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LONG TERM NURSING

Filed at 8:25 pm under by dcobranchi

I’m not getting into the wisdom of nursing a five-year-old. Instead, I’m curious about this claim:

But experts said there was no medical evidence to support breast-feeding after six months – and that it could psychologically damage the children later on.

Six months?

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For further study, this piece is very good: https://www.thebabbleout.com/feeding/breastfeeding/

22 Responses to “LONG TERM NURSING”


Comment by
NJRoadie
June 12th, 2008
at 9:47 pm

As someone who nursed a child old enough to clearly ask to be nursed I can tell you it isn’t a huge deal. Nursing an older child isn’t something you START doing when they are 2-3-4 or even 5 years old. It is something that you CONTINUE doing day by day. They don’t nurse like newborns for goodness sakes, and very often it is a comfort activity when they are hurt, scared or overtired. It just isn’t nearly as much of a big deal as many people (mostly men) make of it.


Comment by
Lisa Giebitz
June 12th, 2008
at 10:59 pm

Six months…? WTF?
The APA recommends breastfeeding at least the first year (obviously some kids ween themselves before then). So I’m gonna go with them on this one.


Comment by
JJ Ross
June 12th, 2008
at 11:04 pm

Maybe the six months came from that as the end of “exclusively” nursing, because it’s time to start introducing solids? Or they might be talking about conveyed immunity?


Comment by
Bonnie
June 12th, 2008
at 11:37 pm

As we well-bred Southern belles say…

HOGWASH!

Among hundreds of other reasons to breastfeed well beyond 6 months is the ear/jaw relationship. Far less cases of otitis media are reported among breastfed babies/toddlers. Otitis media affects children mainly 2-4 years old so breastfeeding would need to be continued into that age range for there to be any advantage, thus medical knowledge of the effects. The immune system boost has been laid down from birth, but the actual suckling is what helps.

I have breastfed some of mine well into their 3rd year and no psychological damage yet.


Comment by
JJ Ross
June 12th, 2008
at 11:51 pm

Well, the benefits to the mom seem clear! Including the publicity for her website because she sure won’t get any other job while she’s on this kind of demanding “homeshcool” schedule.

One oft-touted benefit is actually discounted by her case though — that breast-feeding provides natural birth control. Otherwise where did the three-year-old come from? OTOH, maybe that’s why she isn’t currently nursing three or four or more?


Comment by
Heather
June 13th, 2008
at 12:17 am

WHO recommends “complimentary” feedings (meaning, in addition to breastfeeding, not instead of breastfeeding), stating that the transition period between exclusive breastfeeding and exclusive table foods is a vulnerable period where many infants become malnourished. Here’s that link: who.in...x.html

I think too many folks (including doctors, unfortunately) have misunderstood the “complimentary” part.


Comment by
Ulrike
June 13th, 2008
at 1:56 am

“One oft-touted benefit is actually discounted by her case though — that breast-feeding provides natural birth control. Otherwise where did the three-year-old come from?”

*sigh* That was petty and uneducated.

Quote:
Exclusive breastfeeding (by itself) is 98-99.5% effective in preventing pregnancy as long as all of the following conditions are met:

1. Your baby is less than six months old.
2. Your menstrual periods have not yet returned.
3. Baby is breastfeeding on cue (both day & night), and gets nothing but breastmilk or only token amounts of other foods.

(Source: kellym...y.html )

As for the rest, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a BARE MINIMUM of one year of breastfeeding and thereafter, “as long as mutually desired by mother and child.” The World Health Organization actually recommends a BARE MINIMUM of two years of breastfeeding, and again places no upper limit on the practice.

Anthropologist Katherine Dettwyler’s research suggests that the “natural” age of weaning for the Human Animal is somewhere in the 2.5-7 year range (obviously, there will be some “outliers” who “naturally” wean earlier or later). (Source: kathyd...n.html )

What are the MEDICAL benefits to breastfeeding beyond 6 months? This page summarizes some of them: kellym...s.html . Further, the claim above doesn’t stand up to good, old fashioned logic & common sense. Human milk is human MILK. What idiot (doctor or otherwise) could possibly believe that bovine milk “does a human body good”, but human milk is bad moojoo?

As for psychological damage… Joanne Davidson once said something that stuck with me. Paraphrased, she said, “Breastfeeding in and of itself is not dysfunctional. In dysfunctional families, that dysfunction can manifest itself within the breastfeeding relationship, just as it manifests itself in many–or even all–other aspects of the relationship. Even if those dysfunctional families weren’t breastfeeding.”

The majority of breastfeeding mothers–yes, and the majority of breastfeeding mothers of 4-8 year olds!–are emotionally & psychologically healthy women who are trying to do the best thing for their children, just as the majority of homeschooling parents are emotionally & psychologically healthy people who are trying to do the best for their children. None of us gets everything right all of the time, but I fail to see any evidence that nursing a 5 year old or homeschooling a child is wrong in and of itself.


Comment by
Carlotta
June 13th, 2008
at 4:09 am

The Dalai Lama’s father would ask for milk aged 10/11 which obviously screwed everyone up big time and long term.


Comment by
Andrea_R
June 13th, 2008
at 8:29 am

Count me in with the rest of the moms. Emma was nursing past 3 years old, and it was pretty much just at night to fall asleep.


Comment by
Bonnie
June 13th, 2008
at 10:01 am

Now I don’t know that I buy that the BC percentage is even that high. I know many…myself included…who were pregnant again while exclusively nursing (day and niiight…niiight and daaaayyyyyy…:-) )


Comment by
Valerie
June 13th, 2008
at 1:58 pm

Regarding the “after 6 mos.” nursing, a lot probably depends on where the child is living. (this leaves aside the benefits of suckling itself)

A change from nursing to whatever replaces it probably won’t result in a noticeable change (from the ‘norm’) in a middle-class child living in London, Buenos Aires, Kyoto or Des Moines. If the child lives in a poor area where parents must stretch the available food (dilute formula) and do not have a reliable source of clean water, the change could result in seriously bad consequences for the child.

