Mayim Bialik: It May Be Time To Wean 3-Year-Old Son

Is Mayim Bialik ready to start weaning Fred?

The Big Bang Theory actress, who also holds a PhD in neuroscience, is pictured above breastfeeding her 3-year-old son on a New York City subway. The mom-of-two wrote a thoughtful blog for kveller, asking herself if now is the time.

I have written about my now 3-year-old son Fred, and his nursing rhythms before,” Mayim wrote. “To recap: Fred nursed for a solid 12 months with no supplements, no solid foods, and not even a sip of water. He got the hang of eating solids around 18 months, but continued to nurse all day (with bottles of pumped breastmilk when I was at work), and on demand all night. A typical night involved no less than four wake-ups and sometimes six (every 2 hours on the clock for 12 hours of bed time was not unusual). This went on for almost 3 years.”

Continue reading Mayim’s thoughts on weaning Fred at kveller

What do you think?

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  1. I really try to be very open-minded, but to me this just looks weird…I’m a new mom myself, but I have decided to wean the little one by the time he’s around 12 months…I just don’t picture myself breastfeeding a kid that can verbally demand his need for “mommy’s best”…just my opinion…sorry, if anyone feels offended, but Fred is just a little too old to be nursed (in public anyway!!!!).

    • I agree Dani, I support freedom of choice in breast or bottle, and I support women who want to breastfeed publicly, but I still can’t wrap my head around breastfeeding a toddler, especially if said toddler is over 2 years old. Then I can’t understand why people can’t just pump it into a sippycup and then give it to the child.

    • My biggest problem with this is is that he was waking up every two hours to nurse at 3 years old – NO WAY!!
      I don’t particularly agree with nursing that long either but seriously – kids need sleep too and it can’t be healthy to be waking up that much…

  2. it went on for three years because she wouldn’t put a stop to it.

    and let’s face it, if you’re still breastfeeding that late in the game, it’s because YOU don’t want to stop, not because your child needs it. it bugs me when these moms are like, but my kid needs it wants to etc… no. it’s not them. it’s you.

    • I could not agree more. While I really don’t like the “it’s disturbing” comments (it’s only disturbing to people who oversexualize the breast. it’s a nurturing act, not a sexual act, people), I do think at some point you have to wean the child for the sake of their development. A three year old shouldn’t be using a bottle, let alone breast feeding. And goodness, 4 times a night?! I’d think she’d have done it years ago if only for her own sanity and rest!

      Again, hmmm, I agree. I think after a certain point it’s more the mother tries to convince herself the child “needs” it because THEY want it to continue. But you have to let your child detach.

    • You really should read her whole article (and maybe some of the other ones she wrote).
      I also think nursing a 3 year old is kind of weird, but maybe that’s just because I’m not used to it.
      Reading her stories showed me, that she seems to be a very nice, loving, caring and overall intelligent mother and therefore I can totally respect her decisions.

    • I agree…i think that if you really believe they need the breast milk fine then pump it and put in a cup..but actually breast feeding that old to me is just sick and i feel they are doing for there own pleasure.

  3. Sounds like she is a human pacifier to me. I don’t care how long someone wants to nurse for but waking ever 2 hrs? Not like he was a newborn.

  4. I am absolutely all for breastfeeding, I think it’s fantastic for both the mother and child, but I have to say breastfeeding at 3…I do find it a little odd. But that’s Mayim’s decision and I totally respect it. Wouldn’t be breastfeeding on the subway though!

  5. Poor kid….she is an embarrassment to breastfeeding mothers…..ladies do not be turned off. She has chosen to breastfeed for her own self serving benefit. Her son can get his nourishment from healthy foods. She is disguisting and should be ashamed of herself

    • Oh, please. I’m a breastfeeding mother and there is NOTHING shameful about what she is doing. Read the studies. It’s all out there.

  6. I am pro nursing, I nurse my 11 month old and intend to for a couple more months, but this is soooo extreme! When you can have a conversation with you child I think it’s past time to wean! It seems that the cons are out-weighing the pros at this point. Not sleeping through the night? No solid food?

    A 3 year old knows what things are, our oldest child doesn’t get too see daddy naked, and Fred shouldn’t really be seeing momma naked anymore!
    I’m all about nursing and all the benefits, this is just wrong.

    • While I think it’s strange to nurse a 3-year-old, I also think it’s totally normal for a child to see their parents naked.
      I’m 26 and still see my parents naked. Didn’t do me any harm.

      • Seeing your parents naked at 26 is not normal, maybe your mom (assuming you are female) but definitely not your dad. My daughter should not be seeing her fathers body parts, especially when she can name what it is. I teach her what things are with appropriate names, but I also teach her that they are private. Teaching your child modesty is very important especially in this day and age.

        • Seeing my own parents naked has no sexual meaning and therefore there’s no difference between seeing my mother or seeing my father.
          But I agree with you, that children need to learn about modesty. I did learn that, too and I do teach my 5-year-old about it, who also sees me naked. While I think it is important to know that you don’t parade around naked in public and that your body belongs to you, I also don’t want my son to be ashamed of his body or get the feeling that nudity is something wrong.

          I suppose you’re from the US, where people seem to be more uptight, maybe it would be strange if you acted differently and I respect your way to raise your kids.
          Where I live it is pretty common to see your own family naked and to talk about sexuality. And we all grew up just fine.

          • I do agree with much of your opinion, we tell our daughters they are beautiful inside and out.

            I am from the US, were body image is a hard issue and molestation happens all the time in places that children should feel comfortable and safe.

            I want my child to know what is right and wrong, I want her to be able to communicate with me if there ever was an issue. I’m not paranoid, but I want there to be clear lines. It isn’t really the same issue for boys/moms as it is for girls/men, super unfair and unfortunate but its life!

            Thanks for sharing your opinions with me 🙂

    • A 3 year old shouldnt see their parents naked????

      What a strange thought. 99.9% of people dont have any sexual thoughts while seeing their parents naked, its not disgusting or abnormal. Its just a body. Completely normal and I would say that not letting a 3 year old see you naked is damaging in fact. You are bringing up the next generation of people who have no idea what a body looks like and the openess that comes with it.

