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Russell Wilson jokes that it’s time for Ciara to stop breastfeeding. Should nursing have an end date?

Elise Solé
·4 min read
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Ciara gave birth seven months ago, but her husband Russell Wilson joked that it's now time to stop breastfeeding. Is he right?

In July, the married couple welcomed Win, a little brother for their daughter Sienna, 3, and a half-sibling to Future Jr., 6, Ciara's son with rapper Future. In a now-expired video on her Instagram Stories this week, the singer asks Russell to repeat what he said off-camera. "What did you say about breastfeeding?

"I said it's time…time to give it up," the Seattle Seahawks quarterback responds. "I mean, he's old enough, his nutrition is good. It's time…you're being selfish now at this point. No more late nights. [It's] you and I."

"He needs his nutrition," says Ciara, 35, to which Russell, 32, replies, "Let me feed."

Now, the couple did struggle to keep a straight face (and Ciara failed outright, as she laughed throughout the video). "LOL. When dad's over breastfeeding," she wrote in a caption. However, the video skirted a real issue for parents: When is it time to stop nursing?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that mothers exclusively nurse for the first six months of a child's life and continue until the age of 1, even as solid foods are introduced. Breastfeeding can continue beyond one year, states the organization, "for as long as you and your baby would like." (Doing so is known as "extended breastfeeding" and, like all facets of motherhood, people have opinions).

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"Our culture can sometimes project a somewhat limited view of acceptable breastfeeding practices; while nursing toddlers are becoming a more common sight, they still occasionally provoke comments and stares from uninformed adults," states the American Academy of Pediatrics. "When deciding how long to breastfeed your child, a more valid yardstick than public opinion is your own child’s approach to nursing and your own feelings about it."

Although AAP recommendations match that of ACOG, Dr. Lori Feldman-Winter, a professor of pediatrics at Rowan University, tells Yahoo Life, "We also support breastfeeding and lactating individuals to meet their own personal breastfeeding goals, even if that is not the same as the AAP recommendations, recognizing that the benefits of breastfeeding, while dose depended (the more the better), exist from even short periods of breastfeeding." She adds, "The key is that mothers should be able to get the evidence about breastfeeding and support for her own decisions, and not be made to feel pressured into making another person's decision her own. Our culture is evolving, and finally we are acknowledging the importance of diversity, inclusion and equity, as well as recognizing that there are communities that have endured significant social stigma and trauma."

Breast milk has ideal proportions of protein and nutrients that boost infant development, along with protective antibodies, though some scientists claim the longterm benefits of nursing are "weak or insignificant" due to "selection bias" in studies, as most were conducted on wealthy and educated married white women. Therefore, breastfeeding is not a choice for all, especially those with medical reasons or unsupportive work environments (federal law mandates companies to offer employees lactation rooms, but not all meet criteria under the Fair Labor Standards Act).

(L-R) Russell Wilson and Ciara with Future and Sienna. (Photo: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
(L-R) Russell Wilson and Ciara with Future and Sienna. (Photo: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

"There is no definitive right time to stop breastfeeding — someone's job constraints, family expectations or milk supply can all influence that decision," certified nurse-midwife Julie Lamppa tells Yahoo Life. "Other times, babies will self-wean or both mother and child will mutually decide it's time to stop."

She adds, "Stopping can feel emotional, because it's a piece of the parent-child relationship that won't be there anymore. For some mothers, that's a relief; for other's it's harder."

For women diagnosed with postpartum depression (per the Mayo Clinic, severe mood swings and "excessive crying" are just a few symptoms that may interfere with caring for a baby), anxiety related to breastfeeding discomfort can be debilitating. "In that case," says Lamppa, "it might be better to stop."

FWIW, in January, Ciara told Self that she typically breastfeeds for up to four months, though she planned to nurse Win for nine. According to Lamppa, "Women should be proud of whatever choice they make."

Read more from Yahoo Life:

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Why the Rock loves raising girls: 'Every man wants a son, but every man needs a daughter'

Gigi Hadid gets candid about home birth: 'I was an animal woman'

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