Babies breastfeed, and if they are very lucky, in the West, they are allowed to follow their biological norm and breastfeed into toddlerhood.
There is no 'natural' time to fully wean an infant, and thus refuse it your breast. All infants give up breastfeeding themselves, when they have finished with it, and move on. This usually occurs sometime between their 3rd and 4th birthday, but many leave the breast earlier, some leave the breast later.
Culture, and how we live our lives, usually interferes with the infant's decision, and imposes a 'set' time on the activity. This can be from as early as 6 weeks!
Jesus, as part of his own culture, was probably breastfeeding until he was 3 years old, and then there would have been a weaning party, for everyone in the community to celebrate his growing into another phase of his life.
3 years is a common 'set time' for many cultures, as it appears to give the child as much support and comfort and brain building milk as it needs, and then returns the mother to fertility for another child once those needs have been met.
The Koran asks that every mother allow their baby to breastfeed for at least 2 years.
The West (where sexual ownership of the female's body has deemed that breasts are first and foremost sexual, as opposed to how you feed babies) is the most severe in repressing breastfeeding toddlers. Such is the confusion and anxiety about breasts, there are ingrained attitudes that even newborn babies breastfeeding is actually an imposition on the sexual nature of the breast! Some areas of countries such as the USA, demands that male babies are weaned from the breast faster than female ones, as the sexual nature of the breast somehow threatens the father, the mother, and the baby.
This flies in the face of all the scientific, and social, research into the issue. Time and again, the benefits of normal term nursing - allowing the baby to continue to breastfeed as it chooses to - are shown in study after study. With a safe and secure, comforting and loving physical environment from which to view the painful and confusing world that is toddlerhood, the toddler still having access to the breast is more secure, more resilient, more confident and more independent than those forcibly weaned before their time. And still benefittng greatly from the unique nutrition that builds their brains and bones and blood perfectly.
Mothers benefit too, with protection from breast cancer etc, lost to the mother who has weaned, increasing her risk of such illness. Oxytocin from the breastfeeding biology, floods both mother and child with contentment, and helps both overcome the stresses of toddlerhood.
Therefore, the children least likely to benefit from the astounding brain building abilities of human milk, and the ones most in need of developing emotional resilience, are the 'most privileged' on the face of the planet. The cultures with so much, often give their infants too little.
The joy you can see on this 2 year old's face, says it all, really. Her world is overflowing with the milk of human kindness.
The World Health Organisation recommends that all babies are allowed to receive only breastmilk for the first six months of their lives, and then to be allowed to breastfeed for a minimum of two years. Thereafter, breastfeeding should continue for as long as mother and child mutually desire.
The contradictions and confusions in the West are so extreme, that a mother allowing her toddler to breastfeed, can be viewed as abnormal, when she lives in a culture that uses images of breasts, to sell cars. Go figure.
Few mothers start their journey with their breastfeeding babies, with the intent to keep going past 2 years of age. Most fall into just putting off the decision on giving up on something so worthwhile, and so important to their child. Pressure from others can be unbearable and some mothers wean to stop the criticism...
... but mostly, the attitude normal term nursing mothers take is.. if it ain't broke, it don't need fixed.
You can post photos of your own breastfeeding toddler, at
and there is a wonderful compilation video of breastfeeding children on:
Blokes Babies Breastfeeding DVD - www.blokesbabiesbreastfeeding****
"Dads and Breastfeeding - The New Frontier"
What about breastfeeding!!! Surely she knows what to do, they're part of her, its all natural. Isn't it?
Whether you just want to know more, help your partner or make this a special time we have created a fun short parenting DVD to give dads a chance to check it all out in the privacy of his own home.
Written and produced by blokes for blokes, Blokes Babies Breastfeeding is a light hearted parenting DVD that discusses the benefits of breastfeeding. It is designed to give new dads or soon to be dads some practical, hands on tips for understanding and helping with parenting, breastfeeding and bonding with their baby. Get your copy now ... visit www.blokesbabiesbreastfeeding****