      What do you think is going to happen to a 3 year old who sees their own parents naked body????

      • I don’t think there is anything disgusting about a naked body nor do I think there is anything sexual in this situaiton. I’m talking respect and boundaries. My daughter sees me naked still, but we are just starting to teach her that adults need privacy and that she is allowed privacy too. We let her be naked all the time, in fact she rarely keeps her clothes on all day. I guess my main thing is, this 3 year old is hanging off his moms boob ALL day and she has no boundaries with him at all. There is a time when you need to teach a child to be independent and that “this is mommies body and this is yours”. We cuddle and we kiss and we hug, but we all like our space and a little privacy. We are the parents and they are our children, we need to teach them to be independent and strong people.

  7. More power to her! I just weaned my now 3 year old (36 months) back in July when he was 34 months. So he nursed for nearly three years, as well. NOTHING wrong with that. Some of you have forgotten that we are MAMMals and this is what our MAMMaries are for.

    • Mammals stop feeding their child when the child is old enough to have all the nutriments he needs from other things like real healthy food. A child is ready to drink whole milk and healthy food by the age of one.

      Get your facts right, miss. You are wrong for doing that. It’s almost disgusting, actually.

      • Seriously? Why don’t YOU get YOUR facts straight, ‘miss’. What’s disgusting is how you judged this woman for doing the healthy, normal thing for HER child. She is absolutely right! We are mammals and that is what mammaries are for! Children do not need to be on solid foods and whole milk until they are ready. And why is it okay for children to DRINK ANOTHER MAMMAL’S BREAST MILK!!!!!???? WHAT DO YOU THINK COW’S MILK IS!!! IT IS BREAST MILK!!! How ignorant of you to suggest that she switch to a cow’s breast milk, meant for nursing calves, when she could use HER OWN milk to nurse her child? Ugh, how uneducated can you get, lady!

          • The question is not “Does it look normal to you?” but “Is it good for the child?” And if it is shouldn’t i look normal to you?

          • I have to say, I’m the original commenter who shared that my 3 year old nursed for 34 months. The people, especially the one with the whole paragraph, who stood up for me truly made my day. Today happens to be my birthday, so a stranger defending me to someone so mean and ignorant really made me happy. THANK YOU.

        • You are the one who is ignorant if you cannot see how weird it is to have a 3yr old breast feeding! I agree with the other moms. This is not for the child’s benefit, it’s for the mother’s. It looks bizarre to have a child that size breastfeeding because it is. Doing it in public is disgusting and should not be permitted. Most children are weaned long, long before this. There is absolutely no reason for her to do this.

          • It is not “weird” to breast feed your child. There are many books available about breastfeeding, and there are many benefits to the child. It does not look bizarre to see Mayim breastfeeding her child! Unfortunately, it is rare in the US to see ANY mother breastfeeding her child (of any age). Doing “it” in public is disgusting, and should not be permitted? I’m presuming “it” is breastfeeding? Are you really that out of touch with reality? We are animals- mammals who have breasts to produce human milk that is perfectly made for our children. Breastmilk is a live food. Did you know that on hot days our breastmilk will contain a higher percentage of water so as to better hydrate our babies? Did you know there are over a million white blood cells in a drop of human breastmilk? To build our childs immunity? What is “disgusting” about that?! Your argument that most mothers wean long before 3 yrs of age therefore Mayim should too is ridiculous! Percentage wise- more mothers don’t breastfeed at all. So should she not breastfeed at all? The women who do breastfeed in the US tend to be more educated. I think if you did some research about breastfeeding and breastmilk you wouldn’t be so quick to judge.

        • Perhaps it’s not so much ‘what he is drinking’ as much as it is ‘how he is drinking it’?? Breast milk, great. Baby…breast feed. Preschooler…pump it and put it in a cup. If not, why stop there? Why not breast feed until they are adults? Hey they are still kids and its good for them right? Go ahead, put your 17 year old ‘baby’ on your lap and breast feed them! No difference.

            This happens when it is the true time for them to stop.

            Fact, not fiction.

            Children lose their latch naturally at a certain age. There is actually a study that correlates the loss of the latch with when certain teeth grow in. What *we* generally perceive as the *time to wean* is not necessarily nature’s intention. *We* put our own expectations on what is “normal” and “not normal.”

      • Yes, other mammals stop nursing their offspring when they’re ready to get their “nutriments,” as you so eloquently put it, from other healthy foods. (Let’s just overlook for now that you’re incorrectly classifying breast milk as not being “real healthy food.”) Other mammals mature at different rates than humans. For one example, a foal–that’s a baby horse–reaches puberty in about one year. They wean their young at about 6 months. Gorillas reach maturity at about 10 years. They wean at 4-6 years. How long does it take humans to mature? Well, we reach puberty at about 12-13 years of age. By arguing that mammals wean their offspring when they’re ready to feed themselves, you’ve just proved the point that the natural age of weaning for humans is somewhere between 6-7.

        Thanks for sticking up for full-term breastfeeding! Have a nice day.

      • Actually, you get your facts right. Mammals stop feeding their young at a variety of “stop” points. Depending on which mammals or when they ceased to lactate.
        For example many mammals studies point to a variety of factors, including the appearance of adult teeth, the strengthening of the immune system, a percentage of body weight as a percentage of their adult weight, a comparison of their age with respect to sexual maturity,and a comparison of gestation periods.It depends on which one you pick, but the minimum age works out to be 2.5 years and maximum is about 7 years.
        You think it’s disgusting because that’s what you’ve been taught to think and that’s what you will teach unless you fight against your ignorance and educate yourself.
        What I find very confusing is that you think it’s okay for a child of 1 year to be having milk from an animal that produces milk specifically for calves, but not milk specifically for human children?

    • Oh please. It’s just plain weird. Have another baby if YOU can’t let go of the idea. Don’t use your son and act like he wanted it. Really….

