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Thread: Breastfeeding past the age of two.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Question Breastfeeding past the age of two.

    Hi,

    Does anybody here have a child older than two that is still breastfeeding actively?

    I recently met a woman who is still bf-ing her 4-yr-old DS. She has a 7-yr-old DD, a 9-yr-old DD and 11 yr-old DS, all of whom, she says, weaned around the age of six, so she's in no hurry to wean her 4-yr-old. Her kids are a picture of health, very happy, popular, well-adjusted kids, doing EXTREMELY well in school and in after-school activities. She and her husband are very involved parents, and going by her children's physical and emotional health, it looks like she's doing something right here. Her 4-yr-old is an active, healthy, well-adjusted child, too. I believe that she wouldn't have been able to do it without her husband's support.

    I *have* seen and heard of children being nursed upto age 5 or 6 in other countries / cultures (especially Asia and Africa), but never in the US.

    What are your thoughts, ladies? If you had a choice, would you choose to breastfeed your child up to the age of 5 or 6?

    Thanks,

    SummerRain

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    1,551

    Default Re: Breastfeeding past the age of two.

    Hi SummerRain,
    You might be interested in this article below.

    Beyond Toddlerhood: The Breastfeeding Relationship Continues

    Also, Norma Jane Bumgarner's book, Mothering Your Nursing Toddler, has chapters devoted to nursing your toddler year by year up to "Nursing Past Four".

    HTH,
    Mary

  3. #3
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding past the age of two.

    my dd is almost 3 and I would like for her to nurse next winter, but I don't think that is going to happen. I have older kids at school and they are so much healthier when they are nursing.
    I am letting her deside when to wean.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    8

    Default Re: Breastfeeding past the age of two.

    While I haven't nursed that long, I do know a couple of moms who nursed to
    3, 4, and 5 years. I personally will not go that long, but as long as the kids are healthy and well adjusted, I think it's great that other moms can nurse that long. My second Son nursed the longest...so far. At 28 months I was done. He was becoming abnoxious and only wanted to play...that's why I decided we were finished. And really, he did very well when we weaned. I don't forsee nursing my daughter past 2 1/2, but you never know. For me and my family, I think 3 years old is where I draw the line.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,168

    Default Re: Breastfeeding past the age of two.

    My 4yo DS weaned about 3 months ago, shortly after his birthday.

    I was ready for him to wean quite a while (more than a year?) before he was, and in the end I did give his weaning one last little nudge, by choosing no longer to nurse him at bedtime. He was still welcome to nurse at other times, but he never asked.

    I stuck with it as long as I did because the health benefits are so clear and because of my commitment to child-led weaning as a philosophy. It's not really the number of years a child nurses but the process by which weaning happens that is important, I think -- different children outgrow that need at different ages.

    I (of course) am biased, but IMHO my son is in fact very bright, extremely outgoing and self-confident, and quite strong and healthy. He is demanding and challenging, but in ways that usually make me want to rise to the occasion and be the mother that he deserves. Most of the really ENed kids I know march to the beat of their own drummer, and I like to think that part of what enables that trait is the incredibly solidly deeply-rooted connectedness and self-esteem and trust that they carry with them from their breastfeeding relationship.

    Kathryn Dettwyler is an anthropologist who has done research on many areas of lactation, but recently in particular on very extended nursing like this. I've heard her present some of her data, but don't know if she has published it yet. If I track down a citation, I'll share it here.

    I believe that child-led weaning sends the child a message that his needs are real, valid, and worthy of respect; that the baby in him (his future "inner child") is safe in the presence of his mother; that she trusts him to know himself well enough to decide when and how he is ready to move beyond nursing. I think of the long nursing relationship with my son as a gift to the man he will become -- self-knowledge and being in touch with one's true needs are all too rare in adulthood -- and hopefully to his wife and future children if he goes that route in life.

    --Rebecca

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    15

    Default Re: Breastfeeding past the age of two.

    I was prepared to nurse my DD til she self-weaned, which she did at 3.5 years. I'm planning to do the same for my DS. Child-led weaning isn't for everyone, but it is (IMO) so much easier and more peaceful than forced weaning, and gives kids lots of great immunities, cuddles, and more!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    69

    Default Re: Breastfeeding past the age of two.

    Quote Originally Posted by LLLMaryP
    Hi SummerRain,
    You might be interested in this article below.

    Beyond Toddlerhood: The Breastfeeding Relationship Continues

    Also, Norma Jane Bumgarner's book, Mothering Your Nursing Toddler, has chapters devoted to nursing your toddler year by year up to "Nursing Past Four".

    HTH,
    Mary
    This was a wonderful article! Thank you for sharing this!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Breastfeeding past the age of two.

    My son is almost 3 and a dedicated nurser. I don't see him self-weaning anytime soon, so if he wants to nurse until he is 4 or 5, then I am perfectly comfortable with that.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    239

    Default Re: Breastfeeding past the age of two.

    When my twins were five, almost six and their new sister was born they asked to nurse again, in fact they were planning for it and telling me about their plans when I was about seven months pregnant. They nursed a few times and were done again. I started to tease them about their big teeth and that I was scared they would bite me so they should get their milk from the fridge. It was all done in love. The few times they did nurse I could tell it was really important to them and that they needed to be reassured that the new baby had not taken their place. Once the need was met it was over.

    I have the most fantastic kids~really! I think weaning is between the mother and child. I do think child led weaning is best because in my personal experience it leads to the most secure attachment between mother and child. They grow up so quickly, really four, five and six year olds are still so very little and the world is such a big place. Their need to connect with their moms should be respected. Our society puts so much pressure on children to hurry up and grow up. People actually expect them to sleep alone and through the night as wee babes! I am 42 and I still can't sleep alone or through the night LOL.

    I think it is impossible at the beginning of a nursing relationship to know how long you will nurse. It just evolves over time as you are open to learning and growing in your mothering role. I think is best not to have any limitations but just trust your mothering instincts and let your child be the guide.

    Anne

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    8

    Default Re: Breastfeeding past the age of two.

    DD is almost 3 yrs and still actively nursing, often as much as DS who is 4 months old.

    I am committed to CLW and I will let them decide when they are done.

    Breastfeeding is so much a part of my mothering that I cannot imagine taking it away before they are done. Or how I would mother without it!

    If you had asked me before DD was born I would have said I would have nursed her until she was 12 months. If you had told me that she would still be nursing at nearly 3 and that I would be tandem nursing I would have been lol!

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