My 5 year old(in feb) hasn't nursed since he was 33 months old, but over the past year, and very much these past few months, has asked to nurse many times, saying that he wishes he were a baby so he can still have titty, that he misses them. He always looks so sad that he can't have them anymore, but happy reminiscing. Well today, after getting home from visiting with Grandma for a couple of days, he said it again. I told him he's too big, there's no more milk, but that I love hugging him, hugged him, but then made my breast available to him. He put the nipple in his mouth, obviously not latched on, and just held it there for about 10 seconds while putting his face into my breast. I asked, "Is that better?" and he said yeah. SO here's my question- Is it actually okay and healthy to let him have a couple seconds of "titty"(his word for nursing, don't remember how that came about) if it makes him feel better? Is it possible that giving in will help make his desires go away, or am I just setting myself up to have him ask to attach more? I just feel bad because I know when I weaned him it wasn't in the most gentle, caring manner, it was sudden and just badly timed. I feel like if I had gone on just a little longer, and ended things slowly, he wouldn't be so sad now.
My child asked for that, and I let her do it once, but when I realized she couldn't suck, I told her that was the end. That was really the only time she wanted to do it, so it's possible it will be just a one time thing.
Wife to one amazing husband , SAHM to DS 10/09, DS 10/19, one furbaby , and lots of !
It doesn't strike me as inherently unhealthy. Nursing 5-year-olds are not unheard of (since the normal range is 2-7), and the caveat that there is no milk...well, lots of moms let their kids dry nurse throughout a pregnancy, or prior to fully weaning (when supply has dwindled to nil). It's familiar and comforting for him.
Also, like dalia mentioned, I'd guess this is probably just a passing phase, not a long-term desire for breastmilk. Has anything in his life changed lately? Any new fears, apprehensions (going to school, growing up)? It would help if you can get him to open up to you a bit, about what's going on to cause his desire for extra comfort or to be a baby again (does he need more time to connect with you during the day?). It might be easier, then, to work together to find effective alternatives to nursing (beside hugs).
To me, this seems like one of those "give the child what they want, need will be met, they will move on" kind of things. Maybe don't hang out a banner or tell the neighbors, but as long as it isn't sexual (which it certainly doesn't seem to be), I wouldn't worry too much about misperceptions. For all anyone else knows, you are still nursing him - and again, I don't think it will last long enough to make the news.
eta - it also is the closest you can come to a "do over" in terms of weaning him - letting him fake nurse for a bit, until he is ready to stop - it might be therapeutic for him to be in control of that decision
~ Lucky wife of DH and loving mama to DS (04/11) ~
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I think that the way you handled it was fine. I nursed my oldest until a few months after he turned four, so a child that age nursing certainly isn't unheard of.
It sounds like he's looking for a little reassurance and remembers his time spent nursing as comforting. Since it's been quite a while since he weaned, I would look for other ways to fill up that emotional "tank."
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds 10yo dd 8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds
I would agree with Dalia, Picle18 and those mammas who think that it is not a big deal and may turn out to be a passing phase. It may just be due to emotional need of your DS, Ying Yang DDG and such moods to pass . Inty, my eldest DS, when he was freshly admitted to a regular school about three years ago (he is now 9+) would make such a demand on returning from school. He had self weaned only a few months ago then. In the privacy of the room he would just put the nipple into his mouth for 15 minutes or so without sucking. Interestingly, I was making a lot of milk those days and tandem nursing two of his younger siblings, and often felt let down. Sometimes I would wonder whether he was practicing restraint feeling committed to self-imposed weaning. His behavior changed after a few weeks. Perhaps he had acquired confidence into the new routine of schooling. So I never felt a problem in that respect.
I do think he might lose interest, if not a little bit of comfort nursing should be totally fine. At least it will calm whatever he is missing.
I don't think he is too old either, older than most but children are designed to nurse until 6/7 ish if they must.