Stay at Home Moms

Extended BF'ing... how long is "normal"?

I used to think when people BF'd past 2 or so years it was odd... not wrong, just odd. I've totally lightened up and see that it's a totally normal thing and to be honest I'd probably have nursed Hadley until she was at least 2 if I had of been able to do so.

That being said, even for you guys who are pro extended BF'ing, is there an age that you think it's odd to see a kid nursing? In your opinion is 4,5, or 6 years old too old? 7 or 8? Or it doesn't matter, still totally normal depending on the family?

Just curious what others think.

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Re: Extended BF'ing... how long is "normal"?

  • I don't know.  It probably depends on the person. 

    I may be wrong, but I don't think many people do extended nursing in public places.  Most likely if I see you nursing your 4 year old, I probably know you pretty well and have my own judgments (good and bad) about your parenting based on a number of different things. 


  • I didn't want to BF past a year and we ended up going to 13 months... So that was extended for me! But, MIL nursed all 4 of hers until 4 years of age. I really think at that point, it was for her- she wanted them to "need" her for comfort, nourishment and really encouraged nursing multiple times daily. She said she wished she would have gone longer, ugh.

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  • Pre kids I thought past a year...then 2 years...now I think 4 years is too old. As my kids get older....my number goes up bc I see how not weird it is at that stage haha!
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  • I have a four year old and can't imagine BFing him. I don't judge but that is beyond my norm.
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  • NotchotchkeNotchotchke
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    edited October 2013
    I ebf with dd until we introduced solids around 6 months. Before solids she was nursing on demand up to 8-9 times per day. Now she nurses approximately 4 times per day and I love having that bit of freedom back. Now I can leave the house for several hours and dh can feed her lunch or dinner. I plan to breast feed until 1 year at which point I will introduce wcm. I may continue to bf before bed but that is yet to be determined.

    For me personally I enjoy bf but I also enjoy the freedom that comes along with a weaned child. I also do no want my dd to become dependent on the breast to soothe herself. So to answer your question, there is no answer, to each his own, though I do not necessarily want to see a 3-4 year old nursing in public.

    Edited for typos

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  • I wanted to add, older kids (like 3+) aren't necessarily nursing multiple times a day. It could be even once every couple of days. And DS isn't weaned, but I still feel I have freedom from him. He doesn't ever "ask" when I'm not around and other people can calm him and get him to sleep. I work the occasional night shift and DH has no problem with DS "needing" me.
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  • Personally I'd really like to stop bfing milo by three. I've been trying to gentley wean and it's not working. The hard part is I will still feed J. So just going away for weekend to cut it abruptly won't work.

    I don't know. For me it's a totally to each person there own. A day a old a week old four years old. I just don't care.

    I don't even judge a kid with a bottle Even though I know it's bad for their teeth.
  • Back in college DH knew a woman with two kids, 3 and 5 or 6. They were working on a team project and she brought the kids. They both would approach her whenever they wanted to nurse, lift her shirt and nurse. It was bizarre to me, not because of the ages necessarily, but more because of the way it was done. She would stand there still working with the team and the kids would come and go as they wished. I don't see anything wrong with it, her kids her body and all that. I had just never seen anything like it. Honestly, after that my frame of reference for "normal" is pretty wide.

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  • Personally, I think as long as everyone involved wants to continue nursing then it shouldn't be a problem
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    Tangerine01
  • The age of what is "normal" keeps rising in my mind.  Originally I said I would BF for a year, then I said until she was vocally able to ask for it and now my view is that I will probably BF until it isn't working for us anymore.  I will say that I find it surprising to hear about someone nursing a child over the age of 3 and may start to side eye when a kid is 5.  I will most likely stop BFing in public before completely weaning DD.  
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  • I don't judge but it is definitely not for me.  To each there own, I am a big believer in "whatever works for your family".  

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  • We're going on 14 months...that being said, I plan to wean by the end of the year. I don't really care what others do (I was BF til 3). My SS BF her daughter until past 4; it was a bit odd to see a 4 year old talking and playing with her friends, then run up and pull down SS's shirt to nurse. But whatever, it worked for them.
  • I find anything over 3 unusual. That being said, for me I can't imagine still BFing G and he is almost 2 and a half. when I weaned him at 9 mo it didn't really bother him. As long as he had his food he was cool. If he was more attached to the act of BFing I may have felt differently. I mean, he liked it, he seemed comforted by it, but I honestly don't think he cared when he started getting more bottles. It was harder for me to not be needed, ya know?

    If you are BFing your 5 yr old or older I will assume it is more for you OR your child has an stronger than typical attachment to you/the act of BFing and you haven't yet succeded in helping then to learn other ways to comfort themselves which were not fully dependant on your breasts.
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  • Personally, I think as long as everyone involved wants to continue nursing then it shouldn't be a problem

    So 10 is cool? 14? I don't mean that in a rude way, but I am curious if, in your mind there is a line somewhere.
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  • NandaB said:
    Personally, I think as long as everyone involved wants to continue nursing then it shouldn't be a problem
    So 10 is cool? 14? I don't mean that in a rude way, but I am curious if, in your mind there is a line somewhere.
    I really don't think a ten or fourteen year old is going to want to breastfeed.
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  • I haven't personally met someone who BFed past age 3. I could see continuing a nighttime routine of BF then bed at 2 or 3, but not past that. I can't imagine my 4 y/o or her friends nursing anymore even just at bedtime.

