Saturday, May 17, 2008

Extended Breastfeeding

Okay... those who I've talked about this with know I am comfortable with the IDEA of extended breastfeeding (breastfeeding past 12 months of age). However, I think this woman takes the extended part a bit too far.

I don't believe she is nursing for her daughter's sake, but rather for her own. There is no nutritional value for the children, and no claims of that are made in this video. But when will she stop the nursing? And WHY, Lord, WHY, encourage them to draw pictures of their mother's breasts??? I just don't understand.

There is a thread on one message board I lurk at that shed a little bit of light into how a hyper-extended nursing mother might feel about this.

Lori is the mother of a 7 year old boy who was still nursing as of January 2008(he turned 7 in March). When he had gone about 7 weeks without nursing, Lori posted this:

He hasn't asking[sic] and truth be told I am tempted to offer. I am not sure why. Maybe because I am not ready to let go of this phase that defined our relationship. Maybe because it is a novelty and I have defined myself by it for so long. Maybe because my supply is dropping and every little bit will help keep it going.

I think her post clearly shows that she is doing this for herself, and not for her son.

I believe in child-led weaning when it comes to nursing. However, when a mom asks and reminds the child that it is an option, maybe the child isn't leading the process. And, at this age, maybe the boy is concerned about disappointing his mother so he is afraid to say that he is done?

What do you think? What is the appropriate age to wean a child from nursing?


  1. You asked for opinions so I'll give mine :)

    You know - I think it's inappropriate. I have a dd that is almost 9 and I just can't see that being necessary. There gets to be a time when we take away other "childish" things from our children b/c that is what is best. What if our children want to continue wearing a diaper until they are 12 - should we let them b/c they are "more comfortable" and enjoy it? What if 9 year old only wants to eat mushy baby food - do we let that continue?

    Why do we always look to "third world countries" for things such as extended breastfeeding (they do it in part b/c of's either momma milk or starve!) - and think they know what's best but yet we sure don't follow along with other ideas that they have.

  2. Edi,
    You made a great point about looking to the 3rd world... I think "we" look there because "we" assume they do things more the way it was intended since they haven't been ruined by modernity.

    Of course, they would likely give their left leg to have a crack at the luxury of our modern life!

  3. Hi Jen - coming from the "country" or "the hills" and I still don't think I have ever heard of someone nursing her child for 7+ years. I think this woman has some real issues that her son will be carrying for years to come. Can you imagine how this boys peers will react if they ever discover this fact about this child. In our country, this could boarder on child abouse.

    BTW, I love your blog ~ you have such colorful subjects!

    Antie Beverly

  4. I have been too busy to blog, but I will just say that what these ladies are doing is called enmeshment.

    I would probably take the time to argue further but I don't have time ;p

  5. I just googled the term 'enmeshment' and this is what I found:

    " In human relationships, this term means two or more people who don't have clear identities and boundaries (limits) that separate one person from the other. Thus an enmeshed person can't distinguish the difference between my needs, feelings, opinions, and priorities and yours."

    Yep... that sounds about right... and extremely unhealthy!


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