  8. It becomes a pacifier for the parents if you do it that long. If you want your kid to get nutrients from it… PUMP! Don’t keep them on the boob for your benefit. It’s embarrassing to other mothers.

    • Not embarrassing to me. I think she’s awesome! You know what embarrasses me? Formula and disposable diapers. But I don’t bash people who use them.

      • I agree with you! Why can’t people be supportive of HER decision to do what she wants with HER son? It’s her child and her choice. It good to see that people in the spotlight to b-feed their children.

  9. This is extreme but not the worst. There’s a mom in England breast feeding her 7 and 9 year old daughters. They were interviewed on swings at the playground and they raved about how much they loved breast feeding. It’s on YouTube.

  10. I am all for breastfeeding but keeping a kid on your breast for that long seems like a mommy issue. Like mommy doesn’t want to give it up. Not too old for breast milk but too old to be on the breast. IMHO

  11. I nurse my son, and will probably stop when he’s 12 months. I am pro breastfeeding, but if I saw a woman breastfeeding her child, who was 3 years old in public it would probably make me feel very uncomfortable.

    The fact that he’s 3 years old and getting up every 2 hours to nurse…. Somethings wrong with that. It would be like my toddler getting up every 2 hours throughout the night demanding a snack. I would obviously say “no”, because we don’t eat snacks every two hours throughout the night. A 3 year old should be able to sleep the night through.

    I see what she’s trying to do… Attachment parenting, but I think it’s over the top, and to an extreme point. I would think it was doing more damage than good.

  12. I have no problem with someone nursing their children for as long as they want to. I have plenty of friends who have nursed up 4/5. But I have to say the routine Fred is in is nothing like anyone I know. My friends who have/had 3 yr olds who nurse don’t wake constantly through the night. Most just nurse before bed and maybe in morning.

    Anyone who says it is the mother who wants it not the child is talking complete crap and has never nursed a child before or probably doesn’t even have children, because you can’t force a child to breastfeed, in fact you can’t force toddlers to do much at all ha ha 😉

  13. Well, I just read the actual blog post and still have the same comment; I never thought that breast milk would be enough nourishment for an older toddler/preschooler. And perhaps since, at age 3, he wakes up 4 times a night (!!!) for nursing, it’s not!

  14. thats lazy and insane! A toddler would be hungry all the time if all they got was milk. Waking up that much to eat is just crazy. I am a PRO BOTTLE FEEDER! Why have a preschooler hang off your boob? That is border incest.

    • Since when is waking all night to feed a child lazy?! She said in the article, her son eats food now, he was only exclusively breastfed for the first year. Bottle feeding is not natural, and it will never be as good as breastmilk. There are over 400 substances in human breastmilk that cannot be replicated in a lab. (that are not in formula) Breastmilk is a brain and immune system builder. If you think a three year old nursing from his mothers breast is borderline incest maybe you have never breastfed and are not aware- breastfeeding is NOT a sexual act!!! It is a loving thing to feed your child.

  15. Honestly ppl.A mother and child have a right to breastfeed as long as it is mutually desired by both of them.There is nothing wrong with nursing a 3,4 or 5 year old.Milk teeth begin to fall out around 6 years old for a reason.We have been conditioned to view breastfeeding as something strictly for infants.that’s not how it is supposed to be.If you don’t want to do it,then don’t.BUt don’t judge a mother for doing what’s best for her child. The majority of pre-school children and toddlers aren’t getting the right amount of nutrition by solid food…even if it is offered to them(picky,moody little creatures that they are). Breastmilk NEVER loses it’s nutritional value. It’s the perfect food for them no matter their age.Do your research before you judge.Please.

      • Yes,Milk teeth,baby teeth…They are called milk teeth for a reason.They begin to fall out when a child it totally ready for solid food.Obviously full nutritional benifits aren’t as hard to come by with solid foods in this day and age,but as I said before toddlers and pre-school children are very picky MANY of todays kids aren’t getting what they need with just “food”. Breastmilk carries so many nutrients and antibodies that it just makes sense to try and do FULL-TERM breastfeeding. I’ve been breastfeeding for 10 years(4 children,the oldest “weaned” at 2 years,but I have since learned the signs of a nursing strike,so he may have gone back to the breast given a chance)And everyday I learn something new.You just have to educate yourself. Most of us Nursing moms don’t want to be percived as radicals,we don’t want to judge,but we find ourselves constantly ridiculed for doing what is best,natural and right for our children.I disagree with formula and cribs and spanking,but you don’t see me calling names and shouting “child abuse”(often). All we want is to educate others on the benifits(There are SO many) DO some reasearch.You might not change your minds,but you might accept a differnt opinion as being valid.

    • I agree with you. The vehemence with which people are reacting suggests there are some underlying psycho-social issues at play. All I see is a woman feeding her child. I think Mayim is brave for putting this out there. More power to her.

      • I agree as well. It is shocking to me to see people’s rather violent reactions to this. It is a clear sign of what is wrong in our society today and how far we have strayed from our natural roots. It is disturbing to me that a woman would see formula given to her 1 year old as preferable to her own nourishing breast milk. I believe the women reacting to this need to go and question themselves quite deeply about their skewed reactions. It is truly sad to read some of these comments especially the ones calling it “disgusting” and especially the one about someone calling it incest! Sickening! I wish these people would educate themselves on this issue from somewhere other than formula-maker websites and pamphlets available at Wal Mart!

        • I think people scratch their heads because the line is drawn. Does a 3 year old that can feed themselves, probably go to the bathroom, talk, bite, run, speak…need to be breastfeeding. NOOOOO.

          I am a natural type of mom, vegan, organic etc…. but I tooo think that its mothers not wanting to let go instead of the child’s need for it. All Im saying is if a child can ask for it, the need is over.

          • Seriously? “..if a child can ask for it, the need is over?” That makes absolutely NO sense. If that’s your logic on this issue, then let’s follow it to its logical conclusion: if you as an adult can ask for a healthy meal you should be denied it because your need for it is false. Sorry, no more food for you.

