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#1 of 25 Old 12-25-2011, 11:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I'm surprised to find myself nursing a 5 year old!  I remember having a conversation with my cousins (4.5 years ago) where they said "yeah, when they're old enough to ask for it, it's time to wean."  At that point, I was only nursing a 3 month old, but even then I knew enough about my kid to say something to the effect of "well, the only thing I know for sure about being a parent at this point is that I can't promise anything!"  So yeah, 4.5 years later, we're still nursing...

 

It's actually still feeling really fine for the 2 of us, but I guess I'm just needing a little back up in the "yes, this is normal" department.  I actually have good support here (I live in CA, have tons of friends who have breastfed up to 2 years old, almost all of my friends' kids were breastfed for at least a year, no problems ever NIP, etc), but I don't know anyone else in person who breastfed this long.  I do "know someone who knows someone" who has nursed this long, which is better than most folks have I guess!

 

My daughter usually only nurses once a day (first thing in the morning) and she's gotten VERY good at asking politely (since she knows that I am a bear in the morning...she actually said one morning "don't go over there...that's snow white's stepmother"...and she wasn't that far off).  Occasionally when she sees my younger daughter nursing, she'll ask to nurse then too and sometimes I say yes, and sometimes no, depending on how my energy level is (and my "getting climbed on" tolerance!).  Whenever I put her to bed (which is rarely since my dh usually does that...he's awesome), she wants to nurse then too, but sometimes she falls asleep while we're reading and we just don't get to the nursing part.

 

She still LOVES it when she does get to nurse. I think it's more about the closeness than the milk (although she does still like the milk and wants to switch sides so that she gets more).  I should ask her why she still likes it.  She's always been a pretty intense kid (and her teacher things she may have some extremely mild sensory issues), and I'm guessing that has influenced her nursing drive from the beginning.  She has always loved it.

 

At this point, I'd be fine if she did decide to wean--especially if it meant that she would accept cuddling a bit more!  And I guess I do see that she's nursing less these days than 6 months ago and asking way less than a year ago (probably because she knows that during the day I'm usually too busy to say yes--I do make a point to say yes every morning...just like she makes a point to ask extremely politely and sometimes to be patient until I'm awake enough).  So I see the progression, sort of.  I guess it's just a bit hard occasionally to have faith that she will do this in her own time.  And it does feel a bit weird (from society's point of view, not to me and my dd) that I'm nursing such an old child.

 

So yeah.  IS this normal?  WILL she really wean on her own?  What signs can I look for that she IS really ready, and what kind of gentle nudges can I give her to help her give it up if she is ready?  I'm sure it will be harder for her to stop nursing giving that her younger sister still "gets to," you know?  It's like the power of suggestion every time we nurse.  (The flip side of this is that I really believe that tandem nursing has helped her accept her new sister 1000% more easily than if she wasn't getting to nurse anymore.)

 

Thanks guys, I really appreciate that there are other real people out there (I assume y'all are real) who are nursing kids even older than mine.  MWUH.


Mama to Nell (11/15/06) and Maggie (10/9/10) . AFTER 2.5 YEARS, I AM AN AUNTIE!!! joy.gifHOORAY TEAR78 and welcome Anika and Brand New Baby Boy!!!!  Circumcision: the more you know, the worse it is; please leave the decision up to your son!

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#2 of 25 Old 12-26-2011, 07:31 AM
 
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So I'm nursing a 20 month old, not a 60 month old, but I think you are allowing your DD to be normal. If you lived in a different culture, where almost all babies nursed, and kids nursed well into childhood, you probably wouldn't even question the fact that your DD nursed.

 

She will stop. She'll get all 'tweeny' and she won't need to nurse anymore and she'll stop.

 

Congrats! It sounds like have a great relationship with your DD!

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#3 of 25 Old 12-27-2011, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks PatioGardener.  It's just so out of the norm here, I guess.


