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Breastfeeding your child years after they have stopped?

Posted by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 1:42 AM
  • 14 Replies

I always dreamed of being one of those mothers who breastfeeds until at least age two (which pediatricians reccomend), but sadly that did not happen.  Due to poor education on the subject, I was only able to breastfeed for three weeks, and even then I had to supplement with soy formula.  I often feel guilty, because I know that I will most likely be able to exclusively breastfeed any future children.

Anyway, my daughter just turned four this month, and she has become fascinated with breastfeeding.  She often asks to see pictures of herself breastfeeding (we have a few from the hospital time), and asks why I didn't breastfeed her longer.  This evening, I was watching an attachment parenting documentary, which of course showed a few breastfeeding scenes.  My daughter was sitting on my lap, enjoying our just-before-bedtime cuddle, and she asked if she could breastfeed again.  Of course, I said no, but it did make me wonder if there has ever been a case of a woman say, beggining to breastfeed their young toddler (maybe not my daughter's age, but two or so) after having already weaned them more than six months before.

Thoughts?

by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 1:42 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Mrs.Kubalabuku
by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 1:50 AM
1 mom liked this

Really, it's what Mom and child are comfortable with.  You won't make much milk, and the kiddo will likely lose interest, especially at those higher ages where they've already learned other soothing skills and eat more solid foods.  It's also likely they won't be able to make the latch in the first place.  Some women in your scenario let the child try, and when it doesn't work for the kidoo they explain that they are older now and it has been so long, then focus on other things, like "We can still cuddle" and "You can have other milk now!'  (Like chocolate milk, almond milk, etc.)

Other women do as you do.  They teach their child about it and answer questions, but don't let the child try it out again.

Neither way is right or wrong, it's what works for you and the child.  My 3 year old asked to nurse b/c his new baby brother was nursing.  I told him I had to save my milk for the baby, b/c the baby couldn't eat other foods yet, but I would be happy to let him try a spoonful when I was done pumping.  He didn't like the taste.

My friend, on the other hand, has a child who REFUSES to learn except by hands on.  So she let him try.  She said it felt so odd, but it lasted 5 minutes tops before he decided it wasn't worth it and asked for grapes instead.

Neither of our kids has expressed any interest in it again.  Aside from pointing out when the babie's want milk, they couldn't care less.

I think it is like a novelty for some kids.  Like wanting to eat the pepper that comes in the pizza box.  Some kids are OK being told they won't like it, it is spicy.  Other kids HAVE to bite the damned thing and scream for 20 minutes before they understand why they aren't supposed to eat it.

SLMitchell
by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 2:01 AM

First, I would just like to say "thank you" for responding maturly (anyone who has been on this site for any length of time will understand why I feel the need to).

I do not think I could bring myself to let her try, and I know my husband would definitely have an issue with it.  I explained to her that there would be no point, as I no longer have any milk in my breasts.  So, instead she just nuzzled me through my clothes. :)

At the moment, she is walking around with two Beanie Baby bears tucked under her cardigan, "nursing" them.  She also handed me one and insisted I feed it (I just held it against my breast through my clothes).  What an curious little creature I have.

Quoting Mrs.Kubalabuku:

Really, it's what Mom and child are comfortable with.  You won't make much milk, and the kiddo will likely lose interest, especially at those higher ages where they've already learned other soothing skills and eat more solid foods.  It's also likely they won't be able to make the latch in the first place.  Some women in your scenario let the child try, and when it doesn't work for the kidoo they explain that they are older now and it has been so long, then focus on other things, like "We can still cuddle" and "You can have other milk now!'  (Like chocolate milk, almond milk, etc.)

Other women do as you do.  They teach their child about it and answer questions, but don't let the child try it out again.

Neither way is right or wrong, it's what works for you and the child.  My 3 year old asked to nurse b/c his new baby brother was nursing.  I told him I had to save my milk for the baby, b/c the baby couldn't eat other foods yet, but I would be happy to let him try a spoonful when I was done pumping.  He didn't like the taste.

My friend, on the other hand, has a child who REFUSES to learn except by hands on.  So she let him try.  She said it felt so odd, but it lasted 5 minutes tops before he decided it wasn't worth it and asked for grapes instead.

Neither of our kids has expressed any interest in it again.  Aside from pointing out when the babie's want milk, they couldn't care less.

I think it is like a novelty for some kids.  Like wanting to eat the pepper that comes in the pizza box.  Some kids are OK being told they won't like it, it is spicy.  Other kids HAVE to bite the damned thing and scream for 20 minutes before they understand why they aren't supposed to eat it.


krunchykorn
by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 2:18 AM
I want too... with my 2 year old for the same reasons.
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doulala
by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 2:30 AM

It is healthy and safe and nurturing.    If you can, go for it, you may even relactate...

