Prepared by Kathy Dettwyler, 3-22-2004.

"Extended Breastfeeding Survey"

A survey of "extended breastfeeding" - beyond three - was conducted by Katherine A. Dettwyler, Ph.D., Adjunct Associate Professor of Anthropology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4352. The data summarized below come from the United States , and most were collected between December of 1996 and March of 1998. Most of the respondents were middle- and upper-class, well-educated, and of European ancestry. These are preliminary results, for use only in legal proceedings. These results are not for citation in any general publication.

Although I have not published these data yet, I have reported on them at a Number
of Children professional conferences, and presented more on the implications of my research at the 2002 American Anthropological Association conference in New Orleans , in response to an invitation to give the annual "distinguished researcher" lecture to the Council on Nutritional Anthropology.

In brief, I surveyed 1,280 in the US who breastfed for a minimum of three. The mean age of weaning for these was 4.24., with a median of 4.00, a mode of 3.5, a standard deviation of 1.08, and a range of 3.00 to 9.17. The half-yearly break down of ages at weaning was:

Age
in years
Number
of Children
Age
in years
Number
of Children
Age
in years
Number
of Children
Age
in years
Number
of Children
3.00-3.49297 3.50-3.99286 4.00-4.49213 4.50-4.99162
5.00-5.49154 5.50-5.9958 6.00-6.4950 6.50-6.9917
7.00-7.4922 7.50-7.997 8.00-8.497 8.50-8.002
9.00-9.495
Selected References

Dettwyler, K.A. 2001 Weaning. Breastfeeding Annual 2001 . Washington DC : Platypus Media.

Dettwyler, K.A. 2001 Believing in Breastfeeding. ORGYN, XII(2):42-45.

Dettwyler, K.A. 1999 Evolutionary Medicine and Breastfeeding: Implications for Research and Pediatric Advice.

The 1998-99 David Skomp Distinguished Lecture in Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 47405.

Dettwyler, K.A. 1995 A Time to Wean: The Hominid Blueprint for the Natural Age of Weaning In Modern Human Populations. In Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives, edited by Patricia Stuart-Macadam and Katherine A. Dettwyler, pp. 39-73. New York : Aldine de Gruyter.

Dettwyler, K.A. 1995 Beauty and the Breast: The Cultural Context of Breastfeeding in the United States . In Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives, edited by Patricia Stuart-Macadam and Katherine A. Dettwyler, pp. 167-215. New York : Aldine de Gruyter