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Old 10-06-2003, 10:31 PM
 
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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.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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Old 10-06-2003, 10:32 PM
 
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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.
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Old 10-06-2003, 11:07 PM
 
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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?

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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Old 10-06-2003, 11:29 PM
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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.
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Old 10-06-2003, 11:44 PM
 
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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.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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Old 10-07-2003, 01:02 AM
 
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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?
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Old 10-07-2003, 01:12 AM
 
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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?
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Old 10-07-2003, 01:39 AM
 
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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...
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Old 10-07-2003, 01:44 AM
 
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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?

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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Old 10-07-2003, 02:09 AM
 
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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
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Old 10-07-2003, 02:24 AM
 
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as would mine
:LOL

Really, though, that's fascinating.
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Old 10-07-2003, 07:34 AM
 
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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.

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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Old 10-07-2003, 11:50 AM
 
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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.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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Old 10-07-2003, 02:26 PM
 
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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...
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Old 10-07-2003, 04:00 PM
 
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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
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Old 10-07-2003, 04:15 PM
 
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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.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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Old 10-07-2003, 04:32 PM
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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.
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Old 10-07-2003, 04:38 PM
 
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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.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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Old 10-07-2003, 06:02 PM
 
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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!

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Old 10-07-2003, 06:18 PM
 
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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...

Mama to three small people; wife to one big person; pet-person to cats and dogs..."Be the change you want to see in the world"-- Gandhi
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Old 10-07-2003, 08:21 PM
 
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Sadean-very interesting points. Well presented and valid
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Old 10-07-2003, 08:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by pumpkinhead
But we're not saying this about a 3, 4, 5 or 6 year old. We're referring to an eleven year old
I'm just saying, if we draw the line somewhere between age 7 and age 11, then who's to say that other people can't draw the line much lower, say between age 2 and age 3? Either it's other people's business to decide when a mother should wean, or it isn't. We can't be hypocrites. If there is something inappropriate behind a child's breastfeeding, that can only be determined on an individual, case-by-case evaluation. It cannot be determined by age alone. It's like trying to determine when someone is ready for sex. Some people are ready at 13. Others aren't ready at 30! There's a WIDE age range for a lot of things.

I personally feel that only the individual knows when he is ready to wean, just as only the individual knows when he is ready for sex. Everyone is different.

Quote:
Originally posted by pumpkinhead
a pre-adolescent as opposed to a child
Most people in this country would say about a 3 or 4 year old "this isn't a baby we're talking about any more, it's a child. It's no longer appropriate."

Quote:
Originally posted by pumpkinhead
The point I tried to make earlier was that most kids left to self wean do just that by the age of 2-6
The key word in that sentence is "most."

Quote:
Originally posted by pumpkinhead
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!
Yes there are, but I still don't see anything wrong with this way.

Quote:
Originally posted by sadean
sexually deviate activity
Breastfeeding is not a sexual activity!

Quote:
Originally posted by sadean
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.
It feels good to have my earlobes sucked on, too. That does not make ears sex organs.

Quote:
Originally posted by sadean
there comes a natural end to this developmental stage of childrearing and IMO, this pair is LONG past their "expiration" date.
I do not think breastfeeding has an expiration date. Yes, there is a natural end to the breastfeeding stage, and it is at a different age for every child!

Quote:
Originally posted by sadean
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").
Nerves run all through our bodies. I can get just as aroused having my ears sucked on as I can by having my breasts sucked on.

Quote:
Originally posted by sadean
IMO, like anything else that involves sensuality and intamacy, breastfeeding/nurturing CAN be sexual and CAN be used as a form of abuse
If a child is being coerced to stimulate his mother's breasts/nipples the way a sexual lover does (and I would not call it breastfeeding/nurturing, I would call it whatever you call it when a sexual lover stimulates a woman's breasts/nipples orally), then obviously that is wrong. However, there is absolutely no evidence that such a thing is going on in this case. You should not suspect the mother of such a thing just based on the fact that the child is older than usual. The most likely thing is that a healthy breastfeeding relationship has continued longer than usual.

It is the same as assuming that a mother is "getting off" by giving her child a massage. We all know massages can be sexual! And my goodness, when a mother changes a boy's diaper, she touches his penis! Now that's definitely a sexual organ!

