would you reveal your 4.5 year old is nursing? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 37 Old 02-03-2007, 11:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i was at a playgroup, talking to two new moms, babies 6 and 7 months old.
one was talking about her baby weaning, and how she got her body back and how she was so happy he is on formula and solids (she was bf and ff). i just didn't know how to respond so that i don't sound like a militant, so i just looked away, and didn't give her an encouraging smile and chuckle like the other mom did. but the other mom was still not sure -- she still had questions about weaning, was thinking to wean when the teeth come and was curious.

so i stepped in and causually mentioned that babies are unlikely to be constantly biting, it is an initial experiment or a sign of frustration, and then said that my 2 year old was still nursing. at first her jaw just dropped, but then she started asking more questions, and i managed a friendly monologue about the benefits, and how it was working great for us, and that i am taking his lead about weaning.

to this the first mom responded that hers weaned by himself, which i know was a nursing strike, but i didn't say it, as i plan on seeing the second mom again alone and will try to talk about it more.

but when i mentioned my 2 year old nursing, i also said, actually accidently, that "i think he will wean early" and they looked at me with big eyes, and then i added, "well, compared to his sister".

i didn't say his 4.5 year old sister is nursing i think the would have dismissed me as a freak, and any info i had to share as well. as it is, i might still have some impact on at least one of them.

would you have shared that your 4.5 year old was nursing in a similar situation?
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#2 of 37 Old 02-03-2007, 11:29 PM
 
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I guess I am cowardly but no, I don't share this with anyone who I don't know well. On one hand I love to offer support but on the other I am afraid of the reactions of people who might not be supportive. The media stories I have heard over the years of CPS becoming involved are just too scary to me personally.

I find there are very few people I can be open with about CLW. It is OK with me on one level because I don't need the approval of anyone but my husband. I feel very secure in CLW but I know it is not the norm and that most people don't understand nursing past the early months.

I learned early on that I can only do a few things well as a mom. I have to put my energies into my marriage and children. I can't put my energy into defending the choices we have made within the sanctity of our marriage on how we raise our children.

I think if at some time you feel safe then you can always share more. I was always pro nursing but it wasn't until a mom trusted me enough to share CLW that I could see the possiblities. I am very, very grateful to her for that.
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#3 of 37 Old 02-03-2007, 11:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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but you see, i also came very close to lying. i said, "he will wean earlier than dd", and at that moment i realised, if one of them were to ask me, "oh, so when did she wean?" i would probably have to lie

i guess i could say 'she weaned when she was ready', which would be kind of true, of her as a whole, only that she didn't wean yet
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#4 of 37 Old 02-04-2007, 12:03 AM
 
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((hugs)) it's hard dealing with people like that. I was at a baby shower and breastfeeding came up and my friend was there and she said she was nursing her (then) 7 month old dispite the fact that he has teeth and I said that my son still nurses and has a whole mouthfull of teeth and they say "how old is he?" "oh, not quite 2" and their jaws just dropped. One woman said "Well more power to you!"

As James gets older I sometimes find myself saying "Oh he's really cut down. It's pretty much just before he sleeps now." which is not true at all I hate how against nursing our society (and my family) is.

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#5 of 37 Old 02-04-2007, 12:07 AM
 
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I think sometimes I hold back on my nursing info, too, depending on the crowd I'm in. My first child nursed for about three and a half years and only stopped when one day he started and looked at it and went..."Ew. No more."

I know some people would fuh-LIP if they heard that and that I cannot educate them about it. So I don't "throw pearls to swine" (not that they are "swine" they are just too different from me and I don't think it would do anything positive, only neg.). But others who seem to want to understand I am open with when they ask when dc #3 will wean.
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#6 of 37 Old 02-04-2007, 12:21 AM
 
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I've revealed that my 4.5 dd is still nursing at her playschool. I mostly got stunned looks but one, "really? neat. My dd weaned at 2" and a few others mentioned theirs weaning 1-2 as well. But I didnt mention it right away, I made them all like me first.

I'll be the "freak" in the group if it helps other mamas feel okay about nursing their toddlers or helps in other ways.


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#7 of 37 Old 02-04-2007, 12:55 AM
 
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I agree it can be wise to hold back info that they are not ready to hear. In Janet Tamaro's book on breastfeeding, the first paragraph in the chapter about toddler nursing basically says 'if you're pregnant or nursing a newborn, don't read this chapter yet.'

