Our Adoptive Breastfeeding Story

 

adoptive breastfeeding

Copyright J. Grumet. Violators will be prosecuted.

This is our adoptive breastfeeding story, and why it was such a positive experience.

In our case, Samuel was breastfed up to the date of his relinquishment. Having been breastfed by my mother until I was six, I was aware of the importance of breastfeeding during a time of stress or trauma. Breastfed children do not normally use an inanimate item (such as a blanket or stuffed animal) to comfort themselves. They often use the closeness that breastfeeding provides from their mother.

So, not only was my child taken away from his homeland, culture, language, and family (most importantly, his mother)  – he was also stripped of the main action that provided him comfort.

Being able to breastfeed Samuel for almost a year was a beautiful experience.

I wish I could say it was my idea. Truthfully, I thought he was too old to latch on to a new person for the first time.

I was wrong.

Samuel had been curiously watching me breastfeed his brother (Aram, 2.5 years at the time). He didn’t speak English, but in his curiosity he was able to convey that he was also interested.

He seemed too timid to ask outright. You could tell his fear of rejection when he showed the initial interest. When I asked him if he would also like to breastfeed he smiled and jumped right on my lap. During our first experience breastfeeding, I could tell it was something he missed dearly; something from home I was able to give him.

I am so happy I was able was able to provide him with the comfort he needed to get through trauma, trauma most people will never experience in their entire life.

Other interesting observations about adoptive breastfeeding:

  • Every person from Ethiopia I’ve encountered finds adoptive breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding normal. (Wet/cross-nursing is still common in certain areas of the country.) One Ethiopian woman said- “If there is milk we use it!” She said breastfeeding eight-year-old children is not an uncommon practice (and biologically it is a normal length of time for primates).
  • Due to lack of exposure and understanding of this topic, most Americans are horrified by it.
  • It helped my attachment and bonding to him.
  • It helped his attachment and bonding to me.
  • It helped Aram understand Samuel’s role in the family, and that he was completely equal.

I  definitely think that there is great reason (sometimes even more so than with a biological child) to practice “extended” breastfeeding with an adopted child.

I don’t think it is the end-all-be-all for attaching with your adopted child. If this is not an option for you, it is nothing to worry about. I do, however, want to bring this to the attention of other adoptive parents that may find this helpful for their own family.

87 comments

  1. Hi Jamie heard of the great public service that u do and which is really commendable reaching out to the people in the poverty stricken areas in Africa and giving out a helping hand to this lovely kids.Kudos from my side but what I would like to know is for how long are u going to continue breastfeeding your children suppose if they they want to continue with this in their teenage life as well would that be ok with you??

    • Both of my children have self-weaned. Samuel weaned a month or two shy of turning 5. Aram weaned at 4. Please take the time to look into Katherine Dettwyler’s work for natural human weaning ages. Human children self-wean around 2-7 years old. This is a range so some fall out of this category, but never into teenage years. I believe those statements to be a bit ridiculous and counterproductive to normalizing breastfeeding. You wouldn’t find a teenager sharing many behaviors and actions considered normal for a preschool or young-aged child.

      • Look I didn’t mean to offend you Jamie and if u think I did I am really sorry I only asked this question because I had come across a kid on television who was breastfed at even 13 years of age because he was not self weaned it’s unusual but not unheard of.I think you misinterpreted my question.

        • Oh it’s totally fine, I honestly couldn’t figure out what your intentions were with the question.

          Who is this child? That is not just rare, it is almost unheard of. If someone falls that outside the normal range it would be up to the family to determine why, especially when the child is entering or in puberty. It is so rare I almost don’t know what would happen in that situation. Is there a developmental delay of the child? I know of one child around 12 breastfeeding, but had extreme developmental delays (the breastfeeding provided comfort to the child and antibodies). I guess potentially they could be the extremely rare case of falling way out of the normal range. Again, that would be up to the family and trusted professionals brought in to determine.

    • It is physically impossible for a child to nurse into their teenage years. Once they have their adult teeth, their mouth is so changed that they cannot latch on anymore, even if they would want to.

      • That doesn’t make sense. I think it’s not uncommon for husbands to be curious and ask to try it. Certainly husbands can suck their wives breasts. Physically I would expect the adult mouth of a teenager to be able to suck as well as an adult husband, wouldn’t you. (not saying they want to or would, just probably physically could)

        • I don’t think the parent comment is necessarily correct, but I would say that I EBF my 11 month old, and my husband has tried a few times to drink milk “from the tap” and wasn’t able to get anything out. So I don’t think that’s the greatest argument by counter example.

