I also plan to start to wean between a year and 18 months to give us both of our independence.
20/20 takes on the controversial issue tonight when they profile a mom who is still nursing her 6-year-old son.
Many people are shocked by the idea of nursing a child who is in kindergarten, but Robyn Paul remains determined to do what she says is best for her child.
“In this culture, breasts are viewed as sexual,” Paul said. “We use breasts to sell everything from beer to motorcycles, then a toddler is in mom’s arms nursing for what they’re supposed to be used for and everybody freaks out.”
The dedicated mom says she usually breast-feeds Tiernan at home when he needs comforting.
When Tiernan needs comforting, he will ask his mother for “nummies,” his word for breast-feeding, Paul said. “We’ve had conversations about what it tastes like and he says it’s very sweet,” like vanilla ice cream, Paul said.
The mom of three, who also breast-fed son Morgan, 12, and daughter Siobhan, 9 until age 6 , feels that there is an extra bonding or attachment there because she had the closeness for so long. In fact when Siobhan sees Tiernan with their mother, she said, she wishes she could still do it sometimes.
“But I’m getting older and I’m just happy to see them doing it,” she said.
The average age of weaning around the world is 4 years old and there are no studies saying it is harmful. But child psychologist Will Braun said he isn’t so sure and he wonders whether it’s appropriate from a developmental standpoint.
“I think a child really needs to learn to develop the capacity to soothe oneself, the capacity to tolerate frustration,” he said. “When a child is constantly given a breast, it might thwart that from happening.”
A mom who has breast fed her baby for a year or more has more than fulfilled her obligation of making sure that the baby gets adequate nutrition and antibodies because at that point your baby should be able to eat table food all three meals. Bonding with a child can come in many forms and doesn’t need to be while they are nursing.
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