My daughter-in-law is still breastfeeding… and it makes me uncomfortable

I breastfed all three of my children, and thoroughly enjoyed the connection I had, mother to baby. So I’m a

I breastfed all three of my children, and thoroughly enjoyed the connection I had, mother to baby. So I’m a staunch advocate of breastfeeding… but not when it comes to my daughter-in-law.

My grandson has been breastfed all his life. We were delighted when we were told he had been doing it for over a year, then it got to two years and my son’s mother-in-law and I wondered if maybe he would be weaned off. No, he continued to be breastfed. When little Dean was three, we gently suggested to his mum that it might be time to stop the breastfeeding, and she has insisted it is fine.

He could talk and ask for it, which was quite alarming. But it gets worse: Dean is now 4 and a half, and still breastfeeding. I am not quite sure what to do, but I do know that the sight of little Dean standing up and grabbing at his mum’s breast is a little bit discomforting. We have tried to suggest that he is past breastfeeding age, but it goes in one ear and out the other.

My son doesn’t seem to mind the breastfeeding, and says he thinks it should be a mother’s choice how long she wants to do it. I worry that Dean will be bullied at school, or will have an attachment to his mum that is unhealthy.

In doing some research, I read some blogs about mothers claiming it has amazing benefits of natural comfort and protection for the child, while others said they would prefer to have stopped nursing by now, but their son still needs it emotionally.

The male members of our family feel especially uncomfortable by the breastfeeding of a walking, talking little boy, and it can be a bit confronting to walk into a room and see our daughter-in-law undo her blouse and sit him on her lap.

I wonder if I should just leave our daughter-in-law to figure it out, or we should tell her that it is inappropriate? Help!

Share your thoughts below.

    • CC  

      This breast feeding has gone too far in my view.. However has any study been made as to weather it’s good or bad . The child doesn’t get any goodness from no milk just sucking is what he gets. So really.!! I have been around a person that did the same & I wasn’t the grandparent but still was embarrassing for all & a little person jumps up on the lap to have a suck. Come on it’s not healthy it’s actually stupid. The mother should seek help as it’s so unnatural.( advise from a midwife.)

      • You’re a midwife & clearly know nothing about breastfeeding. Perhaps you could educate yourself or if you’re not asked for your opinion you could attempt to interact with your grandchild if you have one, in a positive way. Read a book, play a game of cards, have a conversation. Since the dawn of time women have breastfed their children for years & yes they get milk & no it’s not a problem the mother needs help for 😊

  1. Life far to short to worry about such a small thing and it’s her decision to do what she wants it’s not for me but it’s not my life it’s hers

  2. I agree, it’s not a decision that you can make. It’s hers! However you can have an opinion. I also am a big believer in breast feeding and breast fed all my three children who are adults now.
    Enjoy your relationship with her, don’t risk damaging it. After all she can’t breast feed him for much longer!!

    • Diana greynomads Ross  

      I have seen… just one… child greeted at the school gate with a feed like this. It soon stopped because of the teasing, but it may have continued at home, who knows?

      • Here did you see a school aged child breastfed in public at a school? I simply don’t believe it. I know many women who feed children to natural term & none have ever done that.

  3. It’s not something I would choose to do for so long, however it is the mothers decision and as time to go to school is fast approaching she will have no alternative than to wean he son very soon, don’t allow this to impact on your relationship with your Daughter in-law it is not worth it.

    • I knew a lady who used to go to the school at lunch hour and breast feed her son in their car. So it might not stop then at all.

      • Amanda Hayworth  

        Hmph, wouldn’t said Grandparent want what is best for her Grandchild? Simply noting that it is not “socially accepted” doesn’t mean that it doesn’t benefit the child. Let’s put it this way, most Western women are encouraged to exclusively breastfeed until 6 mo’s of age and from the ages until 12 months and UP.

        The honest reality in breast-milk is that it always changes with your baby and his/her individual needs. It’s not like formula where every baby is getting the same nutrients supplied by cow’s milk, this is a Mother’s breast-milk individualized for her child(ren). So guess what? 12 mo’s and beyond is typically when breast-milk becomes even richer in nutrients, because this is around the time that children are starting to become more mobile, interacting with more things, and in consequence, risking getting illnesses even moreso than their earliest months of life.

        If there is anything said Grandmother should be bothered by, it’s that she didn’t do it for as long herself. Kudos to Mum for breast-feeding beyond the “recommended”* ages.

    • Vicki my next door neighbour did exactly the same thing, however her son was bullied over it and she had no choice but to stop if for no other reason than to protect her son.

    • It’s an individual choice but I was happy to stop breastfeeding my 3 children at 12/13 months. It seemed right and they were no longer interested anyway. None ever went onto a bottle and I was happy about that.

    • Agree Trish, I think there is a time to stop, it is her business though, these article are written in a way to suggest that we know it all I would disagree with that.

    • Helen Absolon, exactly the same wit my two girls, I didn’t even buy baby bottles, they went from the breast to the cup.

  4. Got a niece that done the same thing…biggest mistake ever…when she had another baby he demanded that those boobs belonged to him..he embarrassed her so much in public that she had to put her two week old baby on the bottle…all I can say is bloody good luck to your daughter In-law she might need it..I think its sick to have child that old on the boob…

    • I have seen a 4 year old on the breast. Mother brought her to out playcentre to enrol and breast fed her during the interview. We really had to say no, all children had to be toilet trained and weaned. She was pregnant and I think she was looking for a reason to tell the child “no more”.

    • We are talking about a boy that is eight years old and still demanding the boobs belong to him…Bloody good luck if you think thats normal…

    • I agree it is not normal, and goes totally against the need for children to grow to the next stage. They need to be weaned as soon as they can eat solid food and drink from a cup. Mine could do that at four months…. yes I did feed my children, for around six months; but as I had three in less than four years I was not breast feeding for effect; which i feel these mothers are;None of my children are overweight, none of them have any major health problems now they are in their 50’s.. So did i actually get it right?. Agree with Margaret.

  5. Sorry thats way to old to be breast feeding … and i for 1 would be very uncomfortable with it, i would actually think its the mothers issue but it will cause problems for him in the long run

  6. Get over it! not ur business or decision, no wonder Mother in laws r detested!

    • I certainly never detested my mother in-law, it sounds like your the one with a problem, starting with just how rude you are Avriel!

    • joanna galea  

      Not all mother in laws are detested. Both my son in law and two daughters in law are great. We love and respect one another. I cannot understand how you can have a happy relationship with your partner if you detest his mother, Would you like it if he detested yours?

    • Mothers-in-law are detested if they write & say critical things about their daughters-in-law & criticise her actions to their son as this grandmother is doing. Is she going out drinking & partying? No. Is she mistreating her husband or child? No. Have they asked you to comment or give your opinion. Have you respectfully asked about it to better inform yourself? Do you focus on the good she does? Do you focus on your relationship with your grandson & enhance it?
      Some mothers-in-law are meddling & nasty with no interest in providing a very important elder role of sharing wisdom & family stories of offering their unique lve patience & skills to their extended family

  7. I thought you were going to say he was about 2 in which case as along as he is healthy and happy it would be okay because surely she would be weaning him soon; I think 4, even 3 is ridiculous but not sure what you can do about it. I think this is more about attachment for her than nourishment for him and in your shoes I’d mention it to your doctor. I think its a problem.

  8. But by continuing to breast feed at four means he will have trouble de taching from the mother – why not send him to kindergarten with other four yr olds this could give him some independence with other four yr olds. this really is demand feeding and should be curtailed at this age.

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