      • No, I know children who nursed until getting many of their adult teeth.

  2. Beautifully and well said!! :)

  3. Jamie, I love, love, love this! That is so amazing that you tandem nursed both of them. I can only imagine the comfort Samuel felt when he finally “joined” in with Aram. You were like his human blankie <3<3

  4. Asking a breastfeeding mother if she’s going to breastfeed when they’re teenagers is absurd and just plain ignorant. I am nursing my son (currently 16 months), I will let him wean himself. Does that mean we, as mothers have no limits? No. It means we’re doing what we think is best. Millions of woman all over this country and others do just that. Somehow I’ve yet to witness teenager nursing. Preschool age children are still “babies” in my eyes. They look for comfort in their parents and especially in nursing. It’s NORMAL to nurse a toddler/preschooler. Luckily, with pages like blogs like this someday it will be a “normal” thing to everyone!

  5. Well said Jamie. It is a bit frustrating to me that every so often I get asked that question. My older son self weaned at 4 and I am confident that my 3 year old that is still nursing will wean himself well before becoming a teen. Although many feel differently as they don’t know first hand, I truly feel extended breast feeding creates a very confident and independent person. I simply adore the bonding time that I have through

  6. Thank you, this is so encouraging! I didn’t know you breastfed Samuel. We hope to adopt and one of my biggest concerns is that I am able to nurse her/him. I know there are all kinds of things that might prevent me from being able to, but I trust that God wants me to bond with my future children just as much as I do (more), so He’ll take care of nursing issues or give me other means. Still, I have been leaning toward adopting an infant to hopefully facilitate that bonding through nursing. Seeing this post just reminds me that God could very well bring an older one into our lives and still have breastfeeding be part of the plan. :)

  7. I’m just curious…I weaned my son at 4 months and although I have no problem with breastfeeding longer (I knew a boy that breastfeed until he was 6), I found that it was hard to have substantial amount to make him full. Therefore I went to soupy potatoes and such. Did you ever have this issue? I mean, my breastmilk started coming in at 7 months pregnant which isn’t the norm, but not really rare either. And I was plenty full when I breastfeed, and I didn’t mind breastfeeding multiple times throughout the day…it was a privilege and blessing to do so. I just could fill his little tummy up most times just with my breastmilk. By the time he was 4 months, he would drain me and still be hungry. Anybody else have this issue?

    • Your baby was probably going through a growth spurt and if you were not properly informed of that time frame, it would make it seem like you were not able to satiate his appetite, but believe me you were.

    • There were days when we nursed pretty much nonstop for hours. But he grew just fine and wasn’t unhappy as long as I let him nurse. Other days he would go 4-5 hours without nursing without a hitch. Normal normal and not a reason to wean or give other foods.

      • Yep growth spurts. I wish this information was common knowledge and alot of people still to this day are told by professionals they arent making enough when sadly its not true. Breastfeeding is supply and demand. Baby nurses more(demand) your body makes more(supply). You did what was best at the time with the information you had, breastded babies go through growth spurts quite frequently in first 6months and 4month is a developmental one, so is actually nothing to do with bein hungry as it is their brain growth that is their reasoning for nursing so much, this is what we have learned recently now :)

  8. I love this. I am currently tandem nursing my son (21 mos.) and daughter (37 mos.). Most of my family thinks I am crazy. It doesn’t bother me though. What’s best for my babies is most important. If I was in your situation I would have done the same. I think you are awesome. Thank you for sharing! :)

  9. So beautiful . Made me cry. You are a wonderful Mom and do what is best for your two children !!! Congrats !!!! I am breastfeeding my 20 month old currently !!! Love how people make it normal.

  10. Thank you for sharing your story. I nursed each of my kids to age 3.5, and if I were given the choice today, I probably would have been willing to nurse longer, since it’s becoming more accepted. As they got older nursing happened at home, because I was worried about what other people might say in front of them. I was confident in my own choices, (thanks to Katherine Dettwyler), but had no faith in our mentally warped society of the time, and wanting to spare my kids exposure to the judgement and shaming of misinformed people. Now, I would simply make sure I hung out with a like-minded group!

