Breastfeeding a 4 year old?

Recently, a friend told me a story about being asked to vacate a room at her doctor’s office so a mother could breastfeed her four-year-old child.

Another friend of mine likes to tell the story about a mom she met who only fed her child breast milk until the age of two.  We all hear stories like this. The person usually telling the story is appalled and claims they would never do that with their child.

Since becoming a mom, especially a nursing mom, I try not to judge what other moms decide what to do with their children. I went into this with an opening mind and I’m trying to stay that way. I really do not have an opinion either way. I’m just doing what is working for my son and I.

When I got pregnant, I had no plan of what I would feed my son. I knew either breast or bottle would be fine. I wanted to try breastfeeding. If that didn’t work, we would go to formula. Luckily, I was able to produce milk and successfully feed my baby. I know a lot of women struggle with breastfeeding, that’s why I kept an open mind.

Currently, with my 10 month old, my hopes are to nurse my son until he is completely on solids. Although, the process is taken day by day, like times I consider stopping because he’s teeth are sharp and he will just keep getting new ones! I’m proud that we’ve made it this far. It would be great not to give him formula, but that’s more because I’m cheap and a bit lazy.

Did you have a solid plan of what you wanted to feed your child? Did it work? Do you want to feed your child until he/she is in college? What’s your opinion?

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  • It's too bad that people are usually appalled at stories like the mother breastfeeding the 4-year-old, or breastfeeding exclusively until age 2. Would that we could all have minds open enough to question our own socialization, as that's what it's a question of. Scientifically speaking, compared to other primates, if humans were to nurse their young as other primates do, we'd be nursing our young much longer. See this anthropologist's web site for more details: http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detwean.html A quote from the site: "The minimum predicted age for a natural age of weaning in humans is 2.5 years, with a maximum of 7.0 years."

    Other societies don't have the same repulsion around breasts being used for nursing that our collective American society seems to have. I offer this author's anecdotal experience from Mongolia: http://www.incultureparent.com/2011/02/breastfeeding-land-genghis-khan/

    Also, I appreciate and applaud your efforts to do what works for you and your son, and not judge other moms/parents for their choices. I make those same efforts, and find that the experience of becoming a parent leaves me with little option otherwise. It's so different and challenging! I hope you see my comments as encouraging open-mindedness and not as chastising, as that is the spirit in which I mean them.

  • In reply to parachuteparent:

    Thank you for the comment! It's so interesting to learn how other cultures nurse their children. Thanks for sharing and reading our blog!

  • Thank GOD my 13-month-old just officially untethered herself from my breast. Sweet freedom! She wasn't getting anything anyway. I just hand her a sandwich if she's hungry, lol.

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    This video covers the breast feeding dilemma that occurred at Target in a quite humorous manner, but offers some good insight – how that’s an issue, but fat, hairy men walking around shirtless is not? Worth a watch for sure.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=US&feature=youtu.be&v=cwO3GLIVHE0

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