Topic: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

Lately breast feeding has become a hot topic both on the boards and on Facebook pages and in conversation too.  The questions have centered around age of the child and exposure in public.  But in recent posts -- both here and other forums -- I've seen "dry nursing" mentioned in conjunction with extended breast feeding.  Is this breast feeding with no milk?  While public nursing of a toddler is pushing the envelope, sometimes people's minds need to stretch.  But this new concept has me shaking my head.  I try to be open minded because there are many things that are right for others that would never work for me.  But there are also things that I see as wrong across the board. 

I know that current thinking among those breast feeding is that breasts are over sexualized.  But when one takes a child of more than 3 years old to the breast (some forums had posts from moms of kids much older!), with no milk, at what point do we draw the line?  When I hear how it feels good to both mother and child and how it's all about bonding and cuddling, my mind is screaming pedophilia.  Am I wrong?

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Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

Yes, you are.   VERY.  VERY.  WRONG.

As someone who has never breastfed you are taking the "feels good" in the wrong sense.  Nursing does not sexually arouse women like a lover at your breast does.  It feels good because it releases hormones that make you happy not because it brings you to the brink of orgasm.  I have no idea if Kate was actually getting milk towards the end of our nursing journey - I suspect some but not a lot.  And when she had a 104 degree fever and asked to nurse yesterday I absolutely said she could even though it has been about 6 months since we stopped.  There is a comfort and warmth in a nursing relationship that you cannot possibly explain to another human being.  Believe me if I could possibly convey those feelings you'd have another baby just to nurse her smile.  It is that powerful.


I'm glad that you are taking the time to attempt to educate yourself on something you are unfamiliar with but honestly your tone and choice of words really said that you aren't interested in learning but instead casting serious judgement! Pedophilia...really? That would be like me calling some of your parenting tactics child abuse and way uncalled for!

I hope I have explained it to your satisfaction but if not I suggest you bite your tongue if ever speaking to a nursing mother in person.

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3 (edited by roses25 2012-05-15 18:22:51)

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

I'm guessing this is in response to my post on extended breastfeeding. Dry nursing is without milk. I myself have continued to nurse Aiden through this because dry nursing is only temporary for us.  Soon there will be colostrum and then shortly after milk. I'm following his lead and he still wants to nurse, so I've chosen to let him.  Is it alway comfortable during pregnancy and even before pregnancy once I had got my cycles back?  Heck, no.  There have been times of uncomfort for me.  However, I've decided to let Aiden self-wean if at all possible. 

If I wasn't pregnant, do I think Aiden would still have milk at the age of 3 or 4? Sure I do.  I had lots before I became pregnant and lots when my cycle came back before pregnancy.  So I don't think that just because a child reaches a certain age that it means that there is no dry milk and that child is therefore dry nursing.  On some days Aiden will tell me that I have lots of milk and other days that it's all gone.  I'm uable to hand express any milk anymore, so I can't be sure that I don't have any milk currently, but that is my thought.  Aiden says otherwise most of the time...that I do have milk.

Carolyn

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Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

M BF until 22 months and I am pretty sure that near the end he wasn't getting much milk. At that point though, it wasn't for nutrition at all. It was purely a comfort thing. When he was upset, he wanted to be at the breast. While falling asleep, he wanted the breast.

As far as feeling, I can say that my nipples were pretty much numb from the time M was a few weeks old to just recently. I never physically felt anything at the nipple during breastfeeding. I did however have an emotional response to breastfeeding. I loved the extra bonding it provided us. It was a time of day that I was forced to stop moving and avoid all other distractions giving all my attention to M.

Jamie
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Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

Actually Carolyn, it was your post that prompted me to google the term but then I was blown away.  I didn't find anything amiss in anything you said or posted.  But entries in other forums and discussions were beyond bizarre.  The same arguments about nursing an infant in public were presented by moms with kids in elementary school.  I had never even heard of this until a few days ago.   

While shocking to a nursing mom to hear the word pedophilia attached to what starts out as a very natural biological process, where is the line drawn?  If nursing is not the same as breast feeding, what defines right and wrong when physically interacting with a child who is not drawing sustenance from this interaction?

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Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

I'm sure carolyn is relieved that you didn't find anything "amiss" in her parenting!  Thank God.