  11. This is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

    Now, what would you do if hypothetically speaking your spouse was ok with breastfeeding up to 18 months but nothing longer?? I want to extended bf my second whenever that happens but dh is not set on self weaning/extended bfing. Hurts me a little knowing I might not be able to do what I know is best because I worry about his parenting concerns.

    • I had the same problem, my husband (and my family) were all keen on me weaning my eldest son after 12 months. When I was still going at 15 months or so the question kept arising. So I did some teaching- I brushed up on my breastfeeding facts and started lecturing every time the question was asked. I ended up feeding him til about 21 months and would have continued has biting my tender pregnant boobs not become such an ongoing game.

  12. I love this!!! I breastfed my daughters for extended amount of time. My oldest daughter until she was over 3 and my last one, well, it is a touch and go. She is currently 5. I would hear all kind of comments like “Are you still breastfeeding her?” “How many teeth she got?” “She is way too old to be on the t**!” “We (African American women) just don’t do that!!!” “Formula is more convenient!” I worked as a Lactation Specialist and I would just hit them with counters, LOL! But I also got the same ridicule from my own family for breastfeeding for an extended amount of time. But I just brushed it off

    • OMG those types of comments annoy me! I hate hearing people say that formula is more convenient. I have been raising my cousin’s son (long long story) since he was 6 weeks old and had to feed him formula and what a hassle (on top of the expense) of having sterile bottles and cooled boiled water, the handwashing, the storage, the effort etc. I was pregnant at the time and once I had our son I was ENGORGED and overflowing to the point of expressing milk to relieve myself and gave it to him everyday until he’d seen enough to try himself. He learnt how to breastfeed at about 16 months!

  13. I LOVE this!

  14. I am curious about something. I love this blog post, but this part:

    “So, not only was my child taken away from his homeland, culture, language, and family (most importantly, his mother) – he was also stripped of the one action that provided him comfort.”

    …makes me wonder, why? Why was he taken from his mother? Did she die? :(

    • Often, that’s a private part of an adoption story that the family chooses not to share with those outside their closest circle. The child’s story is his/her own and should get to decide what gets shared with others. As adoptive parents, we must guard their stories carefully, not because we wish to be rude to others by refusing to answer their questions, but because we know that our children trust us to protect them and their privacy.

      • Yes, I agree. It is different for every family, so you may find some sharing more than others. We have a relationship with Samuel’s birth mother we have chosen to be open about this as well as sharing certain parts of our life we don’t consider private. Some things about Samuel’s adoption we have chosen to keep private for many reasons. I think sharing personal experiences is part of what brings us together as a community. Certain information we believe would not be helpful to others or our family (this goes without saying but it includes all adopted members and extended members of our family- so basically all family) needs not be shared or discussed.

        For example, we share our breast feeding story because it is not a private act …and by sharing our story we already know it has educated others on a topic few know about.

        We share our currently relationship with Samuel and his birth family because we know and love them and they are family. Their story before that… Perhaps one day Samuel’s first mother will want to publicly come out and talk about if she believes it will help others… But it would be hard for us to speak on her behalf… Even with her permission, given the topic and our relationship.

        Really everyone is different. No one should be judged for what they have thoughtfully decided to share or not share.

  15. I will be adopting an infant and would like to prepare myself to breastfeed him/her. Do you know anything about the process of bringing in milk without having given birth to the child? I believe doctors give you some kind of hormone to start the process then you start pumping? Just wondering if you ever ran across any mothers who have done this. Thanks Jamie :) I wish mothers in the USA understood more about the benefits of breastfeeding children as nutrition and how it helps their immune system, one of the main reasons I want to breastfeed my adopted child, i’ll be getting a newborn so the attachment part is important too.

    • I read a story about a woman whose wife was pregnant and they wanted to both breastfeed so she brought in milk without pregnancy. It said she took birth control for a few months then stopped and took some medication (sorry can’t remember what) and started pumping multiple times daily. Sorry I don’t have more information about it but I hope this helps!

  16. Tears are streaming…such a beautiful story!!!

  17. You are awesome for sharing your story, i breast feed all mine till 2 and I figure they can potty on the potty so they can let me have my boobs back. :-) Course I usually get pregnate again too haha….But I love to breastfeed my children and I HATE the attitude of my fellow Americans, my husbands mother is such a…. she always makes comments that are really rude and it offends her that I breastfeed, as if my breast is in her mouth personally or something I dont know. But shes not the only one that I have encountered in my journey as a mother.
    I certainly wish you luck with any further children, and as I said I think its AMAZING you were able to, and Im glad you shared your story, you are brave.

