teenager is possible--unless that family has been living in the equivalent of a cave somewhere, completely and totally isolated from any other people and the general culture.

And then there's the issue of an attorney violating a client's privacy. Attorney/Client privilege isn't supposed to be just at the attorney's pleasure.

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#13 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 06:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Benji'sMom View Post
Why would a lawyer reveal something like that to a hairdresser? Even without naming names it is still unethical to say ANYTHING about your clients to anyone.

That was my first thought. It sounds like a fabrication to me. Sort of like the time my husband started naming off all the serial killers that had been homeschooled to try and win an argument.

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#14 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 06:54 PM
 
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It sounds like a fabrication to me.
Me too.

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#15 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 07:01 PM
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I am not sure I can believe that. Aside from the lawyer knowing better than to discuss anything regarding her clients (even within the confines of the stylist-client relationship), um...wouldn't the media be ALL OVER THIS??
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#16 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 07:40 PM
 
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I smell something fishy. I can't imagine a lawyer being willing to risk so much to tell confidential information like that to someone.
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#17 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 07:57 PM
 
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#18 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 08:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just want to say that yes, you are all right, it sounds like some kind of fabrication or nonsense. However, I don't think that my friend was making it up or trying to discredit CLW or breastfeeding, as it's something she's really interested in. I'm guessing it's her client (the lawyer) who's the nut.

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I am not sure I can believe that. Aside from the lawyer knowing better than to discuss anything regarding her clients (even within the confines of the stylist-client relationship), um...wouldn't the media be ALL OVER THIS??
Yes, you're right, the media would be all over it. Unless they were just too busy covering Anna Nicole Smith...

I'm thinking, if this is maybe a past client, past case, etc., is it still violating the attorney-client relationship to discuss the case afterwards? Isn't that stuff public record, or no, because it involves a minor? Again, I'm not trying to prove anyone right or wrong here, and I agree that this whole thing is strange.

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#19 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 09:39 PM
 
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While I can believe it is not 'normal' for a teen ager to still be breastfeeding - I will not ever agree that it is 'wrong'. I truly dislike the idea that this woman has a lawyer (an inept lawyer at that ) having to defend her right to breastfeed her child.

If there is other evidence of an inappropriate behavior then that is what is at issue - not the breastfeeding.
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#20 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 09:54 PM
 
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I'd almost be more willing to say your friend is lying. Only because I've heard that same exact story by people before in an attempt to sway me to the "extended breastfeeding is gross and wrong" side by throwing out these exaggerated concocted stories.

Nope. Sounds fishy to me. And I believe no lawyer would talk about clients in that manner, at the very least.. to his hairdresser. : (who are btw known for their gossip )

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#21 of 28 Old 03-20-2007, 11:51 PM
 
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I would bet your hairdresser friend misunderstood the lawyer while chatting and useing the blow-dryer.

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Sort of like the time my husband started naming off all the serial killers that had been homeschooled to try and win an argument.
laughup : How do DHs come up with these things.

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#22 of 28 Old 03-21-2007, 12:08 AM
 
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I don't beleive it
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#23 of 28 Old 03-21-2007, 12:15 AM
 
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I would bet your hairdresser friend misunderstood the lawyer while chatting and useing the blow-dryer.


laughup : How do DHs come up with these things.
Yeah, like the client said "months" and the hairdresser heard "years." Nothing wierd about a 15 or 16mo nursing!

I'm willing to bed that in Asia, when children used to nurse until 12ish, the nurslings were still pre-pubescent when they weaned.

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#24 of 28 Old 03-21-2007, 12:30 AM
 
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I think this story is a load of bull. The media would love to let something like this out.

I read something about a tribe (?) where children nurse until they are ready for marriage. Once they stop nursing, its their sign to move on.
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#25 of 28 Old 03-21-2007, 02:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jessjgh1 View Post
6, 7 is still considered within the norm of biological weaning from what I just read (K Dettwyler).

BTW, you tube has a video of an 8 year old still nursing-- this came up on a mainstream board. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHRyRCHuQ7g

I think most often people throw out the 'what if s/he is a teenager...' but I really think that is a rarity, as is an 8 year old still consistently nursing... but it just seems to not merit worry or arguement. And I have heard that occasionally an older child (yes even a tween/teen) may ask to nurse but just once). But saying, is it okay for a teenager is more a reactionary response than based in reality.


Jessica
That was a really beautiful movie clip. I must admit i'd not actually ever seen an 8 yr old nursing, and wasnt sure how i'd feel about it. But it was sweet.

It also made me a little bit sad, because my son doesnt remember nursing. His first memory was something that happened at preschool (he ran his tricycle into a wall and hurt his head), and that was just after he'd weaned at 3.5 yrs old. It was such a huuuuge part of his (our)life, and yet he has no memory of it. The older girl in the video, who was talking about how she loved breastmilk "more than mango!", and it being so sweet....something tells me a formula fed child wouldnt talk so longingly. Where do people think humans get their "sweet tooth" from, its from the breast, right?


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#26 of 28 Old 03-21-2007, 05:29 AM
 
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I read about an anthropologist describing an Inuit teenager paddling his canoe next to his mother's to breastfeed.
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#27 of 28 Old 03-21-2007, 12:25 PM
 
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I've seen that quoted description too Celery, but it dates back to before the 50s. I'm rather doubting that the Inuit have kept that particular value: that the longer the mother nursed the child, the better-no limits, through the decades. I could be wrong...

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#28 of 28 Old 03-21-2007, 12:29 PM
 
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laughup : How do DHs come up with these things.

I have NO idea! It drives me nuts!

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