Extended bfing.....I don't get it.....

Avatar for cl_sunny_side_up
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Registered: 03-25-2003
Extended bfing.....I don't get it.....
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Wed, 05-28-2003 - 3:58pm
OK....I realize that this will be a sensitive topic for many if not most bfers here but I really want to know cause I don't understand.

I think of my own children every time I read a post that mentions bfing their 3yr old or older. I think it's strange, not right, and weird. Again.....not trying to be mean here just giving my absolute honest opinion.

Honestly, even my 2.5yr old I couldn't imagine bfing....well, maybe....but HIGHLY doubtful. Certainly not my oldest ds's age(4.5).

I don't know if my feelings are all in the "incestual" nature....cause I don't think they are. HOWEVER, I do feel as if it crosses some sort of boundary(IMO). It's just plain wrong. I think.....these "nurslings" are KIDS!!......there's something wrong with this picture.

Thoughts??


christine


~christine~

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 5:28pm
I disagree with you. I think "extended" breastfeeding has many benefits to both babies and mothers. A large portion of the world BF's well into toddlerhood. I believe that in China, most mothers BF until the age of 6. That is the norm there. In fact, if you look at "extended" breastfeeding in a global sense, we are the "weird" ones here where most moms don't even nurse until 6 mos.

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Registered: 03-29-2003
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 5:30pm
I have to agree with you. In my playgroup of 6 18- to 22-month old children, three are still nursing, and even that weirds me out a little. I just don't understand it. When I look at my 21-month-old ds, I just could not imagine nursing him...he's just so much a little boy, a walking, talking, active little boy with a mouthful of teeth (not that biting is my concern, I'm just saying that he is well-equipped to eat a large variety of foods) who doesn't need to breastfeed for nutrition and is comforted by my dh and me in many ways without nursing. I breastfed him for 7+ months, and I'm hoping to bf his little brother for longer, maybe 9-12 months, but not beyond 1 year. I guess to me, bf-ing is nutrition for infants, and I don't really get nursing when it's not nutritionally necessary anymore.



I'm very interested to hear from some who are bf-ing toddlers/preschoolers about their experiences and why they're doing it.
Avatar for all_girls4me
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 5:47pm
ITA....While I do think that BF is great for about a year, I don't see the necessity to extend it, especially to like 5-6 years. That's a little much in my opinion. The first year has plenty of benefits, just like formula for the first year, but after that it just kind weirds me out. I don't think that it is nutritionally necessary. My kids don't get any formula past 12-15 months because they eat enough real healthy food, even my 10 months old now eats pretty much everything.


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Wed, 05-28-2003 - 5:55pm
What are the benefits of bf-ing beyond 1 year? "Everybody else is doing it" isn't an argument that makes me want to breastfeed for 6 years!
Avatar for cl_sunny_side_up
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Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 6:05pm
I know that child-lead weening is an AP thing. The Sears' are adimant about EBF.

I remember seeing a 3yr old nursing....while in a nursing store. It really weirded me out. It just didn't look right. This kid lifted up his mother's shirt, grabs her boob and starts sucking. He also called it a "titty"....ugh.

I am doing my best to be sensitive to those here who EBF, but truly it makes me sickened. I don't mean to imply that mother's who do it are wrong....or sick....it's just my personal feelings on the issue.

There's no need for it. Just as I find a pacifier past a certain age "wrong".....same applies here.



christine


~christine~

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Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 6:19pm
I'm nursing my 18 month old and intend to continue until he is ready to stop be that a few more months or a few more years. Breastmilk certainly does still play an important nutritional role in my son's life. Its's not his main food source any more but it provides useful backup. Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters so if my DS decides to refuse all vegetables or will only eat peanut butter sandwiches for a week I know he's still getting lots of good nutrients and I don't stress out (far better absorbed than a multivitamin). Same goes for if he is sick and off his food.

Breastfeeding is also extremely comforting. It's not the only tool in my box but its a big help in dealing with all those bumps, bruises and frustrations that make up a toddler's day. The hormones released during nursing help me relax so I often offer to nurse if I find myself brcoming frustrated with my son - a healthier option than pouring myself a gin ;-)

The immune properties of BM don't go away after a year - infact I believe they become more concentrated. As Crispin ventures out into the wide world and mixes with more children that protection becomes more important. And, selfishly, the protection that nursing offers against breast and other cancers is dose-related so the longer I nurse for the more my health is protected.

Most people I've talked ot who are nursing older kids don't nuse them 8 times a day like you would a baby. A four or five year old may not even nurse every day. Child led weaning happens very gradually.

Isabel and Crispin (18 months)





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Avatar for cl_sunny_side_up
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Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 6:51pm
<<>>

He's only 18mo old right now. I haven't posted I am against an 18mo old nursing. I AM against.....or at the very least find it weird to nurse a 3yr old or older.


<<>>

Yes, but so are lots of other things. Like.......say, masturbating. But, I don't do that everyday.....or even every other day. Having an orgasm with or without intercourse has been shown improve one's health. Yet, I don't see any orgies out there(although I am sure a few exist).