I just don't think we should be jumping to conclusions. There is a whole lot of perfectly innocent contact between mother's and children's bodies. (Including kissing on the lips, which can certainly stimulate me sexually when my partner/lover and I do it -- but it's *completely* different when it's between a mother and child.)

I don't think we should get paranoid about it when there is no evidence of wrongdoing.

I think a lot of people here are letting themselves be influenced by this country's obsession with breasts, and by the way this society has completely inaccurately and inappropriately equated breasts with sex.

Quote:
Originally posted by sadean
I do not view it as a healthy and age/developmentally appropriate activity and could potentially be very harmful...
I still don't see any evidence of that.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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Old 10-07-2003, 11:16 PM
 
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This is a very thought-provoking discussion.

Devrock, you have made valid points. I don't agree with everything you've said, but you do make a very convincing argument.

To the rest of you ladies , I just want to commend you all on your intelligent arguments. I've visited forums where people have been snide and snotty about issues such as these when there isn't any need. You can have an argument without getting angry about it and everyone here has been very respectful.

I just wanted to point that out and



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Old 10-07-2003, 11:54 PM
 
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I have read this thread with interest, and am so happy it hasn't turned into a flame fest!

This discussion reminded me of something I read recently, in Geisha, A Life by Mineko Iwasaki. Iwasaki, at age 12, was the victim of attempted rape by her older sister's son and, as a result, ended up moving in with a woman outside of her okiya. Here is what she says about that:

Quote:
The move changed where I slept, but not what I did...By this time I was so entwined with the larger community of Gion Kobu that I hardly noticed the difference, except that I finally had to give up my life-long habit of suckling on Kuniko or Auntie Oima's breast until I fell asleep.
So, she weaned from breast nurturing at age 12, and continued onto being a healthy, productive adult.

ITA that, as long as both parties agree to the breast nurturing, that it is productive and healthy.
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Old 10-07-2003, 11:55 PM
 
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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?
If a child is using breastfeeding as an emotional crutch, he's probably picked the healthiest one out there. Other kids use drugs, TV, or overeating. I sucked my thumb until I was 10 and have yet to see how this is harmful. (I have perfectly straight teeth, and am the only one of my siblings who did not need braces!)

As for the child not really needing to...if he didn't need to, wouldn't he quit? I sure got a lot of dirty looks for bfing my 7 month old, since people thought she didn't "need to." (Some of these same people thought she didn't need to when she was 2 months old either.)

I don't know what is best for this woman and her child, and I bet none of us do either. All we know is what works for our own families.
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Old 10-08-2003, 12:50 AM
 
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Both sides of this arguement have brought up that we don't know the entire family story. With that in mind, I think it's safe to say that while this could be a very happy, healthy relationship, red flags do come up because it is so very far beyond normal, and I feel that someone should look closely at this relationship. In a perfect world we could call up an EBF-friendly therapist who could meet with the family and try to determine what's going on. However, since this world is not perfect, regarding an earlier post:

"I firmly belive that it is essential to a child's physical and emotional health to allow the child to self-wean. If society's attitude is going to cause phychological problems, then it is *society* that needs to change! Not me and not my child!"

While ITA that society is what needs to change, I am not willing to risk my daughter's having future psychological problems while waiting for society to change. Yes, I can help society change, but I can only do so much in my little corner of America.

On a lighter note, the very first thing I thought when I came to this post... Dr. Phil would have a field day!

Thanks for this discussion! Very interesting, good arguements all around.

Rachel, married to Andy, mama to Aubrey, Lauren, Sasha, and *surprise* Baby #4, due November, 2011
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Old 10-08-2003, 12:52 AM
 
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I don't know what is best for this woman and her child, and I bet none of us do either. All we know is what works for our own families.
Perhaps, (although I still think that bf an 11 year old in this society is playing fast and loose with a child's emotional health), but at this point the discussion has become theoretical, hasn't it? I think many of us question whether the scenario is even true. That said, it makes for a fascinating debate! I, too, appreciate the tone in which it has been conducted.

Stephanie mom to Brianna (6/00) , Alexander (6/02) , and Ethan (9/07) .
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Old 10-08-2003, 02:36 AM
 
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I really believe in my heart that that is child abuse. Nubbing??? I have never heard of such a thing. I think that there are so many ways of expressing love for our children. I still bf my 20 month old, and it is getting old, lol. I wonder if this woman is married, my dh would have called 911 for a psyc evaluation.
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Old 10-08-2003, 03:47 AM
 
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Originally posted by rachdoll
In a perfect world we could call up an EBF-friendly therapist who could meet with the family and try to determine what's going on.
I think that a truly SBF-friendly therapist would never dream of intruding in a SBF relationship to "determine what's going on," unless there was some evidence that there really was 'something' going on.

