Anything that becomes dogma is woo, but the general concept of striving to support a child’s development of a “normal attachment relationship” with early primary caregivers is, IMO, enormously valuable. However, I don’t think that breatfeeding a 3 year old should be considered an integral tenet of establishing a normal attachment relationship. I don’t know of research on this, but it seems a little creepy to me to prolong breast feeding after a child reaches 2 years of age.
The main thing about fostering normal attachment relationships, has to do with the caregivers being consistently emotionally and socially responsive and consistently providing for the child’s physical needs and safety.
Hopefully, most parents don’t need a step by step instruction book to do this.
Let me start by saying I breastfed each of my children for over a year. My youngest self weaned at 14months, My oldest stopped around the same time. I raised my children to be independent, secure and self confident.
This seems to be an extension of the home birth movement which, while ostensibly about giving birth to healthy children, but in actuality since the mortality and morbidity of both infants and children are sevenfold greater, even factoring the micropreemies in the NICU, it seems to be more about very narcissistic ‘needs’ of these women (IMHO).
Breast feeding is universal among mammals, and the mother weans the youngster and transfers it to eating solid food fairly quickly, especially when it starts getting teeth. As such, I think, as Asanta says, it’s about narcissistic (neurotic?) needs of these women.
I agree with Asanta completely. I think this is also a bit about TIME magazine trying to get some publicity from a sensationalized topic that covers an extremely small proportion of the mothers in this country. The real problem by several orders of magnitude is getting women to breast feed LONG ENOUGH rather than the small number who may or may not be doing it for too long regardless of what their motives are. TIME does the children of this country a huge disservice by putting the focus on a non problem and diverting from the real problem.
It figures that ‘attachment mothering’ should be created by Dr William Sears. He is a bit kooky. I has vascillated between anti-vaxx and setting up his own vaccine schedules…..as if he had the qualifications to do so, which he clearly does NOT, he is a pediatrician, NOT an immunologist. The schedules were set up with very careful consideration of risk vs benefit, and interactions with other vaccines given at the same time. Setting himself up as an immunology specialist, is pure hubris.
The real problem by several orders of magnitude is getting women to breast feed LONG ENOUGH rather than the small number who may or may not be doing it for too long regardless of what their motives are. TIME does the children of this country a huge disservice by putting the focus on a non problem and diverting from the real problem.
Totally agree. We have proved a cow can produce milk for as long as we milk them. I doubt they would feed a calf for that long. Mriana, not all moms can or want to breast feed, but we should encourage it, and make it as easy as possible.
Personally, I like Dr. Spock’s ideas of raising children. My mother, despite being extremely religious, raised me by Spock’s ideas or at least some of them. Look how I turned out. :D Seriously though, I really do think that when a mother breastfeeds beyond 1 1/2 years, it could cause some mental health issues.
Saw this timely blog post this morning, from SciAm’s excellent blog The Primate Diaries:
My son will be three-years-old next month and is still breastfeeding. In other words, he is a typical primate. However, when I tell most people about this the reactions I receive run the gamut from mild confusion to serious discomfort. Their concerns are usually that extended breastfeeding could be stunting his independence and emotional development–the “Linus Blanket Syndrome” in the words of Michael Zollicoffer, a pediatrician at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. Worse yet, they hint that it might even cause “destructive” psychosexual problems that he will be burdened with throughout his adult life.
In their classic paper, “Life History Variation in Primates” published in the premier scientific journal Evolution, the British zoologists Paul H. Harvey at Oxford and Tim Clutton-Brock at Cambridge published the most comprehensive data then available on the world’s primates. The variables they measured included everything from litter size and age at weaning to adult female body weight and length of the estrous cycle among 135 primate species (including humans). By analyzing the relationships between these variables, using a statistical approach known as a regression analysis, they identified striking patterns that held across primate taxa.
One especially strong correlation was that adult female body weight was closely tied to their offspring’s weaning age, so much so that knowing the first would allow you to predict the second with a 91% success rate. As a result it can be calculated that a young primate’s weaning age in days is equal to 2.7 times their mother’s body weight in grams. This calculation predicts, given the range of female body sizes around the world from the !Kung-San of South Africa to the Arctic Inuit, that humans should have an average weaning age of between 2.8 and 3.7 years old.
I’ll admit when I first heard about women breastfeeding into the toddler stage I thought it was kooky. Funny how we define “kooky” based upon nothing but our often incorrect impressions of what “normal” is.
By the way, if you aren’t already a regular reader of The Primate Diaries, I highly recommend it.