The Politics of Breastfeeding

In the article, though, I wonder why a psychiatrist is giving advice on breastfeeding? Looks like a Freudian slip on the part of the reporter.


Comment by
JJ Ross
June 13th, 2008
at 3:17 pm

LOL Ulrike the Humorless! (can I call you thaty, since we’re getting so personal and all?)

How can you cite that with a straight face, seriously?? So breastfeeding works as birth control as long as the the menstral periods haven’t returned?? — gee thanks, medical expert gurus! (Noot to mention number one, which likely offers yet more explanation for Daryl’s curiosity, whence came the original story’s six-month demarcation?)

Just call me Dr. Petty and Uneducated Successful Breastfeeding Mom of Two Who Grew Up Great Without Latent Lactation Issues and Went on to Better Things, Which Was the Point All Along, Or So I Thought


Comment by
Ulrike
June 13th, 2008
at 6:36 pm

Ulrike the Humorless! (can I call you that…

You know what they say: If you can’t back up your argument with facts, resort to name calling.

I don’t understand why you’re so angry about the assertion that “used correctly” breastfeeding can reduce the risk of pregnancy by 98+% for up to 6 months after birth. Used properly, the pill is slightly more effective, while the condom is slightly less effective. None of these methods are 100%.

I know many women, including myself, who’ve conceived while using condoms. Does that mean that condoms don’t work? No, it means that condoms don’t work 100% and that there is the potential for misuse which further reduces their effectiveness. I’d never claim that someone who got pregnant while using a condom discounted the effectiveness of condoms in general, which is exactly what you did regarding breastfeeding as birth control in your post.

Further, since her children were born two years apart, it is quite possible that breastfeeding as contraceptive was effective for the mother in the article for well over the initial 6 months. There’s no way of knowing what (if any) birth control she was using and when (if ever) she started actively trying to conceive.

If you’d like more information about breastfeeding as contraceptive (or a variety of other methods), I recommend checking out the Planned Parenthood website. Proper use is key.
planne...19.htm
planne...33.htm


Comment by
JJ Ross
June 13th, 2008
at 7:03 pm

I started out chuckling at a silly story about a woman who made a whole identity as an older mom with a five-year-old she planned to nurse for “several more years” as her claim to fame.

Then I thought how clearly absurd it was to claim anything (be it it breastfeeding, toenail polish or astrology) worked as birth control but only in the absence of menstrual periods (still laughing at that!)

And now I’m laughing at myself along with the article, for being too quick to post before — if I’d waited a few minutes more, Ulrike the Upright would have come to me and alliterated, been catchier . . .

So not angryl, where did that come from? But just fyi, petty and uneducated are namecalling , not that I was angry then nor am I now (are you usually tone-deaf as well as uptight?)


Comment by
Dawn
June 13th, 2008
at 9:08 pm

All I can say is that the nutritional benefits and the antibodies in breastmilk don’t magically go away when a child is older then 6 months. And nursing a toddler, comfort for him, the bliss of hormones for me, kept me sane through a tough time.


Comment by
Audrey
June 14th, 2008
at 12:56 am

I think it’s nice that she and her child are happy with their relationship, but really people… breastfeeding is not a f*cking competition. Do or don’t, for as long as you like. There’s really no need to go slamming people for their choices on the matter.


Comment by
Daryl Cobranchi
June 14th, 2008
at 7:07 am

Yeah, that’s what I meant about not getting into the wisdom of nursing an older child. A very “hot” topic.


Comment by
JJ Ross
June 14th, 2008
at 10:05 am

Daryl, maybe it’s not what we can’t talk about, so much as how we can’t talk about it. . . lotta that going around.
What Homeschooling Can Learn. . .


Comment by
speedwell
June 14th, 2008
at 2:59 pm

Audrey, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Yes, some of us want to, and try to, and can’t. Just can’t. Our bodies don’t cooperate. We don’t make enough milk. We get sick and need to take prescriptions or chemo that make it impossible to breastfeed. We are not lazy or indifferent.

Every time I see some crunchy granola mama argue that giving a child a bottle is abuse, I wish for them to have to go through the same things I went through. My better nature makes me take it back right afterward, of course, but for a second I really just hate them.


Comment by
Lisa Giebitz
June 14th, 2008
at 7:31 pm

Dude, speedwell, I know exactly what you mean.

The reason I don’t go to LLL meetings? The leader looked at me like I was a murderer when I said I had to supplement with formula for the first four months of my child’s life.


Comment by
Audrey
June 14th, 2008
at 10:19 pm

Speedwell, no problem, babe. I know a lot of fantastic moms — some breastfed, some didn’t, some were in between. It has nothing to do with their abilities as a fine parent. We all come from different places and have different challenges in life. Making a competition out these things is just detrimental to one’s well-being. I refuse to compete.

FWIW, I breastfed what I had when I could, and when I could no longer I lovingly and nurturingly gave him formula from a bottle.

Also, FWIW, I am one hell of a kick-ass mom. I know this is true because my kid says so — and I didn’t raise a liar. 🙂


Comment by
AztecQueen2000
June 16th, 2008
at 12:49 pm

I had a lactation consultation who basically told me breastmilk is best, but not at the risk of starving your kid. It actually took me several weeks to have a reliable supply, so my DD got serious supplementation from the good people at Enfamil.
BTW, the only way breastfeeding is 100% effective as birth control is if you nurse while cosleeping and your hubby avoids you like the plague!