Not Al Musa's daughterThere's extended breastfeeding, as in breastfeeding your toddler. And then there's extended breastfeeding, kindergarten edition. Australian mom of three Maha Al Musa still breastfeeds her 5-year-old daughter. And she says she'll keep breastfeeding her daughter until she's 10, if she wants to. "I believe it helps boost her immune system. To this day, she is very rarely ill and her temperament is calmer and more relaxed than the other children," Al Musa says.
Okay, I know what's supposed to happen here. Half of you are supposed to recoil in horror and disgust, while the other half of you do a fist pump and say, "YEAH! Good for her!" Me, I'm just curious. I have so many questions.
How does that work, exactly? I mean, I KNOW how it works. I've breastfed myself. In fact, I nursed my son until he was almost 3. (I kept waiting for this legendary self-weaning to happen and it never did.) But Al Musa's daughter is entering a new age of sociability and peer groups. I wonder what her friends think about her nursing. Will she really want to keep nursing longer, or is she going to feel self-conscious? Does she nurse on-demand, or only at night when she's going to bed? Doesn't Al Musa want her breasts back? That's what led me to wean my son -- I couldn't take it anymore. I started to feel like he was sucking away my soul.
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But enough about me, let's get back to Al Musa. Did I mention she's 51? And a belly dancer -- who belly-danced her way through labor? Apparently she's a fertility goddess. Look up "FEMALE" in the dictionary and you'll probably see a photo of Al Musa, looking all strong and maternal and womanly. She's one of those large-breasted, totally self-assured Uber-Mamas who tend to intimidate me. There is so much estrogen radiating from her all the way over in Australia, I think I may start ovulating now, regardless of where I am in my cycle. Good God.
Okay, Al Musa. You breastfeed for as long as you damn well want to. I'm not getting in your way.
Anyway, good for her. She looks happy and healthy, her two sons and daughter look happy and healthy. We don't get to see her husband, but he's probably thrilled to wake up every morning next to this woman who looks 15 to 20 years younger than she is. All joking aside, whatever she's doing, it's working for her and her family. And as long as it really is up to her daughter how long she breastfeeds, what do the rest of us care?
What do you think of breastfeeding your child past 3 years old?
Image via Loren Kerns/Flickr