Shocking?  No I was not shocked at your use of the word pedophilia.  I have been shocked over the last 3 years at a lot of your parenting choices but your ignorance on the subject of breastfeeding is no longer a surprise to me, at all.  Why do YOU get to define right and wrong here?  Why do YOU get to draw the line?  Do you know what I think is "wrong"?  Letting a 3 year old sleep in a swing, spoon feeding her baby food and essentially treating her like an infant.  I also think that turning a child forward facing for your convenience is "wrong".  I think chosing not to breastfeed is "wrong".   I think elective c-sections are "wrong".  Now by "wrong" of course I mean not the right choice for me and my family.

I will "draw the line" when it comes to my nursing relationship and you can draw your own.  OK?

Again, you clearly have no interest in educating yourself here so I am not sure why this post is disguised as such.

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Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

Um.... This is a Moderator of this board asking these questions?

Do you realize how extremely inappropriate it is to insunuate pedophilia in reference to breastfeeding?

That would be like saying women who are using donor sperm are whores because they are sleeping around (God forbid using more than one donor!) just getting sperm and squirting it. What a bunch of 'hos.

People can twist anything for drama  roll

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

I'm not defining what is right or wrong.  I was posing a question on what others perceive as right or wrong.  Between black and white are the shades of grey.  Nursing a baby?  Right.  Nursing a toddler?  A new concept for me but still nothing wrong there.  And then a new one came up.  Dry nursing.  When I first googled it, I kind of expected to get hits along the same lines as you'd see for a pacifier.  Comfort sucking and soothing.  But no.  That's not what I found at all.  I found entries on parent-child bonding extending to school age kids. 

In my head I tried to work it backwards.  A typically abled 10 year old?  Wrong.  8 years?  Wrong.  6?  4?  When did it go wrong?  Clearly here it's still okay at 3.   And since those who post here tend to be the most liberal thinking open minded people, I was interested in the opinions of where or when it would not be perceived as okay.

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Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

Zen wrote:

While shocking to a nursing mom to hear the word pedophilia attached to what starts out as a very natural biological process, where is the line drawn?  If nursing is not the same as breast feeding, what defines right and wrong when physically interacting with a child who is not drawing sustenance from this interaction?

I think children are absouletly drawing sustenance from the interaction. Emotional sustenance. Breast feeding, in general, is comforting to both mom and child. Dry nursing is an extension of that comfort. I think its no different than putting a paci in a mouth of a child to comfort or soothe it.

Personally, I think that its more of an issue for the people who think its a sexual act, not for the mothers who are nursing for the comfort of their child. It's not a sexual act. Period. And honestly if you are a pedophile then doing things like changing diapers and giving baths will do it for you.

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

Zen wrote:

I'm not defining what is right or wrong.  I was posing a question on what others perceive as right or wrong.  Between black and white are the shades of grey.  Nursing a baby?  Right.  Nursing a toddler?  A new concept for me but still nothing wrong there.  And then a new one came up.  Dry nursing.  When I first googled it, I kind of expected to get hits along the same lines as you'd see for a pacifier.  Comfort sucking and soothing.  But no.  That's not what I found at all.  I found entries on parent-child bonding extending to school age kids. 

In my head I tried to work it backwards.  A typically abled 10 year old?  Wrong.  8 years?  Wrong.  6?  4?  When did it go wrong?  Clearly here it's still okay at 3.   And since those who post here tend to be the most liberal thinking open minded people, I was interested in the opinions of where or when it would not be perceived as okay.

I think that is where the "to each their own" comes in. I think it depends on the child and the parent and the needs of the family. I don't think I know too many 12 year olds wanting to dry nurse. I think the idea behind child lead weaning is that when the child is ready and done, then the parent is too. As long as it's not abuse and it's not sexual of nature I don't think it's anyone's business how long that relationship extends.

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

Id rather see a human nipple in a child's mouth than them walking around with a pacifier at 4 years old!  wink

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

I think Zen's post really was a thinly veiled judgement call (sorry, Zen - I "calls it like I see's it"). but I guess there is a valid question behind it, as well - perhaps more of a curiousity, than anything else.   However. using the term "pedophilia" was inflammatory, and I believe she was aware of the reaction that would garner.  The women she referenced are definitely outside the norm, in my opinion. 

Nursing beyond age 2 for me would not happen.  I would not judge another woman nursing a 3 year old, however.  Even though nursing a 3 year old seems a little excessive to me, personally.  In my opinion, however, a child age 4 or more shouldn't be breastfeeding.  There are other ways to continue to bond with your child at that point. Just my opinion of course. 

