Who's nursed a child beyond 6 years? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 36 Old 10-21-2008, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I see that there was some discussion in a recent thread about kiddos who love to nurse. : My daughter is one of those kids.

When I was pregnant with her I wasn't sure if I would be able to nurse her at all. I had some medical issues where I may have needed to start back on meds that are considered to be not-compatible with nursing. (And yes I know that most docs are overly conservative, but these really aren't super-great meds for a nursing mom.) Anyway, the first 6 months were HELL nursing my daughter - we had so many problems. I had cracked and bleeding nipples until she was 5 1/2 months old! : Man that sucked. After we got things going well, wasn't about to let anyone get in the way of the nursing that my daughter loved so much.

I had no clue how long she would nurse. I did agree with a mom I met at a LLL meeting who told me that she saw no reason to wean her dd "because of some arbitrary date on the calendar." Well, my dd has not found any date when she wanted to wean yet. She is seven now!

I had planned to gently encourage her to wean this summer, but our house flooded and other chaos ensued, so I thought that was a bad plan with everything going on. She only nurses once every 2 or 3 days. Most days she nurses for about 5-10 seconds.

I am curious who else has nursed a child past 6 years? It isn't all *that* unusual for an AP mom to nurse a 3 or 4 year old these days, but once you hit 5 or 6 there seem to be very very few kids who are still nursing.
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#2 of 36 Old 10-21-2008, 08:37 PM
 
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Maya turned 5 in July, so my reply isn't what you're looking for. But, I just want to echo the same sentiment that it gets a little lonely after 4...

--Heather
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#3 of 36 Old 10-23-2008, 10:33 PM
 
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My second child naturally weaned shortly before his seventh birthday. My third child is 6 years 4 months old and continues to nurse every few days.

I think that once you hit 5 or so, nursing isn't in the forefront of conversation or thought on a daily basis, so it's not discussed as much "publicly".

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#4 of 36 Old 10-23-2008, 10:41 PM
 
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my ds is 7y9m old and he still nips now and then. actually i'm tracking it now, because i want to get a tattoo to commemorate our nursing relationship :
he nurses about once every 10-16 days and for about a minute, or at *most*, two minutes.

you're not alone, mama! our kids are on the high end of the curve, but according to Kathy Dettwyler, still well within the range of normal!

pamela

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#5 of 36 Old 10-24-2008, 09:20 PM
 
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Yup, it DOES get lonely, doesn't it? It's always nice to know that I'm not alone in this part of mothering. My oldest nursling is 7.5 (I also have a 3.5 yo and a 6 week old). When I was pg and had no milk, she was down to nursing once every 1-2 weeks, but now with all the yummy milk available she's back to every day or two. She's always been an extremely intense kid - I'm not surprised that her need to bf has gone on this long.
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#6 of 36 Old 10-24-2008, 09:25 PM
 
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We didn't quite get to 6. My DS just self-weaned at 5 years, 4 months.
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#7 of 36 Old 10-25-2008, 01:13 AM
 
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not yet. ask me again mid february though

l, <>< wife to my sweetie, proud mama to 3 cubs, 2 who clw & 1 that i i ep for . baby was evicted early by induction due to severe pre-e/hellp syndrome
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#8 of 36 Old 10-26-2008, 12:24 AM
 
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My son is 6 years 2 months and still nursing daily.
He nurses before sleep, during the night sometimes and then possibly when he wakes, we co-sleep obviously.
I think he will most likely continue until he is 7 and closer to 8, we shall see.

Best of luck to you!
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#9 of 36 Old 10-26-2008, 09:38 PM
 
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mine nursed again today. shall i keep y'all posted?

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#10 of 36 Old 10-27-2008, 01:36 AM
 
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Not a mama yet, but I nursed just until I was 6 (I think I nursed just 2 or 3 times after I turned 6, but I'd have to ask my mom to be sure), and my mom had a pen pal who was still nursing her 7.5yo (gave my mom courage when everyone else has long ago stoped... even in LLL). I my mom!
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#11 of 36 Old 10-27-2008, 01:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by soygurl View Post
Not a mama yet, but I nursed just until I was 6 (I think I nursed just 2 or 3 times after I turned 6, but I'd have to ask my mom to be sure), and my mom had a pen pal who was still nursing her 7.5yo (gave my mom courage when everyone else has long ago stoped... even in LLL). I my mom!
Wow, that is so cool!
Do you remember nursing?
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#12 of 36 Old 10-27-2008, 01:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by doriansmummy View Post
Wow, that is so cool!
Do you remember nursing?
Very vaguely, and mostly in an abstract kind of way... when I try to think back or remember, I get a really strong sense of comfort and happiness. But I don't have much memory of actually nursing... a little I guess, but not much.

