Nursing a 10-year-old! - Mothering Forums
1 2 
Breastfeeding Beyond Infancy > Nursing a 10-year-old!
misswerewolf's Avatar misswerewolf 05:24 AM 02-08-2009
Not me. My daughter is only 4.5 months.

My sister came to visit today, and while I was nursing my baby, sis asked, "So, when are you going to feed her bottles?" I was a little confused by her question, since I know that she is pro-breastfeeding. I responded, "Why would I feed her bottles? She breastfeeds, and will do so for probably two years." She said, "I know you're breastfeeding, but are you going to feed her bottles of your breastmilk?" I said, "Sure, when necessary. She hasn't taken a bottle yet."

She then goes on to tell me that she recently met a lady who is still breastfeeding her 10-year-old son (!). She met this lady through a friend of hers. She said it was very strange to see this kid still nursing, especially since he is a fairly big kid. So, when she saw that, the first thought that entered her head was something like, "WEIRD. Wow, that doesn't look comfortable. I wonder why she just doesn't pump instead. He could drink out of a cup or a bottle or something."

After seeing this happen, sis was curious if I would pump milk or just breastfeed later down the road, when my daughter is a bit older. I'm a very petite woman, and it is already difficult for me to nurse my baby due to her size. So, my sister was just wondering about the logistics. Plus, she never knew people nursed THAT LONG. (I never did either.)

Maluhia's Avatar Maluhia 05:34 AM 02-08-2009
to each their own

If you would want to pump that is fine, I'd wait until after 3 years old though as the connection/slow down time is so important in those first years.

As I type this I keep wanting to up the 3 to 5, 6, 7......whenever your child is ready to wean his/herself.
ewe+lamb's Avatar ewe+lamb 06:23 AM 02-08-2009
I agree, each to their own and if both mother and child are happy in their breastfeeding relationship then it's ok, for you I would continue happily nursing your baby they way you want to.
nettieferg's Avatar nettieferg 06:43 AM 02-08-2009
Unfortunately, due to our hyper-sexualized culture, breastfeeding into puberty *could* lead to psychological issues for a child (I am NOT saying *would*) --

The breast is a symbol of sexuality in the US, and that is not as it should be, it simply is what it is.

There are many feelings/hormones that arise around that age, including (in boys) the arisal of 'wet dreams' and uncontrolled erections. If a 10 y/o boy were to be breastfeeding, and have an erection -- it seems that this could present an uncomfortable situation for both mom and kid. (Ask some dads if you don't believe me on this -- ) . . . The sexual tension in Hamlet was interesting, but IRL? Seems like it could get sticky.

For boys OR girls, puberty is (among other things) about establishing independence and self-identity.

As a side note, I think the top age is around 7 for weaning, even building into that a little margin . . . 10 just might be pushing the appropriateness level . . . I am sure it depends on the kid, but, as a general rule, puberty is a thing to consider when making that choice.

Yet another side note, at 10, many kids are pretty tall/big -- I know my hubby would feel uncomfortable with a nearly man-sized kiddo crawling in bed with me to nuzzle my breast . . . there are probably couples whose sexual relationship COULD handle this, but I know my hubby would be very uncomfortable.
eepster's Avatar eepster 08:01 AM 02-08-2009
Are you sure the kid was really 10 yo? or was you sis just guessing? The oldest I've ever heard of a child going to was 7 yo, and he was SN and had a greater need for the comforting.
D_McG's Avatar D_McG 11:48 AM 02-08-2009
Every anti-extended breastfeeding person knows someone who knows someone nursing a 10 year old.
pbjmama's Avatar pbjmama 11:55 AM 02-08-2009
I'm a very petite woman, and it is already difficult for me to nurse my baby due to her size.