I also see no point to dry-nursing, but to me, if the child is under 4, who really cares? To each their own.  This, again, is just my opinion.

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

I think it kind of boils down to parenting styles.
Personally, I've tried present food and milk (breastmilk/formula/dairy, etc) to my child as physiological staples. I've tried to teach her that food and beverages help to meet hunger needs. I try to focus on providing them for nutrition as opposed to comfort (ex ..... food and drinks are always served at the table, not while wandering the house, and I don't offer food for rewards or comfort).

So, for me, nursing/dry-nursing wouldn't necessarily be my top pick for comforting my child (an infant, yes, but an older child, no). Instead, I opt for hugs, kisses, snuggles, talking, hand holding, reading a book, etc.
But, again, that's simply my parenting style. Clearly there are MANY other styles out there, and surely many that are more popular than mine. But, whatever. Unless someone asks my opinion, I really don't go down that road. It's kinda like politics ...... who's to say what the right answer is .....? It just seems to spark debate and division.

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14

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

I did nurse my son. I did not do extended breast feeding. To me dry nursing is really on that line. So when do you stop?  I cannot even imagine Beckham coming over to me crying because he wanted to suck on my breast--it's mind boggling to me.   Please stop attacking Zen's parenting choices. No I did no make the same choices with Beckham but come on its a bit petty don't you think?  Zen had a valid question and a valid (very common opinion) of dry nursing. Also Zen being a moderator does not mean she needs to be an expert in anything except getting rid of span and derogatory language.

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

pb wrote:

I did nurse my son. I did not do extended breast feeding. To me dry nursing is really on that line. So when do you stop?  I cannot even imagine Beckham coming over to me crying because he wanted to suck on my breast--it's mind boggling to me.   Please stop attacking Zen's parenting choices. No I did no make the same choices with Beckham but come on its a bit petty don't you think?  Zen had a valid question and a valid (very common opinion) of dry nursing. Also Zen being a moderator does not mean she needs to be an expert in anything except getting rid of span and derogatory language.

then she needs to get rid of her OWN derogatory language. even the title is a huge "look at me, I'm going to stir up something" title

I question her effectiveness as a moderator.

I seem to remember some drama being created by this moderator before and people calling for her to no longer moderate? or is my memory fuzzy?

16 (edited by pb 2012-05-16 07:07:14)

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

I don't think she said anything derogatory-but I don't have dry nursing convictions.  I moderator is not the be all and end all. Zen is just like the rest of is-she is trying to raise her daughter ther best way she fits and asks for some advice along the way.   Personally I do think a couple of people are crossing the line between being motherly and almost pedophilia-I have made comments before, so I totally defend Zen with her curiosity (not that she needs my defending)

Sorry for typos on my phone

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

I thought Zen brought up an interesting topic and as a semi educated adult I was looking forward to see what other people thought.  I of course have my own opinion already but you never know someone may have said something nicely that would have educated me further and caused me to change it.  Instead once again this board has resorted to a mud slinging match. 

My view as a currently nursing mother is that some people may be using extended nursing to fulfill there own emotional needs. My own personal opinion as a mother is I want my child to learn to comfort themselves without needing me to nurse them at 5 years old. I feel that my role as mother is to raise independent children and sometimes  I think some women would love to keep their child a infant forever instead of letting them mature and thrive they way they are meant too. Just because I don't choose to breast feed past one year doesn't mean that I don't love my children and that I won't comfort them when they need it.  Also I would think it would be better all around if a child did not grow to adulthood thinking that eating is the best way to receive comfort when they are upset. Could be setting our children up for a life time of weight and self-esteem problems.

I know I will probably get a verbal lashing from some members of this forum, but this is a place for sharing your thoughts and feelings and so I did.

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Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

I agree with shaeley Mae and storkhunting. Though I don't see breast feeding as sexual in anyway ever, be it a baby or a 5 year old.