On the other hand, I think many 'mainstream' parents and pediatricians assume 12 months is the ideal time to wean. I've talked to lots of moms my age who never even realized there was any reason to continue nursing past one year. I probably wouldn't have given it serious consideration if a woman I respected hadn't shared her story of nursing her 3 babies (now teens) for 3 years each. She's kind of shy, so I know it took some nerve for her to speak up -- I am so grateful to her.

If I was in pp's situation, I might mention how glad I was that I continued to nurse until he was 18 months old, because then it got much easier. If I was asked flat out, I don't think I would lie, but I wouldn't volunteer info that would encourage her to write me off as a nut. (Best to keep my true identity a secret!)

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#8 of 37 Old 02-04-2007, 01:29 AM
 
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I am very careful who I reveal to that I am nursing my 3 yo, and tandeming with her 8 mo brother. Not for me, but for my 3 yo. I don't want people to assume her behavior is because she is *still* nursing. For example- "she is too noisy/ quiet, clingy/independent, outgoing/shy because she nurses." Does this make sense? I know that she's awesome, but I don't want a stigma placed on her. I know, I am a coward.

I am so frustrated with a society that thinks this wonderful relationship is wrong, and I am frustrated with myself for "hiding." I will nip with her brother all the time, but will restrict her.

Anyone else in the same boat?

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#9 of 37 Old 02-04-2007, 01:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mom2snugbugs View Post

I am so frustrated with a society that thinks this wonderful relationship is wrong, and I am frustrated with myself for "hiding." I will nip with her brother all the time, but will restrict her.

Anyone else in the same boat?
i think i stopped nip-ing when dd was about 2.5.

i started a natural parenting support group in our small town, and mentioned during our second meeting that dd was still nursing. that was a conscious decision on my part -- i decided to take that risk. i guess i can have more influence if i make them like me first because certainly i had 3 meetings when no one came.

so certainly mentioning it wasn't effective.

i am very frustrated with this.
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#10 of 37 Old 02-04-2007, 02:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mom2snugbugs View Post
I am very careful who I reveal to that I am nursing my 3 yo, and tandeming with her 8 mo brother. Not for me, but for my 3 yo. I don't want people to assume her behavior is because she is *still* nursing. For example- "she is too noisy/ quiet, clingy/independent, outgoing/shy because she nurses." Does this make sense? I know that she's awesome, but I don't want a stigma placed on her. I know, I am a coward. :
That's exactly how I feel. DD is fast approaching 12 mos. and I have no intentions on weaning any time soon. But the older she gets, the more private I can see myself becoming, not because I am ashamed, but because I don't want ayone to view or treat her differently.
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#11 of 37 Old 02-04-2007, 03:27 AM
 
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Well when I was nursing my twins up to age 3.5 I did not share with anyone after they were about 2 to 2 1/2. And they were not sleeping through the night and still nursing about times a night (two each). Now that they are 9 and I have a 3 year old and 18 month old I am braver. Both of the younger are nursing (three year old very very minimally), but I loudly declare that no I don't think they will wean soon since the older two went to 3.5. I just don't care anymore. I think your confidence grows when you have so many kids you don't have time or energy to worry about reactions of others ;-)!

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#12 of 37 Old 02-04-2007, 03:31 AM
 
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I don't hide it. I'll give them big eyes : and mention how glad I am that he looks to be weaning before he's seven, like his sister.
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#13 of 37 Old 02-04-2007, 10:52 AM
 
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I don't know exactly what I would do. I am actually very ashamed (of myself)that I don't really reveal that my 3.5 yo is still nursing. Mainly, I would never want DS to hear anything negative about it. But, OTOH, maybe I should give it a chance. DH told his mother that our older DS started nursing a lot again after our new baby was born, and they thought it was good. I haven't even told *my* mother, and she was a LLL leader! She has expressed a few times that older DS should "eat a plate of spaghetti." I am not sure what that means. :

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#14 of 37 Old 02-04-2007, 12:32 PM
 
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I haven't had an "older nursling" yet since #1 self weaned when I was 6-7 months preggo with #2 (he was 20 months or so). But I think in the situation you were in you revealed what you felt comfortable with. With the two woman who were in the group, and that you didn't really know them, it was probably a good choice. The early weaning mom probably would have thought you were that crazy BFing psyco. And since you will be able to talk to the other mom again, alone, you can give her more info on the subject. Where as if you had revealed your older nursling in front of them both she may have been influnced by the other mom.

