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Breastfeeding a 10-year-old? I'm shocked, what do you think?

Tagged as: Family, Health<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (16 February 2009) 20 Answers - (Newest, 28 May 2012)
A female United States age 36-40, anonymous writes:

I was shocked! I recently discovered that my aunt sister in-law is still breastfeeding her 10 year old daughter. I came about this information from my own daughter around the same age. Being the concerned parent that I am casually engaged the topic in conversation with the girl one day at my home. After having confirmed what my own daughter had told me was true, I approached the subject with my sister in-law. It seems that it was a family descision made between her and her husband to extend breastfeeding untill whenever. My sister in-law said that she has found that breastfeeding an older child is a very special thing. I have heard of other mothers beside the birth mother breastfeeding an infant before, but not untill they were 10 an older. She seemed convinced that this is happens more than one would think, it is just noone talks about it?

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A female reader, mammaknowsbest New Zealand +, writes (28 May 2012):

I don't know if the nurse who wrote in will get this...her reply was posted a long time ago. But...wow should she do some re-training. Extended breastfeeding is encouraged. Immunity benefits increase in the second year of breastfeeding. And kids get a boost to their brain functioning. My son is 10. He still benefits from breastfeeding. So what? No big deal. He is doing really well. Give mothers and kids a break. Enjoy your lives.

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A female reader, kamalaram India +, writes (6 March 2011):

Hi!

First of all, a child needs to be breastfed with accordance to the situation and surroundings. In certain countries children are being breastfed until they are 7, 9, 10,and 12 years old. This is actually a normal thing and there is nothing wrong in that. In China children are being breastfed until they are 12 years old (both boys and girls) in certain areas as the nearest medical facility is very much far far away. In order to give nourishment to the children against the odds, the children are breast until they reach the age of 12 years and even sometimes more at 14 years.

It's very much consider this as a very normal thing and I am a mother of two kids aged 8 and 10 with the third pregnancy on the way and I still breastfeed my boys and I consider it my right to breastfeed my children as they very much require the necessary nourishment from me as i very much live in a village, where the nearest medical facility is about 50 kilometers away.

Kamala

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A reader, anonymous, writes (26 March 2010):

I don't think there is anything wrong with it.My daughter breastfed until 9yrs.It was a beautiful bonding experience,and she grew into a very normal young lady. So, I have no regrets, and I encourage breastfeeding until the child is ready to give it up.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (26 March 2009):

I have done lots of research on extended breastfeeding to way the pros and cons. I could not find anything that stated for a fact that breastfeeding to the age of 10 or beyond to be wrong. More or less it is how the mother views it to her child.

I can say this through my own experince with my daughter who is 8 years old. Everything about her is right on target- her growth, her intelligence, etc. but she still suckles from my breast. I have to say it was a bit odd when she got old enough to ask for it.

Now she knows the appropriate times to breastfeed and nothing is ever said, she just approaches me and I know what she wants. I have to say that I will more than likely let her suckle untill she nolonger has a need or desire to do so.

I have spoken to my doctor about this and it is true this happens more than you may think and is just not something people talk about over dinner.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (17 March 2009):

To the anonymous "registered nurse":

The american academy of pediatrics, The american academy of pediatrics, Health Canada, and the WHO have all published reports stating that breastfeeding past 1 year is not only benneficial, but recommended. This includes studies showing a lowered incidence of sickness in breastfead children between the ages of 1 and 2.

I am not fond of uninformed people spreading misinformation...hence my comment. You need to check your facts. Or maybe even question the legitimacy of your nursing school!

This does not mean that I believe breastfeeding at 10 years old is normal or healthy. To be kind, I could call it poor parenting, but to be honest, I think it is a sign of a mother with some serious issues, and child that may grow up to have issues also.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (3 March 2009):

I am just kinda curious...is this child homeschooled?

It is amazing to me that the child would even WANT to suckle at this age.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (17 February 2009):

To Mr. Anon below, you said: "Why do we have to make an argument out of each and everything a poster posts?Why don't we just give our own opinions and not bother about what others say?This is getting really old."

It's called giving perspective. When someone gives advice/opinion, most likely, someone else will disagree. If people ONLY give advice/opinion without rebuttals, the OP will rarely get a broader idea of how things could be. Debates allow people to find new methods, ideas and combinations for different problems.

IF this site was solely for one-sided comments, then Andrew can program it exactly like Yahoo Answers where people can only post one comment.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (17 February 2009):

Why do we have to make an argument out of each and everything a poster posts?Why don't we just give our own opinions and not bother about what others say?This is getting really old.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (17 February 2009):

Femalecupid00 said: "THE WOMEN WHO POST THIS THREAD NEVER SAID IT WAS ANY OF HER BUSINESS. She's just shocked to hear of something so odd cause her daughter some how found out about it. And she simply wanted to knoe if anyone here has ever heard of something so odd period. so stop with all the post about how its none of her business."

