oldest age a child might wean? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 75 Old 02-21-2006, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi,
I don't have any older nurslings...just two almost 5 month old babies(which I *struggle* to pump milk for around the clock)....but I wanted to run this topic by this forum because it has been troubling me. On a mainstream breastfeeding forum a couple days ago, I came across the topic "bfing 10 year old?"...the OP stated (paraphrasing)that her sister had a lady in her class that was still bfing a 10 year old and wanted to know what everyone thought of that. Some posters just said they had never heard of any child nursing that long...but other posters were saying that the mother must be doing it for herself(???I'll never get this one) and that the child is going to grow up with severe psychological problems because this just "isn't done" in "american culture". I probably should have just held my peace...but it just surprised me to find this on a bfing forum for twin moms, who by the way are already discouraged enough about breastfeeding at all. These people have no clue about the rumored mother/daughter nursing relationship andsome of the posts offended me.
So I posted saying I thought it was shameful that they would judge a mother for providing milk for her child and ...and of course *sigh* I got picked apart and blasted with remarks of these people wondering "how far I take breastfeeding" They gave accounts of how their kids weaned at 6 months and could not imagine them still nursing at two much less ten. Or one lady said she had a 5 year old and an 8 year old that were private children and would not want anything to do with "that"....ugh...maybe I'm just too hormonal...I should really stay off those forums.

--Amanda
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#2 of 75 Old 02-21-2006, 05:54 PM
 
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Yeah, just stay off of those forums. My dh gets mad at me when I go near such places because I just get so mad and upset.

Babies don't wean at 6 months. They might be manipulated in one way or another to make them stop nursing, but it's not weaning. Think back to evolution...if a baby were to wean (be fulfilled and make an informed emotional and physiological decision to stop breastfeeding) at that age, it would likely die. Evolutionary dead end. We have evolved to nurse for much longer than that. Why do those people think we make milk for so long?

No one has ever proven a causal relationship between emotional problems and extended breastfeeding of any duration. There may be other issues in a parent/child relationship, but all else being healthy, breastfeeding is not going to make a child mentally ill.

Some people!
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#3 of 75 Old 02-21-2006, 07:14 PM
 
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In my experience, lots of kids would go until 3 or 4, quite a few still at 5, but very few make it past 6 and even less make it past 7. There really are so many changes that happen around 5 that make that about the end of even long nursers. It is a time when they start to turn into big kids.

Has there ever been an 8 or 9 or 10 year old that nursed? Sure, but they are so few and far between that what you really hear are usually just stories, not the truth.

I agree that if you have to "wean" to a bottle or to another kind of milk as a main part of the diet--It isn't weaning.
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#4 of 75 Old 02-21-2006, 07:15 PM
 
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Post this, then challenge them to prove their position.

Quote:
2005 AAP statement re upper age for nursing

There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer.
My sister nursed her twins for a good year, maybe a bit longer. She works fulltime too.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#5 of 75 Old 02-21-2006, 11:20 PM
 
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I heard Katherine Dettwyler speak at a LLL conference last year. ( http://www.kathydettwyler.org/ )

She does research on extended breastfeeding. For one facet of her research, she had extended nursers fill out information about how long they did it, how the child weaned, etc. One of her anecdotes regarding the forms was that there were several "outliers" with whom she was in contact: people who had nursed for a decade or more, but they would not fill out the forms for fear of repercussions if they set the truth down on paper.

: Deirdre & the boys ('02 & '06 vintage)
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#6 of 75 Old 02-21-2006, 11:31 PM
 
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Amanda,
Just wanted to let you know I support your feelings. I actually posted too on the forum in support of extended breastfeeding-look for inspiredmommy's post on the twin board. It is hard when we are surrounded by so many who just don't get it.....
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#7 of 75 Old 02-21-2006, 11:31 PM
 
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IMHO 10 years is too long! I don't think it allows the kid to develop their own immunities to be getting moms at that age (maybe that is just myth tho like so much other bullcrap that gets passed as fact on bf). Also, shouldn't a 10 year old be a bit more independent? I mean some 10 year olds are bigger/taller than me (I'm 5'2") and that seems a bit perverted to me. It's possible that their relationship is not in any way perverse, but 10 years IMHO is more grown up than baby. For the record, I"m all for EBF, but 10 years just seems too long.
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#8 of 75 Old 02-21-2006, 11:50 PM
 
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I was just about to post something like what ZenButterfly said. I've known mothers who were scared into the closet (myself included ), and many who were even scared into weaning for fear of what society might do to them or their children. This is why it is so unheard of...not because it isn't normal! It's incredibly sad that something so natural and wonderful could be wrongfully perceived as something harmful.

