Thursday, August 14


The other day I was discussing with my fellow BC at Breastfeeding USA about the low number of studies, books, article, and blog posts on extended breastfeeding.  And I am talking truly extended nursing, not just nursing a 15 month old or 18 month old.... nursing 2, 3, 4 or even 5 year old.

Both the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend nursing for a minimum of 2 years. So really in my personal opinion would anything before that time be considered extended?

But something seems to happen in the US, after 12 months; records are no longer kept about breastfeeding rates. Maybe its because our 12 month breastfeeding rate, as a nation, really isn't all that great.  In 2013 only 27% of babies were still breastfeed at 12 months.  Some states had rates as high as 40.7% (Go Vermont!!), bu sadly some states were as low as 9.1% (sorry, Mississippi).

Regardless of the reason, there is very little information on breastfeeding beyond 1 year, beyond 2 years, beyond toddlerhood.

So, there I was, complaining about the lack - of all things blogs - about nursing a "preschooler", and I myself was an author of a blog.  Granted, I don't have a following of 1,000s or even 100s, but I still barely talk about the fact that, as of tomorrow; I am nursing a 42 month old.  

I don't know why it doesn't come up often on this blog. Maybe because my blog posts are not as frequent as they once was. Maybe because it is just such an ordinary part of life I don't think about (but really, isn't that what this blog is... about ordinary life).  I occasionally blog about tandem nursing, because I think it's really cool.  But in the end I guess I am just a hypocrite for not blogging about it sooner,

I am an extended nursing mom.  We are following child-lead-weaning; with a little bit of parental direction (I stopped nursing him in public around 30 months)... a weaning process that actually began about 3 years ago at this time of year, when TT had his first bite of solids.  

Hell, I am in a support group for extended nursing families, OK there is a support group for everything; and nursing at this age is a norm in many 1st, 2nd and 3rd world countries - BUT The fact that the US has some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world, it's no wonder extended breastfeeding is seen by some as a taboo in the US.  And hence the support group.  Did you follow that stream of concise?  

What is it like nursing a 3 year old?  It's the same as nursing a 2 year, which is sort of like nursing a 1 one year old, which is similar to nursing a 6 month old.  Some days he wants to nurse all the time. Some days he only nurses once.  

He is weaning more now than before, that is for sure.  No longer does he need to nurse as soon as he gets up, he would rather play in his room.  Some nights before bed we do more snuggling than nursing.  Some days nursing is funny, some days it is annoying, most days it is relaxing and sweet.  

Some day he will be weaned, and I will let you know when that happens. But between then and now, I will no longer be a hypocrite. I will talk about; what I complained too many people don't talk about.  I will blog about extended nursing.

And I will be picking up a copy, and reading Breastfeeding Older Children; Why Children Continue - The Natural Child Project by Anne Sinnot.  One of the few books on the topic.  

Education is key.  Fear comes from the unknown.  Educate yourself and be proud... hypocrite no longer. 

Resources: The AlphaParent, graphic and for breastfeeding statics.  


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