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Natural Birth & Parenting Natural Birth & Parenting

Extended Breastfeeding: Handling the Criticism

Posted by on Oct. 20, 2013 at 11:17 PM
  • 14 Replies

OK so to me I consider it normal term nursing (beyond infancy and well into toddlerhood for self weaning). Most of us here consider it normal term but I just wanted to share this for moms who might not consider it their norm. 

Do you nurse past a year and what were your views on it before you had kids? Do you tell people after they reach a certain age that you're still nursing them or is it only for privileged ears (hubby, grandparents etc)?



http://www.parenting.com/article/ask-dr-sears-extended-breastfeeding----handling-the-criticism

Ask Dr. Sears: Extended Breastfeeding -- Handling the Criticism

By Dr. William Sears

Q. I'm still nursing my two-year-old daughter. We both love the bond created by breastfeeding, and neither of us is ready to give it up. However, most of my friends and family strongly think it's time to wean her. How can I cope with the disapproval?
 


A. If it's working for you and your child, and your mothering instinct tells you it's right  -- it's right! In my opinion, you're a health-savvy, modern mom, and it seems that your friends and relatives are old-fashioned and misinformed. As a pediatrician and parent, it grieves me to hear well-meaning critics ask a breastfeeding mother, "You're still nursing?" Know that you're actually making a wise, long-term investment in your child's health. Here are a few things to remember that will help you handle any unwarranted criticism:

Science is on your side. I have read many medical journals with articles proving the long-term health benefits of breastfeeding. The incidence of many illnesses, both childhood and adult, are lowered by breastfeeding  -- diabetes, heart disease, and central nervous system degenerative disorders (such as multiple sclerosis) to name a few. The most fascinating studies show that the longer and more frequently a mom nurses her baby, the smarter her child is likely to become. The brain grows more during the first two years of life than any other time, nearly tripling in size from birth to two years of age. It's clearly a crucial time for brain development, and the intellectual advantage breastfed babies enjoy is attributed to the "smart fats" unique to mom's breast milk (namely, omega-3 fatty acid, also known as DHA). From head to toe, babies who breastfeed for extended periods of time are healthier overall. They tend to have leaner bodies with less risk of obesity. They also have improved vision, since the eye is similar to the brain in regards to nervous tissue. They have better hearing due to a lower incidence of ear infections. Their dental health is generally good, since the natural sucking action of the breastfed infant helps incoming teeth align properly. Intestinal health is also much better than those of non-breastfed babies, as breast milk is easier to digest, reducing spit-up, reflux, and constipation. A toddler's immune system functions much better since breastmilk contains an immunoglobulin (IGA) which coats the lining of the intestines, which helps prevent germs from penetrating through. Even the skin of these babies is smoother and more supple.

World opinion is on your side. The World Health Organization (WHO) officially recommends mothers breastfeed until three years of age. (Yes, you did read that right!) Even the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends mothers should breastfeed "at least until one year of age and then as long as baby and mother mutually want to."

It's better for your health. Extended breastfeeding reduces the risk of uterine, ovarian, and breast cancers. Breastfeeding women also have a lower incidence of osteoporosis later in life.

It's better for your toddler's behavior. We have many extended breastfeeders in our pediatric practice, and I have noticed that breastfed toddlers are easier to discipline. Breastfeeding is also an exercise in baby reading, which enables a mother to more easily read her baby's cues and intervene before a discipline situation gets out of hand. Nursing is a wonderful calming tool on days when Mom needs to relax and to stave off an impending toddler tantrum.

Blame it on your doctor. I have noticed that one of the easiest ways to silence critics is the phrase: "My doctor advised me to." You can go on to explain that your doctor told you about all the recent research extolling the benefits of extended breastfeeding.