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

i think what zen has posted here is an opinion that is held by a lot of people, so i know there must be people on this forum who agree but are electing to keep out of this conversation to stay off the drama radar.  i can't blame them.  but i know, personally, that almost everyone i've ever worked with has somehow become engaged in this debate and has agreed with her point -- that letting a school-age child suck on your breast borders on abusive.  i'm not talking about co-workers who are "uneducated," either.  i have worked in every line of work, from preschool rooms to newsrooms, from restaurants to university english departments.  across the board, people held strong opinions against extended breastfeeding (extending especially to school-age children).  what zen has said is nothing shocking.  i am actually shocked that people are shocked. 

i also think what's lacking here is rational debate.  as some pp have pointed out, most mothers who believe in extended breastfeeding believe in it as long as it is what the child wants, and most school-age children aren't running at their mamas' boobs with their mouths agape for milk and cookies.  having said that, i think that even if a school-age child did not choose to self-wean by the time they were in primary school, letting them suck on your breast in between playing ps3 or listening to their ipods would be a little beyond.  so bringing rationality back to the argument, where is the line drawn?  allthingslucky's statement about not knowing any 12-year-olds who want to dry nurse?  i'm sorry, but i have known many people who have lost their virginity at 12 years old, so they would have absolutely wanted to "dry nurse," in a different sense, which is exactly why it's wrong to drag it out past a certain point.  i tend to have very candid conversations with boyfriends, and in many of my conversations i have learned that their first experiences with masturbation and erotica happened as young as 7 years old, so i feel like if a child of that age is able to look at a photo of a naked woman and feel aroused, it is absolutely wrong for breastfeeding to be a part of their relationship with their mother.  even though the mother is not looking at the relationship in a sexual way, it is possibly crossing wires in the child's mind.  when a child is old enough to form those kinds of thoughts, that's when i think it is abusive, simply because i think it would be too easy for things to be mixed up in the child's mind.  i don't think most mothers are thinking that way, but the risk that the older child might be is just way too oedipus rex for my taste. 

i don't think that 99.9999% of breastfeeding mothers (even extended breastfeeders) are breastfeeding for any kind of sexually warped reasons.  like storkhunting, i have wondered if it's not filling some kind of intimacy void (not sexual, just physical) for them, though.  the argument that dry nursing is like giving a child a pacifier can actually be used as a counterargument, too.  pacifiers are normally taken away from children by the age of 3 years old, and they are redirected toward some other less "babyish" comfort measure, right?  if you believe that a child should gain emotional independence from those kinds of things by a certain age, why wouldn't you also place an age limit on nursing as a comfort measure?  which brings us all the way back to the point of the post, what would that age limit be?

20 (edited by smartycat92 2012-05-16 12:22:01)

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

Wow, I have been reading these breast feeding threads for days now and can't believe the amount of vitriol being spewed from both sides.   

I have always found Zen to be a very fair and moderate moderator and poster on this board.  Yes, many of her parenting decisions run contrary to the vocalized "norms" here but are not out of step with what much of the country does.  And while many of my decisions have been different than hers, I have always felt she has come across a very loving and caring mother. 

She started a topic about something that seems to have genuinely peaked her interest and she she expressed a genuine concern about it.   I agree with babybaby and allthingslucky that pedophilia isn't the right term... but why can't there be a concern about when dry nursing crosses a boundary in to inappropriate behavior??  My ex-SIL to me was one of those women.  She breastfed her youngest beyond 5yrs old and it really came off more as a way for her to seem superior and to maintain a hold on to her son's infantileness.  She continued to have inappropriate boundaries with her children to the point she would watch her 16yr old son wash his genitalia daily.  I don't think it was sexual, but she definitely had boundary issues.   

Isn't there someone on this board who is anti-cosleeping because their parents made them co-sleep beyond what they were comfortable with?  Why can't we see this as the same kind of thing? 

Why does everyone have to get so defensive about this discussion?  For Pete's sake, it is an internet board.  It is a great place to debate things without having to take it so personally.  If someone comes on and says dry nursing past a certain age strikes them as bordering on pedophilia and you disagree with that, you don't need to attack them and every life choice they have made.   And when someone comes on and defends extended breast feeding with fervor, they shouldn't be accused of implying that all non breast feeding moms are total pariahs. 

I know that these NW boards are more "intimate" than many other boards I have been on and that is why I think these things get personal so fast... but really, the lack of being able to discuss this rationally (even with passion) is beyond me.  Breastfeeding isn't my hot topic... Mine are being completely open with your donor conceived children about being donor conceived and convenience dumping of pets after having children.  And I will fight tooth and nail on those topics and I have fought hard with some people here about that.  But I am still able to be friendly to them and gloat over their kid's pictures and realize it is just the internet and I enjoy seeing the vastly different opinions people hold.

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21 (edited by Lauran 2012-05-16 14:30:26)

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

I completely agree with babybaby, though she worded it much better than I could have. 