#2 is still nursing, but he is just over a year. I do feel the need to tell people that I nursed #1 through most of my pregnancy and that he self weaned, due to my milk changing taste, or else I would have nursed them both. The OBs around here aren't very BFing while pregnant friendly, so I try and spread the message that it is ok and it can be done.
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#15 of 37 Old 02-04-2007, 02:32 PM
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I think you had a great response.

The other posters mentioned the common teeth weaning notion. And I would counter with sucking needs.

How long did your child have that sippy cup? That sippy is a substitute for mommy. So maybe the sucking need is what one should consider, not a few teeth.

And for weaning, the permanent teeth coming in is what generally constitutes mammal weaning.

I think you have to always consider your audience.

The other lady is convinced that her baby weaned---she was given lots of encouragement with solids and formula. You cannot help her, but the other one is certainly salvageable. Sometimes being right does not help a situation.

Again, I think you did the right thing.

:-)
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#16 of 37 Old 02-04-2007, 04:00 PM
 
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My 4.5 yo has nursed infrequently since she turned 4 and I wont nurse her anymore because I just do not have any milk and I cant tandem nurse WHILE pregnant, but anyhow, my AP playgroup friends know. But the people @ our coop preschool do not. I think that would be just too weird for them. Theyve seen me nurse Eva and no one has cared about that. If they asked, I would say she weaned when she turned 4. That sounds ok to me I guess...

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#17 of 37 Old 02-04-2007, 06:04 PM
 
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#18 of 37 Old 02-04-2007, 06:18 PM
 
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I stopped nursing ds1 in public somewhere around the age of 2. It wasn't a conscious decision... he stopped asking when we were out and about, and then it was pretty easy just to distract him. This isn't a hard and fast rule, though. If he gets really upset, I will still nurse him, but I will try to find a quiet/private spot to do so. Mostly, I don't want HIM to think there's anything wrong with it, or think there's anything negative about it from others' passing comments. And, I'm just personally not comfortable bf him in public anymore.

I have actually told a lot of people, though. But, I go by the tone of the conversation, and try to figure out if it will do any good or not. I'm pretty open about it at church, actually. My church is made up of a bunch of former hippies. If anyone asks me outright, I will say he is still nursing. But if I don't want to share that, I may try to steer the conversation away from the point where someone asks that!

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#19 of 37 Old 02-04-2007, 06:39 PM
 
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I wish we all lived in a society where CLW was more acceptable. I support you moms and I know you are doing the right thing. There is so much comfort, love, acceptance, confidence and nutrition boosts to stop because of what someone would think.

I share when I am asked. I do consider who I am talking to when I open up about my parenting anyway. Pears to swine applies (no judgement on the swine part).
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#20 of 37 Old 02-04-2007, 10:00 PM
 
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I don't hide the fact that my 2.5 year old is nursing yet, but I don't go anouncing it when not asked either, you know? Mostly because I just don't give a rat's behind about anyone's opinion on it and feel like telling them would make them think that I am interested in their say in my raising of my kids.

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#21 of 37 Old 02-05-2007, 12:08 AM
 
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I think you did the right thing with those women.

I still nip my 3 year old dd (who looks like she is at least 4 and has looked much older than she was, pretty much since birth.) I haven't had a negative comment once. I nursed her for most of church today. She always asks to nurse at church. I doubt that many children at our church were nursed past 12 months, it was the lucky ones that made it that far I'm sure. Our denomination is very pro-bfing, babies.

But I did have a friend I hadn't seen in a while comment that if she didn't know that dd was nursing she would have thought we were probably just snuggling. Perhaps that is why I don't get comments. Also most people who know us, know that dd has tons of food allergies so they may think this is because of that... Hard to say.

I was glad she didn't ask to nurse durring her b-day party since all the focus was on her and there were a couple of families that may not realize she still nurses that were there. I would hate for her to get any flack over it from her peers. I'm going to start teaching her bible class at church soon and I'm getting a bit nervous about her requesting to nurse in class. As the teacher I just couldn't drop the other 11 kids and take the time to nurse her. Hopefully we can figure that out before it comes up.

Winning them over to your side is a great begining.

