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Extended breastfeeding.. your opinion?

I have a hard time believing an 8-year-old gets adequate nutrition from breastmilk.  They are surely beyond the developmental timeframe in which breastmilk is needed, i.e., they can feed themselves.

Research shows the bonding activities which involve contact between the mother and child (breastfeeding, co-sleeping, those baby carriers that you wear) is critical to the development of children who are emotionally secure and stable.  So I could see going slightly beyond the "normal" range.  However, the bonding experience needs to transfer to something different by those ages.  You wouldn't let your child wear diapers until age 7 even if he were too stubborn to potty train, so I don't think waiting for a child to naturally wean himself is legit.  Cut the cord already.  Let the child develop some independence through the task of, I don't know, feeding himself........ ::)

Besides, don't her tits get tired?  Good grief.

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I really don't think there's any reason to breastfeed after the first year or 2 of the kid's life.  I mean, the kids are definitely old enough to get adequate nutrition from other sources, and they can bond with their mother in plenty of other ways.  Learning independence is just as important as bonding with your parents, IMO, and I think breastfeeding when they're 8 years old is probably detrimental in many ways.  I can't believe the father goes along with it.  :o ???

My mom says I weaned myself at 6 months (when she got pregnant with my brother), and I think I turned out ok.  I have a pretty good relationship with my mom, despite not naming her breasts or drawing pictures of them.

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I wasn't breastfed because it wasn't the "popular" thing at the time. However, all of my friends and colleagues with kids have breastfed at some point and they all had different stories to tell. Me, I don't think it should go beyond the first year. At some point, the kid can eat other things and like KMK said, cut the cord already! There are other ways to bond with your child.

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Oh geeeeeez. I was getting ready to get up on my high horse, because I think breastfeeding is totally and utterly fine even outside the "normal" range accepted by Western cultures. Um, but these girls! That was bizarre! The eldest said that one should never quit breastfeeding? The mom expressed it well at one point, she said that once you're out in the big bad world, you don't get comfort like that... and honestly I think 8 years old is too old to be coddled like that. At some point, the kid is going to go off to college and get married, so that's where the term weaning comes from-- gradually work your kid off the boob. Oof. It's clearly NOT for nutrients or IQ, this is an emotional thing.

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Oh geeeeeez. I was getting ready to get up on my high horse, because I think breastfeeding is totally and utterly fine even outside the "normal" range accepted by Western cultures.

Yes.  I totally agree.  I was prepared to be the voice of dissent, because I do think that there's nothing wrong with breastfeeding outside what's "normal," like you said.  But this is beyond reason.  The emotional detriments are outweighing any conceivable benefits, I'd wager.

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:blankstare:

wow.

(my face has been pretty much frozen like that since that video started.)

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Oh geeeeeez. I was getting ready to get up on my high horse, because I think breastfeeding is totally and utterly fine even outside the "normal" range accepted by Western cultures.

Yes.  I totally agree.  I was prepared to be the voice of dissent, because I do think that there's nothing wrong with breastfeeding outside what's "normal," like you said.  But this is beyond reason.  The emotional detriments are outweighing any conceivable benefits, I'd wager.

Yes, I thought "oh, perhaps this is going to be about 2 year olds or something". Wow. I was so wrong. The psychologist in me would love to do a longitudinal study on these girls (and if there were any others who were breastfed until such approximate ages) and see exactly what the emotional effects are, as sharway mentioned. Are they less likely to be independent? Can they emotionally-regulate as well as other children their age? Maybe they are just fine.

Extended breastfeeding and some law cases that have been brought up as a result: http://www.llli.org/ba/Feb01.html

Edit: Also, being in the field of (or prepping for) Forensic Psychology and having done research on and written papers about female sex offenders, one has to wonder if this borders on that in some way. I don't know this womans intentions, but as Yabbit pointed out, what is she getting out of this. I think the link to the article I posted above is somewhat related to this.

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I have to agree with good old Mrs Beeton...any child with a full set of teeth is too old to need breastmilk.