I emphatically believe it is biologically normal for a child to nurse past 9 or 10....or whenever really. I have a hard time with numbers, as they really are just numbers. I think society puts way too much pressure on children to grow up so fast when they are all really still children regardless of their age. What's sad is that it isn't currently socially accepted in the US and other developed consumerist countries for a child to drink milk from a mother's breast/mammary gland but it is ok to drink the milk of another species (as long as it isn't from her teat ).


FWIW, there is a mother here who nurses her 3yo twins.
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#9 of 75 Old 02-23-2006, 01:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mother_sunshine
I was just about to post something like what ZenButterfly said. I've known mothers who were scared into the closet (myself included ), and many who were even scared into weaning for fear of what society might do to them or their children. This is why it is so unheard of...not because it isn't normal! It's incredibly sad that something so natural and wonderful could be wrongfully perceived as something harmful.

I emphatically believe it is biologically normal for a child to nurse past 9 or 10....or whenever really. I have a hard time with numbers, as they really are just numbers. I think society puts way too much pressure on children to grow up so fast when they are all really still children regardless of their age. What's sad is that it isn't currently socially accepted in the US and other developed consumerist countries for a child to drink milk from a mother's breast/mammary gland but it is ok to drink the milk of another species (as long as it isn't from her teat ).


FWIW, there is a mother here who nurses her 3yo twins.
I'm so glad to read a post like this...looking back on myself as a child, I totally could have been one of those children still nursing now and then even at 8,9 and 10. I was very much a child and thought the world of my parents...of course, I didn't grow up in an AP family so I was weaned at 4 months(I do count myself lucky to have gotten this amount of bm...my mother was fed canned milk and karo syrup..never even got colostrum ) I was never allowed in my parent's room...so at night I would drag a blanket and sleep in the hallway pressed against the outside of their door...I think I stopped doing this when they started whipping me for wetting my bed at night(I was a bedwetter up until ages 7-8)....I know I'm just rambling now, but I really think that children should be nurtured and loved by their parents and I think it is wonderful that a mother would still be willing to nurse her older children and agree that there is nothing perverted about children(and yes 10 is a child) nursing! Thanks for the responses and I will stay off those other bfing boards

--Amanda
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#10 of 75 Old 02-23-2006, 02:48 AM
 
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I am pretty sure that the oldest age would be when they get married and start having kids of their own... I am just assuming though... assuming my children will wean by college

I don't know why people get their undies all in a bunch about what the right age is to wean. Some people think 6 weeks, others think 8 months... whatever, they are all just numbers and mean nothing. It drives my husband nuts when a co-worker will say something like "babies should be weaned at 4 months, they don't need it after that" because what makes that age so special and important that it needs to happen? I even think the true is for older ages. Why should all kids be weaned by 2 or 3 or whatever? Each child and parent set is soooooo different and all need very different things. Do I think I will be nursing my child yet at 10? Nope, I really don't think so, i would love for it to end before that. However, I will not judge those who nurse until 5, 6, 7....10.... if they aren't forcing a child to the breast, I don't see a problem. I don't see it as perverse, just different than what I would be willing to do.

For the record, I was nursed until age 3 and I do not believe it had any negative side effects. I have no nightmares of giant breasts coming at me, no issues with my mom, am quite independent of my parents, and feel that I was lucky that my parents were so willing to meet my needs. And they were my needs, I was not forced to nurse, I loved nursing and the cuddling with my mommy. I hope to provide those same warm feelings for my kiddos.

Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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#11 of 75 Old 02-23-2006, 02:51 AM
 
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Mother Sunshine -- Wow, what you said really makes a lot of sense. I had never thought of breastfeeding quite in that way before.

A lot of people we know have babies who are just now turning one-year-old right now and it's funny how they all are suddenly switching from breastmilk (or from formula in most cases) to cow's milk. We Americans really get things backwards sometimes. (Sigh!).

Zachary (Jan. 16, 05), Blossom (Sept. 14, 08)
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#12 of 75 Old 02-23-2006, 03:02 AM
 
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I don't think it allows the kid to develop their own immunities to be getting moms at that age (maybe that is just myth tho like so much other bullcrap that gets passed as fact on bf).
Please explain, with evidence, how breastfeeding impedes the child's development of their own immune system.

