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#1 of 160 Old 10-02-2003, 01:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Tonight while discussing with my family how long I was going to BF my DS, someone mentioned that they work with a lady who does EBF. This lady brags about EBF her 10 or 11 YEAR old son. She is a member of LLL, but does the LLL really support BF for that long? I have an 11yr old neice and they are already taking sex ed. classes and going through puberty. Boys that age are starting to see women in a whole new way.

What are your thoughts on how long EBF should be continued. Do you think BF for that long could create social problems for the child? Her other kids were also EBF for just as long i think. I have interacted with them on a few different occasions and them don't seem to fit in with the other kids, but try harder to find approval from the adults.


SO what do you think?....
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#2 of 160 Old 10-02-2003, 01:26 AM
 
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I think that it is not up to me to judge other women for how long they breastfeed. I do not know her individual situation, nor do I know if my child will have weaned herself by age ten. I once thought age 4 or 5 was a ripe old age for a nursling. I knon now that every situation is unique, and it is not my place to say when a child weans.
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#3 of 160 Old 10-02-2003, 01:33 AM
 
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Well, like Lauren said I hate to tell other people how to do things since I don't want anyone telling me what to do.

While I can't imagine nursing until that age, I know it's different when it's your own child. I used to think 2-3 years old was too old (and sorta gross) until I had my own children. I nursed my dd until she weaned at 20 months (I was prepared to tandem nurse, but she weaned when I was 2mo pg) and will allow ds to wean when he is ready.

I can't really picture my siblings or myself nursing that long!
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#4 of 160 Old 10-02-2003, 01:52 AM
 
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I think bf'ing an 11 yr old would probably be out of my comfort level. But who knows. I havent walked in those shoes.
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#5 of 160 Old 10-02-2003, 08:21 AM
 
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It is definitely out of my comfort level as well.

But, I don't think it has anything to do with sex. The breasts (in most cultures) are only seen as mechanisms for feeding, not sex. Unless someone is taught that they are sexual, they aren't.

Personally, I feel that there are developmental windows for behavior and an 11 year old nursing does not fit in with my conception of what is developmentally appropriate. But I don't know that situation or that family, and I'm sure there are relevant factors that haven't been mentioned here.

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#6 of 160 Old 10-02-2003, 10:49 AM
 
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I'm with the other posters. I used to think that a three year old was Waaayy too olf to be nursing, but my ds will be three next week and says he has no plans to stop.

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#7 of 160 Old 10-02-2003, 01:53 PM
 
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I personally know for sure that I would not be comfortable nursing taht long. I don't think I would be comfortable seeing someone nurse a child of that age either.
That said yoru friend may have been exagerating too get a point across about extended BF. I say this because I know someone who does this all the time. She thinks that BF beyond a year is gross and will say things like " well tina Bf her daughter till she was in kindergarten" which someone may have been like whoa but I know tina and she bF until she started preschool at the age of three not six like she is portraying. Just though I'd point that out.
It also would not be in me if it was true to tell her she is wrong.
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#8 of 160 Old 10-02-2003, 09:59 PM
 
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I would say that nursing to 11 years of age is definitely way out of the norm. Some girls are already going thru puberty at that age.

I don't even know if I really beleive this woman, but I guess it is possible for it to happen.
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#9 of 160 Old 10-02-2003, 10:03 PM
 
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I have interacted with them on a few different occasions and them don't seem to fit in with the other kids, but try harder to find approval from the adults.
Gee that describes how I was as a kid and I wasn't nursed for more than 8-9 months.:

Maybe that's just their personality types?

I think 11 is beyond my comfort range too, and it's rather outside the range of biologically "normal" weaning ages found in K. Dettwyler's research, but I try to not look askance at others who do things differently than I do. It'd be too tiring for one thing; most people in this country do things differently than we do.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#10 of 160 Old 10-02-2003, 11:01 PM
 
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But, I don't think it has anything to do with sex. The breasts (in most cultures) are only seen as mechanisms for feeding, not sex. Unless someone is taught that they are sexual, they aren't.
I agree in principle, but in *this* culture, breasts are highly sexualized. : I would find it hard to believe that a boy could be totally sheltered from that. Even if he were still sheltered at age 11, how will he feel when he is 16 or 17 and thinks back on the experience of BF as a pre-teen? Whatever the range of normal may be in the "natural" world, I would have to wonder if this is truely best for a boy in this culture. BUT, like others have said, I haven't BTDT (and don't plan to! ), and there may be some extenuating circumstance in this case. (This is assuming it's even true. There *are* those who would say something like that just for the shock value! ) Anyway, that's my 2 pennies!

