I guess this is my cue…
First, extended breastfeeding. I myself have nursed two babies past the age of three, and I must know at least a couple dozen families whose children have nursed until about the age of two or beyond. I even know some families who have nursed their children until the age of four or so. These parents are all educated, intelligent and sensitive adults, and their children, from what I’ve seen, tend to be very intelligent and loving also.
I wonder if the people who saw the four year old nursing and were “aghast” or “horrified” react that way to billboards depicting women as sex objects, advertisements that glamourize tobacco, tshirts printed with various sexual positions, sex shops displaying their merchandise alongside an elementary school, and trashy movies and television programs like American Pie and Sex in the City (funny, entertaining, but still trashy).
About strollers. I sling my baby, and even my three year old, and I also have a stroller. Strollers can be very useful even with an older child. Sure, 2 -3 year olds can walk, but they also get tired, and there are still groceries to buy, errngds to run. It’s a comfortable place for them to rest/nap, and if you’re in crowds, crossing the street, using the MRT, even the bus, it’s a safe place (strapped in).
About the binkies, I shouldn’t judge because I’m a little “alternative” myself, but I am surprised that people would rather have a binky in their four year old’s mouth than a thumb. Even thumbs can cause dental problems, so a pacifier must be worse.
And do a little reading if it’s relevant to you, and you’ll find that babies do have a “suck need”, some more than others, so pacifiers do have their place. Ignore that need, and they’ll find other ways to try and soothe themselves. Some babies want (and need) to suck, but don’t necessarily want to eat (bottle or breast), so if they can’t suck their fingers to soothe themselves, you help them with a binky.
There’s one other big issue with the binky (giving it to a kid to quiet him without trying to see if there’s something else he needs or wants but can’t express) but I’m hoping someone else who is better with words will touch on that one.