Breastfeeding: How Old is Too Old?
I’m a big believer in breastfeeding. That being said – while I breastfed my youngest, I bottle fed my oldest. During his stay in the NICU, my older child refused to eat and was therefore losing weight. Rapidly. I was offered a choice: Give him a bottle or they’d give him a feeding tube. Not wanting my little 4-pounder to have to endure any more tubes shoved down his throat, I chose the bottle. Eventually, he ended up with a tube anyway.
I tried for weeks to get him to take to my breast once we got him home. It wasn’t happening. It killed me inside, but I finally threw in the white flag. And, after months of guilt and depression over not breastfeeding my newborn, you know what I learned? It didn’t hurt him a bit.
My younger child was another story, she was a boob-baby through and through. However, as much as she loved her breast milk, she was ready to be done at about a year. Her attention span would no longer stand for it. She simply lost interest.
While it was emotionally difficult for me to allow this natural weaning process (mostly because I wasn’t ready for my “baby” to be a “big girl”), I soon welcomed the freedom that it brought me.
How old is too old when it comes to breastfeeding?
Every now and then I’ll see a mother with a toddler attached to her breast and, to be honest, it makes me cringe a little. I understand that the decision to quit breastfeeding is a difficult one. As a mother, its hard to accept the fact that your baby is making his way into toddler-hood. It will also be difficult when he goes to college… I think we can all agree that is definitely too old.
Allow me to make myself clear. Many say that it means the mother is sick when she has a walking, talking child attached to her breast. I’ve heard it means that she’s a pervert, she’s disturbed… you name it, its been said. While I do believe that, in some instances, there is some truth to those theories (shudder), as a whole – I don’t believe them to be true.
As with anyone, I can only base my opinion off of personal experience. My experience has led to the assumption that it is just too difficult for these women to allow their children to grow up. It has also shown me that children will wean themselves when they are ready and, as a mother, you have to allow that process to take place when it is time.
How long did you breastfeed? Did your child wean him/herself? At what age do you feel it is no longer appropriate to breastfeed a child?