  18. having read this, i must say, you are one totaly awesome woman to do what you have done. adopting is hard enough on the child and adopters, but to do it from a differant country like you have, can, as you say, traumatise the child in some way, and by breastfeeding him has most likely helped and eased that trauma. not many people could do what you have done, and i take my hat of to you xxx best of luck and lots of love tou you and your family xxxx

  19. Bridget Palkow

    I love this. It is Beautiful.

  20. Oh my goodness. This is so sweet. You are an amazing mother and woman, and these boys are lucky ones. Actually, we’re all lucky because this world needs the kind of men that your sons will grow to be.

  21. Aw, reading this I get a little teary… Thanks for sharing your story! You are a wonderful mother and a beautiful person. Thank you for all that you do to make the world bright :)

  22. Hi,
    My best Friend and I had our Babies at the same time, when they were about 3 months old . When one of us needed to go out e.g shopping , just a break etc. We would babysit each others Babies and breastfeed them as well, both Babies were happy and settled well.
    Has anyone else done this?

  23. Natasha Sandoval

    Beautiful story! I can only imagine how happy and comforting it was for your little boy to be able to breast feed after he was adopted. It makes my heart feel good. How old was he when you adopted him?

  24. I was able to nurse 3 of my adopted kids. Two were infants on homecoming, but one was 20 months, and ended up nursing til she was 4. It was a lovely experience– such precious time.

    Mary, momma to 10, including 4 from Ethiopia and 2 from Korea

  25. Becky Worthman

    what a beautiful thing, I am crying, there aren’t words.

  26. I too think it is a wonderful story but feel so sad for his mother – why was her child taken away from her and his family? If she was breastfeeding right up to ‘relinquishment’ she was alive, and loving him, deeply. I feel sad for her.

  27. This is an amazing story! I do have to say though, my first son who was breastfed for over a year always did find comfort in a blankie too!

  28. Your family is beautiful.

  29. Hi Jamie! This is amazing and awesome. I read your stuff from time to time. You are incredible and I love the light you shed on breastfeeding here. It’s awesome. I am nursing my 18 month old, my first child, and plan to full term breastfeed until he’s ready to wean. I just had a question reading this, I felt sorrow when you said he was nursed until he was relinquished. What was the reasoning for his adoption or having to leave his mother. I just felt sad for him. I’m so happy he has you and that he was able to nurse. It’s just amazing. I just felt so sad for that sweet baby of yours and the fear or lost feeling he must’ve had. Hugs to you!

  30. You’re such a wonderful mommy. You have inspired me to adpot & breastfeed past a year. Thank you & God Bless you & your family.

  31. Beautiful photo and touching story. Thank you for sharing with us. It must have been such an amazing bonding experience, seeing his big eyes looking up at you, seeing him smile while nursing. How did Samuel wean, may I ask? Did he wean in a similar way as Aram? You might have a post on that already but I’ve been wondering what weaning will look like in our family when my girls (20 months and 3 1/2 years) get near there eventually.

  32. This story is so beautiful, during my pregnancy I had so many questions about bf, I knew it was the best for the baby, and it’s good for mom too, and very important for bonding and comfort. I was curious to know how long to bf, when do you stop? It’s so good for your baby, so why do people stop? Brest milk doesn’t someday stop being a great source of nutrition for your baby, so really why do mothers stop bf?! I started doing research to find the answers to my questions and I was thrilled to find stories and blogs like yours. I’ve a never known anyone that bf past 14 months. Thanks to stories like yours I have the confidence that long term bf and self weaning will be best for my little guy. It makes me so sad that mothers stop bf because “that child is too old”, “they’re eating solid foods, they shouldn’t be on the boob”, “once they start taking your shirt off to get the breast they’re to old”, “It’s disgusting, breasts are sexual objects, you shouldn’t let your toddler suck on them”. Those comments disgust me and I plan to educate my family and friends about the importance and benefits of allowing a child to self wean everytime they ask me when I’m going to wean my baby. You’re inspirational.

  33. I don’t usually comment on blog posts, but, WOW, this is amazing! How wonderful for the whole family! I had never even heard of adoptive breastfeeding until 18 months ago when I started nursing my son. It fascinates me. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story!