Mama to Nell (11/15/06) and Maggie (10/9/10) . AFTER 2.5 YEARS, I AM AN AUNTIE!!! joy.gifHOORAY TEAR78 and welcome Anika and Brand New Baby Boy!!!!  Circumcision: the more you know, the worse it is; please leave the decision up to your son!

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#4 of 25 Old 12-27-2011, 12:04 PM
 
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Carlyle - I'm not there... yet.  But, I'm still nursing my 3 3/4 year old and it seems to me like she's going to want to continue forever. 

 

Just yesterday we were talking about when the baby comes (I'm 32 weeks pregnant), and mommys and babies and kids in an aimless sort of way.  She looked at me and said, "Mama, I'm never going to stop having up-baba (her word for nursing)."  I replied that it was her choice... and then  a few minutes later I asked her to spell up-baba.  I was really struck by the irony that not only do I nurse a kid who can talk but one who is working on reading.  I NEVER imagined I would nurse so long. 

 

I do feel awkward in some cases and I don't actually tell people I am just meeting that I nurse DD.  But I also feel really good about doing this for her.  I think it's helping her deal with the new baby and expect it will help her with the transition when the baby comes. 

 

It's not often (3-4 x a day, usually in bed) but it's a nice way to snuggle and be close... as long as I don't try to analyze it because then is starts to seem a little strange. 

 

I really appreciated reading your story.  Thanks for sharing!


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#5 of 25 Old 12-27-2011, 03:48 PM
 
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At this point, I'd be fine if she did decide to wean--especially if it meant that she would accept cuddling a bit more! And I guess I do see that she's nursing less these days than 6 months ago and asking way less than a year ago (probably because she knows that during the day I'm usually too busy to say yes--I do make a point to say yes every morning...just like she makes a point to ask extremely politely and sometimes to be patient until I'm awake enough). So I see the progression, sort of. I guess it's just a bit hard occasionally to have faith that she will do this in her own time. And it does feel a bit weird (from society's point of view, not to me and my dd) that I'm nursing such an old child.

 

It *is* hard to have that faith, but I can guarantee you it is worth it.  DD was not entirely CLW and we both had some ambivilance around her weaning (her, more upset, me upset by her sorrow).  With DS, though, who so clearly just moved away from the need it was a great occassion for him--- he was so proud.  It sounds like you are (slowly) getting there.  What I would warn you of, is that it can drag out years but it can also move fairly quickly.  Be prepared for either.

 

 

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Originally Posted by parsley View Post

 

Just yesterday we were talking about when the baby comes (I'm 32 weeks pregnant), and mommys and babies and kids in an aimless sort of way.  She looked at me and said, "Mama, I'm never going to stop having up-baba (her word for nursing)."  I replied that it was her choice... and then  a few minutes later I asked her to spell up-baba.  I was really struck by the irony that not only do I nurse a kid who can talk but one who is working on reading.  I NEVER imagined I would nurse so long. 
 

 

lol.gif  That was one of the things that struck me about nursing into childhood as well.  There were all these arbitrary stopping points (when they get teeth, when they walk, when they can ask for it, when...) it was crazy when I realized that both of my children were competent readers before they were weaned!

 

 


 

 

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#6 of 25 Old 12-27-2011, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks guys!  It is funny to hear the arbitrary limits people set on this stuff.  It's so good to hear from your point of view tiredx2 that it was worth it.  It does feel really important to dd still...I imagine that it could drag out for years.  I guess I would be startled if it went quickly, but it's good to be prepared for either as you said.

 

Parsley, I really think that the tandem nursing thing helped my dd's relationship with her sister.  Just knowing that she could still nurse I think eased her mind about the transition.  And when I was nursing the baby and she felt like all my attention was going there, she could still join in.  I hope it goes well for you!


Mama to Nell (11/15/06) and Maggie (10/9/10) . AFTER 2.5 YEARS, I AM AN AUNTIE!!! joy.gifHOORAY TEAR78 and welcome Anika and Brand New Baby Boy!!!!  Circumcision: the more you know, the worse it is; please leave the decision up to your son!