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Originally posted by rachdoll
While ITA that society is what needs to change, I am not willing to risk my daughter's having future psychological problems while waiting for society to change. Yes, I can help society change, but I can only do so much in my little corner of America.
If you carry that attitude to its logical conclusion, then you'd better not SBF at all -- you'd better force your child to wean at six months. Any continuation after that point guarantees disapproval from some segment of society, and that segment grows rapidly as the child ages, so that by the time the child is 13 months old, I would guess that more than half of our unenlightened society would disapprove, and by the time the child is 3, I'll bet practically the whole country would accuse you of child abuse. A child that breastfed to age 3 and a child that breastfed to age 11 are both going to be mocked and told that their bf relationship was inappropriate and/or abusive. The only way to change this situation is for MORE mothers to breastfeed their older children openly. I think it is more psychologically damaging to wean a child before his time than it is to risk society's disapproval.

And if being breastfed does mean suffering psychological harm from a disapproving society, then we need to focus our attention on the people inflicting the harm: not on the mothers, who are doing nothing wrong, but on the society, which is making the child *think* that something wrong was done to him. If we convince mothers to stop breastfeeding, we validate the society's attitude and perpetuate its ability to do harm.

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Originally posted by luv my 2 sweeties
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I still think that bf an 11 year old in this society is playing fast and loose with a child's emotional health
Since it is THIS society we're talking about, you might as well say the same thing about breastfeeding a 3 year old.

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Originally posted by luv my 2 sweeties
at this point the discussion has become theoretical, hasn't it? I think many of us question whether the scenario is even true.
I think it's been theoretical from the beginning, since we know nothing about the individual case -- it has always been just a discussion of "would it be appropriate to bf an 11 yr old" -- it shouldn't really matter whether it's real or theoretical in order for us to discuss that question.

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Mutherluv
I really believe in my heart that that is child abuse
I say this with all due respect, but there it is again. The "belief in one's heart." The "feeling." With no argument to back it up. WHY is it abusive? WHAT makes it abusive? HOW is it harmful? And I don't mean indirect harm from a disapproving culture, but the direct harm that is required for something to be termed abusive? (Is it abusive to allow a boy to wear his hair long, knowing he's going to be called a "girl"?)

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Mutherluv
I have never heard of such a thing.
I really think that this is what's behind "the feeling." It's a new idea. You're not used to it yet. I think it's a knee-jerk reaction.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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Old 10-08-2003, 09:26 AM
 
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If you carry that attitude to its logical conclusion, then you'd better not SBF at all -- you'd better force your child to wean at six months. Any continuation after that point guarantees disapproval from some segment of society, and that segment grows rapidly as the child ages, so that by the time the child is 13 months old, I would guess that more than half of our unenlightened society would disapprove, and by the time the child is 3, I'll bet practically the whole country would accuse you of child abuse. A child that breastfed to age 3 and a child that breastfed to age 11 are both going to be mocked and told that their bf relationship was inappropriate and/or abusive.
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Since it is THIS society we're talking about, you might as well say the same thing about breastfeeding a 3 year old.
With all due respect, Devrock, this arguement is facetious. A baby or toddler (even a preschooler) is not going to suffer psycological damage from SBF. They are unaware of society's norms at early ages. (Look at how many young children undress in public! ) I suppose *some* damage could be caused if a mother constantly talked about nursing her 3 year old in front of disapproving people and in the child's presence, (thus subjecting the child to public disapproval) but otherwise the child would be mostly unaware that anything is out of the ordinary. Plus, the "sexual" controversies involved would be over a pre-schooler's head. There is no reason that a child nursed into early childhood should be mocked, since their peers are unlikely to even know about it. An 11 year old is so much more aware of societies norms (or will be soon if he's not now) and impending puberty threatens to create problems with his emotional and sexual health. MUST it create those problems? Maybe not, but it's not a risk I'd be willing to take with *my* child.

Stephanie mom to Brianna (6/00) , Alexander (6/02) , and Ethan (9/07) .
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