  34. Gauri of LovingEarthMama

    This is beautiful!! Thanks for sharing. I feel super moved and can’t image what a blessing, a gift and a comfort it is to your child to be welcomed in your arms in this way, to know, as you say, that he is your child and an EQUAL sibling. Gorgeous.

    Cheers,
    Gauri

  35. Beautiful and inspiring! I knew this in the back of my head that my four year old was needing to bf for a reason. This article reminded me of the value. He is seeking security in me as our lives shift again with many changes to our family dynamics and mommy’s work and mommy’s stress levels. I am his security blanket, I always have been… thank goodness for the grace of children and their resilience.

    And yes to 8 years! Meredith Small book Our Babies, Ourselves, was the first to point this out to me.

  36. I pinned this post to my breastfeeding board and someone, I am not sure I even know them, wrote a comment. “Aren’t these children too old to be at the breast?”
    EEK! really? It’s not just a matter of acceptance It’s a matter of Education in AMerica. Moms and doctors. It just reminds me of how my child’s former pedi tried to encourage me to stop breastfeeding around 6 months and got more insistent when he turned one year! *sigh* I wanted to cry for all the other mothers and babies she told that too everyday.

    http://pinterest.com/daffodilmuse/breastfeeding/

  37. I’m just glad there are amazing people like you in this world. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  38. I think you are fabulous and your story truly touched me. I can only hope that I’d be able to lactate again if we ever chose to adopt.

    I’ve nursed all my boys until they self weaned. The first two around 2.5 and baby #3 is almost 2 and still going.

    It’s the most precious gift a mommy can give her child no matter HOW that child came into her life.

    I can’t wait to read more of your blog.

  39. breastfeeding a child that old is wrong. your stifling their independence and quite honestly its an unhealthy attachment. usually mothers breastfeed their children for that long because they are looking for validation as a parent. i’m sorry but that is so strange and honestly your damaging your child and no child will ever want to admit as an adult how long they were breastfed. they get teeth FOR A REASON. to eat normal food. there are other ways to bond with your child, once your child starts to learn the importance of private parts and are able to ask for it then they are too old. I’m sorry, but I’ve never met a child who was breastfed that late who wasn’t embarrassed of it later. Its super weird, and your keeping them from celebrating milestones of growing up by trying to keep them as a baby that breastfeeds. if you want to breastfeed that much then have another kid.

    • It would be best to not comment I topics you have no personal knowledge or experience with. Also, since you have clearly no understanding of this topic and felt so strongly to write such a lengthy response I would also suggest being honest and asking yourself why YOU have such an issue with something you don’t understand. I was breasted until I was 6 years old. I have many friends from the States and I various countries around the world who are now adults and were breasted around the same length of time. None are ashamed and all are parenting their children similarly to how their parents parented them (i.e. practice child-led weaning with their children). If you are honestly interested in this topic (rather than just shaming mothers who parent differently than you) check out Dr. Dettwyler’s work on natural human weaning times.

    • This is so strange because you must not realize that the writer of this blog was breastfed until age 6. I have truly not ever met anyone who was breastfed to an “older” age that was “embarrassed” by it. Do you actually know someone who is embarrassed by it? How old were they breastfed til?

      • Lindsey
        How can you explain to a child that breastfeeding was good one day, but the next it is no longer beneficial and they need to stop immediately? What is the magic age that they should stop? By saying to your child, “it is wrong now” you are making breastfeeding in general come across as negative. We are trying to remove the negative stigma with breastfeeding so that it can become normalized because it has been proven to be the best for the child.

        As for the teeth statement…Do you have children yourself? If not, are you aware that some babies get teeth as early as four months. Should they wean from milk and formula then because they are “ready” to eat solid “normal” food? It is advised to ALL mothers, whether formula or breastfeeding, that infants under 12 months need to have formula or breast milk as their main source of nutrition. Then from 12 months to two years, they are supposed to drink Vitamin D milk for the fat content, which helps their brain develop the best. It is clear that a formula fed baby will make the switch from formula to cow’s milk. But for breastfed babies, why should they switch from human milk to cow milk? Do you not think that human milk is more beneficial for humans than cow’s milk? How can one day, mom make milk best, then the next at the magical age of 12 months, a cow suddenly makes it better?

        “once your child starts to learn the importance of private parts and are able to ask for it then they are too old.”

