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I'm a secret extended breastfeeder...

(76 Posts)
bearhug Fri 08-Jul-11 14:31:46

about to be 'found out'! Going on a camping holiday with sisters + their children. My DS is going to be heard loud and clear at 6 AM every day: I want Mammy's Milk! (repeat until I get him out of bed). He's nearly 3. He only has the early morning and bed-time feed.

I am going to have to explain. There is no answer other than he still likes it, and I don't mind.

twinklegreen Fri 08-Jul-11 14:41:38

Well I am very pleased to hear you secret bearhug

I think you answer is perfectly adequate smile It is really not any of their business anyway. If they have a problem with it remember it is their problem not yours. They may surprise you anyway!

Have a good time camping smile

Hopefully pesephone will be along to give you a good run down of the theory surrounding natural weaning ages of humans, so you could spout off alot of biological information on why it's normal, to shut them up, if needed!

shouldbeelswhere Fri 08-Jul-11 14:43:57

No prob, he still wants it and you don't mind. You and he will stop when you're ready...it's only in this country where some people are weird about it. He's only 3 not 12!

bearhug Fri 08-Jul-11 14:51:28

Thanks both. Truth be told, until I had DS, I probably would have raised an eyebrow myself at the thought of a walking talking toddler still being breastfed. Glad MN educated me smile

ramade Fri 08-Jul-11 15:08:56

I think that letting your children move on to the next stage and grow up is an important thing that all parents need to do.

Just like teaching them how to put on their own shoes, brush their teeth etc, when you stop doing those things for them and teach them how to do it themselves, you're giving them tools of independence.

I don't think you should worry about what the other people on the trip will think. I do think though, that you need to plan in your head how you're going to ween him off those feeds and decide when.

Levant Fri 08-Jul-11 15:19:53

Ha ha I reckon there are more secret extended bfers than we realise. I remember staying with my cousin when DS was 2 and a half and him constantly asking for milk

Cadmum Fri 08-Jul-11 15:25:16

I like your secret as well. I do understand what you meanabout being 'found out'. My parents were horrified to discover that ds1 still had a feed at night when he was 18 months. I managed to avoid telling them how long I fed the next 3 dcs...

You may find that nobody is listening at 6am or that they think they must have misunderstood his request. Are your sisters likely to challenge you or confront you about it?

bearhug Fri 08-Jul-11 15:27:38

My sisters are likely to be a little like Ramade, challenging but nice about it.

ramade Fri 08-Jul-11 15:43:05

Ha ha smile Don't want to sound like a knob, it's just what i think wink.

Sossiges Fri 08-Jul-11 15:48:06

I read something online about a lady who had a four year old who was breastfed, but she taught him to say "Can I have some milk please Mummy?" so it wasn't such a giveaway. If she had visitors, the mum and the ds would go into the kitchen & the visitors assumed she was just getting him a drink of (cow's) milk. Smart!
My dd is still feeding at 2 (I also swore I would not be feeding anyone old enough to ask) but she's not quite as discreet blush
I have to admit though, I find it a teensy bit sad that some people think cow's milk is "ok" while mother's milk isn't.

RitaMorgan Fri 08-Jul-11 15:53:27

The cow's milk thing is weird isn't it? The world and his wife don't have an opinion on when you should get your child off cow's milk or that when they have teeth/can ask/other arbitrary developmental stage they are too old for it. Quite the opposite - animal milk consumption is seen as natural and healthy way into childhood. Human milk is somehow much more challenging despite being biologically normal.

TruthSweet Fri 08-Jul-11 16:10:53

I thought you were going to say you were nursing a much older child. If he's nearly 3 you've only just got past the minimum recommended time to bf and if he likes to nurse what business is it of anyone's?

If anyone makes any comments you could always try the old standby of 'I don't parent by doing the minimum by my child' or the MN classic reply of 'f off and when you get there f off some more' (though perhaps not to your mum!)

Cadmum Fri 08-Jul-11 16:12:41

The great thing about opinions is that everyone is entitled to their own but I fail to comprehend how a third person's opinion (with the possible exception of the dh/father) should be imposed on a breast feeding relationship between mother and child. The only exception might be if either the child or the mother is not happy with the situation.

As a toddler, my dh had an occasional bottle at 5 years of age but that didn't stop my mil from commenting that it was time for me to wean my 2 year olds.

I am not sure that I fully understand why cow's milk in a bottle has become so normalised when there is nothing natural about it at all...

The power of advertising:
1. Breasts are sexual.
2. Bottles and formula make wealthy companies wealthier and people less healthy.

lol at 'letting' your children move on to the next stage and grow up is an important thing that all parents need to do. ''Forcing' a toddler to breastfeed could be likened to the 13th task of Hercules; I'd like to see someone try it!

