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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok. This is obviously an unpleasant discussion for some, so I want to make it clear that I am new here, and I don't know exactly how this works, but if the moderator and/or the members of this forum find this thread assaulting, I agree that it should be moved or made to vanish into the fairy-realm, what have you. Not because I dont think it's an important discussion, but what's the point of aggravating people? That wasn't my motive.
This forum is called "extended breast-feeding." If it had been labeled "support and advocacy" I never would have opened a debate.
I assumed this was a place where debate would be appropriate, but if I was wrong, I apologize and I won't be sad to see it go away. I'll leave that up to you all.

Many people had a problem with the title of the thread, which was "Is anyone OPPOSED to BFing older children?" They felt that it invited harassment from people who do not support BFing past infancy. I think the title gets right to the truth, but if it's too harsh and people are feeling like it's a slap in the face, than *poof* it's gone.
Again, I didn't come here to flame.
Something I don't know if I made clear: I was asking for the opinions of BFing-past-infancy moms, not outsiders (not that they'd be excluded). I didn't imagine in a million years that it would cause anybody to come in here and debate extending BFing in general... and it hasn't! No one here has had to defend their BFing practices, and that's the last thing I'd want anyone to have to do. From what I understand, BFing 7+ year-olds is extremely rare. I was wondering if there are moms out here who believe in CLW but also believe there is a point where the line should be drawn. If I went to Babycenter, I'm sure the vast majority would be appalled by BFing a school-aged child. I don't care about the vast majority. They're easily appalled and largely uneducated.
I was looking for the 2-cents of past-infancy BFers re: much older children, not formula feeding or infant-only BFers re: extended BFing.
I knew that many people were going to answer "If the world has a problem with a second-grader BFing, that's the world's problem..."
I am wondering how many of you who have little ones on the breast would say, "But isn't it then the child's problem? They become the target of ridicule, right or wrong."
I don't know what to call that other than opposition. Opposition is what it is. It isn't curiosity, it isn't puzzlement.
But most of the posts here have been in regards to the appropriateness of the thread itself, and it's right to exist here, and the way it was presented... and since that's counter-productive, I'm changing the title. If anybody doesn't feel that this is good enough, please post your feelings or tell the moderator, with my blessing, and appologies for hurting your feelings.
 

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Watch out, you don't know what you're getting yourself into. FTR, I'm for true child led weaning. I'll be curiously following this thread, and I hope people can try to remain respectful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I hope it doesn't have to be volatile. I have zero experience with older (school-aged), breastfed children. I just wonder what others have to say...?
 

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I have no problem with others doing it, and don't think it is damaging for a child at all. I would be one of the people passionately defending it.

However, while I am committed to child led weaning, I personally hope that ds completely weans in the next year or so (he is 3yo right now, and nurses just a bit here and there). I'm not excited about the idea of his nursing continuing on a whole lot longer, but don't know for sure what I will do if it does.
 

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I think that as long as it is the CHILD wanting to nurse, and not the mother insisting that the child nurse, there's no problem.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mealymama
Does anyone feel that this fosters over-dependency?
That it is setting children up for humiliation from their peers?
That some mothers may be co-dependent and unable to let go of their childrens infancy, for selfish reasons?
No. The opposite is true. Children who are allowed to wean themselves when they are ready are more independent than children who are forcibly weaned by their parent prematurely.
No. If their peers humiliate them, then it is their peers who need to change their behavior, not the breastfeeding mother.
No. Mothers who practice child-led weaning do so for the child's sake, not their own.

Quote:

Originally Posted by mealymama
there are already so many posts in support of super-extended bfing
It's not super-extended. It's not even extended. It's normal and natural.

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Originally Posted by mealymama
how many BFing moms feel that there is an age when it becomes more harmful than good?
Breastfeeding is never harmful. It is nothing but good.

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Originally Posted by mealymama
Do you think that there is ever a point when others (society in general, even the law) has the right to interfere?
Absolutely NOT!