            By the way, my two month old can “ask for it” by crying, rooting for the breast, or sucking on his hand. Should I wean him now, too?

    • Then pump it! Bottle fed babies don’t keep drinking out of baby bottles until 6 years old. Guess what…most babies learn to drink out of sippy cups, big kid cups and straw cups. If there was a 3, 4 or 5 year old on here drinking out of a baby bottle just think of all of the posts that would get. If the kid is old enough to drink from a cup instead of a bottle, then pump it and put it in a cup if it is that important! What is best for this child, or any child, is to treat him like his age, not an infant. Breast milk, if you want, fine…but not breast fed at that age.

      • I think we all know and have seen plenty of kids with pacifiers and bottles past the age 12mths so don’t give me that. I was at a soft play place last week and 4 yr old was sat at the side with a pacifier in one hand a bottle of JUICE of all things hanging out of his mouth. That child’s in for a filling very soon for sure.

  16. I am all for breastfeeding and can’t understand people who dont try to. Breastmilk contains everything a Baby needs and more. However health professionals tell you that by 6 months it alone isn’t enough. Babies can go through the night from 6 weeks if satisfied so the fact that her 3 year old wakes so regularly clearly shows he is not getting the nutrition he needs. My rule is if they can ask for it they are too old for it!

    • breastmilk is complete nutrition… even long after 6 months. Many babies around the world are exclusively breastfed for over a year and are very healthy.

  17. I don’t get all the bashing on here.
    Nursing a 3-year-old seems weird to me, too. Mainly because I’m not used to it. But if you read her article, you realize what a great mother she is and understand why she chose to nurse her child that long. Shouldn’t we respect a mother’s decision which was made out of caring, loving and belief?
    After all we all try to do our best to raise our children, but why are so many people convinced their way is the best and only way to do it? If you raised a bunch of happy, healthy adults I will totally give you credit, but thinking you’re the best mom out there just because you have a toddler? Come on! You won’t notice the consequences of some of your decisions for many years to come. So just do whatever you think it’s best and accept other people doing it a different way.

  18. How is she going to send her son to school if he is still nursing on demand? Is she going to sit there with him all day and nurse whenever he wants to? Or will she delay preschool too. Maybe he can start at 6? And how is he not tired all day from being up the entire night nursing?

    This is my main problem with attachment parenting. It teaches the child that life centers around whatever they want and parents are merely slaves there to serve them. Who cares what Mom wants? She is now nothing more than a dairy cow, on call 24/7. I don’t think it’s healthy to teach children that parents aren’t people too.

  19. Wow. People think this is incest? Really? I breastfed my son until he was nearly four years old! There was nothing weird about it. Granted I didn’t really do it in public, but I don’t have a problem with someone who does. My son did it for comfort and bonding, usually just once or twice a day. My mother breastfed my brother until he was four as well. Today, he’s a healthy, happy, 30 year old man.

    • I absolutely don’t understand why people get offended by really the most innocent act on the world: feeding your own child. If you see all the disgustingly artificial products in shops, THAT’s what shocks me. How on earth can anyone be AGAINST this???

    • Seriously, lol…..4 yrs old. Are you kidding me. A BOY!!!!! Totally wacked out. I’d like to mee this 30yr old NORMAL guy. NOT NOT NOT!!

      • Seriously… “LOL”… 4 years old is normal. There is nothing incestuous. Adults perceive the world so differently from a child. Breastfeeding… a child’s right and comfort, and it is usually not very fun with toddlers for the mother. They certainly don’t do it for any other reason than the benefits they continue to see in their children. And you cannot force a child to breastfeed, either. The outright misconceptions about breastfeeding shows just how far away we’ve pulled ourselves to what is part of nature and into the perception of the Western World.

        You cannot speak from experience–therefore, don’t. Your discomfort on the issue doesn’t make what you are uncomfortable about facts. They are purely your inaccurately perceived discomfort.

  20. I’m all for breastfeeding & I think it’s great for the child within the first year, possibly even a few months after that, but long after two years? No way, I have rarely even heard of mothers in developing countries breastfeeding for that long unless they’re just trying to stave off another pregnancy or malnutrition/starvation being a major issue (which was the issue for many Rwandan & Congolese mothers I know). But that is not a problem we face here in the developed world & getting up every 2 hours to feed a 3-year-old is way, way over the top. That kid should be sleeping through the night by now. Good luck to them when preschool-time comes around.

    And this is MY opinion & I’m entitled to it. I’d like to think my doctorate gives me a lil’ bit of knowledge on scientific subjects, even though I’m sure someone will tell me off for giving my opinion anyways.

    • It’s actually recommended 2 years by WHO. “Thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.”

      It is your opinion, but I don’t think your doctorate helps it fact-wise.

  21. Before you guys comment, you need to educate yourself on extended breastfeeding. It’s becoming more and more common and it’s VERY normal to nurse children past 1 year. Many moms now do baby-led weaning and nurse up to 2, 3 or sometimes 4-5 years old. There is NOTHING wrong with it and it’s extremely healthy. Many cultures have done this for ages and their childhood disease/allergy rates are much lower and it’s extremely healthy emotionally for the child as well. Please research before you comment with how “disturbed” you are. Not everyone parents in the same way and I find it MORE “disturbing” to see 4 month old babies on formula just because a mother doesn’t “feel like” breast feeding. Extended breastfeeding is a natural approach that requires a deep commitment to attachment parents and natural mothering. I really find some of your comments to be judgmental, ignorant, and sad. And for anyone who thinks this is incest: you are sick in the head and need help! Breast feeding is incest? REALLY? That is a disturbing thought that came from YOUR own brain and you might want to think about therapy for your skewed thought patterns. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you think it’s weird or not.