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#22 of 37 Old 02-05-2007, 12:30 AM
 
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i'm still nursing my SIX-year-old!

and i'm not shy about it either, but i am much more discreet now that he's older.....ONLY because of child-services issues. people are so weird, and so quick to blame. DSS in my county is very prevalent, it seems. i know at least 3 families who have been under investigation, and only one of them *might* have been a valid call, but in hindsight i don't think so now. i'm NOT having anyone poke their nose into my business and tell me how to raise my child, or tell us what we are doing is wrong. to heck with that!

but i do reveal it to some people. in the PPs situation, i think she did the right thing in following her instincts. she might have lost the attention of the one possibly interested mom by revealing too soon about her 4yo. i think she might be able to let her know about it after a few meetings and info sharing.
as for the other mom who thought her child weaned, it's water under the bridge. and letting her know it was a nursing strike, after the fact, would make her defensive and possibly feeling guilty enough to suppress the guilt feelings with anger....against the PP. good call not saying anything. but if that mom shows up pregnant again, and is somehow open to new info, maybe the 2nd baby has a chance at more BM than 6mo worth!

good luck!
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#23 of 37 Old 02-05-2007, 01:21 AM
 
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I don't hide the fact that my 2.5 year old is nursing yet, but I don't go anouncing it when not asked either, you know? Mostly because I just don't give a rat's behind about anyone's opinion on it and feel like telling them would make them think that I am interested in their say in my raising of my kids.
Thats what I do, and my MIL and my dad is the only one that I won't reply to. My friends all CLW too so that is not really a problem.
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#24 of 37 Old 02-05-2007, 09:06 AM
 
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but i do reveal it to some people. in the PPs situation, i think she did the right thing in following her instincts. she might have lost the attention of the one possibly interested mom by revealing too soon about her 4yo. i think she might be able to let her know about it after a few meetings and info sharing.
as for the other mom who thought her child weaned, it's water under the bridge. and letting her know it was a nursing strike, after the fact, would make her defensive and possibly feeling guilty enough to suppress the guilt feelings with anger....against the PP. good call not saying anything. but if that mom shows up pregnant again, and is somehow open to new info, maybe the 2nd baby has a chance at more BM than 6mo worth!
ditto.

i think you played it just right. you opened the door to nursing longer, with less likelihood if scaring her off. the idea of a 2yo nursing is clearly older than she was familiar with, and will help her along in "baby steps." i had no idea when i got pregnant in 2000 that i'd be nursing a nearly 5yo in 2006! (much less cosleeping, tandem nursing, etc.). i used to say while pregnant with dd1 that i was going to "try" to bf. 3 years later, with dd2, i happily told people "of course!" i'd bf, was having a homebirth, was still nursing dd1... parents evolve, and preconceived ideas fall by the wayside as you and your child grow together.

i was mama led weaning dd1 by 2.5 to ttc, so i started making it a "we'll nurse at home" rule as a delaying tactic. as a result, casual aquaintances wouldn't necessarily know we were "still" nursing. like you, i chose not to reveal her nursing (up to 4 3/4, tandem with dd2 born when dd1 was 3.5) to audiences i thought wouldn't be ready for the concept, and who might be put off, and thus discount me as a kook.

and as for the "lying" concern, i try to take a page from miss manners: that people aren't entitled to any more info than you care to reveal. you're not on the witness stand. if they ask "when did dc1 wean?" you can always say, very offhand, "oh, a while later," or "oh, older than dc2 is," but meanwhile be looking across the room like something/one caught your eye (perhaps dc getting into mischief? a new friend arriving so you say hello?), then suddenly distract/change the subject. or pretend your cell phone is ringing in your pocket, pull it out and say "hello?" then "huh?" and put it back... all those cocktail party skills you learn for easing out of uncomfortable exchanges.

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#25 of 37 Old 02-05-2007, 09:16 AM
 
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I actually did just that a few days ago. A woman who was pretty much a stranger to me. (friend of a friend of a friend) talked to me because she knew I had nursing experience. She knew I nursed my dd when she was a baby. She has a new baby and is nursing, and wanted some help about a few things. She asked how old my dd was when she weaned. And I said proudly, "She is still nursing at almost 4, along side her 1 year old sister." :

We talked for awhile, and you know what? She was planning on weaning at 6 months, a year TOPS! And now she has decided to CLW because it just makes more sense to her. She didn't realize all the benefits to it, and some other simple things like .. you don't HAVE to wean when they get teeth!

I'm pretty proud of the fact that my NIP helped in this situation. A woman who really didn't talk to me at all, had only seen me nurse before... and remembered it 2 years later enough to try to contact me.

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#26 of 37 Old 02-05-2007, 09:21 AM
 
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sadly i would say no, as i think the information i have to offer will be a lot more likely to be listened to if i am not written off as a 'loony' which sadly a lot of people would do

fwiw i think you are amazing
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#27 of 37 Old 02-05-2007, 12:27 PM
 
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It's tough. I'm not sure, in that particular situation, what I would have said.

