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  1. #1

    Smile Still breastfeeding a 3-year-old child

    Hello!

    Are anyone of you still breastfeeding when your kids are past 3 years of age? Please share your thoughts on this.

    How do you cope when people are surprised upon knowing this, well in fact it's normal.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Hello RachelleMarie,

    I didn't breastfeed any of my children past 3 years of age, but I gladly would have had they shown an interest. Most of them weaned themselves between 2 1/2 and 3 years.

    You are correct in saying that it is absolutely "normal" for a child to breastfeed longer. In many cultures children breastfeed much longer than they do in some other countries.

    I'd like to share a precious video with you of a mum who is still breastfeeding her 3 1/2 year old daughter. She believes in child led weaning (as I do) and so she continues to offer the breast, and comfort and a little nutrition when her daughter wants it. Below the video I will share some insights on how to deal with the element of surprise when others find out you've chosen extended breastfeeding for your children.



    Wasn't that a wonderfully sweet video? I noticed that it said that her daughter hadn't been sick for the first 2 years of her life while breastfeeding. I had a similar experience with my children. In fact I have 2 children that have never been on an antibiotic, and never had an ear infection. They are ages 11 and 8 now. My 14 year old has never had an ear infection either, and the only time he had an antibiotic was when he was 3 months old and they had to give it to him in the hospital during his recovery from Open Heart Surgery, as preventative measures.

    Mothers who choose extended breastfeeding can make discreet choices about when and where they breastfeed. When I worked at a preschool, there was a teacher there who had a 5 year old that she was still breastfeeding. I was not aware of this (again, it was done very discreetly) because she would take her daughter to the car at nap time, and breastfeed there.

    My guess is that her daughter probably breastfed mostly before nap, bed and when waking up in the morning, and during all of those times, she would have been able to be in a private place (room) where others were not around.

    You don't have to share with others that you have chosen to breastfeed longer than the norm. But if it comes up, it can be a wonderful opportunity to share why you have chosen to do this, and the benefits it provides. I do a lot of things differently from "the norm" and when I share these things with others, I am very positive and confident in what I am saying and why I've made the choices that I have. If you act almost apologetic, then that transfers to the person receiving the information. But if you act confident and share good, positive reasons for making the choices you do, the information is almost always received positively. At least that's the experience I have had when sharing that I home birth, water birth, and home school, all of which are not mainstream, but ARE best for my children and my family.

    What did you think of the video?

    Warm Regards,

    Kate

  3. #3
    You know that especially us in the medical field we know the benefits of breastfeeding. It’s just that people respond in shock when they know that I am still breastfeeding. It really helped me that you spoke about that the reaction will depends on what I say, like being apologetic or positive. I guess I have to stand for what is led weaning and be grateful and positive of that besides social norms.

    I’ve seen the video, very touching, very relating.

    Many thanks Kate.

  4. #4
    Hi Rachelle,

    You may be totally surprised at how others respond when you are sharing about the extended breastfeeding with a huge smile on your face, and you're whole body is animated and you share about the unbelievable benefits to both your child and to you (lowers risk of breast cancer). Once you really study up on the benefits to both mum and child, you'll feel so very confident that you'll be able to share the benefits with others and they will actually pick up on your positive feelings. My guess is that the negative responses will be few and far between... and even if you get a negative response you'll just pass it off as them being "foolish" because you know far better about the benefits for you and your daughter.

    Warm Regards,

    Kate

  5. #5

    Smile

    Many thanks Kate!

  6. #6
    Not breastfeeding a three-year-old but I am breastfeeding a two-year-old with no signs of letting up, so we will see.

    I do have many friends who have breastfed until the age of three or well beyond. As Kate pointed out, extended breastfeeding is very much the biological norm. Many women who breastfeed past two or three never talk about it out of fear of social rejection. However, I suspect a healthy number of mums who make it to a year are still nursing at three, just not talking about it.

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