How Long Would You Breast Feed For?

by in Breast Feeding



This is a question that has been debated among mothers for years: How long should you breastfeed for?

Some women think that 2 months is long enough for the baby to get the initial benefits, while others believe that when the baby gets teeth it’s time to stop.

Many moms I know use the 1st birthday as a reason to wean.

Earlier this year I posted a video about a mom who was still breastfeeding her 8 year old.

Apparently this is not unusual because a new study found that some Australian women are breastfeeding their children until they are seven years old. They say that “Children enjoy the taste of the milk, the comfort it brings and the closeness to their mother”.

In the first study of its kind in Australia, academic Karlene Gribble studied 107 women who breastfed their babies from age two to seven. Some were feeding up to a dozen times a day and one of the women was feeding three children at a time.

“Most women don’t set out to feed this long but they enjoy it, especially when their children get old enough to express how much they love it,” Ms Gribble said.

She reports several thousand children at any one time are breastfed past two years.

Children this age let their mothers know when they want to feed by asking directly or by seeking access to the breast on their own, Ms Gribble reports.

“My daughter is very articulate. ‘Mummy, I’d like a breastfeed please’,” one mother of a three-year-old said.

Another mother of a three-year-old said her son would “climb on my lap, when sitting, lift up my shirt, pull down my bra and attach himself”.

One mother who fed a five-year-old said he fed upon waking in the morning, if he was sick or hungry, and sometimes had a “quick suck” at bedtime.

For many children, breastfeeding was connected with sleep and comfort.

Only seven per cent of women intended to feed this long but others kept going primarily because of the enjoyment of their toddler.

Psychologists felt that there should be a cut off at the age of 3 and that breastfeeding a 5, 6 or 7 year old was “totally inappropriate”.

I will have to agree. Watching the ‘Extraordinary Breastfeeding’ video was a little disturbing to me. I breastfed my son and loved it, but I think that a child that is in grade 2 should get his/her milk from a jug.

These moms need to know that there many ways that you can bond with your children. Having a one on one movie night, taking a class together or just setting aside time to read could work.

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About the Author

SAHM of 2 boys and founder of GrowingYourBaby.com, World Traveled Family and The World We Share. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

Comments (4)

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  1. You can call me Chaeli says:

    If you want to give your child breast milk as they get older, give it to them in a cup. Like, duh. And the two girls in the extraordinary breastfeeding video definitely need to stop. When your children start naming your breasts, draw them, think they are their own and obsess about them, something’s wrong. Give it in a cup. There are many better ways to bond.

  2. Nikki says:

    well i personaly dont think a baby should be breast fed over a year old. I wouldnt even do it for that long, but atleast thats normal. If my kid were to say,,, mummy, Id like a suck please,, Id be like,, get your cup please, and go the refirgerator and get you some kool aid like normal kids do! lol….When you are breastfeeding, 3-8 yr old children, something is definately not right. Not to mention, why wouldnt they use a pump at this age? If it is just the breats milk, they want to give there children? If you are still enjoying bonding with your 8 yr old with your tit in their mouth, ummm, its time to learn how to bond a normal way, and not such a creepy way!

  3. tilliesmom says:

    La Leche League is a wonderful organization to support mothers who breastfeed their children. I weaned my first child when I was pregnant with the second, the second when there was a medical need, and the third nursed until she was five, mostly to sleep at night. It wasn’t “for me,” it was “for her,” but I was glad to do it. Let’s not be so judgmental of moms who breastfeed past infancy or toddlerhood. These moms are not hurting you. They are not hurting their children. The child gives it up when he or she is ready and that is a beautiful thing to see. My oldest was weaned due to pregnancy, and she wanted to nurse again when the new baby came. I let her and it met deep emotional needs. You may doubt me but you were not there. What is right for one person is not necessarily right for another. There is little enough love in the world. Breastfeeding is an act of love. Let’s stop being so judgmental about breastfeeding. For all women claim to be so liberated, it seems like we’ve taken a step backwards when it comes to using our bodies as nature intended, for nurturing the young.

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