I had never heard of dry nursing before this thread--very interesting.  My first thought was also--okay, human pacifier with extra cuddles. 

I know it's not the same, but my son's comfort item is his favorite blanket, and I can't imagine taking it away from him.  But I also can't imagine him dragging "Blue" all the way through Target five or six years from now because he can't bear to be away from it for 5 minutes.  It just seems like a babyish thing to do, and I certainly hope he will have outgrown it by then!

So no, I don't think "dry nursing" sounds like something that is appropriate for a school-age kid, but I will definitely go do some reading.

ETA: Did some reading, and Zen is completely right.  Some of these people sound like pedophiles in denial.  I really, really don't associate extended breastfeeding with anything sexual, but some of these women had children who are 8-11 and OLDER.  One even spoke of feeling her son's penis to *see* if he was getting aroused by it.  Because as soon as he started getting aroused by it, THEN she would stop.  By that point damage will have been done.  So I can see why Zen was curious enough to post a query despite the fact that it would stir things up.  There's discomfort at the idea of a 5 year old breastfeeding, and then there's some of the stories I found which were SICK and WRONG.  Big difference.

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Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

Breastfeeding/nursing is a funny topic for me.  Most of the women I talk with IRL belong to our lactation support groups and are very vocal supporters.  Kind of like some people are right-wing or left-wing when it comes to politics, there seems to be very strong emotions when it comes to nursing.  I'm on the other side of the fence, probably in the minority.  I do it because I know it's best for my kids.  It's completely unsexual (if anything, it's kind of painful because I'm either hooked up to a double-pump or being chomped in a gummy vice by Juliet).  Justin could only latch with a plastic shield between us, and generally spent the whole time bicycling his legs into my gut and pulling my hair with both hands.  Juliet alternates chomping, sucking, and then vomiting on me.  Occasionally she'll look up at me and smile, but most of the time both my kids had their eyes closed when nursing.  When I developed blistered, open sores on my nipples two days after Juliet was born, my OB looked at me and said, "That must be one painful bonding experience!" before prescribing antibiotics.  That's my experience.

Still, I nursed Justin until he was almost two because he used me as a pacifier to put himself to sleep at night.  He was probably getting a little milk, but not much.  The point was he enjoyed the pacification and I enjoyed that I could get him to fall asleep anytime, anywhere by nursing him.  Since weaning, he still asks for a nighttime bottle and paci.  But I teach kids who are still sucking fingers as second graders, so I know he's not alone in self-comforting. 

I'll probably nurse Juliet until she's two as well if she's up for it, but then stop.  I'd like to have my body back at some point, since it's been pregnant or nursing for the past 3.5+ years straight, except for the two weeks between weaning Justin and getting pregnant with Juliet.  If I were with my kids more during the day, I might go to three.  That's where I draw the line with what I'm comfortable with, but I know people who have continued longer, and many who stopped at one year.  It's a lot of work compared to picking up a gallon of milk at the grocery store! 

I think Lauran's hit the nail on the head - some people talking about this online are not nursing for the right reasons.  If your purpose in nursing is nutrition or comfort for your CHILD, that's different than nursing for some self-purpose that is damaging to your child.

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Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

All I can ad is that all though I was alway opened minded when I saw toddlers nurse it did bother me to some degree or made me uncomfortable I should say. I do agree someone could never understand what the feeling & closeness BF brings not in anyway did it feel sexual. As Riley got older his age seemed normal & natural even though before hand at 17-months (age I ended nursing) used to seem odd to me. Still older seems seems hard to understand I'm sure itvwould come just as natural. I would have been happy to continue nursing pass 17-months. I however did still feeling uncomfortable the few months before I quite since the judgement made me uncomfortable with it (& V was very against it for other personal reasons. Nothing to do with extended nursing). R looked so big for his age so that did not help. Even if I still nursed him at barely 2 people guess he is 2.5-3

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

. . . and as far as comforting goes, weaning is waaaaaaay less traumatic than i ever anticipated it would be.  i left middle-of-the-night nursing until last.  that lasted from 14 to 18 months.  when i weaned her, she just fussed a minute or two a couple of times in the night for the first two nights, and THAT WAS IT.  easy peasy.  since then she literally does not have words for breasts anymore.  she used to call them "nursies," but now when i happen to dress or undress when she's in the room, she just points and says "tummy" or something.  she has NEVER so much as mentioned nursing in the last two months.  for that reason, it's hard for me to believe that some adults aren't needing that contact more than their children need it and are getting more from that relationship than their children are.

