So here's the real question, why doesn't anyone look at a mother strangely for giving her child cow's milk at age one? Cow's milk was meant for cow babies but for some reason that is kosher, but feeding a human child milk that was meant for human babies is strange. What gives?
If you look at infant feeding around the globe, many children do not wean until close to their third, fourth, or even fifth birthday. But in North America and in some parts of Europe, that seems absolutely insane. If you look at trends across the animal kingdom, most other mammals don't wean until they have at least quadrupled their birth weight. If a human mother were to nurse her baby until he quadrupled his birth weight she would likely nurse her baby until an average of 3 years of age.
So why one year old? Doesn't that seem kind of arbitrary when you think about it? Children are considered babies until they reach their second birthday, so why are we in such a rush to move them out of the baby stage and make them grow up before their time. Don't children deserve to be children?
And what about allowing your child to decide when they are ready to give up nursing? One can assume that if there were no arbitrary guidelines or societal pressures surrounding breastfeeding and weaning, most likely the baby would be the one to set the pace. And really, why not have it be that way? In fact, a mother's milk supply is meant to sustain her child at the rate that he feeds. God created a woman's body so that she could produce milk until her baby stopped sucking at the breast, so why don't we follow that?
I'm not saying everyone needs to nurse their baby past the first year but when you look at breastfeeding around the globe, across the animal kingdom, in conjunction with the child-human's immune and digestive system, and the mother's continued ability to produce breastmilk indefinitely, the idea of "You're one, you're done" is what seems strange. In fact, from what I can ascertain, any limits that have been put on breastfeeding (i.e. scheduled feeding, weaning age, etc.) all began with uninformed male physicians in the 1920s and 1930s who knew little to nothing about maternal lactation--the same men who told women with small breasts that they wouldn't be able to produce enough milk and who pushed women to use infant formula because it was better for babies than breastmilk. However, you ask a lactation consultant, someone who has actually been trained in the intricacies of maternal lactation, and she'll advocate on-demand feeding and breastfeeding past the first year. So, why aren't the real experts voices being heard? Why are we still listening to the uninformed, uneducated voices of the past?
I guess that's everyone's choice. But, please don't frown down on me because I choose not to.