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why extended nursing?

1269 Views 26 Replies 23 Participants Last post by  TiredX2
maybe this is a naive question, but i am sincerely curious. i don't have any children yet (still ttc), but when i do, i am planning on breastfeeding. my question is why some people choose to continue breastfeeding for extended amounts of time? all my friends/family members bottlefed their kids, but i know that everyone weaned the babies off the bottles asap.
it always sort of surprises me to see women with older toddlers still nursing, since i assume they get most of their nutrition at that point from table food. is there some health related reason to allow children to continue nursing for years, or is it more of a bonding/comforting thing? please enlighten this newbie, and don't get mad at me for asking what may be an obvious question.
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Well, I weaned by first three kids by one year old. BIG mistake. Not only are my extended nursed kids more healthy, they have more confidence and are more easily comforted by me. Gosh, there are so many wonderful reasons to nurse for a long period of time. It's just such great bonding, it's easier than carrying sippy cups everywhere, it's such a special time to spend with the child(ren). I'm sure you'll get more coherant answers than mine!
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May I ask if you think kids should drink cows' milk? If so, to what age? Wouldn't human milk (which is actually meant for them) be more appropriate?

If you don't think kids should drink cows' milk, I have lots and lots of other reasons I can share with you for continuing the breastfeeding relationship.
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Why not?

The moms I've known who formula fed weaned their babies off the formula asap because it's Expensive.

Toddlers, as I hope you get to find out in the future, are notoriously picky eaters. Somedays they appear to live on air and sunshine because it seems so little food actually gets into them. Other days, they Eat.
I never had to worry about mine getting enough Nutrition because no matter what they did or didn't eat at the table, they got my milk. Our milk never loses its nutritional value; it just changes as the child's needs change.

That they eventually need to eat other foods in addtion does not mean our milk is any less nutritious. Carrots are not dismissed as lacking in nutrition just because they alone are not adequate for the entirety of a person's diet. Same goes for mommamilk.

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I didn't have any agenda and didn't plan on nursing as long as I did, but here are some good reasons:

1. The immunities and antibodies in breastmilk. A childs immune system is not fully developed until around the age of 5

2. Picky eaters (very common in young children) will get great nutrition from moms milk.

3. Its a super great comforter
thanks for the opinions, and also the link to the website. it was interesting.

good point, sbf, about humans drinking human milk. haha it does make more sense when you put it that way...(we probably wouldn't feed a baby cow human milk...)

the fact is my mom nursed us briefly eons ago, but other than that i don't actually know anyone who breastfeeds/fed. mom says she can barely remember doing it (mom has multiple sclerosis, and memory loss as a result).that's why i asked.

everyone i know acts like they can't imagine why you would want to breastfeed, on account of it being "so much trouble", although it seems to me it would be less "trouble" than bottlefeeding. besides, my expeiences with my nieces, who were bottlefed, was that they were always having some sort of digestive problems, as a result of being allergic to formula. my one niece finally ended up drinking nutramigen (don't think i spelled it right, but anyway it was $20+ a can). egads...breastmilk is free...

thanks again for the input.
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It just becomes second nature, almost like you wake up one morning and say, wow, I'm nursing a two year old! Plus there are the benefits of time with your child, the extra immunities they receive, the bond, the savings, ect.... I could go on and on but a lot has been covered
. It's a wonderful thing
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for me, the answer to 'why extended breastfeeding' is 'why not!?'. For me and my dd, it is just plain easier to bf than wean or introduce cow's milk. Maybe extended bf for me is 'selfish' because it is easier--but even if it is, dd still gets all the benefits mentioned in the other posts. When dd turned 1, I just could not imagine weaning--it seemed so arbitrary. Nursing is something she and I enjoy, she benefits, and so do I. As dd gets older, I value the quiet time we spend together and the calming effects of nursing. I don't know how long we will nurse. I want dd to self wean. It just makes sense to let her decide when she is done.

good luck ttc, and warm nursing energy your way.
Just makes sense to me. I never imagined when I was pregnant that I would nurse past two. Now that I'm here, it seems very natural.

Weaning to cow's milk or soy milk to replace all the good stuff in breastmilk makes no sense to me.

It is a time when my son and I reconnect. It is our special time. Don't get me wrong, there are days I have wished to be done with nursing already. But, I think it's the right thing to do.

I'm sure those links had a lot of information, but there are also so many health benefits to child and mother. There is a huge list of things, and that is only what has been studied. I have no doubt there are many more. There are significant health benefits to the child up through age 2; I am sure the benefits do not *end* at 2, but it just hasn't been looked at too much.

Humans are mammals. I believe that biologically, we are meant to nurse our young until they (in the old days) would be old enough to "forage" for food on their own, just like the offspring of other mammals. There is some anthropology research that indicates, if humans follow the same rules as other primates, our young would wean between 2 and 7 years.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a minimum of one year. They are behind the times. The American Academy of Family Physicians notes an increased risk of illness for children weaned before two years of age. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for a minimum of two years.
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Extended nursing is the greatest thing on earth! Not only for the health benefits, but the brain benefits too.