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#7 of 25 Old 01-05-2012, 08:09 AM
 
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I'm still nursing my 3 1/2 year old and its so worth it.  She gets lots of social anxiety and is easily frustrated.  She also just started "real school" this year.  I've found nursing helps her through these tough moments in life and helps her handle them better!  And, yes, she still nurses at night and several times during the day, and I don't see any end in sight!  She has told me a few times that she doesn't need them, then goes right back to them. And, like you, I never thought I would be nursing a preschooler!  But, it just seems so normal now.  So, yes, I think you are normal!!smile.gif

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#8 of 25 Old 01-05-2012, 08:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Carlyle View Post


So yeah.  IS this normal?  WILL she really wean on her own?  What signs can I look for that she IS really ready, and what kind of gentle nudges can I give her to help her give it up if she is ready?  I'm sure it will be harder for her to stop nursing giving that her younger sister still "gets to," you know?  It's like the power of suggestion every time we nurse.  (The flip side of this is that I really believe that tandem nursing has helped her accept her new sister 1000% more easily than if she wasn't getting to nurse anymore.)

 

 

Yes, it's normal, and yes, she'll eventually lose interest.  Signs that she is ready....patience when waiting to nurse, falling asleep before you get to the nursing part, etc.  Things you have already listed.  As far as gentle nudges, I did this w/2 of mine.  One was my 2nd dd.  She was 2 yrs and 8 mos old and I was tandeming her and my 7 mo old ds.  He was nursing so much and we were also going thru an elimination diet and I simply wasn't getting enough to eat I guess.  I was getting so shaky, and decided that it was time to wean my dd.  She was ready, or we would have found another way.  I just told her that it was ok with Mommy if she didn't nurse anymore.  I had tried talking to her about how SHE was old enough not to need to nurse anymore, but when I told her it was ok with ME, she seemed to just forget about nursing.  Sure, she'd ask once a week at first, and we'd try, but she very soon forgot how to latch.  I would let her try every time she asked, which was once a month soon enough.  Then once every 3 months.  By then she just thought it was the funniest thing, and just wanted to feel secure knowing that she could nurse if she wanted, and that I was still there for her in every way. 

 

My son just stopped nursing, first at naptime, then at bedtime.  He started sharing a bed w/his sis (they were 3 and 5) and started going to sleep after song time.

 

My last baby (*sniff, sniff*) is now 5 and didn't wean until she was 4 1/2.  Of course by then we'd only nurse for a few seconds (again, just to make sure she still could if she wanted).  I finally told her it was ok with me if she stopped (I had NO milk, and it was starting to feel creepy, but I'm like that w/dry nursing--did it thru a pregnancy, and it was hard).  So she did stop after a few more nights, w/the occasional time where she'd ask, but just giggle when she tried.
 

 


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#9 of 25 Old 01-13-2012, 02:43 PM
 
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You are totally normal Mama!!! Just giving her what she needs!! My oldest, now 9, nursed everyday till the day he turned 6.  He had "one sip" every night before bed. And then the day he turned 6 he had some, and was done.  He had a few sips when his baby brother was born a few months later because the baby and his sister were.  He has asked a few times since then but never at a good time.  It was a very natural process, no big upheaval.  He nursed everyday till he decided he didn't want to.  And I totally agree that tandeming is the BEST!! No rivalry at all!!


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#10 of 25 Old 01-13-2012, 03:24 PM
 
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Yes, totally normal. My now 6yo weaned just before his 5th birthday, and once since. I can see the nursing relationship continuing beyond that, depending on the child. Funnily enough, his  weaning and  starting school corresponded with the first ear infection he ever h ad, which thankfully  got better without much intervention. He was sick a couple of times that year,and i regretted not being able to nurse to make him better (his 2yo brother was still nursing) Prior to that, the kid  got sick so rarely i was a complete novice at dealing with it. The only thing he ever got was the occasional stomach bug which never lasted beyond a day or two.

