Breastfed until five: Billions around the world are warped or you’re just wrong

The Time cover speaks loud and proud. The vast majority of the world breastfeeds their children until 4 or 5 years old. Not only that, many communities breastfeed more than one child at at time and their sister’s children when need be. This needs to be seen as the normal, natural way of parenting not gross or weird.

One of the main reasons holding us back from being more attached to our children in our culture is that we don’t have the time and the social support. (http://artandsciencedoula.com/2012/05/04/missing-the-shared-breast-how-i-dream-of-living-on-the-african-savannah-to-get-a-night-out/)

Our little American and European populations are the exception to the evolution of parenting that has been in place for millions of years and is still practiced by billions of people.

Putting our children in other rooms to cry-it-out, not providing environments in which mothers can nurse for extended periods, and finding every technology to hold our children at arms length (TV, strollers, cribs, electronics, bottles, etc) is seen as abusive by cultures in Asia and Africa where children are raised using attachment parenting (it’s not called attachment parenting, there it is just plain old parenting).

Furthermore, this type of parenting does NOT promote dependence. It promotes fierce independence when children are ready for it: as young, attached adults who care what their parents think and behave accordingly.

 

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