        Babies learn about private areas well before they can speak. When the diaper comes off and they reach down and feel the part of their body that is constantly covered, because naturally they are curious about the covered areas, they are exploring and experiencing something new. Just because they can’t voice their thoughts about it, does not mean they are not learning about them.
        As it is with genital exploration before vocalization, babies learn early also, to ask for what they want, way before they become verbal. Crying is just one such way.
        My daughter was six months and could sign the ASL sign for breastfeeding/milk. Should I have stopped feeding her then because she asked for it? As stated above, it is recommended that babies keep nursing or bottle feeding until 12 months. Then by nine months she would sit in my lap and rub her face into my chest or pull my shirt down when wanting to nurse. She was asking for it, just not in the way that you would consider normal. Now she is walk, talking, and opening cans of soup…lol…(there is an explanation behind that one) and she is only 14 months. I don’t think her growth or milestones were stunted at all. In fact she is well advanced for her age.

    • I am proud to say that I was breastfed until I was 3. I support my son’s choice to nurse as long as he chooses to do so. I understand that seeing/reading about something one is unfamiliar with can make one uncomfortable. I would challenge such people to put themselves into the shoes of the mother, and instead of judging, do some research and attempt to understand their point of view. I’m sure Lindsey would hate to be judged so critically about a particular choice she has made/will make for her family (as would we all). I hope that she is never shamed the way it seems she felt she needed to shame Jamie, and that she finds a loving community that can help her let go of the need to judge. Letting go of the judgement of others has been one of the most liberating journeys I’ve ever begun!

    • My daughter was able to “ask for it”, using her word (“na”, for “nurse”) by 4 months of age. She didn’t yet have teeth. She wasn’t old enough to eat regular food, or even baby foods. But by your criteria, I should have weaned her. We would have missed out on the past 2 years of nursing, which have helped keep her healthy and developing perfectly normally. She’s now past 27 months and still nursing. She is incredibly independent (a little too much so, at times, since she wants to do everything her big brothers do). I can’t think of a milestone she hasn’t reached early or on-time.

      There are few countries in which breasts are considered private parts. Most of the world recognizes that the primary purpose of breasts is to feed babies and young children. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding AT LEAST to age 2. Around the world, children routinely wean between 4-7 years of age. Milk continues to have nutritional and immunological benefits for the entire time that the child nurses.

      There are many ways to parent a child. While Jamie’s choice of extended breastfeeding may seem unusual in this country, it’s because of our culture and not because of biology. Around the world, the decision to breastfeed until a child self-weans is perfectly normal; in fact, it would be considered extremely strange to stop nursing a child just because they had teeth or could ask for it! I hope you will take a chance to read these responses and perhaps look at some of the research Jamie has mentioned as a way of further educating yourself on this topic. Parents need support, they do not need to be torn down simply because the way that they are parenting is unfamiliar to you.

    • That’s total BS Lindsey. I was breastfed until I was between 3 and 4 (my mom couldn’t remember exactly when I weaned) as was my brother and sister. NONE of us are ashamed or weirded out. In fact, we’re all quite happy she cared enough about us to allow us to decide when to wean instead of forcing something upon us that is actually quite traumatic for young children. Your ideas don’t fit at all with evolutionary or biological theory. They come from a very specific cultural place and so you can say you’re uncomfortable with it, but you cannot at all make the claims you are. In fact, there is not a shred of evidence from research to support any of what you say. (E.g., baby teeth are called “milk teeth” for a reason – think about it.)

    • DING DING DING!!! Lindsey wins the award for most ignorant comment of the day. Congratulations?

    • It sounds as though you aren’t well versed on the normals of breastfeeding. It is very common for children who are allowed to self-wean, to do so at a later age. My oldest nursling just turned 4yrs a few weeks ago. While we have discussed his weaning, he is not currently ready for that yet. It is a huge comfort to him, as well as helps with immunities still, and then of course there is the issue of him still seeing his younger siblings nursing. He is old enough to remember his nursing relationship, and I am not willing to make it into something negative for him. Yes, there are days that I can’t wait to have him weaned, but I also know it’s importance in his life. As for allowing him to nurse keeping him rom celebrating milestones, that’s not true at all. He is a very mature, independent little boy and is not behind at all. It is not about trying to keep them babies, but rather about meeting theirn eeds where they are at at any given point.
      As for having teeth for a reason…both my boys got their first teeth at 3 months, and my youngest daughter got hers at 2.5 months. None of them would have been ready for “real” food at that point, but rather they still needed milk for their nutrition. Even the AAP recommends at least a year of nursing, and most children have a couple teeth by that point.
      I have had the pleasure of meeting several very well adjusted adults who not only remember their nursing days fondly, but are not embarrassed at all to admit how long they nursed.