 

 

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#11 of 25 Old 01-14-2012, 08:33 PM
 
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I'm right there with you!  My son just turned 5.  Occasionally he falls asleep before nursing, but he almost always remembers.  It last about 20 seconds on each side.  I try to have faith that it will end, but my son is very strong willed and does not like to change his routine.  But a year ago I never thought he'd be nursing so little, so things do change.  Just VERY slowly.  I'm trying to savor it, because I know I'll miss it :) 

 

And yes, I never thought I'd be nursing a competent reader.  My son is also some kind of math geek and knows how to do long division, manipulation of fractions, and a little algebra -- all this before he's weaned.  It's so crazy.  And amazing too.


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#12 of 25 Old 01-16-2012, 08:10 PM
 
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I'm still nursing my DD who is 4.5. I never thought I'd be nursing a preschooler either! You are definitely not alone!


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#13 of 25 Old 01-17-2012, 11:38 AM
 
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Why be normal?  If you wanted to be the norm, you would have stopped nursing even before 1!  Normal doesn't mean best!

 

I weaned my first child right before 5 years old because I was ready to be done.  I was ttc and nursing another child and have rough pregnancies.  My needs to have him weaned were greater than I felt his needs to nurse.  He got nearly 5 years out of it though, so there's definately no guilt with me weaning him.  My second child will be 6 years old in two months and I am ready for her to be done.  I just posted about it if anyone with older nursings feel that way sometimes too.  I have been able to do pure CLW with her.  I had to cut down my oldest every step of the way.  (He nursed 20 times a day at 12 months old - and that's WITH cutting down!  DD has been much more managable!)  But I'm ready for her to wean.  Not really for a good reason, just getting tired of it some days.  She cut herself down to just once a day almost a year ago, so I figured it would happen soon.  I'm still waiting!  My third will be 3 years old next month so we still have a ways to go.  Though the range for pure CLW is generally accepted to be 2.5-7 years, I can't imagine any child of mine weaning on their own before 5.

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#14 of 25 Old 01-17-2012, 12:32 PM
 
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DD stopped nursing when she was 5 years and 1 or 2 months.

 

Man, I never thought I'd go that long, and I think I would have (privately) thought it was weird if I knew someone else still nursing their 5 year old. But when you're the mom it's different, it's natural - it's like everybody else sees your kid as older than they really are.

 

I did not set out to CLW, and only committed to nursing for 2 years. But when 2 years got here, I didn't see any reason to stop. 3 - ditto. 4 - starting to feel more done but still ok. 5 - I was done but willing to let her finish on her own. And she did. It is too bad it's so shameful in this society. And it's crazy that even nursing a 2 year old is supposed to be waaaaaaay out there - 2 year olds are still babies!

 

On the positive side, my family also grew with me. When I had DD, my mother expressed discomfort with the idea of nursing a 2 year old. That irritated me a lot, but since then, she changed her mind. She knew I was still nursing DD when she was 4 and had absolutely negative to say about it. MIL also knew we nursed up until DD was 4 (after age 4 it was so infrequent and private that my mothers apparently assumed we'd weaned, and never asked) and she was also supportive.


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#15 of 25 Old 01-17-2012, 03:58 PM
 
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My kid is six years old and still nurses to sleep at night. I also think, "Is this kid ever going to wean?" I have really mixed feelings about it. I am so over nursing, since I've been doing it nine years straight, but my DS has developmental, neurological and immunological issues. Breastfeeding is probably the only reason he can actually talk and is recovering so well. His sister was only nursing very occasionally at this point and he is every night like clockwork.  So you are not alone I know he'll stop when his jaw lengthens and he can't physically do it anymore -- that's what happened with his sister right after her seventh birthday. But he sure doesn't give any indications of that happening any time soon.  After six years of thrush, I would be happy to stop, though I worry about how it will impact him.

