Monday, March 13

Extended Breastfeeding Rant

Today, I received an email about a mother who is tied up in divorce proceedings. She has two nurslings. She has apparently been issued orders from a judge to wean her oldest (of unknown age) within 60 days and to wean her youngest by the time she turns 3. His logic is that nursing the children for so long will cause psychological harm to them in our culture.

Exactly where does this judge get his information? It’s all hearsay and conjecture. How many kids does he know that were nursed past 1, let alone past 3? I would bet not many. However, I know plenty. All of these kids are normal, healthy, playful, intelligent kids.

I guess my experience is not enough, so what about the “evidence”?

I don’t have the biggest amount of respect for the American Academy of Pediatrics on the subject (as they always seem to be backing out of their support of breastfeeding when the formula companies flash their wallets), but even they say “There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer” and “Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother, especially in delaying return of fertility (thereby promoting optimal intervals between births)” (Source: American Academy of Pediatrics).

I guess I just wish that people would do some research before they suppose that a very loving and thoughtful practice (done only at the mutual desire of both mother and child) will somehow cause the child psychological harm, when in fact, in most cases, it does just the opposite. Breastfeeding provides both physical and psychological benefits to both parties, as proven by numerous scientific studies.

Breasts are primarily for feeding our children; the sexual thing is just a side benefit (for men, at least). If people could look at a breast and see it for what it is (full of milk and comfort), maybe this misconception wouldn’t be so widespread.

1 comment:

grantmom said...

I can't believe this! If even the AAP says there is no harm and only benefit, then can a judge really do that? It seems you could prove easier the psychological harm that would come to the child who was not yet ready to wean, but was forced to make that transition because of a judge's decision and a piece of paper.