If you think it's selfish to breastfeed beyond infancy, you might be in the wrong forum. This forum exists to support mothers who breastfeed beyond infancy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by sbf

If you think it's selfish to breastfeed beyond infancy, you might be in the wrong forum. This forum exists to support mothers who breastfeed beyond infancy.
I'm not expressing an opinion.

edited to add:
It may be inappropriate to ask this question in this support forum... I wondered that before I posted it but I figured the thread is going to be dominated by those who believe in child-led weaning so ultimately any negativity will be diminished, KWIM?
Anyway, if it is out of line I'm sure it will be moved or 'disappeared'... I know it's a hot button but I don't think it has to be an unpleasant discussion.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mealymama
I'm not expressing an opinion..
Just because you don't claim the offensive assumptions doesn't make them any less offensive to those they target, KWIM?

Quote:

Originally Posted by mealymama
...I figured the thread is going to be dominated by those who believe in child-led weaning so ultimately any negativity will be diminished, KWIM?
Diminished or not, it's still negativity.

Quote:

Originally Posted by mealymama
I don't think it has to be an unpleasant discussion.
Honestly, I don't know how it couldn't be. People suggesting that mothers here are doing something unseemly (at best) or perverse (at worst) is pretty unpleasant at the core. I think we *all* know the objections to child-led weaning and/or nursing kids past the age of "acceptable." Why do we need to give them more air time in this forum? If people are really curious, ask. (And saying, "Don't you think you are fucking up your kid by nursing them too long?" with all it's pre-conceived notions and judgments, might not be the best conversation starter.
)
 

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Quote:
Does anyone feel that this fosters over-dependency?
Nope, our 13 year old who weaned all on his own just after 5 is quite independent, even age-appropriately obnoxious sometimes.

Quote:
That it is setting children up for humiliation from their peers?
Never happened while DS was "still" nursing, has yet to happen to DD. You have to realize that by these ages nursing is primarily a comfort activity done at bedtime or when waking up, maybe... DD is now sporatic about her nursing, but she knows she can ask, and she does.


Like SBF, I think that if peers are harassing another child, then the problem is with Those children and Their upbringing. I don't play "blame the victim."

Quote:
That some mothers may be co-dependent and unable to let go of their childrens infancy, for selfish reasons?
My kids have both seized their independence (age appropriate) when they're ready. Both run to the shy, but after getting familiar with a location and the people, they're out and socializing. DD makes a new friend every time we play somewhere where there are other kids around her age. I wasn'at nursed for more than a few months, and I'm the same way....hmmmm

Maybe we should allow that different children have different personalities and the nursing isn't going to Make them be one way or another?

ETA: I think that this is an important conversation to have. Given the way this country is about nursing, it's better to discuss it openly. IMO, and as we are teaching our children, and as DH told the Coming of Age kids at the final ceremony: If it cannot be questioned, then there's something very wrong.

This parenting decision can stand up to questioning.
 

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The philosaphy of LLL is to "gently educate" so here goes.

I've never been one to force my kids to stop doing something that brings them comfort (ie thumb sucking, security blanket, etc.) Unfortunately I became an extended nurser too late for my first three kids. However, with my fourth child I plan to use clw. She's 3 1/2 now, actually almost 4. I can't imagine what would be bad about her nursing. It brings her comfort when she's sad and/or tired, it's a good way to calm her down. I wonder if people look at it like it's bad b/c it involves breasts? If so, that's ridiculous. Our society has such a twisted view on sexuality and breasts and what they are really for. It's sad. We're producing sick, detached kids b/c many women won't even try nursing. I think that's very sad.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Meiri
I think that this is an important conversation to have. Given the way this country is about nursing, it's better to discuss it openly. IMO, and as we are teaching our children, and as DH told the Coming of Age kids at the final ceremony: If it cannot be questioned, then there's something very wrong.

This parenting decision can stand up to questioning.