Honestly, I really credit extended nursing/CLW for the amazingly close relationship I have with my mom (that and unschooling... we spent SO much time together!).
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#13 of 36 Old 10-27-2008, 06:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soygurl View Post
Very vaguely, and mostly in an abstract kind of way... when I try to think back or remember, I get a really strong sense of comfort and happiness. But I don't have much memory of actually nursing... a little I guess, but not much.

Honestly, I really credit extended nursing/CLW for the amazingly close relationship I have with my mom (that and unschooling... we spend SO much time together!).
Okay, can I just say that I loved reading that!
I am child-led weaning our son, he is 6 years old right now and still nursing. And we homeschool/unschool. Our relationship is so wonderful and I always hope it will stay the same as he grows.

Thank you for giving me extra hope.
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#14 of 36 Old 10-28-2008, 05:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by doriansmummy View Post
Okay, can I just say that I loved reading that!
I am child-led weaning our son, he is 6 years old right now and still nursing. And we homeschool/unschool. Our relationship is so wonderful and I always hope it will stay the same as he grows.

Thank you for giving me extra hope.
Aw... :
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#15 of 36 Old 10-28-2008, 09:49 PM
 
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me too, soygurl. i LOVED that. i hope my ds remembers nursing in a special way, too.
mind if i ask how old you are?

we DID unschool, and i had to put him in school so i could go back to school it's not going well at all, and it's the most progressive, unschooly public school there is. it'd truly suck if i had to put him in a "regular" public school, probably. i can't wait till this is over, and i hope it doesn't damage him too much.

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#16 of 36 Old 10-28-2008, 10:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mercyn View Post
me too, soygurl. i LOVED that. i hope my ds remembers nursing in a special way, too.
mind if i ask how old you are?

we DID unschool, and i had to put him in school so i could go back to school it's not going well at all, and it's the most progressive, unschooly public school there is. it'd truly suck if i had to put him in a "regular" public school, probably. i can't wait till this is over, and i hope it doesn't damage him too much.
Oh mama. Big hugs to you.

Anyway you can do classes from home? I am sure you already thought of that. I hope in time something will work out for both of you.
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#17 of 36 Old 10-29-2008, 02:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mercyn View Post
me too, soygurl. i LOVED that. i hope my ds remembers nursing in a special way, too.
mind if i ask how old you are?

we DID unschool, and i had to put him in school so i could go back to school it's not going well at all, and it's the most progressive, unschooly public school there is. it'd truly suck if i had to put him in a "regular" public school, probably. i can't wait till this is over, and i hope it doesn't damage him too much.
I'll be 23 on thanksgiving.

And mercyn, try not to be so hard on yourself! As I'm sure you've told yourself, it's so important that YOU to be well educated and able to provide for your DS... I'm sure he will make it through this time in PS and at least you're lucky enough to have a good progressive school available! You're clearly an amazing mama!
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#18 of 36 Old 10-30-2008, 04:02 AM
 
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I feel sad to say that my DS recently weaned (at least it appears so) two months shy of 6 years. it was the month of Ramadan and he was away from me too. I am still sad as I was not mentally pepared for this. Incidentally, I too myself had weaned atound this age but had hoped that he would follow his father whom my MIL used to tell, would often nurse past eight years.
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#19 of 36 Old 11-02-2008, 02:26 PM
 
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I agree that it gets lonely here after 4. T turned 4 in October and even people that were supportive (in LLL) are like saying well he is 4!!!! I am annoyed! good to have you all here!
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#20 of 36 Old 11-02-2008, 07:07 PM
 
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another nursing Halloween morning
he is 7y10m1d old today.

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#21 of 36 Old 11-02-2008, 08:51 PM
 
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#22 of 36 Old 11-05-2008, 02:56 AM
 
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dd nursed 7 1/2 years. And she has two friends (thanks to MDC) who nursed as long or longer.