You don't say how old your baby (ETA as another posted out baby is 4.5 months old) is but I'm guessing you have to do all the work right now. As your baby gets older she will be able to help more. My 10 month old can latch herself on and support her own body when I'm sitting or laying down at night.
Sagesgirl's Avatar Sagesgirl 12:58 PM 02-08-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by D_McG View Post
Every anti-extended breastfeeding person knows someone who knows someone nursing a 10 year old.
And yet, the OP's sister isn't anti-extended breastfeeding. From what was related, she was just questioning the logistics of it, & that's understandable.

To the OP~ As others have said, your daughter will assist you when she's older. The newborn floppy stage is the worst. IMO it gets much better at around maybe 7 months or so (and has been gradually improving until then), and exponentially easier after the one year mark.

The thing about nursing an older child rather than the bottle is this (again, this is merely my own opinion, & I base it on nursing past what even most mamas on this board seem to). After a certain age, it's not really about the milk & the nutrition from it. No, I'm not saying breastmilk ceases to be nutritious. Just that it's no longer the centerpiece of the child's diet, and eventually they're nursing seldom enough (my 5yo nurses only once a day now, occasionally twice a day) that they're simply not consuming a whole lot. So after that it becomes entirely about the bonding, the comfort, the cuddling. Miss Linda usually nurses directly after waking up in the mornings, as her older sister & I are getting ready to go to school (I'm a full-time student as well). It's a way, I believe, to deal with her separation anxiety, and a chance to cuddle with me when she's still mostly asleep. I could pump & give her milk in a cup, but that would be entirely missing the point of what breastfeeding is for her.
alegna's Avatar alegna 01:19 PM 02-08-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by D_McG View Post
Every anti-extended breastfeeding person knows someone who knows someone nursing a 10 year old.
:

I call urban legend.

-Angela
yogafeet's Avatar yogafeet 01:37 PM 02-08-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
:

I call urban legend.

-Angela
:
guestmama9916's Avatar guestmama9916 01:53 PM 02-08-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by nettieferg View Post
Unfortunately, due to our hyper-sexualized culture, breastfeeding into puberty *could* lead to psychological issues for a child (I am NOT saying *would*) --

The breast is a symbol of sexuality in the US, and that is not as it should be, it simply is what it is.
And this is why my DH is icked out by his memories of suckling his mom's breasts at 3 or 4 yrs old. Its disappointing to me that he is icked out by something so sweet but he is. <sigh>
PassionateWriter's Avatar PassionateWriter 02:03 PM 02-08-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by nettieferg View Post
If a 10 y/o boy were to be breastfeeding, and have an erection -- it seems that this could present an uncomfortable situation for both mom and kid.
2 year olds have erections...as well as 1 yo olds, so thats not really a "test" for readiness to wean.

Quote:
Originally Posted by D_McG View Post
Every anti-extended breastfeeding person knows someone who knows someone nursing a 10 year old.

yeh, seems so.

as one of my good friends says when asked when she is going to wean her 18 month old...."i think ill pass on going back to college" or "his wife might get jealous when he gets married".

im sorry..its just a slippery slope. you cant be pro extended bf'ing and put an age cap on it. the woman bf'ing her 7 yo deserves as much protection as i do nursing my 3 yo as you (OP) do nursing your 4.5 yo. IRT to our activism, i truly believe we have to support EVERY bf'ing relationship regardless of age (absent other factors of course...i am NOT suggesting ignoring abuse, etc. etc.).
prothyraia's Avatar prothyraia 02:49 PM 02-08-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbjmama View Post
I'm a very petite woman, and it is already difficult for me to nurse my baby due to her size.

You don't say how old your baby is but I'm guessing you have to do all the work right now. As your baby gets older she will be able to help more. My 10 month old can latch herself on and support her own body when I'm sitting or laying down at night.
:

I'm smallish, and have large babies, and it can be hard to manage when you have to do all the holding and positioning.