    I plan to reduce it to morning/night around a year with Drew, which is what I did with Emma. No more nursing in public at that point and not really during the day but if he wants to nurse first thing in the morning or keep that as part of his bedtime routine, great! I'm open to doing that until around 2. Emma self weaned at 16 months, which was perfect. She had weaned down to morning only completely on her own, then on Thanksgiving I went to yoga with my mom before she woke up. By the time I came home she'd had breakfast and didn't look to nurse. She never looked for it again and we were done, entirely on her terms (DH said she didn't look for me that morning even). I hope it's that easy this time because that was fantastic!
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  • NandaB said:
    Personally, I think as long as everyone involved wants to continue nursing then it shouldn't be a problem
    So 10 is cool? 14? I don't mean that in a rude way, but I am curious if, in your mind there is a line somewhere.
    That's my point, I was reading an article about a lady BF'ing her 8 year old daughter. Some girls are getting their period at 8... to me there is definitely a line when it's no longer something acceptable but I don't know there is a specific age. But at 8... yeah, that's just weird.

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  • I don't know.  Nate weaned himself around 2 when I got pregnant with Caleb.  I can't imagine breastfeeding a 4 year old.  I think when they are old enough that the public schools except them into school, they should probably be weaned.  But whatever.  I know breastmilk has a lot of benefits.  I've heard of people pumping and putting it in cups for older kids during cold/flu season.  I personally think age 3 would be my limit.  For one thing, at this point I kind of miss having my body as MY body.  It might be nice when everyone gets OFF me! :) My DH may even get more cuddles when I'm not being touched by kids all.day.long.

     

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  • NandaB said:

    Personally, I think as long as everyone involved wants to continue nursing then it shouldn't be a problem

    So 10 is cool? 14? I don't mean that in a rude way, but I am curious if, in your mind there is a line somewhere.

    I really don't think a ten or fourteen year old is going to want to breastfeed.

    But what you think they might want or not want isn't the point. I saw an article with a 9 yr old who was still BF. So I don't think its that far fetched that a 10 yr old may still want to.




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  • My DD2 is 14 months and we are still nursing at bedtime and during the night! I would love to be done but I'm just not sure how to even go about it! DD2 weaned herself at 6 mos so I've never really had to make those decisions.
  • And as far as older kids wanting to I think it depends on what's around them and what is their "normal". If their mom is an extended BFer she probably has friends who are similar. Add in homeschooling and kids may see lots of other kids their age or close to it who still BF. However, a 5 yr old who goes to a public school for kindergarten and who may have other typical activities (I'm thinking soccer and karate vs mom-led co-op organic art experience) knows that it isn't "normal" for kids their age to BF.
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  • I laugh at the verbally ask for it thing. M still can't verbally ask for it.
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  • DS nursed just until after his 4th birthday.  He was done.  I was done.  It ended well.  I don't know anyone who has nursed that long.  I am not sure what I think is too old because I don't know anyone who has nursed past 1!
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  • It seems odd to me in a way to nurse a school age child, but if that's what both want then go for it, I won't judge. I guess I just can't picture MYSELF doing it?

    I'm ridiculously upset about barely producing anymore and fighting to make a year, but when I was pregnant I was like eh, I'll try for 6 months but I doubt I'll do it that long. About 5 years ago I knew a woman who breastfed her 2 year old. He would just walk up to her, climb on her lap, and pull her top down and go to town. I thought that was weird back then. My views on breastfeeding have changed dramatically. When I see women breastfeeding toddlers now, I want to give them a high five.
     

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  • Hav=Fath said:
    NandaB said:
    Personally, I think as long as everyone involved wants to continue nursing then it shouldn't be a problem
    So 10 is cool? 14? I don't mean that in a rude way, but I am curious if, in your mind there is a line somewhere.
    That's my point, I was reading an article about a lady BF'ing her 8 year old daughter. Some girls are getting their period at 8... to me there is definitely a line when it's no longer something acceptable but I don't know there is a specific age. But at 8... yeah, that's just weird.
    That age is too old for ME, agreed. Considering my DD is almost that age, I can't imagine,  For me, anything school aged would be a line. So 5 or so.  I guess walking into Kindergarten, I feel they shouldn't need breast milk.
  • NandaB said:

    Personally, I think as long as everyone involved wants to continue nursing then it shouldn't be a problem

    So 10 is cool? 14? I don't mean that in a rude way, but I am curious if, in your mind there is a line somewhere.
    It's not really my business to draw lines for other people's breastfeeding decisions. I also really, really doubt any teenager is going to want to breastfeed.

    I get what you're saying. For sure, it's goes against societal norms and seems a little weird.. but I'm not comfortable drawing lines for other people's breastfeeding as long as it's not harming anyone and the kid/mother both want to continue... I say go for it?
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    Angela814Tangerine01
  • Bah, I'm on mobile and suck at mobile posting, so excuse the crappily written response..
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  • This is a tough one- I only was able to BF for first 7 months and tried everything to keep my supply up but all of them failed. I was super sad.

    Ideally I would have loved to go a year then night feed until she was 15 months.

    Talking about this always makes me think of that Sex and the City episode where they are at the baby shower
    Carrie: There's a woman in there breastfeeding a child who can chew steak.
    Miranda: You know how I feel about that. If you can ask for it, you're probably too old for it.

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