  22. The judgement and ignorance in most of these posts is mind-blowing. The world average age for weaning is actually over four years, and anyone who finds breastfeeding until three years disgusting obviously has issues – breasts are designed to feed babies. There is nothing wrong with breatsfeeding a child until the age of three, and breastmilk continues to provide nourishment and comfort long after the standard 6-12 month period that seems to be the accepted length of breastfeeding in the west. As for saying ‘once they can ask for it, it’s time to stop’ – why?? Children learn to speak and communicate their needs at wildly differing rates, so should a mother whose six month old can communicate that they need a feed be weaned ahead of a child who doesn’t start speaking until the age of two? There is no logic in this statement, yet you hear it all the time…

    I will say that I am concerned that Mayim Bialik did not start her son on solids until he was 12 months, and it sounds as though he wasn’t really eating solids properly until he was 18 months old. Although in times gone past, mothers often didn’t introduce solids until 12 months, the current recommended advice is to start solids at 6 months (and there is some research that indicates that in terms of avoiding allergies, 4-6 months is optimum). And it sounds like he may not have been getting enough food if he was still waking every two hours for breast milk, although it could have been a comfort thing too.

      • That statement was based on one study from 1999 and I think people forget to take into account continents like Africa that has a population of over a billion people and Asia which has a population of over 3 billion people. Lots of these people are up against poverty, disease, and they’re doing whatever it takes to survive.

        • That doesn’t change the fact that for the WHO to make that statement, there is obviously clear evidence that breastmilk continues to have nutritional benefits for a child beyond the first and second year of life… It is also wonderful for bonding and offering comfort, and I don’t understand people having an issue with a woman continuing to breastfeed for longer than the ‘accepted’ period for those reasons alone.

          • What it says is that breastmilk is not enough for the children once they are passed baby stage or haven’t you noticed the severely malnourished children in these countries.
            Comfort – a wonderful thing, but like everything else including pacifiers and the rest, it comes a time where children have to give these things up and learn to self sooth. If you want to bond with the kid, there are a million ways besides your boob.

          • Where did I say anything about ‘exclusive breastfeeding’ beyond two years??!! You obviously didn’t read my original post, where I said that the current recommendation by health professionals is to breastfeed exclusively for six months (some experts are now recommending introducing solids between four and six months), then continue to breastfeed until at least two years (obviously not with breastmilk as the primary source of nutrition past a certain point). And I did also comment that it concerned me that this woman was still breastfeeding a three year old every couple of hours through the night, perhaps indicating that he’s not getting enough nutrition from other sources. I see no problem, however, with a mother breastfeeding a three year old once or twice a day, and believe that those who do have issues of their own that they should probably look at.

  23. I completely think this is werid and not good for so many reasons, but before people tell me not to be so harsh or juusdge her… I think that by Mayim talking about it so much she is actually the one judging moms who don’t breastfeed for that long. Bragging her child didn’t even have water before he was one. That is her telling other moms she has achieved something great and others should strive to do as she does. She should just do it and keep it private. I’m not saying keep it a secret, but maybe stop BLOGGIN about it.

  24. I wonder if all of the commenters being so judgmental even bothered to read the entire article. If not, they’re being irresponsible; if they did & still comment this way, then they live in glass houses.
    Anyway, any lactation specialist/La Leche Leaguer will tell you that the AVERAGE age of children, internationally, when they are weaned is 2. This means there are people who wean before 2 and people who wean well past 2. That’s how they get the average. Breastfeeding past infancy is only stigmatized, well, in America, really, because we are so obsessed with the sexualization of the female body that we can’t see that this is actually what our breasts are there for. Attention: our breasts are not biologically made the way they are for sex, but for sustaining our children.
    Personally, I think anyone who would call this incest should be ashamed of him/herself; that would be more a result of his/her own psycho-sexual/social issues than any breastfeeding mother.
    And all this from a woman who couldn’t breastfeed & only managed to produce to pump for 3 months, so don’t flame me as an extremist.
    If more women would support instead of stigmatizing each other about our choices to mother, we might all understand alternate practices more respectfully.

    • I’m going to reply to myself to defer to ZaraB above, as she sounds more confident than my lactation specialist did when she quoted me 2 as the average weaning age.

      • Hi Clarabella, Your lactation consultant may have meant that the World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding up to the age of two and beyond. Here is some info from the WHO website:

        “On a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life is the recommended way of feeding infants, followed by continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for up to two years or beyond.”

        And here is something from Wikipedia (I have links to actual studies somewhere, but can’t find them at the minute) about the world average age of breastfeeding:

        “While breastfeeding beyond 1 year of age is considered extended breastfeeding in the United States,[93] experts say that the average age of weaning worldwide is 4 years.[92] In Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, the average length of breastfeeding is 22.6 months [96] and in India, mothers commonly breastfeed their children until 3 to 4 years of age. Stein says that “In India, women often wean their 3 or 4-year-old by putting the juice of a bitter gourd or melon on their nipples.” Although the American Academy of Pediatrics stated in 1997 that “It is recommended that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter as mutually desired”, the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for at least 2 years.”

        Hope that helps!

  25. Jeesh, if we’re going to bash her for breastfeeding longer than “normal”, then should we also bash mother’s who give their children artificial breastmilk (formula), simply because they don’t want to go through the “trouble” of breastfeeding (I understand some women simply cannot, but for many, they don’t even try)? Or mother’s who feed their toddlers junk food? I’m quite certain a three year old gets better nutrition from breastmilk than from chips, soda, and artificial foods.

  26. Show me proof that women who breastfeed until three are raising dangerous individuals, and I’ll start to question how some people live their life. If I don’t like it or wouldn’t do it myself, that doesn’t mean that anyone’s getting hurt.

    Mayim knows that her parental styles are less common in most circles but it follow her religious beliefs, so by posting this story on her blog she’s not bragging about her lifestyle, she’s attempting to educate some and communicate with others who share her view. I mean, she’s blogging for a Jewish parenting website!

    I don’t see why you’re treating her like a criminal. She’s not hurting you guys in the slightest.

  27. What a disgusting sight. Bialik is doing this simply for her own purposes of ‘attachment parenting’ and seeming like a supermom. And for those talking about other cultures, stop being so racist. Most cultures breastfeed a few months and the child is then given solids. Some go for up to 18 months or 2 years in cases of famine since the child is unlikely to have clean, available food or water.