You're definitely not alone mama. Follow your heart.
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#23 of 36 Old 11-05-2008, 02:54 PM
 
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Can I ask a question? My ds weaned at 4.5 (he's 5.75 now and asked the other day to nurse but didn't have a clue how to) and even then it was hard to find support, including within LLL. Do you just keep it quiet? This board is quite literally the only place I know of where I can have a little moan about all the pressures to wean and know people will understand, so how on earth do you all manage mentally when you're getting on for 6 or 7 years? DD is 3 and shows no signs of weaning at all, but just today at a LLL meeting I was finding it hard to explain why I don't think it's necessary to nightwean and that doing so would be very traumatic for her.
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#24 of 36 Old 11-05-2008, 06:02 PM
 
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just so u know i have discovered all LLL meetings are not the same. a lot depends on the leader as well as the group.

the thing is with me - there are two things that i stongly believe in - CLW and cosleeping - until child wants out. i have had a lot of familial as well as exh pressure. but really those comments for me were like water off a ducks back. because i see how beneficial it is to my dd. she is 6 and still going strong. both of those things provide a lot of emotional support to my dd. so for me that's how i handle it. i roar. my ex even tried making my dd feel guilty.

oh neither did i nightwean. u have no idea how much flak i had to go thru. from the ped and dentist too. i knew it was my dd's teeth like my bro's teeth. not a side effect of nurshing that they tried putting it on. just bad enamel.

if my dd still persists even 3 years after milk dried up, and spending overnights at dad's - then who am i to stop her.

it has been such a battle that my dd feels its her work to tell those she sees nursing their babies to tell them that she still nurses. and she is tall for a 6 year old and looks 7. she walks up to the moms, makes some comment and then says i nursie too and i LOVE it!!!

in my case both sides have mental illness. and in my opinion brought on by parents not meeting their needs. and so those comments have made me mad sometimes. but seeing how much it means to my dd helps me deal with those remarks. for my dd nursing is her happy pill and i will respect it when she doesnt need it anymore. never before that.

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#25 of 36 Old 11-05-2008, 06:04 PM
 
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sorry double post

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#26 of 36 Old 11-05-2008, 11:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kay11 View Post
Can I ask a question? My ds weaned at 4.5 (he's 5.75 now and asked the other day to nurse but didn't have a clue how to) and even then it was hard to find support, including within LLL. Do you just keep it quiet? This board is quite literally the only place I know of where I can have a little moan about all the pressures to wean and know people will understand, so how on earth do you all manage mentally when you're getting on for 6 or 7 years? DD is 3 and shows no signs of weaning at all, but just today at a LLL meeting I was finding it hard to explain why I don't think it's necessary to nightwean and that doing so would be very traumatic for her.
If you don't mind, I'd like to share my experience from 10 or so years ago when the internet wasn't nearly as accessible as it is today...

My support irl ended when dd was 2 when my friend weaned her dd (also 2). Everyone else weaned at 6-12 months. DH put pressure on us to wean at 2yrs (and every birthday thereafter) because, in his world, it was unheard of to nurse past 1 let alone 2. Keep in mind that, at the time around 10 years ago, public access to the internet was brand new and most people (including myself) didn't have affordable access to it. Plus I lived in a small town where Mothering magazine and other natural parenting books weren't in our local bookstore nor library. LLL was unheard of at the time here. DD and I were completely on our own. I ran purely on instincts and trust in my heart and dd's intense need to nurse. I innately knew how important it was for her to nurse and, well, it simply felt right. Thanks (for once) to mine and dd's stubbornness, I chose to ignore what everyone else was telling me to do.

When dd was 3 I bought a computer with internet and found an online forum for parents who were "extended nursing". I think it was called iVillage or something like that. It was wonderful ot have support.....until dd turned 4, then we were all alone again. Now I wasn't only defending myself irl, I was defending myself online too. There were many people who came in the forum to tell me what a freak I was or at least, more positively, to ask lots of questions. There was one mama there who was nursing her 6yo ds but she was very distraught, confused, scared, and hesitant to share. As dd grew and continued to nurse, I found much strength from that mama's experience....just knowing that she was there.

When dd was 6 1/2 I found MDC. MDC was very open-minded with no holds barred. I was home. It was wonderful. Everything that was already there within me (instincts, ideals, empowerment) were validated. It meant the World to me. From then on it didn't really matter whether I had support IRL but I did find myself sharing our experience more with other mamas. This was the time when information on "extended nursing" was coming out, including Katherine Dettwyler's anthropological findings. All information that we already knew in our instincts, it just helped many mamas to continue breastfeeding knowing that there was concrete scientific and medical validation.

My point is, we should all count our blessings that we have this community regardless of whether it is IRL or in cyberspace. We are all real regardless. With online support we can share with other mamas who are not in our own bubbles of community, so it's much easier to open up and look at things differently, learn from, etc. With this kind of international support, we can share our knowledge locally and help change breastfeeding's ideals little by little, town by town, bubble by bubble. I've already seen a huge difference in how many mamas breastfeed in public everywhere I go compared to 10 years ago.