My two year old just flings himself into my lap, waits for me to "open it", and latches himself on.
Sagesgirl's Avatar Sagesgirl 05:58 PM 02-08-2009
Quote:
you cant be pro extended bf'ing and put an age cap on it.
Actually yes, yes you can. It may be unwise to present an across-the-board rule, but there are many people who are fully supportive of what society considers extended breastfeeding (ie, past one year) who put an age cap on it. Some Talmudic scholars, from my brief reading, consider 2 years to be the proper length of nursing and anything beyond that unacceptable. I don't agree with that, but I would never think of arguing the point with an observant Jew. (And certainly there is room for disagreement within that religion.)

Really, there's an age limit set on even a lot of the posts I see around here. Witness the argument that the "worldwide norm" for weaning is seven years old. What's that, if not a limit?

I don't even find it particularly objectionable to say that weaning should be accomplished by the time school starts if the child is going to an out of the home school.

Granted, none of this should be applied across the board. I do believe it's mainly a question of one's own comfort. I think it's fairly obvious, going by the self-reported weaning ages on this board that to nurse even once you hit age 4 is pretty rare, and it gets even more unusual as you go beyond that. I'd be willing to bet if everyone who's nursing a four-year-old or older posted to the same thread it'd be very short (probably still be short if we included everyone who'd ever nursed a chlild four years or beyond). So there are very few children who still need to nurse by that age, or else very few mamas who are comfortable with it, and that's on such a pro-extended nursing board as this one.

Still, it remains that there is not a single negative word about super-extended nursing in the OP. Yes, she calls it weird. But it is weird. It's weird that my five-year-old nurses 6 days a week (the only one she misses is the one she's entirely at her grandparents'). Saying something is weird is NOT the same thing as saying that it's wrong, she's saying that it doesn't look comfortable. And yeah, it is THAT LONG.
Aliviasmom's Avatar Aliviasmom 06:29 PM 02-08-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbjmama View Post
I'm a very petite woman, and it is already difficult for me to nurse my baby due to her size.

You don't say how old your baby is but I'm guessing you have to do all the work right now. As your baby gets older she will be able to help more. My 10 month old can latch herself on and support her own body when I'm sitting or laying down at night.
Yes she did. The first line. She says dd is only 4.5 months.
Aliviasmom's Avatar Aliviasmom 06:31 PM 02-08-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sagesgirl View Post
After a certain age, it's not really about the milk & the nutrition from it. No, I'm not saying breastmilk ceases to be nutritious. Just that it's no longer the centerpiece of the child's diet, and eventually they're nursing seldom enough (my 5yo nurses only once a day now, occasionally twice a day) that they're simply not consuming a whole lot. So after that it becomes entirely about the bonding, the comfort, the cuddling. Miss Linda usually nurses directly after waking up in the mornings, as her older sister & I are getting ready to go to school (I'm a full-time student as well). It's a way, I believe, to deal with her separation anxiety, and a chance to cuddle with me when she's still mostly asleep. I could pump & give her milk in a cup, but that would be entirely missing the point of what breastfeeding is for her.
:
celia's Avatar celia 07:17 PM 02-08-2009
There seems to me something developmentally inappropriate about a ten year old still WANTING to nurse. I hope that doesn't get me flamed, but I wonder if he has some kind of psychological/emotional problems? I would think for a BOY of that age especially it would feel weird to him to keep nursing...
notjustmamie's Avatar notjustmamie 07:19 PM 02-08-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by PassionateWriter View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by nettieferg View Post
If a 10 y/o boy were to be breastfeeding, and have an erection -- it seems that this could present an uncomfortable situation for both mom and kid
2 year olds have erections...as well as 1 yo olds, so thats not really a "test" for readiness to wean.
Well, I have never been a 10-year-old boy, and I don't have sons, but I would suggest that the 10yo with an erection would have already become familiar with the societal connection of female breasts and sexuality. Whether he would make a connection of his mother's breast with his own sexuality is uncertain, but I think it's fair to say that a 10yo is not likely to have the same mental/emotional experience relating to an erection as a 2yo.
annettemarie's Avatar annettemarie 07:23 PM 02-08-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by D_McG View Post
Every anti-extended breastfeeding person knows someone who knows someone nursing a 10 year old.
You've absolutely nailed it.
nettieferg's Avatar nettieferg 07:46 PM 02-08-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by PassionateWriter View Post
2 year olds have erections...as well as 1 yo olds, so thats not really a "test" for readiness to wean.
.
Yes, I am aware of this (I have a 3.5 y/o boy) . . . however, it is only SLIGHTLY different (him getting an erection when I change his diaper at 1 versus having an erection while suckling when he is nearly a teenager) . . . only a very slight difference between the two scenarios . . .