    • Wow, you managed to make yourself sound like an ignorant judgmental and closed minded individual NUMEROUS times in your post. That’s impressive. First of all, racist? Really? What a joke. “Other cultures” does not have to mean third world countries in which hunger is an epidemic. There are MANY cultures, where people’s skins are all different colors, where extended breast feeding is practiced and praised. “Most cultures” do not breast feed for a few months and then move to solids. Most cultures breast feed at least a year. There is nothing more healthy than breast feeding for a child’s nutrition. What do you propose? Giving cow’s milk? Are you even aware that cow’s milk is actually breast milk–meant for a CALF? So it’s ok to drink a cow’s milk but not for a baby to drink it’s mother’s milk? I’m almost laughing at you saying people here are being “racist” over talking about other cultures in which breast feeding is praised. Perhaps you should look up the definition of racism.
      Secondly, I highly doubt that Mayim is posting about that to seem like a super mom. You sound like you’re jealous and bitter. Are you not able to sufficiently care for your children to the best of your abilities so you feel the need to feel anger over someone who is a devoted mother? Because that’s how you come across. There is nothing wrong with attachment parenting and kudos to those women who take the time to breast feed. It is NOT acceptable to wean children after a “few months” for selfish, non-medical reasons. Somehow I think that, if you’re even a mother, you had your baby on formula as fast as you could. You need to examine your own psycho-social hang ups and issues, in my opinion. You sound like you have some deep rooted insecurities about mothering.
      You know what’s a disgusting sight? Your post.

  28. one day the kid is going to see these pictures and think “my mom is a nut, but I love her anyways” and forward his shrink bills to her.

  29. You think it’s disturbing seeing a picture of a 3 yr old nursing? I personally know a mother who breastfed her child until he was 5 YRS OLD and the only reason she stopped then was because he was going to kindergarten! He would beg for his “num-nums”and would even pull her shirt up, tug at her bra, and stick his face in her breast and start sucking. It was very embarrassing and uncomfortable for my husband and I to watch.

  30. I would not give a child a bottle at three years old. I wouldn’t give a child formula at three years old, nor am I a fan of pasteurized milk.

    Breastfeeding is wonderful for the first year but after that I don’t see it necessary for a child to be healthy. I just don’t.

  31. and for those of you that are “educated” in all things parenting. Please tell me at what age breastfeeding becomes “odd” to you? 8 years old? 12 years old? Never?
    Most of the negative comments came from people that agree with breastfeeding, but they just don’t agree with it for kids three years old. Doesn’t make them bad mommies or uneducated about breastfeeding. sheesh.

  32. It’s amazing how many women and mothers posting on here have such hatred and spew such vicious words directed at another mother because she is choosing to breast feed for a longer period of time! How despicable of those of you who are showing yourselves to be such hateful women! She is obviously a loving, devoted mother who is following natural practices. The woman is a neuroscientist, do you honestly think she is uneducated and stupid? Give me a break! You people have some seriously warped views on mothering, women’s bodies, breastfeeding, etc., if you think that a natural process is “disgusting”. And just to point it out… the majority of you are currently DRINKING BREAST MILK! In the form of COW’S MILK! What do you think cow’s milk is????? LMAO!!!!! Total hypocrisy.

    • Actually no, my family drinks coconut and almond milk. But if someone chooses to breast feed their child…fine, good for them. But if that child is also old enough to drink from a cup instead of a BABY bottle, then pump it and put it in a cup. I wouldn’t send my school aged kid to school with a baby bottle, so why put them on a breast?!! LOL! That is what cups are for.

  33. Who are you to judge this mama ?? Seriously ? Don’t you have anything more important to do in your little lives ?

    It’s crazy how in this world, ANY choice a mother does, ANY parenting style parents choose, they are judged, criticized … My goodness, it’s incredible …

    Here in France, it’s exactly the same. If everybody just took care of himself and his children, and stopped botherind everyone around, mothers’ lives would be much easier.

    And for info : other primates (and WE are primates) breastfeed for a great time too, and they even breastfeed many babies, different ages. They just don’t pay attention to what the lady in the next tree thinks and says …

    Last : GO MAYIM !! I love her so much on The Big Bang Theory, I lover her even more now that I know what king of mum she is !

  34. Well I personally wouldn’t breastfeed that long especially not in pubic. I’m all about the best option for mom and baby whether it be bottle or breast. It’s what is right for YOU! However I will say that children need to at some point learn a bit of independence. Which means that everytime your child cries you don’t stick a paci in his/her mouth, shove a blanky for them to hold, stick a bottle or boob in their mouth. A cuddle and a kiss around 3 yrs old should be good enough to make them understand that it’s okay and that mommy is right there. Having your 3 yr old get up several times in the night to nurse is crazy but this is her problem not ours! Children learn habits early on. We pacify children so much to basically get them to “shut up”. There is a difference between needing something and wanting something. To me it sounds like Fred WANTS to nurse bc he can but does he NEED to? no! I agree with others who have said Mayim is like a human pacifier. It’s as if her son hasn’t learned to go to sleep without being nursed back down which is only going to get worse. As parents we ALL face challenges with our kids and yes it sucks to have to take things away from them but this is all about growing up! You can sit there and say “well they’re only young once!” Yes that’s true they are. But they are still your babies regardless of if you give them a bottle, paci, blanky etc. They’re just learning that it’s okay to go without them!

  35. Alot of you are posting that she is still breast feeding because *SHE* wants to and that she is just being selfish.. I dont understand your train of thought. Why would she WANT to be up all night? What does she personally gain from continuing to breast feed her son for three years ( besides it being so benificial to her son)? I think all of you women/mothers who find it disturbing are immature. Grow up, If you dont want to breast feed.. dont. But dont make it seem like she is doing something wrong.