TrinIsASadSpottyFatRhino Fri 08-Jul-11 16:13:59

well just tell them that someone you know is still feeding her 4 year old grin

I'll take your heat wink

TrinIsASadSpottyFatRhino Fri 08-Jul-11 16:15:21

yeah whatever ramade
gecko will wean when she is ready thanks

TheMitfordsMaid Fri 08-Jul-11 16:17:50

You certainly don't need to plan how he'll stop. My DS was nearly 3 when he decided overnight, pretty much, to stop. It was a shock! My younger son is 2 yrs and 2 months and will hopefully carry on until the same age. Who cares what others think?

LakeFlyPie Fri 08-Jul-11 16:18:36

At least you can snuggle up in your sleeping bag and bf instead of sorting out cups of milk at 6am grin

DS1 (3) still bf at bedtime because he asks and I'm happy for him to have it.
An added bonus are the health benefits to both of us.
I'm intrigued to see how and when he'll self wean.

I don't think it's something to be ashamed or secretive about, with it being natural and all smile

I only know of 1 other person bf past 12mo in RL but know there are plenty on MN boards.

FiniteIncantatem Fri 08-Jul-11 16:31:21

Another one feeding a 4 year old, with no plans to stop until DD's good and ready!
<waves at Trin (it's FairyLights in Harry Potter disguise)>

Pesephone Fri 08-Jul-11 17:02:56

Hahaha twinklegreen you know me too well wink
yes breastfeeding at almost 3 is very normal for human beings, here are a few pieces of information which may help your Sister understand that.
Through research it is estimated that the normal age for human children to cease bf is between 4-7 years of age.
Globally the avarage is roughly 4.5 yrs
during the second year of lactation your milk increases in both fat and anti body levels this makes perfect sense as the infant becomes more active it needs more fat to help it grow and provide increased energy levels, and as it becomes more active it also comes into conact with more dirt/pathogens ie through picking stuff up off the floor and through contacting a wider circle of other humans (baring in mind that during the first year it would be pretty much strapped to its mothers breast.grin. evolution of babywearing anyone?)
Also those increased fats are exactly correct ones for forming the neurological pathways within the human brain, going from memory here but i'm confident enough (and lazy enough not to open a second window inorder to google it. ) to say that the human brain has its largest period of growth from the womb to two years old.
The human childs imune system is not properly up and running untill arround 5 or 6 years of age breast milk is designed to fill this gap, the infant recieves antibodies through it to help it fight off inection and disease. the "milk teeth" (clever how they are called that, right?) usually come out arround 5-6 years (yes some sooner some later and ocasionally some not at all, but usually) once the milk teeth fall out and the adult teeth push through the childs jaw is altered and an effective latch is no longer easy. tada!!! yes shock freakin horror, human milk is actually good for human children.

Oh and i also find it interesting that in the UK children under 5 recieve free milk at school. Somebody clearly thinks that milk is important in their diets untill that sort of age, yet hardly anyone accepts that human milk would be better for them that cows at that age? hmmmmm

Pesephone Fri 08-Jul-11 17:16:39

Also wanted to point out that a lot of the "benefits" (cough) of BF are culmative ie: increase the longer you breastfeed, such as the cancer risks for you, and the child (especially pertinent in girls re breast cancer) the SIDS protection. and many more.

RightUpMyRue Fri 08-Jul-11 17:25:08

Pesephone, sorry to be a pain but could you give me either a link to or the title of the study/studies from which you got your info?

Not that I'm doubting you but they would prove very useful in my work.

No rush smile

RitaMorgan Fri 08-Jul-11 17:36:07

The global average of 4.5 years (I think it's normally quoted as 4.2 years) isn't for all children, or even all breastfed children - it's for all children fed on demand and allowed to self-wean.

RitaMorgan Fri 08-Jul-11 17:37:53

RightUpMyRue - have you come across Kathy Dettwyler? She has done research on natural term breastfeeding.

mspotatochip Fri 08-Jul-11 17:46:10

My mum thought I had weaned ds when we stayed with them in May. Dp and I went away for a few days he was fine (He's 2) but as soon as I came back wanted neh and made a huge fuss. Cue row with my mum and an evenings crying for poor ds. Cue my secret breastfeeding career. We're seeing her again in August. Not sure whether to tell her now (so she can stop beign annoyed with me before she arrives) or see if I can get him to call it something else!

MadderHat Fri 08-Jul-11 20:21:55

Just out of interest, when does one become an extended breastfeeder? Given I've seen stats about most people giving up at 6 weeks, surely there's an argument for then? Then there's the expectation of weaning at 6 months (my DH was one of those who hadn't thought through the fact that that's when you start to introduce non-milk foods...), so there's an argument for extended being from then... Then there's the "food is fun before you're one", so there's an argument for extended being from then...

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