Puberty riddled boys who get erections sometimes want to 'follow through' with what comes next . . . ask a guy for confirmation on this -- totally different at 10/11.
PassionateWriter's Avatar PassionateWriter 07:53 PM 02-08-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by celia View Post
There seems to me something developmentally inappropriate about a ten year old still WANTING to nurse.I would think for a BOY of that age especially it would feel weird to him to keep nursing...
as a mom to a 10 year old (all boys, so boys of different ages), i dont consider it weird...esp. in light of a new sibling. i dont nurse my 10 yo but i do see him questioning what his younger brothers get to see alot and i woudl bet he would want it, if given the chance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by notjustmamie View Post
Well, I have never been a 10-year-old boy, and I don't have sons, but I would suggest that the 10yo with an erection would have already become familiar with the societal connection of female breasts and sexuality. Whether he would make a connection of his mother's breast with his own sexuality is uncertain, but I think it's fair to say that a 10yo is not likely to have the same mental/emotional experience relating to an erection as a 2yo.
since my boys have gotten erections since birth, im pretty sure my 10 year old still gets them (why would they stop,yk?? he and i just dont talk about it alot). but i can guarantee that he is not "familiar with the societal connection of female breasts adn sexuality". he is actually very confused by commercials he sees on tv, as he knows that breasts are for feeding (his younger 2 brothers). my 10 yo is not at all sexually aware. and i do talk about sex..i am not prudish at all and consider sex education a very important issue for my sons...my 10 yo is sooo beyond interested in any of it at this time.

10 seems so old when you have a toddler or younger child. 10 is not that old when they are needing comfort.

i have no idea behind the woman who knows a woman who knows a woman who is nursing her 10 yo..however, i dont find the fact that not many ppl nurse 4 yo's as cause to suggest any mom should cease nursing her child, regardless of age.

i simply feel if i want to be defended nursing my 3 yo, i must step up and defend those nursing older children, regardless of age.
nettieferg's Avatar nettieferg 08:43 PM 02-08-2009

nettieferg's Avatar nettieferg 08:44 PM 02-08-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by PassionateWriter View Post
10 seems so old when you have a toddler or younger child. 10 is not that old when they are needing comfort.

i simply feel if i want to be defended nursing my 3 yo, i must step up and defend those nursing older children, regardless of age.

Dear PassionateWriter (you are, indeed! :-)

You present two very apt arguments in favor of this topic. A few thoughts . .

Is it REALLY 'All or nothing'? If I want to be protected from CPS when I (rarely) raise my voice to my older children, do I have to defend all other parents in their particular discipline choices (even if that includes hitting)? Is there no differentiation between forms of discipline OR forms of breastfeeding?

Second, at 3, your child's world is still very small. His world is primarily about his family, with the need for comfort from his central unit (you) at a very high level.

By the time a child reaches 10, his world has become much larger through outside-the-family activities, so his coping mechanisms should also have broadened. It is not that a 10 year old never needs comfort (I still like to talk to my mom when I feel down, and I am 30! ;-) --- it is just that 'comfort' can be given in so many different ways that do not present the possibility of sexual confusion. Hugs and cuddles are VERY comforting, no matter the age -- and do not come in between the older child learning to 'self-soothe' through methods other than suckling.