  36. I am a little bothered by the picture as well. I think at 3 it is time to stop nursing especially in public. I think that it is also not healthy for the child of his age to be nursing every 2 hours at night time. It sound like he is using her breast for a pacifier and it is recomended that childen stop using a pacifier at age 2. I don’t see anything wrong with extended nursing but do it in the privacy at your own home and give milk or something else in a cup so that the child learns how to drink from it. With our kids I breasfed just slightly over a year and then switched to regular milk in a cup.
    As far as seeing your mom’s breast as a sexual thing that is just ignorant. There is nothing wrong with a pre-school aged kid seeing your parents naked. Geez

    • “Regular” milk in a cup, huh? Oh, you mean cow’s milk intended for calves? From their udders. Yes, that’s “regular” milk, all right. Totally a’okay rather than the milk that is formulated especially for a growing human and adapts as they grow. Yes. Right.

  37. All you weird woman who think this is fine. Have more babies and get over it. You all probably homeschool and live somewhere in the boonies anyway.

  38. While I don’t think it is disgusting I do think it’s a bit much, doctors have proven that it is best to introduce solid foods anywhere for 4 to 6 months unless there is a nutritional restriction for the child, each child differs and solid food meaning things like rice cereal mixed with formula or breast milk. People who feed their children on milk (whatever kind) past the age of two are usually in underdeveloped countries suffing from even adult malnutrition. It is not realistic to base our opinions on the needs and resorts of others. If we were weary of starvation many mothers would nurse their children beyond two years of age. It is scientifically proven that people don’t need milk past the age of 2, we can collect all the nutrients we need from other sources.
    Breast milk is also more quickly digested than formula or other milk and that is why her son wakes up throughout the night. He was or is very reliant on the nutrion he recieves from his mother. If he is not eating a proper meal for his age based on fact here not opinion or the facts of under developed countries(does he have all the nutrion he needs) then he will wake up hungry.
    Nursing her son for however long they choose is their choice and I applaude her for making that choice. I do think that she needs to incorporate more solid foods into his diet though.

  39. Mayim sounds like a very conflicted women. She comes off like she wants to stop nursing but then says she doesn’t mind. What is it? I mean only you Mayim have the power and the authority to say “no” to nursing. She also says, that she only allowed bottles for milk but now gives him water in them as a means of daytime weaning. All she’s really doing is contradicting herself and causing more problems in the long run! I have a cousin who nursed for 16 months. She wanted to wean her son but it was hard so she decided that maybe she’d let him have the bottle instead. Well now he’s over 2 and she can barely pry the bottle from him. Yet he goes all day in daycare without even mentioning it and as soon as mom walks in the door he starts whining for his “baba”. She admitted she can’t tell him no and feels guilty so she just gives in. I ask her if that’s gonna be her same attitude 15 years from now when she catches him with a beer lol. The bottom line is parents have the ability to say enough is enough and when they don’t it’s their problem they created. If Mayim wanted this to be over with it would be. To me it just sounds like what Fred wants Fred gets!

  40. I would think this boy might have sleeping problems as he, especially the inability to sleep long hours interrupted. I’m not a mother but I thought one of the first things a baby needs to learn is to sleep through the night.

  41. I think everyone is entitled to their opinion just as she is entitled to raise her child as she sees fit. Of course putting this information on the web is going to get you criticized no doubt. I think nursing a child this old is odd because it is something I’m not used to. That’s not bashing anyone. She puts the info out to inform people about what she is doing, that’s my observation. The main thing to me is she is raising a child who thinks it is ok to be up all night. Children need lots of sleep. Her child is waking all during the night and essentially needs Mommy to entertain him. This is creating a bad sleep routine. He should be sleeping soundly through the night by now. I get the impression she is one of these mothers that can’t say no to their child, even if it means depriving herself of much needed sleep. That is going to be trouble for her down the road.

  42. Come on people! Let’s face it- the child will continue to do whatever as long as mom keeps promoting it!!! That’s why it’s called WEANING!
    It’s the MOM’s problem with not wanting to stop- not the child’s. Just like a mother that let’s their chilld to continue to suck on a pacifier. They’re just to afraid to throw them away and deal with a little crying for a day.
    A three year old is way to old for breastfeeding. When a child starts getting teeth, it’s for a reason. Time to start solids and move on to soy, cow, goat or whatever kind of milk you want your child to drink. Getting up that many times at night for a three year old is just plain stupid!! She needs to have another baby if she wants that closeness that breastfeeding offers. Wean and start reading with your son instead!!

  43. This does not surprise me at all for her. She has always come across as not only odd but a hippy, bohemian, tree hugger type. Hope the kid doesn’t end up in therapy someday because if she can’t wean her son from breastfeeding- how in the heck is she gonna let him go off to college???

    • Oh, dear. I think her kid will go off to college just fine, and likely be a confident and independent individual.

      Breastfeeding creates a way of rapid responsiveness to the infant and child’s needs. They are confident and therefore independent because they know if they ever need their mom there, she will be. They do not have to find ways to “self-soothe” which actually may not be beneficial for the child who depends on their mother anyway. We shouldn’t try to turn children into adults while they are still children.
      Children often supplement that need for comfort in the form of extended pacifier use, blankets/blankies, stuffed animals, and so on. Why create comfort in an inanimate object?
      And this doesn’t mean she’ll be there for breastfeeding when he needs reassurance and comfort later in life… this means it goes beyond that in other capacities. As he grows and the natural process of weaning has begun, he will always have that bond with his mom. It’s not a “breastfeeding bond” but it is a trust bond. They can trust their mother to be there. They are calm, happy, independent, and secure in their surroundings.

      Believe it or not, there is a roughly variable time that children naturally wean themselves. There is no trauma, no bluntly cutting off a trusted connection.

      Also, someone above went on about her friend’s child tugging at her mom’s shirt, etcetera. One thing you do teach is “nursing manners” early on and it sounds like she may not have enforced or done that.


  45. Nursing manners Gena??! Give me a break!
    If your having to “teach” nursing manners (ha!) then your child is way to old to be nursing!
    Give it up and admit your the type- like Mayim, that are such intense nurturers that you need someone to help Wean YOU off breastfeeding. Your the ones- not the child- that just can’t seem to end it.