All mammals  wean their young after they're old enough to feed themselves. Birds don't breastfeed, of course, but they do stop feeding the nestlings after they're fledged. They show it how to feed itself, and if it refuses, they drive it away. Now I'm not saying you should throw an 8 yr old out into the snow, but surely teaching little Johnny or Suzy to use a fork is not going to traumatise them.

And I wonder...if the kid is 8 or whatever and thinks this is "normal"--what will happen if they let slip some remark to school friends. I can't imagine the ridicule, mockery etc. that would ensue. Or rather I can.

Aaannnd...is mommy really doing this "for her kids"...orrrr...is she just really into it for herself? Weirder things have happened. Could it be part of a whole other system of inappropriate touching etc?

Just wondering.

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Aaannnd...is mommy really doing this "for her kids"...orrrr...is she just really into it for herself? Weirder things have happened. Could it be part of a whole other system of inappropriate touching etc?

That crossed my mind too.  She went on and on about how the girls love her breasts and hate to see her put them away and whatnot, and love them even though they are saggy.  ???

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The pdf file I have on the typologies of female sex offenders (I don't think I can put the link here and if I could, I don't know how) discusses "subtle sexual abuse" which is defined as "behaviours that serve to meet the mothers emotional and/or sexual needs at the expense of the child. However, the behaviours may not be intentionally sexual in nature. Examples may include: frequently sharing a bed with a child, continuing to bathe or massage a child when this is inappropriate to a childs age and development, etc.

Besides the obvious sexual offenses, "a range of other behaviours that might meet criteria of child sexual offending including non-physical sexual contact, sexual behaviours guised as caretaking activities, and co-offending with male perpetrators may occur. The ambiguity of such behaviours and the lack of reliable definitions of female-perpetrated child sexual abuse make the task of attempting to record and investigate the occurrence of female-perpetrated child sexual abuse difficult."

Deering, R., and Mellor, D. (2007). Female-perpetrated child sex abuse: Definitional and categorisational analysis. Psychiatry, Psychlogy, and Law, 14(2), 218-226.

I'm not judgin', I'm just sayin'. I mean, I know we're vegan and all, and PETA wants Ben and Jerry's to make ice cream out of human breast milk, but hmmmm...

EDIT: I AM NOT CALLING THIS WOMAN A SEX OFFENDER. I am presenting facts that I was taught in school that make me question motives and such.

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"Non-physical sexual contact"?

I'm afraid to ask.

Does that mean like, I don't know--showing kids porn or something?

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"Non-physical sexual contact"?

I'm afraid to ask.

Does that mean like, I don't know--showing kids porn or something?

I don't know. That part puzzled me as well. *goes off to read full article again*

Edit: The article mentions that an example of non-physical sexual contact with a child could be engaging in self-masturbation in front of the child.

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It didn't even occur to me that the mother's intentions might be less than innocent.  That's very possible though...and scary.

Mostly I worry about the kids' development...independence, learning to cope with stress (without a boob), and what would happen if the kids at school found out their (2nd grade?) classmate is still breastfeeding.  What happens when/if they have friends over?  Do they draw those pictures about breastfeeding at school?  What happens when the mother's milk dries up and they're studying for finals...find a wet nurse?

Yes, breastfeeding is perfectly good and natural, but only to a certain point.  I don't think this is in the best interest of the children at all, good intentions or not.

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:blankstare:

wow.

(my face has been pretty much frozen like that since that video started.)

Ditto...this is just...creepy. I agree with others--bfing beyond the "norms" (to western traditions) is perfectly understandable..but 7!!???!!???! holy crap!

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Having spent some time around neo-hippies (who weren't breast feeding), I could see this happening.  If you look at their clothes and how the house is decorated in the video, they have a definite neo-hippy vibe.  I wonder if the kids attend an alternative school, because otherwise I'd expect peer pressure to have already stopped it.

Is there harm, psychologically, for the girls?  Would it be different if she breast fed an 8-year-old boy?  I kind of don't see the big deal.  Also, if the girls breast feed less often, would the mother stop producing milk and so that'd take care of it?