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#16 of 25 Old 01-26-2012, 11:08 AM
 
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You’re so right- our babies often seem so much “older” to other people- but they are still our babies! There really shouldn’t be any hurry for our children to “grow up”, whatever that means in our society. My boys are 9 and 7 now, and breastfed for 6 and 4 years, respectively. Tandem nursing definitely created the tight bond they still share- and made everything so much easier (tantrums, growing pains, co-sleeping, jealousies). My younger son weaned before my older son (who was only nursing at night by that time), but he has always seemed to have his own timetable that allowed him to keep up with his big brud (or even be a step ahead!). Congratulations to all you mamas nursing past 2 years- it IS normal, natural, and right- we just need to support each other so that  one day there will be no more questions of its normalcy.

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#17 of 25 Old 01-27-2012, 08:23 PM
 
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I'm not there yet but am nursing a 3 1/2yo who would nurse all day and night if I would let her so can totally see her nursing till 5. Did I ever think I would nurse this long no. Do I want her to wean. Depends on the moment lol. I think you are in the "normal" range lol. 


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#18 of 25 Old 02-01-2012, 08:51 PM
 
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My son is nearly 4 1/2 and we're still nursing, too.  If I'm home at night, he'll ask to nurse for a few minutes at bedtime, and occasionally for a few minutes in the morning.  If he wakes in the middle of the night, he almost always nurses back to sleep, but thankfully this happens rarely.  

I, too, never imagined I would breastfeed this long.  I think I've only told a half dozen people that we still are nursing. Unfortunately, I think I carry some judgement about it myself.  My husband is totally supportive, but he knows that I'm done with nursing but neither of us can quite grasp the reason why I would take this away from my son if I don't have to.  Tonight when he asked to nurse I said, "you know, you are getting so big, pretty soon you won't nurse anymore." And he looked up at me and said, "Well then, I don't want to get bigger. Nursing is one of my most favorite things to do.  Why would I want to stop something I love doing so much?"  Cue big stabbing pains in my heart.  It's true, I do want to stop, but I don't want my beautiful boy to suffer pain, rejection, and confusion by me or anyone else.  I just wish there were a way for this to unfold soon where he feels finished, proud and whole.

I've also been wondering of late, if anyone has older extended nursing children, say in their teens, who remember nursing and what they have to say about it/feel now?  I sometimes worry that my son will remember this in teens and feel "grossed out" and that it will somehow color our relationship.

I'm so glad for this forum.  It's wonderful to read these supportive and insightful posts.

 

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#19 of 25 Old 02-09-2012, 10:09 AM
 
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Dd nursed for years - now that she has stopped, she is getting sick a lot more - it was definitely worth it!

 

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#20 of 25 Old 02-09-2012, 11:50 AM
 
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I "get" so much of your post!  There are days where all she wants to do is nurse and I talk to her about when she is older how she won't nurse and she tells me she will till she is 11yrs old (that is how old her sister is) but that she will stop after that but that she will still nurse at 5yrs old (her brothers age) lol. But I too wonder why would I take something away from her that is good for her and honestly there is no reason to take it away beyond people making you feel that it is not normal/harmful. I know of no one who nursed for a long time who remembers it in a negative way for what that is worth. I honestly feel they are closer with their mom/parents. 

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My son is nearly 4 1/2 and we're still nursing, too.  If I'm home at night, he'll ask to nurse for a few minutes at bedtime, and occasionally for a few minutes in the morning.  If he wakes in the middle of the night, he almost always nurses back to sleep, but thankfully this happens rarely.  

I, too, never imagined I would breastfeed this long.  I think I've only told a half dozen people that we still are nursing. Unfortunately, I think I carry some judgement about it myself.  My husband is totally supportive, but he knows that I'm done with nursing but neither of us can quite grasp the reason why I would take this away from my son if I don't have to.  Tonight when he asked to nurse I said, "you know, you are getting so big, pretty soon you won't nurse anymore." And he looked up at me and said, "Well then, I don't want to get bigger. Nursing is one of my most favorite things to do.  Why would I want to stop something I love doing so much?"  Cue big stabbing pains in my heart.  It's true, I do want to stop, but I don't want my beautiful boy to suffer pain, rejection, and confusion by me or anyone else.  I just wish there were a way for this to unfold soon where he feels finished, proud and whole.