@lauran: i haven't really browsed the internet on the topic, but that is DISGUSTING.  someone feeling up their child who is sucking on their boob?  ewwww!  if you even so much as suspect that your child is of an age when he/she can be aroused, why would you be letting them do that in the first place, much worse groping them?  again, EEEEWWWW!

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

Yep, I think the kid was 11? I also found stories of adults who still breastfed from their mothers because they had never stopped, and SEVERAL who breastfed as teenagers. One that really stood out was the grown child of a mother who would allow her teenage children to breastfeed at the dinner table, one at a time.

Insanity, I tell you. I felt dirty reading it and finally just had to stop.

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Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

Whenever I read this topic heading I think Dry-humping.

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Maggie
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Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

Wow! This post has gone way too far! This has been taken from a question about what it means when a child dry nurses to husband and wife sexual life, to humping, etc.  I can't believe that this has been taken this far.

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28 (edited by Lauran 2012-05-16 20:13:14)

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

I think the attacks on Zen earlier on were what was taken too far. Her original question was, where is the line drawn? Obviously the examples I found were extreme to the extreme.

For every one of those I read about who post their business anonymously over the internet, I'm sure there are tons of moms quietly going about ebf or dry nursing without doing anything inappropriate.

Amazingly enough, I think jdiana is probably right on target with the 4-5 range. That's still a little older than what I am personally comfortable with, but much earlier than what I would consider over the line. My opinion only.

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Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

I suppose you all think it's weird that I've dry nursed our baby girl for comfort when dp has been not immediately available?  I think there is too much drama stirred up here by certain individuals who are looking to garner the response this thread has seen. Really, get a f**king life.

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30 (edited by Lauran 2012-05-17 06:02:19)

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

I don't know who that was directed towards, indigoscot, but no I don't think that's weird. You're her mom too.

I guess I wasn't real clear. I don't think dry nursing itself is bad if done for the right reasons (comfort). It's those extreme cases of ebf/dry nursing to puberty and beyond that flipped me out.

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Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

@indigoscot: i don't think that's bizarre at all. 

i think we can have a rational discussion about this on both sides if we tried.  did it get a little silly on this thread at times?  sure, but i personally am thankful that annerbones brought some levity to the discussion.  it needed it. 

it doesn't have to be an either/or issue at all.  i am pro breastfeeding.  i breastfed my daughter until she was 18 months old, and i am happy i did it.  but i think we can mostly agree that there is and should be a line drawn for when it's appropriate and when it's inappropriate.  you don't have to be a formula-feeding mom or anti-breastfeeding to agree with that.  jdiana has kept a cool head and presented factual reasons for why she believes in extended breastfeeding, but she also stated where she thinks the line is.  that's all this thread was initially about.  we bring up a variety of topics on this forum for discussion and debate.  why can't this be a topic we discuss and debate with cool heads as well?  i doubt anyone on here is planning to nurse their child until they're 8, so why is everyone taking this so personally?

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

You also should keep in mind that we are talking about two different things. Zen asked about dry nursing, which is nursing with no milk, which from my searches is usually done with small children/toddlers. And extended breastfeeding, which most of the "gross" 11 year old boy stories come from.

33

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

When I posted this ... knowing it would be a hot topic ... I anticipated strong opinions.  On the topic.  It really didn't occur to me that I'd come under fire for having brought it up.  I'm not all that bothered by it though.  Sometimes it's easier to attack the one posing the question than to consider the question itself. 

There are things that are very normal and positive in their intimacy when interacting with a baby that you expect to lose when the child grows up.  Breast feeding, skin to skin contact, bathing ... things you just don't do with an older child. 

There are many things that I've found bizarre since finding NW and these forums.  The very normalcy of procuring donor sperm for one!  And other things that I've found bizarre but have come to respect.  The idea that you can induce lactation.  Home births.  And yes, indigoscot's dry nursing her baby too.  I would never consider offering my breast to a baby that wasn't mine.  But indigo's baby is hers.  So in that light, it's not all that bizarre after all.   But ... if the baby was older?  I don't think I could wrap my mind around it.

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Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/dear … ster_.html

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

I haven't been on the boards and haven't read any of the topics on breastfeeding but its all over the news regrading the TIME magazine so I can only imagine what has been going on here.