Given that the science has shown that their immune systems do not fully develop until 5-ish, and that it has shown that breastfeeding does indeed help in that development--go to LaLecheLeague.org and start looking up articles, Kellymom.org or Breastfeeding.com are other good sites for factual information too--how would it suddenly turn around and start inhibiting that development as the child got older?

That's the kind of illogic that blames a medication for the condition, ignoring that the condition came first.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#13 of 75 Old 02-23-2006, 03:07 AM
 
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On another aspect of this issue. While I have no doubt that there are a vanishly rare few 10 year olds out there in the world still having the occasional nurse, they are so very rare that I find it amazing how they are dragged into this sort of discussion in so many places.

IMNSHO, this mythical nursing 10 year old is being used as a strawman in order to justify the bashing of biologically normal sustained nursing.

Dettwyler's research, using physiological markers such as growth and tooth erruption, put bio-normal weaning age anywhere between 2 years and 7 years. In everything so measured though, there will be outliers in the stats, though perfectly normal for all that they don't fall into that "perfect" bell curve.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#14 of 75 Old 02-23-2006, 12:53 PM
 
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Attached Mama, I couldn't quote just part of your post without it being taken out of context. But I thought I would mention that I'm 6' tall, and I doubt if many 10yo's are! Seriously though, in our society, breastfeeding is so "new" to so many people, that many people can't fathom an older nursling. Its just that many people consider older to be 6 months, or 2 years, or in your case 10 years. You have every right to your opinion, but one of the reasons the CLW forum was formed was to allow those of us with older nurslings to feel comfortable here. We really can't place an upper limit on nursing age if we are going to accomplish that.
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#15 of 75 Old 02-23-2006, 01:35 PM
 
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I think nursing is a relationship to be outgrown and while I totally agree that specific upper limits are meaningless, I think eventually you have to look at what's going on for a particular child and see why they aren't outgrowing nursing. There are plenty of good reasons to nurse, but by age 10 nursing may well be standing in for something else the child needs. Like positive attention which is otherwise hard to come by in his/her family, or relief from a fear of abandonment (e.g. if the parents have divorced or someone has died), or it might be that the child is afraid of hurting the mother by stopping. Etc. etc.

Not that any of these is a reason to push the child into weaning, but I think they ARE things that would be useful to address and as they resolve the child might well wean.
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#16 of 75 Old 02-23-2006, 01:50 PM
 
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When I was still nursing DD at two, someone asked me how long I planned to continue. I answered, "It depends if she goes to college in-state or out-of-state."
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#17 of 75 Old 02-23-2006, 01:59 PM
 
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i nursed my twins until they were almost 5.

i learnt early on that the twin sites even playgroups are so very mainstream it isn't even funny. I have stayed totally away from them!
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#18 of 75 Old 02-23-2006, 02:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogmama
When I was still nursing DD at two, someone asked me how long I planned to continue. I answered, "It depends if she goes to college in-state or out-of-state."
Love it!

Katherine Dettwyler's research says that the international average of CLW is between 2.5 - 7 years. It's a broad spectrum! Since those are statistical averages, individual cases may fall below and above those numbers.

Great post, mother_sunshine, too!
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#19 of 75 Old 02-23-2006, 04:59 PM
 
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Katherine Dettwyler's research says that the international average of CLW is between 2.5 - 7 years. It's a broad spectrum! Since those are statistical averages, individual cases may fall below and above those numbers.
Eternal Grace, That's a range, not an average or even a set of averages.

[/math lesson] And we're on the same page on this issue.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#20 of 75 Old 02-23-2006, 05:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mother_sunshine
I was just about to post something like what ZenButterfly said. I've known mothers who were scared into the closet (myself included ), and many who were even scared into weaning for fear of what society might do to them or their children. This is why it is so unheard of...not because it isn't normal! It's incredibly sad that something so natural and wonderful could be wrongfully perceived as something harmful.

I emphatically believe it is biologically normal for a child to nurse past 9 or 10....or whenever really. I have a hard time with numbers, as they really are just numbers. I think society puts way too much pressure on children to grow up so fast when they are all really still children regardless of their age. What's sad is that it isn't currently socially accepted in the US and other developed consumerist countries for a child to drink milk from a mother's breast/mammary gland but it is ok to drink the milk of another species (as long as it isn't from her teat ).


FWIW, there is a mother here who nurses her 3yo twins.