I've also been wondering of late, if anyone has older extended nursing children, say in their teens, who remember nursing and what they have to say about it/feel now?  I sometimes worry that my son will remember this in teens and feel "grossed out" and that it will somehow color our relationship.

I'm so glad for this forum.  It's wonderful to read these supportive and insightful posts.

 



 


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#21 of 25 Old 02-14-2012, 03:47 PM
 
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I "get" so much of your post!  There are days where all she wants to do is nurse and I talk to her about when she is older how she won't nurse and she tells me she will till she is 11yrs old (that is how old her sister is) but that she will stop after that but that she will still nurse at 5yrs old (her brothers age) lol. But I too wonder why would I take something away from her that is good for her and honestly there is no reason to take it away beyond people making you feel that it is not normal/harmful. I know of no one who nursed for a long time who remembers it in a negative way for what that is worth. I honestly feel they are closer with their mom/parents. 



 




I am so glad to read this post!  My DS is almost 5 and 1/2 and still nurses at night.  I. too, see no reason to take something away from him that is good for him and that he loves - the only reason would be what others would think.  As an AP parent, I haven't been concerned with what people think so far, so why start now?!


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#22 of 25 Old 02-15-2012, 12:15 AM
 
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My dd just turned 5, and is very distressed at grandma's pressure to wean. It's sad, because otherwise she has such a great bond with her grandma (my mil). I just told her about this thread. She told her daddy, in her best hands-on-hips tone, "Mommy's reading about another mommy nursing a 5 year old! Think about that!" He just laughed. She's gotten a bit of pressure from daddy, too, though not as intense. So, she's thrilled that there are others like her.

 

I certainly didn't plan this. In fact, I remember one of my first LLL meetings, where I met a mom who nursed a 5yo. I was flabbergasted, not so much out of judgment, but out of sheer new mommy exhaustion. I thought, who on earth would want to do this for five years! The other moms explained to me that nursing an older child was not like nursing a newborn. LOL. She'll still nurse a few times a day, if we're not busy. But fortunately, she no longer wakes me up five times a night! winky.gif

 

If I thought she'd wean easily with some gentle encouragement, then I'd think about it. but she gets so distressed at even the thought of it. So, for now, I'm willing to be patient, and wait until she's ready.

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#23 of 25 Old 03-13-2012, 07:47 PM
 
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Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Anything humans do is normal human behaviour. Common is another thing alrogether.
My daughter only just self weaned at age 5 and some months. Sometimes I wish that nursing was still an option during times of distress. Here is a "huzzah" for you.
HUZZAH!
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#24 of 25 Old 03-26-2012, 11:04 AM
 
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just wanted to add in that i'm nursing a 6yo dd (7 in june). mostly at night to go to sleep, sometimes during the night (more if she's sick). a couple of weeks ago she was drawing a picture of her favorite thing in her community in her 1st grade workbook. she drew a picture of herself about to nurse and said it was her favorite place to be/thing to do because nga-nga was "full of love." i'm keeping that one forever! love.gif

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#25 of 25 Old 03-26-2012, 03:49 PM
 
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I am so grateful to have found other Mums who understand! I am feeling a little under pressure at the moment because my daughter is 5 in a couple of weeks and her Dad is trying to tell her that she is too old as she will be starting school soon. She gets really upset and clingy when he says this, but his family are of the 'feed for 6 months and then go onto formula' persuasion, so obviously I'm odd for wanting to let her wean in her own time.

My Daughter still feeds morning and night and will occasionally ask for it during the day, so I don't think she's ready to wean yet.

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