;-)

CrimsonRadiance
by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 2:32 AM

There are many women who have relactated for different reasons. If both you and your LO are comfortable with it, give it a try *shrugs* 

Mrs.Kubalabuku
by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 2:36 AM

It's normal for her to be curious.  If you treat this like any other phase, and teach her age appropriate information on babies and caring for them, then she'll probably grow up comfortable with nursing.  If you act freaked, she'll think it is weird and that will stick with her.

So it sounds like you are doing the right thing.  You can teach her the basics, she can explore through play, but you don't have to do anything you aren't comfortable with, such as letting her nurse.

If you think about human evolution, this is about the age where she'd normally start taking on tasks.  (So young, right?  It was a hard world!)  She'd be learning how to be a mother, and she'd be learning it her entire life.  This is a normal age to start discovering bodies and functions.  In the past, girls would see nursing often, all over the place, as it was the ONLY way to feed a baby!  

Since she is so curious, I'd suggest buying a kid's book on the topic.  Just google it, there are many.

Quoting SLMitchell:

First, I would just like to say "thank you" for responding maturly (anyone who has been on this site for any length of time will understand why I feel the need to).

I do not think I could bring myself to let her try, and I know my husband would definitely have an issue with it.  I explained to her that there would be no point, as I no longer have any milk in my breasts.  So, instead she just nuzzled me through my clothes. :)

At the moment, she is walking around with two Beanie Baby bears tucked under her cardigan, "nursing" them.  She also handed me one and insisted I feed it (I just held it against my breast through my clothes).  What an curious little creature I have.

Quoting Mrs.Kubalabuku:

Really, it's what Mom and child are comfortable with.  You won't make much milk, and the kiddo will likely lose interest, especially at those higher ages where they've already learned other soothing skills and eat more solid foods.  It's also likely they won't be able to make the latch in the first place.  Some women in your scenario let the child try, and when it doesn't work for the kidoo they explain that they are older now and it has been so long, then focus on other things, like "We can still cuddle" and "You can have other milk now!'  (Like chocolate milk, almond milk, etc.)

Other women do as you do.  They teach their child about it and answer questions, but don't let the child try it out again.

Neither way is right or wrong, it's what works for you and the child.  My 3 year old asked to nurse b/c his new baby brother was nursing.  I told him I had to save my milk for the baby, b/c the baby couldn't eat other foods yet, but I would be happy to let him try a spoonful when I was done pumping.  He didn't like the taste.

My friend, on the other hand, has a child who REFUSES to learn except by hands on.  So she let him try.  She said it felt so odd, but it lasted 5 minutes tops before he decided it wasn't worth it and asked for grapes instead.

Neither of our kids has expressed any interest in it again.  Aside from pointing out when the babie's want milk, they couldn't care less.

I think it is like a novelty for some kids.  Like wanting to eat the pepper that comes in the pizza box.  Some kids are OK being told they won't like it, it is spicy.  Other kids HAVE to bite the damned thing and scream for 20 minutes before they understand why they aren't supposed to eat it.



carolyntx
by Gold Member on Dec. 18, 2012 at 2:37 AM
I know a couple moms who ended up nursing previously weaned older children after giving birth to younger sibs. One of them was 3 and nursed well past 4 when he and sister both weaned since his mom dried up due to pregnancy #3.
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Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 on Dec. 18, 2012 at 2:37 AM
Not ignorance, hon! Common sense! Sounds like more people here could use some.
misstaylor85
by Ruby Member on Dec. 18, 2012 at 2:39 AM
My 4 year old son wasn't bf very long either due to a ton of issues I won't get into I just had a baby 3 weeks ago and am having no problems bf this go round. My 4 year old was curious about it wanted to nurse and see what it tasted like so instead of letting him nurse I fm gave him some that I had pumped of course mine didnt taste like his vanilla flavored soy milk lol so he was over it pretty quickly
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Anonymous
by Anonymous 3 on Dec. 18, 2012 at 2:41 AM
1 mom liked this

Calm down, the OP didn't say SHE wanted to nurse her DD.  She said her DD has growing curiosity, and is explaining what her DD is asking.  Then she said it made her wonder if this does happen or has happened, if women can relactate.  She specifically says "two or so" as for the age.  I'm pretty sure OP isn't trying to relactate for her 4 year old, just curious about other toddlers and lactation and all.

Quoting Anonymous:

You want to do this for your own selfish reasons. Don't pretend your child wants this. Your child wants this because YOU put so much emphasis on it and YOU make a big deal out of it. YOU feel like you are missing something, not her. I think at this point, after not nursing for so long and starting, if consider it sexual abuse because you are taking advantage of a child for your own personal gain. Have another kid if you want to nurse. Smh


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