The Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy #28

December 3rd, 2010 by Dionna | 8 Comments
Posted in Breastfeeding/Lactivism, Carnival and Special Series, Compassionate Advocacy, Ensure Safe Sleep, Feed with Love and Respect, Guest Posts, Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, natural parenting

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Today I am happy to host a guest post by Christine. A few short years ago, Christine was a copy editor in a software firm in her native Dublin, Ireland. Now she’s a mother of two in suburban Maryland. In order to try to make sense of how this all-too-predictable transformation came about, she blogs as (not) Maud at Awfully Chipper. Her granola credentials run to co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding, and lots and lots of babywearing, but she admits to using Pampers and desperately wishing for a full night’s sleep in her own bed some day. She is currently sporting an improbable shade of lilac on her toenails. Here is her breastfeeding guest post:
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Christine and her nurslings

Sometimes I have mixed feelings about extended nursing. I’m an avid supporter of it: I think everyone should be able to do it if they and their child want to, and it has made my life easier on a daily basis for the past four and a half years. On the other hand, I’m not just still nursing my 22-month old daughter: her brother, who turned four last April, also partakes of the font of boob on a daily basis.

We don’t have a family bed, but first thing in the morning I’m almost always to be found sleeping with the baby, on the mattress on the floor in her bedroom. (I keep trying to persuade her that Mummy has another bed in the room Daddy sleeps in. She laughs and tells me that this – hers – is Mummy’s bed. Silly Mummy.) I hear a thump from the other room and the stomp stomp stomp of my son – always too early – and then he’s right there, asking in a stage whisper for his morning “side.” And I think “When will you stop?”

And yet. At the start of a long-haul flight last Christmas, my son looked worried and asked me whether the attendants would tell us he wasn’t allowed to nurse. A moment earlier I had been rather hoping we might get through the journey without my having to attend thus to him as well as his sister; as soon as he said that, my feelings of put-upon-ness turned to righteous indignation and I assured him that he and I were the only people in charge of whether he could nurse or not, and we always would be.

Back when he was a newborn, I began to catalog in my mind the exciting and daring places I’d nursed him: the supermarket, the library, the mall – and not just in the mother-and-baby room, either – even outdoors in the park. Nowadays, it would be easier to count the places I haven’t breastfed one or other child (or both): the bank, perhaps? Waiting in line at immigration, probably. A boat, maybe: I don’t think I’ve done a boat. I’ve nursed them on trains, planes, buses, the front seat of parked cars, the back seat of moving cars (with both of us strapped in: Dr Sears said it could be done, and lo, it could!); in at least eight countries on three continents; in front of elderly relatives and curious kindergartners.

I see myself as an ambassador for breastfeeding. If you’re wondering what I’m doing, please ask me about it. If it makes you uncomfortable, by all means look away: I don’t really care. I think nursing a baby or a toddler – or even a little kid – in public, or in private, is the most normal thing in the world, and if I can do my tiny bit towards making other people feel that way too, then I’m proud to keep nursing my children – both of them – for as long as we all want to.

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Breastfeeding past infancy is full of laughter, joys, and heartbreaking tenderness. I am publishing a series of posts dedicated to the beauty of nursing toddlers in an effort to normalize this healthy and beneficial nursing relationship. But this isn’t just about me – I want to hear YOUR joys. If you are nursing a child who is older than one year, please contact me and tell me about your favorite moments. I will include them in the series and credit you, your site, or post it anonymously if you so desire. (This series was formerly called “The Joys of Breastfeeding a Toddler.” I changed the name to reflect the fact that we are celebrating women who breastfeed past infancy, regardless of the age of the nursling.)

8 Responses to:
"The Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy #28"

  1. Acrophile

    Great response! And really, I must also admit to the mixed feelings. When my 22 month old daughter nurses and then comfort-sucks (and the fluttering sometimes hurts!), if I disengage (no matter how carefully I follow Martha Sears’ instructions) she wakes up, it is discouraging. Yet I have such closeness with her, and I just look at her sleeping there or she and I look at each other, or she flips my lips to get me to make that funny sound, I don’t ever want to stop. But I know that it will only grow more uncomfortable with time and her age. So I will enjoy it now, and set limits when the the time comes.

  2. Heather   xakana

    Awesome!

    • Heather   xakana

      Sorry, that was supposed to say, “From another mom nursing a 4 year old and a 22–no, now 23–month old!

  3. Thanks for the comments. For the record, I have to admit that my four-year-old has now weaned – I submitted this to Dionna a couple of months ago. If you’re interested in more about how we finally weaned, the post is called “By Contract”, from November on my blog.

  4. Lovely! I feel rather sad for you that your son felt it necessary to ask if someone would stop you both. Had he picked up, sub conciously, on the negative vibes we often get from people when nursing an older child, esp in public?

  5. Jeanie   gypsychild

    I breastfeed everywhere back in 1982 and up. (I have 4). I lived in a van and traveled everywhere. The only time I was ever ask to cover up was when we were visiting a male friend in prison and they told me to put a blanket over my sons head. I was a bit shocked but did as told.
    I would not recomment someone to lift a tight shirt or bra over breast as it can cause blockage and possible infection. Make sure clothing is loose.
    I think I was so use to shocking people with my lifestyle that I just didn’t even notice when I breastfeed in public.
    So nice to see your strength in your conviction.

  6. Janine   AltHousewife

    I am only in my second month of breastfeeding but I feel the same as you did – I have a mental list of places I want to BF. I even feel oddly guilty when I give my baby a pumped bottle in public rather than whipping out a boob, even though I do so because it’s quicker and he doesn’t linger to use it as a pacifier and not in any way because I’m embarrassed.

    I’m not sure how long I’ll breastfeed but I can say that when I imagine being sick or injured or otherwise incapacitated in the future, my #1 anxiety is What if I couldn’t breastfeed my baby.

    Gonna go check out your weaning post next… ::) Thanks for sharing!

  7. Lori Ann   simplyla

    I had to laugh at nursing in “the back seat of moving cars (with both of us strapped in: Dr Sears said it could be done, and lo, it could!)”

    I figured this out last week! We didn’t have a car til then, and were taking it out on a first road trip… DD was overtired and needed to nurse but it wasn’t convenient to pull over, but it worked with her belted into the carseat and me in the seat next to it!

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