I can only post on these threads after mother sunshine has (only half kidding )

There is so much misunderstanding and fear around nursing an older child. We live in a society where women are still asked to leave places or "cover up" when nursing a newborn because breasts are still considered primarily sexual objects. We have so far to go in terms of embracing breastfeeding as every baby and mother's right, not to mention nursing toddlers and <gasp> 5, 6 or 7 year olds. 10 year olds....most women would never feel comfortable doing that let alone sharing it on a message board, for fear of negative repracussions.

Amanda, your post resonated with me : My 10 y/o dd is one of those children...very sweet, attached and sensitive. She has not gotten milk in some time (a couple of years maybe), but she will not say she is weaned and continues to want to just nuzzle there. It is a source of comfort and attachemnet to her, my breast and I have always been her attachment objects. When she got sick last year, she informed me it was because she didn't nurse enough and not getting enough immunities

My 5 y/o son nurses to sleep and to wake up and if he may want to some other time during the day. It's just what we do.

I assure you both children are well adjusted, happy and fun to be around.

I apologize for often staying in the closet. I like to talk about our family and encourage others and try to do so when I catch these threads.

~Joan, Happy mom to 2 beautiful kiddos, one new puppy and 2 lovely felines
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#21 of 75 Old 02-23-2006, 05:52 PM
 
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Joan!!
I'm so glad you saw this thread and posted.

PMing you
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#22 of 75 Old 02-23-2006, 08:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meiri
Eternal Grace, That's a range, not an average or even a set of averages.

[/math lesson] And we're on the same page on this issue.
Yes, you are right of course, guess I shouldn't post on only 3 hours sleep.

And to think I took biostatistics in uni.
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#23 of 75 Old 02-23-2006, 09:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Attached Mama
IMHO 10 years is too long!
Many of us used to think so, when our first baby was small, and/or when we were new to MDC. Watch out or you might get corrupted. :P

Oye Yemaya oloto
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#24 of 75 Old 02-24-2006, 06:56 PM
 
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I can only post here after mother_sunshine and mom4tot post

and eminer!

anyway, this thread is actually very refreshing to me.

I have hit another slump of "I can't believe he's still nursing and waking me up at night and I don't know how much longer I can go" (he'll be four years old next month, btw). But, reading this thread makes me want to be more nurturing with the breastfeeding, rather than resistant. And, he doesn't nurse that much anymore, anyway. Just waking, once or so during the day, and to sleep, and then, of course, the night waking which could be once or none or every two hours, depending on the night.

anyway... he's only four. and has allergies and issues which would benefit from my milk/immunities.

I worry about societal repurcussions sometimes... but I still find myself broadcasting our bfing status when it comes up. Like, last month, I admitted to a parent at ds's preschool that he is still nursing, and then she told me some "true" story about a grown man who was married with children, but could never take his family on a vacation away from home bc he had to be able to go nurse from his own mother every day. I said "yeah, right".

where is mom2threenurslings on this thread?
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#25 of 75 Old 02-24-2006, 08:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twins10705
So I posted saying I thought it was shameful that they would judge a mother for providing milk for her child
My guess is that the mom nursing the 10 yr old might not even have milk...my 4 1/2 year occasionally nurses although I don't have a drop left. His emotional needs are just as important as his nutritional needs...he'll nurse until he's done even without the milk...and believe me...
Although it is nice connection time with him, I'd be fine to have my body back to myself too
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#26 of 75 Old 02-24-2006, 08:16 PM
 
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UP


I have to laugh at the story your friend told you That's quite the jump from 4 to 40

I've said it before, but your ds is so lucky to have a mom so willing to meet his needs

~Joan, Happy mom to 2 beautiful kiddos, one new puppy and 2 lovely felines
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#27 of 75 Old 02-24-2006, 11:19 PM
 
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Please explain, with evidence, how breastfeeding impedes the child's development of their own immune system.
This wasn't a rhetorical question. If you've got some evidence that we need to see in order to continue making fully informed decisions Attached Mama, please do not keep us in the dark.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#28 of 75 Old 02-24-2006, 11:51 PM
 
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Urban Hang in there. You're an awesome mama.

Wow, this is like a reunion or something. Lots of wonderful old faces. Sooo nice to see you all again. And welcome to the new faces .
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#29 of 75 Old 02-25-2006, 11:11 PM
 
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btw, today ds informed me that he would stop nursing when he is sixteen







!
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#30 of 75 Old 02-25-2006, 11:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanPlanter
btw, today ds informed me that he would stop nursing when he is sixteen

I've talked DS down to by the time he's 7.

 

 

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