<<>>

Don't use the immune properties as an excuse because you could nurse virtually forever. So?? Would you be nursing your 20yr old son because of the immune properties?? The cancer protection should be little comfort to you. You should be looking at your lifestyle as a whole...not just one minute detail. MANY things have been related to causing cancers, namely breast cancer. And many things have been shown to lower that rate or risk. Again, nursing is only one of probably hundreds.


<<>>

And that is supposed to make it better?? Truly, it's the same to me if it were only once a month. It's still wrong in my eyes.


christine







~christine~

Avatar for wendy1221
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 6:55pm
ITA w/ Isabel. Children are NOT meant to drink cow's milk! In fact, most people in the world are lactose intolerant because they historically did not develop the mutant genes that allow them to digest cow's milk. Breastmilk does not contain lactose. The milk sugars are simpler. I only nursed my son for 15 months, but I had planned to nurse him for at least 2 years. Probably no more than 3, I am a little uncomfortable with that myself. BUT I am not uncomfortable with other people doing it! I worked at a daycare while I was in college and one mother was still nursing her almost 3 yo. He ocassionally wanted to nurse when she picked him up (usually after a particularly bad day--even kids have them). I didn't bother me then, and it certainly wouldn't bother me now that I have my own kids! Anthropological studies suggest that people are biologically meant to nurse from 3-6 years or something like that. I read an article years ago, so I'm not sure about the exact ages. It might have been 4-8 or 2-6. Did you know that gorillas, our closest primate relatives that are similar in size, nurse from 4-6 years? And they are fully grown at age 12! And in primitive cultures, it is common for kids to bf until they are older, around 3 or 4 is typical, but some wean earlier or later, anywhere from 1.5 to 6 years old.

Anyway, severe milk allergies run in my family. But kids do need more calcium and good fats than they'll probably get from a solid foods diet without milk. Cow's milk is not an option. Vegetable based milks (like soy) don't cut it. Breastmilk is better than cow's milk for people anyway. After all, cow's milk is made for cow's people milk for people. Bm contains the right amount of protein and fat and adjusts to baby's age. I've read that for toddlers and preschoolers the milk actually becomes more like colostrum again. Heavy doses of antibodies when kids need them. They're at a social age and playing with other kids exposes them to more germs. Bm is still boosting their immune systems. And it's not like they still nurse 12 times a day like a newborn. My son was only nursing about 4 times a day when he weaned at 15 months. My sister's 2 year old (who has been hospitalized for his cow's milk allergy. She has an epi pen now), nurses I think 3 times a day. Before bed, when he wakes up and before nap. I really don't understand why people have such a problem with what other people do. Especially when what they're doing is really BETTER for their kids. I'm pregnant with my second and I plan on bf again and this time I'll hopefully do it longer.

Wendy

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Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 6:55pm
I have to say that I do feel funny about nursing a toddler. I know it's very much cultural and that there are still some health benefits, but it does bother me particularly when there is a pet word for it that the child uses (i.e. nursies, milky). Gives me the heebie jeebies.

I know that there are other cultures where it is normal, but the fact remains that it bothers me, DS does not NEED it for nutrition, and there are plenty of other ways for me to comfort him even now - even though he is BFed at five months old.

I do have a concern about the whole comfort argument for EBF because I don't think we should be teaching our kids to be comfort eaters. I have enough of a problem with that personally (though it's not due to being BFed becasue my Mom stopped when I was about 4 months old). Isn't nursing for comfort the equivalent of giving a crying baby/toddler a bottle or a cookie to make them feel better? I don't think that's a good idea either. JMO.

- Ingrid


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Avatar for kfira71
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 7:03pm
I don't really "get it" either. I'm sure that it is mostly because it is *such* a foreign concept to see, say, a five year old BFing in our culture today. When I hear people mention it, even for a three year old, it just weirds me out. When I think about it, I don't think it's sick or incestuous in any way, or even "wrong." It's just bizarre to me, and the thought of *my* nursing a child for that long truthfully grosses me out.

I don't believe that it's of any nutritional benefit, once a child is able to eat a variety of foods. And there is no proof that BFing beyond two years is medically helpful in terms of immunities and such. I've heard people argue that it doesn't just *stop* being helpful at two years, but that argument doesn't really work for me. Why not just BF till adulthood then, if there's no cut-off point? As for comfort, I think that children of the age we are speaking about are certainly capable of being comforted with words, hugs, and kisses. I can't imagine wanting to latch a four year old on when he falls and skins his knee.

Then, of course, there's the societal factor. The social suffering a first grader in the US would endure if it were known among his classmates that he still nurses would be horrendous. I would imagine women who do nurse to that age don't exactly advertise it, but a first grader who still needs to nurse for comfort, IMO, is emotionally immature. I suppose some might say that it is our culture that *expects* that kind of maturity, and I'd probably agree. But that doesn't really change my opinion, since I'm a product of my culture.

~Kim

"Becoming a parent means agreeing to allow your heart to go walking around outside of your body."

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