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It's a WordPress blog, and folks send in questions and I answer 'em.  It's that simple, really. 

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What's Right About a 6-year-old Who Breastfeeds?

Often, folks are uninformed about breastfeeding an older child. I've heard people say, "Once the child can walk and talk, I think it's time to wean!" People are generally concerned about some kind of damage a child sustains from breastfeeding "too long," but really nothing could be further from the truth. 

In our culture, breastfeeding longer than 1 year is called "extended breastfeeding"; however, I suggest that breastfeeding less than 1 year be called "abbreviated breastfeeding," and everything beyond 1 year of age just be called "breastfeeding."  

If you are concerned about breastfeeding an older child, or if you have folks breathing down your neck because you are breastfeeding an older child, I suggest you read up and forward this article to people who are simply uninformed about the continuing benefits of breastfeeding until the child naturally weans.  

An excerpt from the article:

I would say that the benefits of long-term breast-feeding — as long as both mother and child want — are enormous. Long-term breast-feeding allows for normal development of the child’s brain, facial structure, immune system, and emotional resilience to life’s slings and arrows. As far as I know, there are no ‘costs’ to the child. If the mother doesn’t want to continue breast-feeding, then of course, she shouldn’t feel obliged to — regardless of the age of the child. But people should be informed that nursing a 6-or 7-year-old is a perfectly normal and natural and healthy thing to be doing for the child, and that their fears of emotional harm are baseless.

Read the entire article here:  What's Right About a 6-year-old Who Breastfeeds?

From the Whisper-du-Jour Archive: A Hallowe'en Post: Food "fights"

Happy Hallowe'en ! 

Hallowe'en can be a tricky holiday (no pun intended ~ really!).  It's a lot of fun, but it can also be a great source of struggle and unhappiness. The struggle comes from parents' concerns and even fears around the giant influx of candy (with all that sugar and food-additive chemicals and artificial food colors and long, unpronounceable chemical names). If part of our parenting style includes restricting our kids' food choices, then we may approach this holiday with dread and loathing. Pretty scary stuff!

From our kids' perspective, they "earned" their candy, and with it, the right to indulge freely, even if they have already heard all about candy's inherent "dangers."

There is a fine line between "warn" and "inform," and our children definitely feel this subtle difference.

When we inform, we impart useful information and then we trust our kids to make the right choice for them in the moment. And, the right choice for your child may be to eat all the candy he possibly can on Hallowe'en night. He will then have the benefit of experiencing--first-hand--how that choice feels. Without your interference, he can learn and respect his own body's limitations and preferences for the right reasons, and with your loving support, he can make better choices in the future, based on that experience.

When we warn, we unwittingly create mystery surrounding the thing we are warning them about, perhaps making it appear more attractive and alluring to our kids. Our kids then may proceed to covertly consume the thing that we are trying to protect them from. We either deprive them of the experience of learning about that thing first-hand, or we push them underground to sneak it, and this erodes trust both ways, and we don't get to support them when they learn a lesson that's painful. 

If your kids are used to you warning and restricting, letting up on the reins of control may be confusing and perhaps even a little frightening to your kids, so go slowly. Know that it will be a transition, and there may be some over-indulging at first as kids figure out how to live with fewer restrictions and enjoy the feeling of being trusted. It's quite worthwhile, though. There is so much to gain from a more trusting relationship ~ now and most certainly in the future!!


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Be well and be kind,

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