The Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy #28
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:
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.
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.)
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"The Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy #28"
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