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Thread: Is there an upper limit?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    309

    Default Is there an upper limit?

    Just wondering what, if any, is the upper age limited everyone would nurse up until?
    I'm commited to letting my boys both nurse til they self wean, but I'm kind of suprised my elder son (4yrs 2 months) is still going. My DD self weaned at 3.5 years, and I suppose I'd always imagined they'd all stop at a similar age. But I don't see DS1 showing any signs of stopping yet. I'm fine with that at the moment, but I'm wondering if at some point there will come a time when I'll no longer feel comfortable with it.
    I know there's no real answer to the question and what is right for one family won't necessarily be so for another, but I'm just interested to hear other people's views and experiences.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    532

    Default Re: Is there an upper limit?

    I dunno what I will do. My older son self weaned but it was way earlier then that. He is almost 4 now but still drinks EBM in a sippy cup sometimes. With my youngest I will probably at least go till 2. I dunno about going past that I guess I will wait and see when the time comes. My father in law nursed until he was 5 though.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: Is there an upper limit?

    My gf weaned her first ds at 4.5, and he'd still nurse to this day if she'd let him. Problem was, then she'd have been feeding 3!!! There is a myspace video ( if you search breastfeeding) that shows a woman feeding her 8 and a half year old dd.
    To each his own, I think. But personally I think after 2.5 I'd start pumping more, and offer it that way...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    1,197

    Default Re: Is there an upper limit?

    Of course it is every mother's own choice but I wouldn't go after 5 years because biologically speaking children's immune systems are fully grown by that age and they don't need the protection from BM anymore.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    929

    Default Re: Is there an upper limit?

    I keep pushing my "goal" out. At first it was 12 mos, then 18mos. DS will be 18 mos Oct 5th so I currently have it in my head that I won't go past 2 - not personally comfortable BF a child older than that - though, ask again when DS is 23 mos and I may have changed my mind.

    Jennifer
    Amazed and Proud mom of Luke (Lucas) - 4/5/2006; 9 lbs 12 oz , 22in
    Wife to best friend Carl - 11/4/2001

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    332

    Default Re: Is there an upper limit?

    My dd is only 16 months but I intend to let her self wean, and I've been doing some reading about it. I think you may find this article interesting and maybe reassuring.
    http://www.kathydettwyler.org/dettoddler.html

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Is there an upper limit?

    Like lots of people already said, you have to do what is right for you and your family. Every child is different. I think it's great to discuss extended nursing here because so few of us have an opportunity to discuss this with their friends in real life. For instance, I know maybe one or two children my child's age who are still nursing.

    I wanted to point out the psychological aspect of nursing. I have a 4.5 year old who rarely nurses. So I don't really think he gets much nutrition because when he nurses, it's for about 2 seconds literally. And that is about once a week maybe. I have never put a limit on nursing him and this has been his choice. But I can see it in his eyes when he asks to nurse. He wants to still know that it is an option if he needs it. But I think it is helping him to let go knowing that I am not taking it away from him. I am due to have a baby in January, so we'll see if he picks up again. By the way, he started the once a week thing long before I was pregnant.

    -Lauren

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: Is there an upper limit?

    Quote Originally Posted by ferchi View Post
    My dd is only 16 months but I intend to let her self wean, and I've been doing some reading about it. I think you may find this article interesting and maybe reassuring.
    http://www.kathydettwyler.org/dettoddler.html

    I think we're done when she is nursing so infrequently that there is no milk left. I personally am very uncomfortable with letting an older child nurse so infrequently that there is no nutritional aspect any more. If it's only for comfort, it might be able to help the child find other ways to soothe. Again, I'm not talking a newborn or even a 2 year old. But letting a 5 or 8 year old breastfeed when there is no actual "feeding" happening grosses me out.

    JMHO. Others, I'm sure, may feel differently.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    1,048

    Default Re: Is there an upper limit?

    To address all the posts at once: At two, I'll bet you won't be pumping because if you want the child to wean, I assure you the best way to do that is to dry up. And yes at some point it becomes like (at least to me - I wasn't comfort nursed as a child) like an old stuffed animal that you loved but don't need anymore. You aren't ready to get rid of it, so you keep it around and even kind of play with it every once in a great while.. especially when mom talks about getting rid of it. But you really don't need it to get to sleep at night or anything like that anymore. You just don't want to let go yet because it's special and letting go is sad. That's a temporary phase.

    However I know a cleaning lady who cleans for adults who STILL have their security blankets from childhood under their beds. I don't know any adults who still nurse! My daughter was done when the milk was gone.. AFTER the milk was gone. So a few sessions of dry nursing is totally understandable to me. And nursing once a week did not dry me up. Still had milk. In fact I strongly feel that even though my child is completely weaned I could make milk again right now if I needed to. Maybe it would be harder next month, but anyway...

    I pushed my child to wean. I KIND of wanted her to wean because my dh wanted her to wean and I just felt it would be just great if she did it happily at two. But she wasn't ready so I didn't make her. I encouraged it a bit for a long time, but didn't really push it until I saw two things: she didn't NEED to suck.. I see seven year olds who need to suck.. but just after her third birthday, she was nursing to check in, but not to suck. When she went without the breast, she did not start sucking on her fingers or biting things like she did only a couple months before. The other thing I saw, sadly, was that she was a bit embarrassed about the fact that she nursed. I blame myself and her father for this and I felt terrible for it. Society plays a roll in weaning whether we want it to or not. I did not want to do anything with my child that made her feel ashamed. That's when it feels wrong to me. HOWEVER, once she weaned, the shame was gone. She was telling kids that she was no longer nursing because she's a big girl. She was telling kids who were weaned at 9 mos and had no idea what she was talking about but she just didn't care. She was proud that she was ready. And only two weeks later she told ME that she was done. And she was about 3.5 years old when she officially weaned. And while I limited and limited and was working toward weaning, it was HER decision to be completely done.. And I am SO FRICKING HAPPY about that (can you tell I've had a glass of wine?) that I strongly encourage you all to not worry about the number of years and focus on what that child needs. At some point some child may actually NEED to be weaned, led my mom, but ONLY the mother should be allowed to determine that. When nursing is interfering with areas of development or with the child's self esteem, IMO, limits are more important than all out weaning. But limits are a huge part of weaning. It is awesome seeing your kid be proud of weaning. Hang in there - it's worth it.

    I used to get squirmish when seeing a two year old nurse.. Now I will not flinch if I hear of a second grader nursing. To each their own. As long as the child's best interest is kept in mind, there is no upper limit.

    However...
    Puberty, maybe, would be a bit.. well...
    But I don't think that happens? So again, I wouldn't worry about the age.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: Is there an upper limit?

    Quote Originally Posted by awnja View Post
    My daughter was done when the milk was gone.. AFTER the milk was gone. So a few sessions of dry nursing is totally understandable to me. And nursing once a week did not dry me up. Still had milk.
    This is really interesting to me. I have never been at a point where I only nursed once a week, so I assumed the milk would be gone at this point, probably because in the early days it seemed like my supply was really fragile. I get what you're saying and it makes lots of sense to me.

    I am a big believer in letting others make decisions for their own families. So, while there may be things I don't do, that doesn't mean it won't work for others. Heck, I'm still trying to decide what if I'm gonna change anything when she turns one....on Sunday. I haven't thought any further past that, except vaguely that it would be nice to go away for a weekend in the future.

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