I love nursing time - my 2 YO goes non-stop and has reached the "ellerie do it" phase already. I love our cuddle and nurse time.

this winter past she caught RSV (actually so did I) and she ran a high fever for 7 days. She refused to eat or drink. Had she not still been nursing she would have been admitted to the hospital.

When she had the flu, breast milk was the only thing she could keep down.

It comforts her - when she's sad, scared, hurt, having a tantrum -

I never imagined I would still be nursing. But here we are.

Sending you baby vibes....
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thanks for the baby vibes, luckylady and feathere, i could sure use them. i have 6 more days until i am due to start, and as usual, i am holding my breath. i wish i could stop getting so worked up every month, but i do it anyway.

thanks again, everyone, for sharing your experiences. now that i have heard you all explain your reasoning, it makes more sense to me.
Hey, I have some answers here for you!


Originally Posted by nitemarehippygirl
everyone i know acts like they can't imagine why you would want to breastfeed, on account of it being "so much trouble", although it seems to me it would be less "trouble" than bottlefeeding.
Your instinct is dead-on! Lemme make this clear:

I breastfed because I LOVE BEING LAZY. Here's what I really didn't want to do:

1. I didn't want to get another job to afford $15/can of Similac
2. I didn't want to get out of bed when my baby wanted to nurse at night -- I just wanted to roll over and give her the boobie and go right on back to sleep without ever having reached verticality.
3. I didn't want to do more dishes, bottles, nipples, etc.
4. I didn't want to pay for bottles and liners
5. I didn't want to carry around an ice chest or diaper bag with formula -- I wanted my "formula" fresh and portable and the right temperature every time, so my boobs saved me a LOT of work.
6. I didn't want to throw out spoiled formula
7. I didn't want to carry around a bunch of stupid bottles everywhere I went.

In short,
: I first began bfing because of the antibodies in my colostrum, the comfort and closeness, and the belief that Mom-food was the best food...BUT I discovered all those other benefits the formula companies never bother to mention.

I breastfed my daughter until she was two and a half years old, and NEVER regretted it. It was SOOOO much easier than formula. I bf her because it was something she found extreme comfort in: it was like tranquilizers for babies. Even now, a year later, she still wants to "snuggle up to Boobie" when she's feeling stressed out. It made me feel more attached to her, more loving to her, and even when we'd had a hard day, it seemed to smooth things out and put us back in synch. I would do it over again (and probably longer!) in a heartbeat.

Thanks for asking a reasonable, sensible question!!!
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Originally Posted by nitemarehippygirl
my one niece finally ended up drinking nutramigen (don't think i spelled it right, but anyway it was $20+ a can). egads...breastmilk is free...
Nutamigen is more like $50 a can (from what I've read)

I have to supplement (tried everything to not have to
), and plain ol' similac (he yarfs up other brands) is 25$ a can!
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Originally Posted by StarMama
Nutamigen is more like $50 a can (from what I've read)

well, this was several years ago, so the prices have increased since then, i'm sure. (besides, if i'm not mistaken it may come in several size cans, if so, i know she only got the smaller size, on account of not having enough $)at any rate, it was pretty much the most expensive formula there was. i think my sister occasionally had some donated to her from local churches, etc, that had charity programs. otherwise i am not sure how she would have afforded it.
her daughter had several medical problems(reflux, and lactose intolerant, among other things), and couldn't seem to hold anything else down. my sister never tried to bf, so i'm not sure how she would have done on breastmilk, likely better, i guess. it was a nightmare.
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here you go mama-in-waiting...
Good wishes

Everyone here has given great reasons, And since you are so interested I wonder if perhaps you want to learn more about Why the question must be asked in the first place. Not to bf into toddler-hood and beyond is one of those warped things in this society that comes out of the fear-based and paternalistic views reaching way back. An interesting and informative book you may want to read is "the politics of breastfeeding" -forgot the Author,oops.
Great for you for doing your homework, what a wonderful mama you will be
(even if you DONT read the book,lol)
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hi, laura.
thanks for the baby wishes. *sigh* i don't think this will be the month...maybe next time.

also, thanks for the book recommendation. i'll be on the lookout for it. i am always looking for new things to read. i'll admit, prior to lurking on theses and other parenting boards, i didn't realize that breastfeeding was such an "issue". i had no idea that people were being asked to leave stores and restaurants, and generally being harassed by friends and families for feeding their babies. how odd that must seem to the rest of the world.
nightmarehippy girl- glad you made it over here from hipforums!

I bet you're learning a lot from everyone on mothering, huh?

~~Good pregnancy vibes from me on getting pregnant~~

(Remember what I said about relaxing! It'll work!)

I am still nursing my 18 mo. old because he still wants to nurse. I think I would have weaned him, or just quit when he wanted to quit, but it hasn't happened yet. He was hospitalized for RSV and pneumonia last winter and nursing was very important to his fighting the illness, and recovery. He didn't have to get an IV because he was nursing constantly! His "bobby" and his stuffed wolf are his favorite comforts, so why would I take them away?
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An interesting and informative book you may want to read is "the politics of breastfeeding" -forgot the Author,oops.
I've always wanted to read that, but was wondering if it is much different from Milk, Money, and Madness. Is it? Is it worth reading both or are they pretty much the same?

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