I absolutely agree, Meiri. Nothing wrong with asking!

However, the title of the thread is "Anyone OPPOSED to BF'ing older children?" That is not the same as "Anyone CURIOUS about BF'ing older children?"

I just don't see the tone set up to "openly discuss" this issue. It seems to be an invitation for all the same old criticism and attacks to be trotted out and for mamas who come here for support to have to defend themselves once AGAIN.

Of course, maybe I'm just being an asshole, because it seems like some people are handling this just fine.
:
 

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A lot of people out there have pre-conceived, arbitrary notions of when kids are "too old" to be doing a variety of things, be it using a pacifier or security blanket, thumb sucking, cosleeping, or waking up at night. These same people also have no problem giving out their unsolicited opinion, even if you're a total stranger. Notice that they never explain where those "too old" figures come from... To those people I say tough tacos - butt out. Human babies need nurturing and love, and trying to force "independence" creates insecurity and a feeling that the world is not a safe place. Every child is different, and parents need to be sensitive to their individual needs and work with them accordingly. If that means their child weans at 2 or at 7, so be it.
 

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as a nursing mother to a three-year-old, I find it really hard to believe that anyone could ever possibly nurse an unwilling child. At some point, they lose interest and just don't need it anymore. In my child's case, it's been an ongoing process, where she is gradually nursing less and less often. It really is as simple as that. You can walk around with your boob hanging out all you want, but if that kid don't want to nurse, she won't nurse. Just by asking these questions, you are making implications that mothers who choose child-led-weaning are somehow emotionally or mentally unstable.
 

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Although i nursed all three of my kids, i have never bf a school age child (say 5 and up).

I wont criticize (because, who am i?), but have always been curious as to why an older child (say 6 and up) would even want to breastfeed. I suppose nuturing and comfort, but kids do have coping mecahnisms, and it has always intrigued me as to why.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ann-Marita
I think that as long as it is the CHILD wanting to nurse, and not the mother insisting that the child nurse, there's no problem.

Have you ever tried to force a child to nurse?? :LOL It ain't gonna happen!

The only problem I have with CLW is the attitude that mainstream society has about it.
 

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No, I don't object to older children nursing, but I probably would have before I was "educated". I agree that our culture has tried (pretty successfully) to turn breastfeeding into a sexual act. IT IS NOT! It is sad that so many children are not breastfed and/or not breastfed long enough to remember. If they were, there would be no concerns (noted by the OP) "about what other school age children think". I believe that meeting our children's needs will foster independence, not dependence. And I can't imagine that anyone could force a child to breastfeed! Again, this comes back to the twisted view our society holds of breast=sex (imo). Mothering is the only place I "advertise" that my 4 yo is "still" nursing (once a day, if that). Why? Because of the IMPLIED SUGGESTION (posed in question form) of the OP asking if there comes a time when society/the law should interfere. Dh has suggested that parents that "choose" not to breastfeed are being abusive. I understand that this is not politically correct, but think about it. In all the other mammals in the world, what do we say if the mother (cat, dog, lion, etc) doesn't nurse her young?
 

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I think after the age of seven...the breastfeeding pair should be looked at. I'm not saying there's anything wrong...but I'd just want to make sure the child was not being manipulated or guilted into still breastfeeding.

I personally don't see how that could happen. I'm not sure many moms would WANT to keep breastfeeding that long. But that's just from me who is already kind of sick of BF a not-yet-even-three-year-old.

One thing that I've heard about that bothers me a little is this....I've heard mothers talk about nurse-ins and some mother will pop up and say "I'm going to bring my four-year-old and see what they THINK about THAT!" That to me seems like the mother is kind of using the child. I'm not saying they're forcing the child to breastfeed period, but aren't they kind of pushing them to breastfeed at that particular time? I feel it is using a child for a political agenda. Now with a younger child...or baby, it's different. They bf every ten minutes and it's likely they will want to breastfeed at the particular time of the nurse-in. Then again, I guess there are moms with older kids who breastfeed that frequently. If that's the case...then no problem with taking them to the nurse-in.