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#11 of 160 Old 10-03-2003, 02:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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More info I found out about this lady.

I talked to the person again who works with her, and asked some more ?'s. I asked "Could it be that she just said that she did EBF, and now mentioned her son is 11?" He said "no, she told us that she still BF him. Except that she doesn't produce milk anymore, and she calls it "nubbing". She says she does it just to give him comfort and to have a bonding experience with her son."

I guess another co-worker told her that was child abuse, and she got really upset. But now that makes it seem even weirder to me. I don't know what she is thinking, but I don't think this is good for the boy.
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#12 of 160 Old 10-03-2003, 02:23 AM
 
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Yesterday I was talking to my neighboor's daughter, she's 11 years old, and she was telling me about this kid, also 11, who was spreading the word in her school that she was a bisexual... I was amazed of such a situation at their age (I'm 33 years old and when I was 11 I still was playing with dolls ) , she also told me that many of her classmates had already had some kind of sexual intimacy with others so certainly it is an age in which kids become so aware of sexuality, even morbid about it. Would be interesting to hear how this mom handles her boy's adolescence. Haven't heard about any case like this before. For sure it is uncommon.
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#13 of 160 Old 10-03-2003, 10:40 PM
 
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I talked to the person again who works with her, and asked some more ?'s. I asked "Could it be that she just said that she did EBF, and now mentioned her son is 11?" He said "no, she told us that she still BF him. Except that she doesn't produce milk anymore, and she calls it "nubbing". She says she does it just to give him comfort and to have a bonding experience with her son."
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?! I agree that kids that age are very aware of sexuality. He must be at least starting to be aware of the girls in his class, and what kind of questions would that raise in his mind, comparing his mother's "nubbing" with his curiosity about girls? Sorry, maybe it's not ideal that breasts are sexualized in our society, but it's the truth, and a child cannot grow up in our culture without knowing that (through advertising, magazines, etc.).

I don't think I'd go so far as to call it abuse, but I think this woman should find a new way to bond with her son.
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#14 of 160 Old 10-03-2003, 10:54 PM
 
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Smittenmom, I'm with you. Of course we don't want to judge other people's choices. But I personally have a problem with that.

First of all, I find it highly unlikely that it's even true. Second of all, I find it highly unlikely that it will NOT cause a problem in this woman's relationship with her son.
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#15 of 160 Old 10-04-2003, 10:31 AM
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Um, that bothers me a lot. I understand the big "Political Correctness" urge to shut our mouths and let people do whatever the heck they want, which is usually the best thing to do, but I think that at the very least, someone should talk to this woman. Surely she can find more age appropriate ways to snuggle/comfort/bond with her child.
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#16 of 160 Old 10-04-2003, 11:00 AM
 
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When I was reading the OP and the update, I was thinking that maybe the 11 year old is not developmentally normal so perhaps that is why the mother continues to nurse.

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#17 of 160 Old 10-04-2003, 03:19 PM
 
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The next relevent question for me then is what is the developmental age of the child?

I would think by 11 that there are other ways to provide comfort: hugs being the easiest and best one IMO.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#18 of 160 Old 10-04-2003, 03:31 PM
 
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11yrs is, for me, too old to BF. There family could be totally legit but it seems sketchy to me. I didn't date at age 11, but there were kids going on group dates. A 13yr girl in my sisters class was pregnant, and it she was not raped.

Also, I agree breasts are 1st for nursing, but I happen to like my breasts in a sexual way and when my youngest is 11yrs old by goodness my breasts will be for me and my husband only I cherish every (okay most) nursing moments, but I remember when feeling touched out wasn't an issue!
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#19 of 160 Old 10-04-2003, 04:40 PM
 
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Wow! That would be one healthy kid! I don't know about LLL, but I would support it. If EBF doesn't fit into our culture, then it is the culture that needs to change, not the EBF.

If a kid finds out that foot-rubbing is sometimes used as foreplay, it shouldn't make him feel weird about his mother rubbing his feet. Neither breasts nor feet "become" sexual when a child reaches puberty and realizes that feet and breasts (along with every other body part) are sometimes incorporated in foreplay.

Breasts are for making milk and feeding children. Breastfeeding never becomes unhealthy.

-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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#20 of 160 Old 10-04-2003, 05:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by smittenmom
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?! I agree that kids that age are very aware of sexuality. He must be at least starting to be aware of the girls in his class, and what kind of questions would that raise in his mind, comparing his mother's "nubbing" with his curiosity about girls? Sorry, maybe it's not ideal that breasts are sexualized in our society, but it's the truth, and a child cannot grow up in our culture without knowing that (through advertising, magazines, etc.).

