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Breast is best.....but for how long?
23-08-2005, 03:30 AM
Post: #1
Breast is best.....but for how long?

There was a piece in our paper the other day about a woman who was complaining that she had been asked to leave a cafe because she had been breastfeeding her child. Outrageous I thought!...until I read on and it became clear that the child was in fact 3 years old.

Now I am all for breast feeding, and I breast fed my own children until they were 6 months old, and would probably have gone on for longer had I been able to keep up with their nutritional needs, but I doubt very much whether I'd have fed them much beyond a year or 18 months at the outside. But I have two friends who breast fed much later than this, on talking to them about it they both readily addmitted that by this stage they were feeding the child because they liked the closeness and the routine of it, rather than for the child's nutritional benefit, and they were not keen to stop, despite the fact that one of them often had to fight with her son to stop him pulling up her top for a feed as he sat in the supermarket trolley! Although in fairness they were both only really feeding their children at bedtime by this stage.

So what do you think? Is there a 'cut off' age point at which it stops being acceptable to breast feed a child? and what about in public? or do you think it's ok to feed for as long as you want wherever you want despite the child's age?
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23-08-2005, 06:39 AM
Post: #2
Breast is best.....but for how long?
It is difficult to quantify or put a definite age where breastfeeding turns from 'arrhh' to 'urghh' over night.

I can't quite think, but for me it would be when the child is walking unaided with confidence. They sort of grow up at this stage, their needs are completely different. I don't know how old this would be, perhaps 10 months, perhaps 18 months??

I also know a girl who was still feeding her eldest when her second baby was born, her eldest was about 5 or 6 years!! Admittedly it was only a little suck at bedtime - BUT STILL!!! :sick:

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23-08-2005, 07:27 AM
Post: #3
Breast is best.....but for how long?
As much as I agree with Voice & Flip that breast-feeding over a certain age does become unacceptable there is a part of me that thinks why should society deem it as unnatural, there are a lot more things that we witness on a daily basis where nothing gets done. That said though I think I would be turned off if I saw a 3 year old breast-feeding. Abbie is just over 2 and a half and I could not imagine breast-feeding now. I stopped feeding Katie and 9 months and with Abbie I continued until she was about 20 months! This was a lot longer than I had anticipated, but one of the reasons I did go on was that she had been admitted to hospital with severe dehydration, I couldn't get her to take water or milk. She has hooked up to a drip and she feed from me to her heart's content. At that age though, I think I still got away with feeding her and most of the time anyway she was only feeding morning & night.

I do think that there is a point when you have to let go, you have to stop. And I do think it is a bit unfair on the child as I think the mother is wanting to keep that bond and is feeding a child who is 3, 4 and above for her own reasons and not for the benefit of the child.

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23-08-2005, 08:38 AM
Post: #4
Breast is best.....but for how long?
Maybe its because i havent got kids, but the thought of breast feeding a walking child fills me with horror. I always thought that only 'babies' were breast fed, and that you tended to stop around the 6 months stage. Obviously im wrong :shocking:

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23-08-2005, 08:56 AM
Post: #5
Breast is best.....but for how long?
Bonsai Wrote:Maybe its because i havent got kids, but the thought of breast feeding a walking child fills me with horror. I always thought that only 'babies' were breast fed, and that you tended to stop around the 6 months stage. Obviously im wrong :shocking:

I am glad you said that, I agree. I also (never having had kiddies) thought it was for the first few months only. It would end up like that Bitty sketch in Little Brittian!

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I do not like to see it done in public, surely its a personal private thing?

My partner works in a school, and it was mainly closed during the Xmas holls, with a few teachers and maintainance about, he was working on the PC's on his own in a classroom, when the wife of one of the teachers came in and proceeded to breastfeed her child. there were numerous other empyt rooms - struck me as slightly perv - or at least attention-seeking-voyerism! (He left the room BTW!)
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23-08-2005, 09:05 AM
Post: #6
Breast is best.....but for how long?
Tabby Cat Wrote:I am glad you said that, I agree. I also (never having had kiddies) thought it was for the first few months only. It would end up like that Bitty sketch in Little Brittian!

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I do not like to see it done in public, surely its a personal private thing?

My partner works in a school, and it was mainly closed during the Xmas holls, with a few teachers and maintainance about, he was working on the PC's on his own in a classroom, when the wife of one of the teachers came in and proceeded to breastfeed her child. there were numerous other empyt rooms - struck me as slightly perv - or at least attention-seeking-voyerism! (He left the room BTW!)

What age was the child, Tabby-cat? I can assure you that breast-feeding is neither slightly perv or attention-seeking voyerism! As you have pointed out, you don't have children. If you did then maybe your views would change - my views did. There are a lot of things that childless people view as wrong but once you become a parent yourself, the way you view things do change.

I have never had a problem with a mother feeding her baby, it is a natural thing to do. As I mentioned in my other post there are worse things that we witness on a daily basis - I am not a lover of seeing couples groping and kissing in public, to me that is something that certainly should be done in public!

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23-08-2005, 09:32 AM
Post: #7
Breast is best.....but for how long?
I would prefer mothers not to breastfeed in public at all - no matter what the age of the child. It's just something that makes me very uncomfortable and I'd rather not see it.
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23-08-2005, 11:42 AM
Post: #8
Breast is best.....but for how long?
Does not bother me at all mothers breast feeding a baby in public - much better that than a screaming baby.

I think the operative word here is feeding, a toddler of 3 surely can be fed something esle in public :confused:

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23-08-2005, 02:16 PM
Post: #9
Breast is best.....but for how long?
I think the majority of breast feeding mothers would rather feed in private but that is not always possible, quite often the only 'private' place is a toilet which imo is not a place a baby should be fed. I know I wouldn't want to eat my lunch in a toilet.

When mine were tiny I would always try to find a private or secluded place to feed them but that was not always possible so if my baby needed feeding and there wasn't anywhere I could go, I would feed them as discretely as possible.

Most babies start solids and can drink from a training cup at around 4 - 6 months so there is no need to breast feed on demand from around that age, but I really don't see the problem of a woman feeding her little baby in public under that age.
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23-08-2005, 02:45 PM
Post: #10
Breast is best.....but for how long?
I didn't breast feed Emma for various reasons but was with a friend who had her daughter at the same time in McDonalds (she didn't have her daughter in McDonalds, we were in McDonalds!!) & she fed Emily & it was fine. However, recently in work, someone came in to show off their new addition & sat in the middle of the office feeding her child. It made me feel uncomfortable & I know a lot of other people were too.

Regarding age, I think that if the child doesn't need breast milk for nutrition any longer, then the breast feeding should stop. My view is that breast feeding is primarily to feed the child. I accept that there would be the feeling of being close & bonding etc but it is primarily about feeding. There are other ways to be close to & bond with an older child.

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