It all relates. Even if we are the first (or feel like we're the first and only) to initiate it in our LLL group or community. Don't be ashamed. Be proud of helping to bring back what is inherently and innately human. You might stumble in words but, by wholeheartedly believing in it, the jest of it will be understood.
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#27 of 36 Old 11-06-2008, 12:05 AM
 
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yes, that.

i don't know if it's age, or being a mama, but i've gotten pretty ballsy. well, ovary-y,

i just don't care. what people think, i mean. of course i'm careful who to let it out to, because around here that'd be a DSS call for sure. even if i do have Kathy Dettwyler's email and have corresponded with her over this (she's easy to access, btw, if you need her). i have done all the research and i'm completely confident in my choices. and when i do let it out? people raise eyebrows, but they don't freak out. i think it's that i exude confidence when i talk about it.

plus, weaning is gradual. it's not like ds nurses like he did when he was 6mo, or 1-1/2, or 4. he's nearly done-- nearly. i can say "no" if i don't feel like nursing, and he doesn't pitch a fit. thankfully it's a bidirectional process and we are *both* weaning from it.

coupla years ago? i would have cried. i DID cry, at the mere thought of it. now? i'm pretty much ready. finally. i'm waiting for the day i can realize it's been over 6 months since he nursed, and i can look forward to the commemorative tattoo i plan to get. i'll probably still cry, but it'll be different. it'll be a transitioning, moving-forward kind of cry-- the end of an era. not an abrupt "why do we have to do this?" kind of thing.

mostly, i'm super grateful to have had this. my best thing is knowing ds will probably remember nursing when he's older and hopefully be a huge advocate when he eventually has his own kids!

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#28 of 36 Old 11-06-2008, 03:21 AM
 
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My firstborn nursed till 6.5.

She would have gone longer but I was ready to be done.
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#29 of 36 Old 11-06-2008, 04:38 PM
 
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For those of you who have nursed children for 5,6,7 years...did you always have milk? If not, when did it dry up and when were you okay with it drying up?
I ask because DS is 1 and I fully plan on CLW, but I have a touchy milk supply and am away from him for work 50-60hrs per week...so I pump and pump and pump to keep my supply up...I am tired of pumping. I also pump when I am at home now because he is a busy guy and does not nurse well during his waking hours anymore.

So when did you stop worrying about supply? Also, if you nurslings dry-nurse...does it hurt?

Sorry for the thread hijack

Married to my best friend since 08/05
Joyful mother to DS born 11/07 and DD born 04/10 (an unexpected HB)
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#30 of 36 Old 11-06-2008, 10:43 PM
 
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First, I have to say that Mother Sunshine is a wise, wise woman - I've seen her posts here before, and they have kept me going many a hard CLW day (hard only because I felt so alone). Like she said, just knowing that there are other mamas out there with older nursling really does help, even if I've never met any irl.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ians_mommy View Post
For those of you who have nursed children for 5,6,7 years...did you always have milk? If not, when did it dry up and when were you okay with it drying up?
I ask because DS is 1 and I fully plan on CLW, but I have a touchy milk supply and am away from him for work 50-60hrs per week...so I pump and pump and pump to keep my supply up...I am tired of pumping. I also pump when I am at home now because he is a busy guy and does not nurse well during his waking hours anymore.

So when did you stop worrying about supply? Also, if you nurslings dry-nurse...does it hurt?

Sorry for the thread hijack
My milk has never dried up except for when I was pg, and I've been nursing for 7.5 straight years. With DD, I stopped pumping at 20 mos, and I had plenty of milk until I got pg at 36 mos. She dry nursed all through that pg, and kept on nursing until that baby, my DS1, was born and the milk returned. I then got pg again with DS2 when DS1 was 38 mos, again lost my milk, again both kept dry-nursing (not too comfy for me, but luckily they didn't want to nurse much at this point) until DS2 was born. Now DS2 is 2 mos and I have tons of milk and everyone's still nursing. Trust that your body will make the milk and have it when you need it. It's done that so far, right?

Finally, although I agree that weaning is gradual, like mercyn said, that gradual weaning looks very different in different nurslings! My DD has always been a very instense nursling, and she was 6.5 yo before she stopped asking to nurse as soon as I walked in the door from work. Having a 6 yo who wants to bf a couple of times a day is just as normal a variation on CLW as having a 6 yo who nurses just a couple of times a week.
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