Jess your scope of interesting data is quite intriguing. I do not know where I stand exactly on "norms", I can argue either side. I agree parent and baby led weaning are best left up to the parties involved. But there are some instances where I would question the reasoning for 3, 4 and 5 years olds still nursing. Is this just for the comfort of the child? Probably, and a child must be encouraged to seek solace in other age appropriate forms. What is age appropriate? I defer to our current cultural norms on this one, with the understanding that there are exceptions to every rule and norm. Is there a nutritional component to late nursing? Possibly, but I think we live in a nation quite filled with nutrious foods and supplements - if it were a matter of survival I say go ahead nurse until they graduate high school.
I think the samples you highlighted were of great interest and it begs the question "will we look back at our current cultural norms and gasp at the barbaric nature of weaning a three year old child when they should've nursed until 6?" Only time will tell.
For now we are educated and quite intuitive and questions like these can only be answered by those it affects, and each answer may be different for each person and that is OK. It is good to know there are so many people in the world with good information, good suggestions and the power to share.
Child #1 weaned at 18 months - going thru a divorce, too stressed out to keep nursing although I would have until he was a 2.
Child #2 weaned at 11 months - I was 6 months pregnant with #3 and way too tired.
Child #3 partially weaned at 6 Months then entirely at 10 months - I planned to go back to work, went back to work and still hate the fact that I jipped him out of a longer nursing period
Child #4 9.5 months now trying to gradually wean, to be complete at 12 months - going overseas this summer and I am not taking any children. If she is not gently weaned by then I will not go, but my husband will (which demonstrates the difficulty of weaning when the infant is not ready).
Interesting forum, interesting insights.