    • I was breastfed to 4.5…not once have I been ashamed that my mom is a badass breastfeeding mama. I am proud to have been born into a family that valued me and my siblings that much.

  40. Lindsey (not the idiot one )

    I saw this and had to comment espically since it was the same name as mine that left just a stupid comment. I currently breastfeed my 24 month old(almost 25 months ) he nurses at least 8 – 14 times a day. It can be rather annoying sometimes when Im trying to get something done because Ive been at it for 24 months , no break 24/7 , hes never taken a bottle. He is healthy , happy , sweet and smart . Im a comfort to him . So if I was doing it for my own good , my own validation as a parent I think I wouldn’t do it as often only when im out in public just to embrass him and others like you . If he is embarrsed later in life for how long he was breastfed then Ill pay his therpay bills . Come on who isn’t embarrsed by something there parent’s have done ?? This LINDSEY thinks breastfeeding a toddler is wonderful .

  41. Lindsey,

    What the HELL does it matter to you how long she nurses her child for? Is it hurting you? Is it putting you or your family in danger? No. your facts are bullshit and have no validity. I find it a little ridiculous that you came on this page just to write a rude comment to someone you clearly know nothing about. Grow up.

  42. Thank you for sharing this info btw. I think it is fabulous that you were able to breastfeed both children for as long as they wanted/needed to. Good work, mama!

  43. Lindsey:
    How can you explain and make a child understand that breastfeeding for them was okay one day, but not the next? What is the magic number when one should stop nursing? It is recommended for ALL mothers, whether breastfeeding or formula feeding, that babies receive breast milk, or formula up til 12 months of age, and Vitamin D milk after that until the age of two. This is all because of stomach and brain development and nutritional value. Now it is certain that formula fed babies will switch from formula to cow’s milk. But for breastfed babies, why should they switch from human milk to cow’s milk? Is it not better to drink the milk of your own species…milk that is specially formulated for the unique needs of humans. Why does mom make milk better, but once baby reaches the magical age of one, all of a sudden a cow makes it better? To tell them it is okay before a certain age, but not beneficial anymore past another age places negative connotations on breastfeeding as a whole. We are trying to remove the stigmas attached with breastfeeding, and normalize it because it has clearly been proven that breast milk is far more beneficial.

    As for your statement about teeth. Are you a parent? If not, are you aware that some babies get teeth as early as four months? Should they stop breast feeding and formula feeding because they have teeth and are “ready” to start eating “normal” solid food? Again for this answer, I need to refer to the first paragraph. It is not advised that they do so.

    “once your child starts to learn the importance of private parts and are able to ask for it then they are too old.”

    Private parts are discovered well before babies can verbally communicate. Naturally they are curious about the covered area, so when the diaper comes off, they explore that “forbidden” area with their hands. Just because they cannot communicate to you verbally, does not mean they are not discovering and learning about their genitalia.
    Just like early exploration of genitalia before vocal communication, babies also use several different ways to communicate before they can actually form literal words. Crying is one such way. Another is through American Sign Language. My daughter, at the age of six months, was able to sign the word milk/nursing to me whenever she desired to nurse. Should I have stopped nursing then because she was “asking for it”? At nine months while sitting in my lap, she would rub her face on my chest, or pull my shirt down, to signal she was hungry. She was still under 12 months and needed the fat from the milk for her brain development.

    By your logic from your statements, my child would be too old to nurse. I would be hindering her development and damaging her. She is far from hindered or damaged. In fact she is far advanced. She has been doing the Pincer grasp since four months, she discovered crawling in less than five minutes, with absolutely no prodding or pushing from me, and within a few weeks after that she learned to walk, and speaks with great grammar. Instead of saying me did it, she says, “I did it”. She even explored the pantry today and opened a can of chicken noodle soup by her self. She is only 14 months and has accomplished everything that was required developmentally and more.
    How exactly have I harmed my child?

