The latest Time Magazine features a cover story on the growing trend of attachment parenting, and how it can drive some mothers to extremes… I’ve seen it both ways with my two kids, so I wanted to weigh in on this issue.
I breastfed my oldest son, Xander for the recommend 1 year. It was the most beautiful experience… and it gave him a healthy start in life, created an amazing bond, and to this day my 9 year old STILL crawls up next to me and snuggles to fall asleep. He his kind, he is smart, he is outgoing, he is HEALTHY.
My younger son, Ian didn’t receive a year’s worth of breast milk. He started on Enfamil Lipil (billed as the “closest formula to the real breast milk) after 2 weeks of breastfeeding. Ian loved to be held and snuggled and swaddled. Despite being bottle fed he is also growing up kind, smart, outgoing and HEALTHY… he’s 7 now.
I cannot judge women who chose to “extreme breastfeed” beyond the age of 1 or 2. I do know this– we Americans tend to be squeamish about such issues that are normal in other parts of the world. Would I breastfeed my kids that long? No. Personally, when Xander started cutting his teeth, I decided it was time to wean him. Did this picture on the cover of Time Magazine make me uncomfortable? Yes. But do I think it’s wrong? Certainly not. In fact, if you stop freaking out for one second and do a little research you’ll find plenty of support for extended breastfeeding including from the American Academy of Family Physicians who in 2008 wrote:
“It has been estimated that a natural weaning age for humans is between two and seven years. Family physicians should be knowledgeable regarding the ongoing benefits to the child of extended breastfeeding, including continued immune protection, better social adjustment and having a sustainable food source in times of emergency. The longer women breastfeed, the greater the decrease in their risk of breast cancer. There is no evidence that extended breastfeeding is harmful to mother or child.”
I think we as a culture need to lighten up when it comes to beautiful and natural things like breastfeeding , and perhaps we should be more judgmental of stupid things that are ruining our culture like reality TV, dopey teens texting while driving, and marriages ending in divorce because of Facebook. But hey… that’s just my opinion.
Here are a few photos showing my boys growing up… Xander, my breastfed baby and Ian my bottle fed baby… and they are both happy as clams. I think the bottom line is, your kids will be as happy and healthy as you are committed to helping them become… and there are many ways to achieve that success. Happy parenting!