I wanted to ad up until this post never every heard of dry nursing.  So I was enlightened also.

I would add that I bf my dd until almost 2 years old and she is now 6 years old.  At least 1 a week I find her either trying or succeeding sticking her hand in my shirt.  She is doing it for comfort and only that!
However, ME and its my personal choice, I tell her no and move her hand. I beleive she is too old to be using my boob as her confort, but she will try again another day.  Sometimes she doesn't even realize she doing it while we are laying down. 

I guess what I am saying, I can see the side of the child wanting this as a comfort stand point.  But I believe the parent should direct the attention in another direction.

Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

I don't think we realize how conservative and puritanical our viewpoints as Americans are (since most of us are, though I recognize not everyone who uses this board is an American). 

The post that got me was Lippy's link to the question on Slate.  I do not begin to pretend to know the people in the story, however I can imagine a scenario where it was not so much the extended breast feeding and the so-called child-led "fondling," that has made this adult feel uncomfortable with actions she did as a child, but the culture she lives in that is repulsed by it.  I say this, because, never once did she say she was uncomfortable as a child and she also points out her mother allowed her to do this -- she did not say her mother "encouraged" or any other stronger language.   

I just want to say, that the majority of people have found they are on the wrong side of history decades later when we deem something "unnatural" or "revolting."  Perhaps as the science continues to push the boundaries, we will see that a five year old at his mother's breast is not arousing him anymore than it is arousing her.  Then a 5 year old may be just a tip of the ice berg for how old children are still breast-feeding.  There are any number of families from all walks of life who were more or less open with each other -- someone in one of these threads posted about extended co-sleeping causing trauma.  Ok, that doesn't mean that extending co-sleeping causes everyone trauma.  Yes, we are talking about children who are basically (and at some points) totally defenseless.  If I thought for a second that the majority of these women and families were harming these children I would be passionate to stop it.  However, just for one minute, consider it may not be what is internally happening or what is happening within the family that causes trauma, but an external reaction to it.  Plenty of people are deemed sexual deviants, whether or not their desires and actions have any sexual impulse at all. 

It is not our breasts' fault that they have been hyper-sexualized.  Nor is it our child's fault.  As many women have said, breast feeding is not sexual.  I don't think it becomes sexual the longer you breast feed your child. Yes, we are all sexual beings.  But that does not mean we are all sexual all of the time.  I am sorry that as a culture we are so concerned with not breaking taboos, that when we do it cause such intense guilt and destruction of self.

Here's the rub -- taboos, like culture and society, change.  Slowly, but they change.  Science begins to push the boundaries, then the arts explore these new realms of possibility, and finally it comes to pop-culture and social outliers, and then after a while it becomes main stream.

Historically, as Hadley said on another thread, extended breast feeding with older children was the norm.  And co-sleeping!  A few hundred years ago you wouldn't have ever stopped that!  So, I once again say, perhaps it is not the action, but the reaction that can cause trauma. 

I will not condemn the majority of women who are capable of making safe, wonderful choices for their families, because of a few outliers who may be hurting their children.  I honestly believe it is not the action, but the intentions that hurt children in those situations.   

So Zen, what age isn't OK?  I don't think there is an answer.  In some circles, any breast feeding is taboo, in others not breast feeding until at least 1 is taboo, some cultures wouldn't question a 5 year old at his mother's breast . . . and so on and so forth.  But that's what I believe it is, a taboo.  There is no black and white here. 

I am glad this discussion was brought up, because I think the disgust that people felt has caused them to question their own thoughts and look deeper into this issue.  When the topic concerns women, women's bodies, and the control of conforming, I can't imagine it becoming anything but personal. 

Sorry this is so long.

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Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

aplusa wrote:

In some circles, any breast feeding is taboo, in others not breast feeding until at least 1 is taboo, some cultures wouldn't question a 5 year old at his mother's breast . . . and so on and so forth.  But that's what I believe it is, a taboo.  There is no black and white here.

aplusa, I like all of what you said, but I think you summed it up well in the above quote.  Well said.

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Re: Dry Nursing ... hot topic query alert

so you ladies that think breastfeeding should not be ok after a certain age,think its better to give your baby milk from cows breasts? and who told you this?the 95% peds who have absolutely no training in nurtrition?WOW!prob the same ped who suggested turning the car seat around at 12 months and don't even get me starting on vaccines right now!

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