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Breastfeeding up to 5 or 6 years old, is it normal?

I am pregnant with my second child, due any day. I bottle fed my first and am going breastfeed this one. I lady at my midwife told me she has 8 kids, breast fed them all until they started kindergarden. So that is about 5 years old right...
Then she pumped and still gave them breast milk with breakfast and dinner. I understand the health of it all. She said her sister breastfed her kids until 8 or so when they decided they didn't want to "nurse" anymore. I think breastfeeding is natural and normal, but should there be an age limit on it, as for nursing, not pumping and giving the milk that way? I plan to breastfeed until my baby is 1 and possibly pump after for another year. Just wanted your thoughts on this..

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Asked by JustPlainOlMOM at 11:29 AM on Oct. 4, 2009 in General Parenting

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Answers (19)
  • No it's NOT normal and I think it's sick! Just my opinion and I'm entitled to it like everyone else.

    Answer by vbruno at 11:30 AM on Oct. 4, 2009

  • i think children shouldnt breastfeed after they are consiously aware of thier own would be strange i think for a child almost five to teach them about respecting thier body and no one should touch it and then breastfeed them....yes breastfeeding is a natural thing and good for them....but a 5 year old would be confused. I myself would think when a child can drink whole milk can stop....they can get the same nutrients from foods and milk as they can from breastmilk....I definitely understand someone breastfeeding longer....and its not my place to judge anyone....but MYSELF i wouldnt do it past two.

    Answer by blueeyedgrl2377 at 11:32 AM on Oct. 4, 2009

  • It is very common in some cultures.

    Answer by rkoloms at 11:37 AM on Oct. 4, 2009

  • If you say something is NOT normal, it's like your trying to state the law. There is no law about how long it is, or is not appropriate for. Breastfeeding is something that is between a mother and child, I think your child will let you know when they are done breastfeeding, I mean, no one breastfeeds forever.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:39 AM on Oct. 4, 2009

  • These are my thoughts too. I thought it was odd to breastfeed a child over the age of 2. I dunno, I guess to each their own, I guess. But I was thinking, like with her sister, she said breastfed her kids until they decided they didn't want to anymore..Well what if this ladies kid turns 13 and still wants to nurse at night or something, ya know. I think thats just not right... I've heard it becoming more common, but still odd to me.

    Answer by JustPlainOlMOM at 11:41 AM on Oct. 4, 2009

  • Is it normal? Is it sick? Is it natural? Will a child be confused? Should a child that can ask be bf?

    These are cultural questions. The World Health Organiztion recommends ALL children be breastfed AT LEAST 2 years. Any child not breastfed 2 years is being deprived of his birthright.

    What is the normal age of weaning. Kathy Dettwyler, PhD is the expert on this. She is an anthropologist and has done extensive research on the topic. Most children will self-wean between the ages of 3 and 4. The minimum natural age of weaning is 2.5 years, the maximum is 7 years.

    Breastfed children have a lower risk of disease and higher IQ. The longer the child breastfeeds the lower the risk of disease and the higher the IQ. The lenght of time breastfed has lifelong health consequences for the baby and mother. A mother's breast cancer risk decreases with number of years breastfeeding.

    So, it is normal for a 7 year old to nurse.

    Answer by Gailll at 11:51 AM on Oct. 4, 2009

  • i think after a certain age it has to leav some kind of life long probalem or scaring.i just weaned my little one at 16months,been 4days. i planned on stoping at one too,but contuinued.i read in the news that a women was stuck in snow with her 2kids one was 7monyhs and the other was like 8 or 9 and she breastfed them both for 9 days until someone rescued them.

    Answer by angelairelan at 11:53 AM on Oct. 4, 2009

  • We know it is healthy for mothers and babies to breastfeed and the longer they breastfeed the more benefits for the mothers and babies. All health organizations agree on at least 2 years. I think it is reasonable for a healthy child to be allowed to self wean between the age of 3 and 4.

    Children with conditions like immunodeficiencies, allergies, and asthma benefit from breastfeeding longer. There is nothing wrong with anyone drinking human milk. Milk banks supply milk to sick adults.

    So, what is wrong with people that think it is sick, not normal, not natural, odd, to breastfeed a 18 month old. They are ill informed. They don't want to let facts get in the way of their opinions. They may need to justify their decision to deprive their child of breastfeeding. They have twisted views and think breasts are for sex.

    Breasts are for feeding children.


    Answer by Gailll at 12:00 PM on Oct. 4, 2009

  • Children were designed to breastfeed until the milk teeth begin to fall out. That is how our bodies were designed. Oh and as for pumping after a year good luck. Pumping is hard, and some women do not respond to a pump at all! The longest I have ever made it is 6 weeks with pumping personally. I say it is up to mom and child to decide when breastfeeding no longer works for them.

    Answer by ColleenF30 at 12:00 PM on Oct. 4, 2009

  • What the hell? Ok the women agreeing with this are you kidding me?? You seriously see nothing wrong with a young CHILD not a baby or a toddler but a CHILD sucking on your boob??!! I breastfed by DD until she was 2, so I'm not against BF or anything, but are you kidding?? That is disgusting! I can't imagine seeing a 5, 6, or 7 year old sucking on their mom's boob. You're kidding me. Kids get JUST as much nutrition from regular milk, and food after a certain age, so medically NO there is NO reason.


    Answer by Anonymous at 12:13 PM on Oct. 4, 2009

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