TV Star’s Stance on Extended Breastfeeding May Shock Her Fans (VIDEO)

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danica mckellerAnother celeb mom is talking about her attachment parenting practices. The Wonder Years star Danica McKellar is talking about extended breastfeeding her son. "I breastfed my son 'til he was 2 and a half years old," she told ABC News. "That was just, like, a few weeks ago that we stopped. Big transition."

But I think what's really interesting is what made her decide to wean at that point. A lot of moms who do extended breastfeeding do baby-led weaning. That means you allow the baby to continue breastfeeding until they just stop on their own. But that's not what Danica did. "I just sensed that it was time that he needed to be a little more independent," she says.

I think most moms who do extended breastfeeding actually do a combination of baby-led and mommy-led weaning. That was definitely the case with me, and I nursed my son until he was almost 3. But you definitely hear a lot more about baby-led, and for some of us, there's pressure to be all baby-led. So it's refreshing to hear someone say that she made the judgment herself -- and that she based that decision on noticing that her child needed to be more independent.

I think Danica putting it that way puts a new spin on attachment parenting. It gets a bad rap for producing needy, dependent kids, even though it can actually do the opposite -- produce secure, independent kids. Danica is pretty clear on the difference between closeness and spoiling:

Cuddling, being close, you know, sleeping in the same bed sometimes, wearing him in a sling, long-term breastfeeding, all have to have this closeness. On the other hand, doing everything your child wants you to do right when they want you to do it is another thing. Spoiling them is completely different.

Exactly! The difference is that you use physical closeness to help your child feel loved and secure. That just feels right for some moms. And hey, if that's not right for you, Danica isn't judging. But she does believe in setting boundaries, too. And that's a smart way to make it all work. Anyway, the reason why she's speaking out is to throw more support behind women who do extended breastfeeding, because it's still definitely not the norm for most families.


How did you decide when to wean your baby?


Image via GMA

breastfeeding, natural parenting, toddler development, celeb moms


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nonmember avatar Beth

My daughter will be 3 in a month and I have decided we will stop then. She just likes that closeness, as do I, but it's time. We are going to switch to a toddler bed at the same time to reinforce that she's a big girl..... NEVER thought I would stick with it this long! I planned for a year. Plans change :)

Cocon... Coconutty4Hubby

Good for you! My DS is 2.2 and he's still nursing. Some people don't like it, but WHO recommends it! :)

tuffy... tuffymama

My oldest weaned himself at 23 months. My LO just turned four the other day and he is still nursing. I am going to ease him into weaning when we get back from vacation (although my grandmother thinks he may wean during the trip...?). I come from a long line of EBFers on one side and very clinical, non-AP-as-you-can-get on the other.

Beibe... BeiberHATER

Sorry but after 1yr it's time to stop. If a child can walk talk and go potty and ASK for the boob, then it's been too long.

nonmember avatar Ally heiger

People like beiberhater just reinforce how ignorant people are about all of the countless benefits of breast feeding. I suppose after 12 months something that has nurtured, comforted, nourished and protected with numerous antibodies is now all the sudden of no use. That makes total sense. (major sarcasm) Most 8 month olds can "ask" to nurse and most one year olds arent using the potty regularly. Continue to let your ignorance on the subject shine through and discourage moms from extended breastfeeding that benefits moms and babies...good call (sigh)

Jennifer Jacobs

We are still nursing and my daughter is 2 and a half.  I'm doing a little bit of Mommy led weaning by setting boundaries on when we nurse and for how long at each session.  She's doing a bit of baby led weaning in that sometimes she just plain forgets and I don't pursue it. I'm pregnant and sometimes it hurts and so I will say no then.  She has been very tolerant of all of the boundaries I have set, if I am out of the house during a typical nursing session she doesn't bat an eye, we both still enjoy nursing and it feels right to us still.  I have no definite plans for an end date. For now we are just taking it one day at a time like we always have.

nonmember avatar Jessica

Extended breastfeeding is great. Some babies need extra comfort, some need extra nutrition, every baby is different. I don't necessarily agree with 100% baby-led weaning though. I wouldn't allow my baby/toddler to decide WHAT she wants to eat (or she'd be eating lots of candy and junk food), so I think mom's need to play an integral role in making the decision on when to stop. My first daughter chose to stop at 8month because I was already pregnant with Baby #2 and maybe it tasted different or just wasn't plentiful enough, but baby #2 was weaned by 13 months because it was best for her sleep habits and baby #3 now (almost 2) still occasionally nurses in the morning or when she's REALLY upset, but I'll likely cut her off completely in the next few weeks just because I don't feel like she really "needs" it anymore.

hmcn hmcn

Good for her!!! Breastfeeding past infancy needs to be normalized. My daughter just turned one at the beginning of the month and I don't see us weaning anytime soon. I did night wean her but only because she was getting grumpy in the bed with me and wouldn't settle at night. It was a good transition for us. She still enjoys her "oobies" through out the day. :)

Annalee Stallman

I could careless what everyone's opinion is or was about BFeeding my children I did what was right for my son's and for our family and Extended BF was great for all concerned. I have a happy healthy soon to be 3 year old and we did self and Mom lead weaning and worked beautifully for us.

Hillary Young

Right! Just like when they can ask for broccoli, we should stop giving it to them! (eh?)  Most kids around 1 are just starting to walk (and some aren't!) and my son is 2 and isn't potty trained yet...... If all you do in life is hate and criticize people BeiberHATER, I feel very sorry for you.  Moms, everyone is different. Babies and Moms need to determine when the time is right to stop, and hopefully have support behind them in making that decision.  It's heartbreaking for someone to love to nurse their child and hear "Don't you think it's time to stop that!" from a family member. Also, I do believe us Moms have known how to respond to babies "asking"  to nurse (Nurishment for the body and soul, on both accounts.) since day one. Their asking just evolves, especially when they learn to speak.. Babies can start communicating back to you with sign language at 8 months. Oh, should I mention my son is 2 and has never been sick? ;)

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