Let your child silence the critics. Once your friends and relatives see the benefits of your breastfeeding bond, your growth as a mother, and the emotional, intellectual and physical health of your child, they will serve as convincing testimonies to the value of extended breastfeeding.


by on Oct. 20, 2013 at 11:17 PM
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Replies (1-10):
GoodyBrook
by Silver Member on Oct. 21, 2013 at 1:04 AM
2 moms liked this

I've found that if I say "I prayed about it" no one has a comment.  :)

JoeysApple
by on Oct. 21, 2013 at 1:39 AM
1 mom liked this

My son is 1 this week! I hope to go at least 2 years.

I'm bringing intact back! His body, his choice.

ParanormalSarah
by Member on Oct. 21, 2013 at 1:54 AM
2 moms liked this

I had always thought before children of my own that up to one year was okay or at least until they could ask for it. I always said, "if they can reach up and yank on your boob, they're too old!"  Now I find myself nursing a 16 month old who can do all those things and I love the bonding, the nurishment, the idea of self-weaning and intend to do just that. Funny how children change you. <3


polkaspots
by Bronze Member on Oct. 21, 2013 at 2:56 AM
I don't think I really do handle the criticism. I mostly ignore comments on my parenting choices in general. My mother met my father while they were both working in the dairy industry and told me ds was getting too old to be drinking milk. I just kind of laughed at her. Her entire adult life has been funded by adults consuming products made by another animals breastmilk, but my one year old was too old for people milk...
My opinion before hand was I was going to nurse at least until one. Then that didn't happen as dd was fully transitioned to formula by four months old.then I got pregnant with ds and decided I was going to last until two. He's twenty months now and since we're just working on night weaning now, I think we'll make it. I don't think I'll let him self wean though. I'm sure I will be encouraging weaning the day after his second birthday. I'm not sure though, since I hear it's supposed to get better after the baby is born (im quite pregnant) which is two months before ds turns two.
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TippyD
by Member on Oct. 21, 2013 at 10:55 AM
1 mom liked this

i was always a "one and done"  mindset.. found out about the benefits.. and now my 4 year old still nurses.. if anyone has an issue, they havent said anything to me.. :D

tabi_cat1023
by Group Mod - Tabitha on Oct. 21, 2013 at 6:22 PM

I thught it was very strange when my aunt nursed til age 4, but now I dont think thats strange at all as I have nursed til 3.5 and still going.  I think if you havent had a good nuring relationship you dont understand it

jconney80
by Group Mod on Oct. 21, 2013 at 8:07 PM

LOL!!! Nice!

Quoting GoodyBrook:

I've found that if I say "I prayed about it" no one has a comment.  :)


jconney80
by Group Mod on Oct. 21, 2013 at 8:10 PM

I am still tandem nursing 2 kids. They're 3.5 & 24 months old. I originally just had a goal of a year but the more I learned about full term nursing the more I knew I would do it. I am letting them self wean whenever they are ready. I don't really tell many people my 3.5 year old is still nursing. My mom knows and that's about it. I have a few relatives who would be disgusted and my aunt always has something to say about it so I laugh and say I'll stop BF before they go to college or something like that.

jconney80
by Group Mod on Oct. 21, 2013 at 8:17 PM

I thought it was really strange too. We had neighbors who nursed their 3 year old and it got around by word of mouth. I was young then though and thought it was disgusting. Now I see it as normal lol. You're right though...if you didn't have a good nursing relationship you wouldn't understand it.

Quoting tabi_cat1023:

I thught it was very strange when my aunt nursed til age 4, but now I dont think thats strange at all as I have nursed til 3.5 and still going.  I think if you havent had a good nuring relationship you dont understand it


jconney80
by Group Mod on Oct. 21, 2013 at 8:35 PM

I used to think the same thing!!

Quoting ParanormalSarah:

I had always thought before children of my own that up to one year was okay or at least until they could ask for it. I always said, "if they can reach up and yank on your boob, they're too old!"  Now I find myself nursing a 16 month old who can do all those things and I love the bonding, the nurishment, the idea of self-weaning and intend to do just that. Funny how children change you. <3


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