I think I have also seen cases here (or other places) where a mom complains with sadness that her older toddler or child is weaning. Then moms give suggestions on how to keep them breastfeeding. I think after the age of 2, a child should not be encouraged to continue. If they want to wean and a mother is pushing them to keep nursing...I think that's going AGAINST natural weaning. It's definitely not child-led.

I think with us hardcore militant breastfeeding folks...nursing an older child can seem like a badge of honor. It can be a slap in the face when your child decides to wean at 30 months.

Dina
 

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I am, in fact, curious about this. Mainly because DD weaned right about at her 2nd birthday, and DS at 2.5 is only nursing once a day (so I'm thinking, I'll be surprised if he goes much past 3), so I have no idea what it is practically like nursing a school-aged child. I suppose on some level it is just an extension of what I've already experienced, but on another you have a child that is reasoning at a much more advanced stage and perhaps can be reasoned through stopping nursing - do kids who nurse at 6,7,8 hear about weaning in a loving way from their moms, or are they just pressured? I suppose it is an individual thing (thinking aloud, sorry). I believe nursing is a relationship and should be stopped or continued depending on the dynamic, and if the dynamic is still appropriate at 6,7,8, fine by me. I personally have trouble wrapping my brain around a nursing child older than 5 (my youngest brother nursed to this age and he is the oldest nursling I have personal experience with), but that is my own personal limitation. That shouldn't have anything to do with the one-on-one personal nursing relationship between another mother and her child.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quote:
I absolutely agree.... Nothing wrong with asking!
However, the title of the thread is "Anyone OPPOSED to BF'ing older children?" That is not the same as "Anyone CURIOUS about BF'ing older children?"
I was thinking last night, "I gave that thread the worst possible title," but I didn't really know how else to put it because:
I wanted it in this forum, but it had to be clear that this wasn't your usual topic for this forum. If I put it in any other forum, there would probably be a dozen moms saying "OMG, I think that's so weird, those kids are going to need therapy," and all sorts of unilateral sentiments that wouldn't result in an actual discussion. So I wanted to put it here where women who actually know a thing or 2 about it can respond, but, I wanted it to be clear that it was a place where opposition could be aired.
And I use the word opposition b/c I think it's realistic. I don't know anyone who is unfamiliar w/ the practice of BFing older children who would walk past a second or third grader on the breast and think, "Hmm, I have questions and or concerns about this..."
What they feel is horror and revolt. So I don't think it's a strong title. In fact, it's probably extremely tame.

Quote:
Have you ever tried to force a child to nurse?? It ain't gonna happen!
Not suggesting that anyone forces an older child to nurse! That's why it's called 'enabling', not pushing, not coercing. BTW, I'm not saying it is enabling. I am saying, "Some people will tell you that it is. What do you have to say about that?"
And I'm only asking people who feel like applying their energies to the discussion, not people who feel beleaguered by it. I'm sure that many of you feel like you face enough 'opposition' to your choices already. Then, I'm sure there are those who look foward to the chance to 'set the record straight'.

And I do want to add, on a personal note, that I feel like I weaned my daughter much too early, and I can admit that my decision was a selfish one. With the one I'm carrying now and the next one, I plan on practicing tandem nursing and CLW, but it's unfamiliar territory for me. I've never known anyone who nursed past early-toddlerhood, so when I say I'm not trying to express an opinion, that I'm playing devil's advocate to see what people have to say about the issue, I mean it. Whether you choose to believe it or not, I really can't help.
Those questions I asked in the original post may seem harsh, but those are the questions people want to ask. Those are the things they are thinking, and I don't think it does any good to whitewash things we don't like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
...and another thing!...

I'd be the first to flip out if the law tried to interfere with breast-feeding at any age, in any way. I'm asking... for peoples'... perpective...!
(only, with an 's')
 
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