Lastly, kudos to you for protecting your kids from seeing sexuality in a negative/selfish way -- honestly, I don't know how you do it, since it is hard to even check out at the grocery without being bombarded -- either which way, you sound like an awesome mom who is doing a fabulous job!!
Murihiku's Avatar Murihiku 09:05 PM 02-08-2009
Reading this thread, I wondered if there could be a non-arbitrary, "natural" upper-limit for breastfeeding.

Then I thought of a "natural" milestone: when a baby gets his or her first teeth, we consider him or her ready for solids, so when a child gets his or her first adult teeth, he or she is probably ready to stop drinking breastmilk.

That's usually around six years old.

So there you go--a semi-arbitrary upper-limit.

ETA: But of course people have arbitrarily used the first baby teeth as the age for weaning, haven't they, so perhaps the teeth idea is not so smart.
wild fire child's Avatar wild fire child 09:22 PM 02-08-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by nettieferg View Post
Second, at 3, your child's world is still very small. His world is primarily about his family, with the need for comfort from his central unit (you) at a very high level.

By the time a child reaches 10, ...
You may have missed it, but she did say that she has a 10yo boy (among other ages), she is not talking about a hypothetical 10yo who is not sexually aware, she is speaking of her own.
nettieferg's Avatar nettieferg 09:32 PM 02-08-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by wild fire child View Post
You may have missed it, but she did say that she has a 10yo boy (among other ages), she is not talking about a hypothetical 10yo who is not sexually aware, she is speaking of her own.
Absolutely I read that . . .

You will see that I complimented her on that point -- that she had managed to do what lots of parents cannot. Also, see my OP on this topic, where I mention that this type of thing, and its' appropriateness, would depend on the family/situation (one poster mentioned SN kids, for example).

My comments are based on general population; and of course, we all know that generalities do not apply to unique circumstances.
mbbinsc's Avatar mbbinsc 10:31 PM 02-08-2009
I have a 3 yo nursling DD and 10 yo DS. He has never showed an interest in nursing. It is getting harder to get him to cuddle on the couch.
pbjmama's Avatar pbjmama 10:51 PM 02-08-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aliviasmom View Post
Yes she did. The first line. She says dd is only 4.5 months.
Sorry overlooked that. I think my post is still valid and I was not making an accusation, just an observation.
misswerewolf's Avatar misswerewolf 11:53 PM 02-08-2009
since some posters are either mis-reading or not reading it entirely:

1) My exclusively breastfed daughter is 4.5 months.
2) My sister is very much pro-breastfeeding.
3) My sister has a friend named May.
4) May's mom is caretaker for a family, and everyone lives in a big house (including May and her mom).
5) In that family (NOT May's family) lives a daughter, her hubby, and their 10-year-old kid.
6) While my sister was visiting May one day, she witnessed this kid go to his mom and breastfeed.
7) It happened in the living room, so everyone present that day saw it.
8) According to my sister, the kid's dad said, "Oh, he doesn't want to give up breastfeeding! We've tried to stop it."
9) My sister thought, initially, "Weird!", followed by concerns about the comfort and the logistics of breastfeeding a child close to my size (yes, I am very petite).
10) So, she related the story to me and wanted to know, basically, why some women choose to breastfeed that long -- why not pump into a cup or a bottle?
11) She is NOT anti-breastfeeding. This is not urban legend.

Edited to add: If I'm forgetting to clarify something, please ask.
ewe+lamb's Avatar ewe+lamb 06:12 AM 02-10-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Murihiku View Post
Reading this thread, I wondered if there could be a non-arbitrary, "natural" upper-limit for breastfeeding.

Then I thought of a "natural" milestone: when a baby gets his or her first teeth, we consider him or her ready for solids, so when a child gets his or her first adult teeth, he or she is probably ready to stop drinking breastmilk.

That's usually around six years old.

So there you go--a semi-arbitrary upper-limit.

ETA: But of course people have arbitrarily used the first baby teeth as the age for weaning, haven't they, so perhaps the teeth idea is not so smart.
OK I see where you are coming from, so just to add another point, I say to women who ask is that it's when the immune system is mature at around 6/7 years old.
1 2 

Up