I don't think I'd go so far as to call it abuse, but I think this woman should find a new way to bond with her son.

I hate to say it, but I agree. She's not even producing milk anymore so technically it is NOT breastfeeding.
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#21 of 160 Old 10-04-2003, 05:35 PM
 
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Breast-nurturing, then. Milk or no milk, it is not harmful.

-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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#22 of 160 Old 10-04-2003, 05:48 PM
 
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I really didn't have any milk the last few months of nursing my dd, so I don't think that is an issue either.

I just don't really know if I beleive this 11 year old is really nursing. It's just very very unusual. I am definitely an EN advocate too
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#23 of 160 Old 10-05-2003, 02:11 AM
 
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I don't know...I really can't go off third hand info very well...I think after it goes so far down the chain it isn't always good info.

Some Alaskan Natives nurse until that age and it isn't uncommon among some of them to nurse at that age.

I have read of a few cases of women nursing children at an older age due to extremely bad allergies as in the child simply could not eat hardly any food without a reaction.

While I wouldn't want to still be nursing at that age I can't really judge someone, especially when I don't know anything about the situation.

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#24 of 160 Old 10-05-2003, 06:32 AM
 
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I don't think you can judge one way or the other based purely on the fact that they are still nursing. Still nursing may be yet another way that an otherwise disfunctional relationship is manifesting itself. Or, this could just be a couple who reaches the far end of the bell curve for the age of natural weaning.

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#25 of 160 Old 10-05-2003, 02:33 PM
 
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Originally posted by Devrock
Breast-nurturing, then. Milk or no milk, it is not harmful.
I'm all for EBF, and I have to disagree. It could be harmful. I don't think there's really enough information to judge this case, but I think in some cases it could be harmful.
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#26 of 160 Old 10-05-2003, 02:53 PM
 
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My dp was taking an anthropology class when I got pg and in it, he learned that primates wean at puberty. The chemical onset of puberty for humans is between age 5 and 10. Considering that many native peoples breastfeed, or breat nurture to age 10 or 11, I do not find myself in a postition to judge their relationship, especially, as abimommy has said, off third hand info.
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#27 of 160 Old 10-05-2003, 03:01 PM
 
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Originally posted by AnnMarie
It could be harmful. I don't think there's really enough information to judge this case, but I think in some cases it could be harmful.
How? How could it harm? The only problem I can imagine a breastfed 11 yr old having is people *telling him* it's harmful. The people need to change, not the breastfeeding.

-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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#28 of 160 Old 10-05-2003, 03:48 PM
 
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Originally posted by Devrock
How? How could it harm? The only problem I can imagine a breastfed 11 yr old having is people *telling him* it's harmful. The people need to change, not the breastfeeding.
That is one way. Let's face it, life is hard, kids are cruel, people don't understand breastfeeding babies, never mind 11 year olds. Does that mean that people shouldn't do it to please those? Of course not. But I think you have to weigh the pros and the cons and I personally don't see any pros to letting a child suck on the breast for comfort at 11 years old. There are many other ways to show love and affection and I can't imagine any 11 year old even wanting to do this. I wonder if this woman that says she is doing this isn't just telling a story?

The other thing that would concern me is at 11 it could be emotionally damaging. My daughter is 10 and going through puberty. I couldn't imagine nursing her, she wouldn't want to. I don't think most child would want to at that age. I have to wonder what it could do to a young boy that's going through puberty.

It's weird being on this side of the argument. I'm usually the one saying that there's nothing wrong with EBF and it should continue as long as mutually desired, but something just doesn't seem right with this situation. I can't see an 11 year old boy wanting to suck on his mother's breast. But I think it's OK to feel really strongly about something like breastfeeding, but still realize that maybe it's not always the best thing. I think sometimes we have such strong feelings that it's hard to say yeah, maybe that's not such a great thing.
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#29 of 160 Old 10-05-2003, 04:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Zanymom

I guess another co-worker told her that was child abuse, and she got really upset. But now that makes it seem even weirder to me. I don't know what she is thinking, but I don't think this is good for the boy.
This is exactly what makes me think the story may not be true. Come on, people call social services for nursing 3 year olds. :LOL But nobody is going to call on a woman nursing her 11 year old?
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#30 of 160 Old 10-05-2003, 04:27 PM
 
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From the boy's POV, I doubt anyone would know. I know that when DS was "still" nursing at 4, his preschool teachers and pals didn't know. It wasn't as if he nursed like a newborn or while we were out. When it's tailing off as they get older it tends to be a comfort/quiet-moment/going-to-sleep sort of thing. At least that's how it's been for me, twice.

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