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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My DS just self weaned at 5 years, 4 months. I am in the midst of a pretty serious depression, in part triggered by his recent diagnosis with an autism spectrum disorder. I have begun seeing the therapist who did his diagnosis and I think we have the potential for a fruitful therapy relationship.<br><br>
The catch is that she has very normal cultural biases against nursing that long. When we spoke about it initially, during DS's evaluation (when he was still nursing, though infrequently), she seemed unfazed by it. But in our individual sessions, she has clearly seen it as an issue -- my issue -- like why did I nurse so long. She has also glommed onto something I said about being ambivalent about nursing long-term (which I think it completely normal!)<br><br>
There are real issues I need to explore about parenting and I think nursing is a piece of those, but I am really struggling with her clear sense that nursing a 5 yo is pathological. I don't know that the answer is as simple as just seeing someone else -- she is good and she gets the special needs diagnosis piece, which is huge for me right now. And, frankly, I think most psychologists would have this bias -- some of them even more so.<br><br>
Any thoughts on how to handle this? Anything I should read or have her read? Any way of educating someone on the complexity of long-term nursing and really having them get why someone would do it?
 

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I don't have any reading suggestions for you, but since you seem to have a good connection with this therapist, I would encourage you to educate her about the issue. Extended breastfeeding might not be for everyone, but it is certainly not pathological! Hang in there, mama! You have done something wonderful for your child's health and well-being!
 

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the la leche league website has some info, here is one article that you could print for her:<br><a href="http://www.llli.org/NB/NBSepOct07p196.html" target="_blank">http://www.llli.org/NB/NBSepOct07p196.html</a><br><br>
TBH before I had children I didn't understand nursing past a year, but now that I have done so much reading it makes sense to me. My mom (who is always asking me if I'm done yet) pointed out that my dad was nursed til at least age two & maybe that is part of why his siblings are so healthy, so I think she is coming around to see it as normal to go to an older age than is the norm now.<br><br>
I wonder what your therapists thinks is the right age to wean? Maybe you can turn some of the questions around on her? Does she truly understand that nursing is a healthy part of mothering or does **she** have issues about nursing (like sexualizing it)? From my comments above, I'd also say I had no real understanding of even nursing an infant & did buy into some of our cultural taboos on it - maybe she just needs more education or maybe it's something you'll have to agree to disagree if she just doesn't understand that it simply an act of nurturing/mothering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies. It is hard to explain it to someone who has never been there. I am definitely planning on continuing my education campaign!
 

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Another suggestion I might make as far as things to recommend to her to understand your decision to breast feed past infancy within a broader context is the wonderful book Our Babies, Ourselves. I am totally drawing a blank as to who the author is! But she discusses how our culture makes judgements on lots of parenting decisions--she talks at length about the Western fervor for letting babies CIO, breast feeding past infancy, among many other parenting issues--that are not inherently right or wrong, they are just culturally specific. In other words, while breast feeding your child past infancy is considered "weird," if you examine the world of parenting styles in different culture, you will discover that there is NOTHING inherently weird or wrong with this practice. (In fact, she argues, many of the things we in the West eschew are actually BETTER, LIKE--not that I need to convince you!--extended breast feeding!)<br><br>
Anyway, I don't exactly know what you should do in this situation, either, but I sympathize and I figure, if you do stick with this therapist, even if you don't recommend the book to her, you should read it yourself (it's short, well-written and fascinating) and at least you could tell her about it.<br><br>
Good luck to you and I'm sorry for what you are going through. You are not alone, but you will get better!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's a terrific idea! It's actually one of my favorite books -- Meredith Small, a Cornell anthropologist is the author. Another friend suggested Bicultural Perspectives on Breastfeeding.<br><br>
I think my approach will just be that if she can't find a way to educate herself and understand this piece of me, she will be ill-equipped to understand my parenting and therefore me! Please wish me luck -- I hate confrontation, but I feel very confident about this one. I made an intentional decision to let my DS self wean and it's one of the only parenting decisions I don't have any regrets about!
 

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"<br>
I think my approach will just be that if she can't find a way to educate herself and understand this piece of me, she will be ill-equipped to understand my parenting and therefore me!"<br><br>
Yep. This is HER issue, and even if she can't FEEL that, she's going to have to ACT like it.<br><br>
I had to give up a therapist I really liked b/c she refused to simply accept something that I was continuing to do (long before marriage and baby) and something that I was going to take responsibility for when she didn't think I should. Because we could never come to a meeting of the minds on it, we reached and impasse, and I ended our relationship. It was a bummer! She taught me what I needed to know, though, and that was good. Just wish I could have gone further with her but she made it impossible.<br><br>
I hope yours can learn or just push it aside!<br><br>
And you can tell her that a woman who was weaned at 4 told you that! (and my half-sister went to almost 5 until absolutely forced to stop by her mom with myriad health issues)
 
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