  46. If I knew Blossom would have turned out to be this breastfeeding zealot back then I probably would NOT have watched that show. She is truly annoying and very self-righteous.

  47. I cannot believe the comments here. So many people worried about breastfeeding a 3 year old. In MANY countries worldwide young children continue to feed until 4, 5 even 6 years of age – AT SCHOOL, during recess and lunch and those children are considered to be LUCKY.

    Breastfeeding, at any age, provides nourishment and improves the mother child bond by allowing peaceful comfort and interaction. Anyone who has FORCE weaned a child would have experienced a child still wanting the breast. Regardless of why the child still wants the breast most reasons for withholding are simply selfish. Saying that nutrition can come from other sources is irrelevent, why go to other sources when it is on tap, sterile and free right there on your chest???

    For those who think that switching to formula is the answer or pumping breastmilk, again, why would a mum with working breasts bother?

    The comments about being disgusted, concerned about incest or other just as uneducated, judgemental opinions are far more disturbing than breastfeeding a 3 year old, I think people who have such thoughts about something so natural and loving must have some serious issues (perhaps you weren’t breastfed?)

    When you look around and see all the messed up people on this planet, it is easy to believe the modern style of ‘fast food’ – “Would you like a baby with that?” parenting is contributing to the problem. So many people say her motives are selfish – because all mothers who get up 4-6 times a night are doing it for self gratification.

    Attachment parenting is so rewarding, co-sleeping, baby wearing, cloth bummed, self weaning, happy, content children are so much easier to parent than the other option.

    It is an absolute blessing to be able to breastfeed a child until they wean themselves, whatever their age.

  48. Good for her. I’m sure she knows how taboo this is in America but normal in so many other countries. Fred isn’t my son, I’m not Mayim, so this is none of my business, IMHO.
    Let’s check in on Fred in a few years and see how he’s doing…. my guess is he’ll be loving and well-adjusted. In these times, with all the drama and drug use, I think all options should be allowed in child-rearing.

  49. Her sons are going to grow up to be one of those freaks that goes to the brothel dressed up like a baby. C’mon now, this is absurd, and if you don’t think so, then you’ve got issues, too.

  50. Her sons are going to grow up to be one of those freaks that goes to the brothel dressed up like a baby. C’mon now, this is absurd, and if you don’t think so, then you’ve got issues, too.

  51. Her sons are going to grow up to be one of those freaks that goes to the brothel dressed up like a baby. C’mon now, this is absurd, and if you don’t think so, then you’ve got issues, too.

  52. Her sons are going to grow up to be those freaks that go to the brothel dressed up like a baby. And she better not let that kid out the house EVER, cuz he is going to get straight up abused. Idiot.

  53. It’s pretty interesting reading these posts. Most of the educated, well-positioned, well-argued, research-backed responses are in support of breastfeeding until the child self-weans. Many of the other responses are either completely ignorant or clearly parroting back cultural stereotypes of what a mother is “supposed” to do with regards to nourishing her child. I think this body of work speaks for itself! I’m proud of any mother who does what is best for her child no matter what cultural criticism she receives. The right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually the same thing.

  54. The people saying to pump obviously don’t fully understand how breastfeeding works. The nipple actually absorbs some of the saliva, analyzes what the child’s needs are immunity-wise, and the body adjusts the breastmilk accordingly. It’s a crucial step in how breastfeeding is so beneficial. I see no issue in her feeding that long…more power to her!

  55. If f you nurse for a year or more, as recommended by the AAP:
    Your baby will receive health benefits that last a lifetime. Long-term nursing protects against ulcerative colitis, diabetes, asthma, Crohn’s disease, obesity, and high cholesterol in adulthood. Babies who are breastfed for a year or more are less likely to need speech therapy or braces later in life.
    Think about the cost savings if you nurse for a year! Formula can cost as much as $200.00 a month, depending on the type you use. The cost of bottles, nipples, and extra doctor’s visits also add up. You can easily save at least $1,000 during the first year by nursing your baby. (See “Why Breastfeed?“)
    You will continue to provide him with the best form of nutrition. The fact that most babies can tolerate cow’s milk after one year doesn’t mean that they don’t continue to get benefits from breastmilk. The concentration of antibodies in human milk becomes more concentrated as the volume they consume goes down.
    During the toddler stage, your baby will encounter many spills and bumps and bruises as he navigates his new world. Nursing provides a perfect way to comfort a toddler who has bumped his knee, or who is fighting sleep after a busy day.
    Children who are breastfed long term tend to be more secure and independent than babies who are weaned early, because they have had their needs met during the vulnerable period of infancy. Don’t worry that your baby will nurse forever – all babies wean eventually, no matter what you do. Children grow up way too quickly, and the time they spend nursing is so short in comparison to the eighteen  years that they spend at home. (see article on “Weaning” for more information).
    Long-term nursing provides benefits for moms, too. Many of the benefits of breastfeeding are dose-related. This means that the longer you breastfeed over the course of your lifetime, the lower your risk of breast cancer and osteoporosis.
    Whether you nurse your baby for days, weeks, months, or years, you will both benefit. Some mothers are hesitant to begin breastfeeding if they know they won’t nurse for long, or are uncertain about whether it will hurt, or tie them down, or whether they will be able to produce enough milk. It’s always worth giving breastfeeding a try. Even if it doesn’t work out, you can always stop nursing at any point. Many mothers start out with the intention of only nursing for a short time, and then find that they keep going much longer than they ever thought they would. Take it one day at a time, and remember than even one feeding at the breast provides important benefits to both you and your baby.

  56. Lots of uneducated people. So many benefits! Even prevents breast cancer the longer you breastfeed. My whole family did self weening we are all well educated self confident happy people far from freaks! My daughter is three breastfeeding still she does not do it anywhere like Fred did she is so normal beautiful and smart! She knows it has her milk.

  57. To me, I find it a bit disturbing. What if her kid becomes a teenager and still craves for breastmilk, 3 years old kids are more than capable of eating solid foods. I mean come on, the kid is about to enter kindergarten soon.

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