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I think this is definitely harmful to the children's development. My daughter weaned herself at 5 months, and it really sucked and made me sad, but fuck, lady! I think even a three-year-old nursing is not abnormal. My mom was a La Leche League leader, and I've seen a lot of toddlers and preschool aged kids nursing. They usually only want to nurse once in a while, when they're feeling really needy. I think the mom should be concerned that her daughter still WANTS to nurse at 8 years old. It seems the mother is being selfish and not teaching her child the things she is supposed to, i.e., Independence.

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Not only that, but surely after all these years the breastmilk itself is lower in quality due to hormonal changes? Immediately after pregnancy and for x-amount of time the body provides rich milk for the new baby...but we all know that with time your body changes from "new mommy mode". Cows themselves, after a while, have to be bred again or the milk gets very thin and poor quality. (Not advocating moomilk here, just saying.)

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I didn't watch the video but agree that 8 is WAY too old. 

I can't remember if it was MADtv or SNL but one of them did skit on adult breastfeeding.  I am horrible about googling for things so maybe  someone with better searching skills than me will find it.

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Whoa people! This is literally the first post I read upon my return to the vegweb forums...

Hi, I'm a professional Lactation Consultant.
Here's my opinion:

1. What does the mother get out of it?

Aaannnd...is mommy really doing this "for her kids"...orrrr...is she just really into it for herself?

An intimate mother/child bonding experience. Breastfeeding is not only a nutritive in nature. It is psychological as well. The general consensus among experts is that children and mothers should stop breastfeeding at a time when it is no longer mutually desirable. Meaning that, yes, Mommys are allowed to enjoy it.

2.What does the child get out of it?
(See Answer #1)

3. Nutrition

Not only that, but surely after all these years the breastmilk itself is lower in quality due to hormonal changes? Immediately after pregnancy and for x-amount of time the body provides rich milk for the new baby...but we all know that with time your body changes from "new mommy mode". Cows themselves, after a while, have to be bred again or the milk gets very thin and poor quality. (Not advocating moomilk here, just saying.)

Nutritionwise the mother's milk is perfect and remains perfect, it does not lose any value. Though it may become "thinner" that is due to the child's need for less rapid growth, and less fat, not lack of value! Caloriewise the girls are getting the majority of calories from food, but breastmilk contains more than just calories! Breastmilk does not lose value because the child is eating food. In fact breastmilk continues to benefit. It accommodates for it's environment. The mother passes immunity to things she is encountering daily through the milk. This is why a baby's (or child's) OWN mother's milk is more of a benefit than even someone else's milk or cow's milk. There are things in breastmilk that we can not replicate and many that we have not even discovered.

5. Sexuality
First I think that this video played up the girl's brestfeeding and showed it in a very awkward way, since, afterall that's what the video was about... more than likely they do it on occasion. I don't not think that the mom just whips them out in the middle of the day and feeds the girls.
The ONLY reason someone could think of this as sexual in nature is because of how one views breasts. Americans view breasts and for sexy purposes only. I'm typing this while feeding my almost 7 month old... some old fuddy duddies think breastfeeding at that age (or any age) is "gross" ... and why? "Because boobs are for a man to look at in magazines!"  ::) 
Clearly, most of you are not like that though, you are pro-breastfeeding... for babies... but at age 8 it's yucky and the woman might have alterior motives?? Huh? Why is it not sexual at age 3 months? Age 9 months? Age 2? Age 5?  How does it become sexual at age 8? If there was any kind of sexual molestation going on the woman would clearly not consent to an interview on video!

FYI, The WHO says children should be breastfed at least through the first 2 years of life. The APA says 12 months. And I know we're all on board with what the American government tells us about nutrition etc!

In conclusion... Yes, I think the woman (and her girls) may need to it let go. But when they are ready. As nmpixie said, I think the mom should be concerned that her daughter still WANTS to nurse at 8 years old.

Yes, probably. So the appropriate response is probably one asking, "Along emotional/psychological lines, why aren't they ready to give this up?" Not questioning the mother's motives.

Also... *steps down from soapbox* ... personally, I DO find age 8 hard to wrap my brain around.  ;)

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