  44. The American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement on breastfeeding recommends “one year or longer” with no maximum age even duggested. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827.full

    The American Academy of Family Physicians policy statement on breastfeeding states: “breastfeeding beyond the first year offers considerable benefits to both mother & child, & should continue as long as is mutually desired.” http://www.aafp.org/about/policies/all/breastfeeding.html

  45. http://www.aafp.org/about/policies/all/breastfeeding-support.html

    The link above is a position paper, by the American Academy of Family Physicians, on extended breastfeeding. Note the section on “Nursing beyond Infancy”. They fully endorse & promote it! :)

  46. I just love this. It is beautiful in every way. My daughter is 5 and still not fully weaned. There is no one, not even my closest mommy friends that I tell this to… I actually rely on blogs like yours for a encouragement and a sense of normalcy. Thank you.

    • aww Honey be proud your daughter still enjoys the closeness and comfort of breastfeeding, she must have an amazing bond with you and also you with her. If known of those other mums understand your reasons for extended breastfeeding then thats their problem <3 … i think extended breastfeeding mums rock, all my 5 children self weaned young, youngest baby is 20 months and i miss the breastfeeding so much, but she has made her choice and i respect her so much.
      Keep up the breastfeeding chic <3

      #OneLove #Extendedbreastfeeding

  47. Thank you for sharing this amazing story, i was moved by reading this article.
    What an amazing gift to give your son, to show him his place by your side in your amazing family. Well done sweetheart you are an inspiration to all parents and both your children are a credit to you, you have been truly Blessed.

    #OneLove #LovesendfromScotland #Breastfeedingrocks

  48. Jamie, God bless you and your family! I pray I can nurse my son for as long as you have nursed your sons.

  49. Thank you for posting your wonderful story. You are a brave woman to share it and open yourself up to such criticism. I applaud your decision to do what was best for your child and the relationship it helped to foster.

  50. I absolutely loved your stody. I can’t find the words to explain what I felt when I saw the picture of your two boys nursing. I currently nurse my 20 MO girl. I don’t know if we will continue until her self-weaning but I’m sure going to try….we take it a day at a time.
    You’re a wonderful person!

    Kudos to you and your family from Chile.

  51. I am so moved by your story I have 8 children and breast fed 7 of them. probably not surprised when I say my first child I didn’t nurse I was so young and uneducated ugh!! either way your story was so wonderful and lately I have been wanting to see where my herat led me on adoption… I have been wanting to adopt from another country. thank you for this story!!!!

  52. I LOVE your story! It is so refreshing to hear stories of extended breastfeeding. I am only 6 months in with my first, but I plan on letting him self-wean. America is so warped in what they consider normal for breastfeeding. I had people ask me when he was 4 months, “You’re STILL breastfeeding? When are you gonna stop?” I wanted to answer, “none of your business”. I wish more people like you would come out and speak on this. Maybe by the time my little one is 3, it will be more acceptable. Again, loved your story, brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing!

  53. As to the ‘most americans are horrified’ part.. eh.. most Americans are horrified by a lot of things. If you used that as a basis for your actions your life would be radically different. :)

  54. What a beautiful thing :). I have two both were breastfed my first was only for three months. He was hospitalized for 5 weeks when he was a month old and being so sick and back in the 90′s a lot of hospitals were still iffy about letting you breastfeed your sick child. He was given formula and we got home I called my midwife and asked to come over and help me re–introduce breastfeeding. It was the most stressful ordeal and I tried for 2 weeks straight through tears and pain. i ended up giving up and slipped into a depression because I gave up on my child. My second child came along 5 years later. She was born sick ( in a diabetic like coma) this was in the early 2000′s so hospitals started understanding the importance of breastfeeding and I was making sure that even though my daughter could only eat from a feeding tube until she was better it would be from me. Well it all worked out wonderfully once my milk came in full force. My baby girl self weened herself at 18 months ( I cried my eyes out because I didn’t want it to end).

  55. You are an amazing mama! Women can do the most amazing and selfless things. Beautiful, thank you for sharing.

  56. I also breastfed my adoptive son who was almost 2 when we adopted him. I had never thought of breastfeeding him due to his age and the fact he hadn’t breastfed for the past 5 months. But he asked, well, sort of just grabbed and latched on. So, it was comfort nursing, but eventually I did produce some. I don’t know if we would have made it through all the attachment issues without it! I later gave birth and breastfed a friend’s adoptive infant. I hate that most American’s are disturbed by both of these instances. I found them both to be very beautiful!

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