I do have to say though, that every woman that I am friendly with, is aware that my DD is still nursing. I typically bring it up early in conversations, and also typically get dropped jaws & wide eyes (particularly now that I am pregnant & look it). However, I also find that if I keep the "exposed fact" low key & not central to conversation (as in, I don't "announce" it, just bring it up in early conversations, because it IS an important part our our lives, and I wouldn't want to address the issue at the time when my toddler would climb up on my lap & ask for milk!), moms are usually really interested and fascinated, or, dismiss it (because, likely they are thinking, hey, my 2.5 yo is still taking a bottle/pacifier). I'm never militant about it, and never make recommendations, unless asked. And otherwise I think DD & I are pretty "normal" (haha), okay, except when the still sleeping in our bed issue comes up!

Frankly, if nursing or co-sleeping with my toddler is a problem, then I don't want to be around that person who has a problem with it, when they likely have such rigid expectations of babies & young children.

I've actually met several women who've, after hearing me say that we co-sleep & still nurse, "admitted" to me that they too are still sleeping with their babies or have nursed into their pregnancy (much less common)... and it's treated like such a dirty secret. My DH & I talk about it a lot... how shameful women feel about talking about bonding with their children, and what a sad statement that makes on our society.
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#28 of 37 Old 02-05-2007, 02:18 PM
 
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I'll be the "freak" in the group if it helps other mamas feel okay about nursing their toddlers or helps in other ways.
Yep ITA!!! I have done this before. And actually my mom outed me to the headstart when another mom who was nursing her two year old was feeling uncomfortable. She told her "My daughter nurses her three year old still, and he is healthier, and she doesn't mind." SHe also mentioned I nurse both So even if I wanted to keep it a secret. I couldn't my mom tells all . I love her....she is great.

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Frankly, if nursing or co-sleeping with my toddler is a problem, then I don't want to be around that person who has a problem with it, when they likely have such rigid expectations of babies & young children.
I have to agree here. BUt I have to say sometimes I just simply do not mention it unless it is brought up..... I have some social anxieties and tend to ramble so yep I will expose all....
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#29 of 37 Old 02-05-2007, 03:33 PM
 
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Hi Anna, are you keeping warm? Send more stories!

I think you handled the situation really well. I agree that you have to "read your audience", and figure out if your experience will be relevant and helpful to the mum. Sometimes it is helpful (and powerful) to be that one person out there who shows others that this IS possible, it is an option. Maybe you also need to weigh which is more important to you - to be helpful to other mums on the way up, or to be really open about who you are? Sometimes when we're helping other people, its not helpful to focus on our own experiences.

I know a local LLL leader, who's kids are well grown now. When asked "how long did you nurse", she wisely responds "a long, long time". I guess that gets a little easier once they actually HAVE weaned!

My munchin finished up very gradually somewhere around 4.5. I never really brought it up myself in discussion, and because she was nursing so infrequently, and we didn't really have any issues, people didn't really have cause to bring it up either. I never made a formal policy against NIP, it just became that she no longer wanted or needed to NIP. I think we probably still had the occasional NIP til about 3? But I like to think that if we had some kind of major trauma and I felt that she REALLY needed to NIP to the end, I would have put my own and other people's comforts second and given her what she needed.
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#30 of 37 Old 02-05-2007, 04:11 PM
 
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First of all...

Good for you for speaking up!! Many mamas are so afraid that they'll look like a freak, that so many new mothers miss out on some valuable experiences and exposure to the idea.

I was one of those jaw-dropping mamas once. But I was exposed (a distant cousin nursed her 3yo in front of us). When the time came that the "experts" (books, dr., society, etc.) said dd should wean, I had the strength of knowing I wasn't the only one who felt this way and that other mothers chose not to wean either. I felt self-empowered to continue. Just by knowing I wasn't alone and that it is okay to trust my instincts and my dd's needs.


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Originally Posted by annabanana View Post

would you have shared that your 4.5 year old was nursing in a similar situation?
I have. I was selective, for fear of ridicule I suppose, but I shared my experience with 2 friends when dd was 4 and 5. They were both (separately) talking about weaning their 2 year-olds and had some misconceptions. I couldn't help but share my experience and opinion. I don't know how much it helped, but at least they were introduced to the idea.

I've also shared my dd's weaning age with my midwives, ob/gyn and another dr. Don't know why I did that , I got some gasps and wide eyes, but I just blurted it out when they asked. I don't feel shame so I see no reason to hide it if someone asks.
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