First, it's the WOMAN - singular. There is only one female OP.

Second, she IS making it her business. She approached her sister-in-law because she felt it is abnormal and she was as she said, "in shock". Asking strangers about this implies she is going to do something about it, if enough people urge her to do something about it. If you look through some of the posts here, some people think this is wrong. If enough people say this is wrong, OP will think it is wrong and if she sees this in the future or happens on it again, she will be tempted to act on. Therefore she is making it her business.

Lastly, reading about whether someone else has heard about this or not at one web site out of millions is hardly an accurate measure of whether this is acceptable or not, abnormal or not, healthy or not.

The BEST thing to go about this IS to SEARCH GOOGLE for this sort of 'behavior'. As far as 'wrong' goes, again, biased concepts.

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A female reader, femalecupid00 United States +, writes (17 February 2009):

THE WOMEN WHO POST THIS THREAD NEVER SAID IT WAS ANY OF HER BUSINESS. She's just shocked to hear of something so odd cause her daughter some how found out about it. And she simply wanted to knoe if anyone here has ever heard of something so odd period. so stop with all the post about how its none of her business.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (17 February 2009):

I think this is a personal choice that a husband and wife made for their child and has nothing to do with you. Get over it. There are many cultures in the world where breast feeding into later childhood is commonplace and is the norm. Western society has sexualised a woman so much that the original point of her breasts has been reappropriated for men.

The nurse who talked about how the child gets nothing more from breast feeding after aged one - I'd like to know what kind of clinical evidence supports that view and what kind of literature review or medical evidence base you are quoting?

I do not think it will cause any issues for a child psychologically either. My mother breast fed me until I was 6 or 7. This was partly due to the fact she had a late miscarriage when I was about 5 or so and she was producing milk so it made sense not to waste it. I am a healthy adult who, funnily enough, hasn't been scarred for life by this. My mother turned something traumatic (the loss of a child) into something positive. What better way to help her own recovery and to make sure her youngest child (me) did not get neglected in her grief?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (16 February 2009):

THIS IS VERY RARE. And it should have been stopped ages ago.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (16 February 2009):

I do not think it is a frequent case actually, but I agree in that you shouldn't try and change the mother's opinion if she chose to upbring her children in this manner.

I did hear of a similar case brought to the attention of the media a good while ago. The siblings of the same age or older were also breastfed and to them the whole act had a significance that was unheard of, they even gave names to the nipples and drew them symbolically. Quite uncommon one would say and I'm sure there can be a point about this "ritual" as they perceived it having less then desired implications in the children's sexuality. But this is only a possibility. It doesn't break a law so each to their own.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (16 February 2009):

I am a registered nurse, and as such, I would like to respond to the poster who said the longer you breastfeed the better for the child. This is 100% NOT true!! It is a proven fact that after one year of age, there is nothing more that a child can get from it's mother through breastfeeding. They have already received the antibodies they can get from their mother...and actually that happens during the first 3 days of breastfeeding when the mother produces colustrum before the milk comes in.

Besides the face that there are no health benefits from this....I think it is extremely selfish on a mothers part. Think of the criticism and abuse this child could face if people....who aren't ok with it....find out. This can definitely be psychologically and sociologically damaging to the child later in life.

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A female reader, TasteofIndia United States +, writes (16 February 2009):

TasteofIndia agony auntI've read that the longer you can breastfeed, the better for the child. While breast feeding a 10 year old may be socially taboo or frowned upon, it's still nobodies business but theirs. Nobody is harming or abusing the child, and the family is only doing what they see best. So, end of story, this is a situation where minding your own business is the best solution.

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A male reader, ArmyMedic United Kingdom +, writes (16 February 2009):

ArmyMedic agony auntShow her this video from a British TV series called Little Britain http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FtXf8M.

See there is nothing wrong with Bitty!

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A female reader, confusedm8ey United Kingdom +, writes (16 February 2009):

I personally think that it is quite wrong but if they agree with it then thats what counts just try to forget about it and it will get easier to accept it in time

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A female reader, Emilysanswers United Kingdom +, writes (16 February 2009):

I have heard of this kind of thing... but it's probably not talked about for a reason.

I'd just leave them to it.

Good Luck!! xx

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (16 February 2009):

well ok i will say it is odd brest feeding a ten year old but look at this from the parents side they want there kid to grow up healthy and you would two right? so if the kids mother reads someware thet brest feeding her ten year old makes them more healthy and she trys it out then what is wrong whit that? nothing in my view but given the world we live in some people do not take kindly to things out of the norm and they make fun of the ten year old. school children and the like are the most common so if you feel this may happen to the ten year old girl tell her mother that the kid maybe laughed at if it gets out and then she may see things your way!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (16 February 2009):

Bluntly put: this has absolutely nothing to do with you. If this is working out for them, then this is working out for them. Period.

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