It’s About Time

Let’s talk about this cover:

(Source)

I’m not a big fan of the cover. Not because of what it shows, but of how it shows it. This is not how women breastfeed, even with a child that is nearly four years old. This makes it seem cold and detached to me. Instead of showing them in their natural setting, where it’s a close moment for mother and child, this poor kid had to stand on a stool in a room full of people taking pictures. His mom, hell, I’d love to look like her, but it’s like she’s trying to be sexy while nursing. The two don’t go together. The headline, “Are you mom enough,” really? I know it was to stir controversy (it’s working!) and poke fun at (insult) both camps of mothering/parenting styles, but come one. As if moms don’t feel enough pressure to be perfect as it is.

Nonetheless, I’m glad they put the cover out there. If nothing else, it’s getting people to talk about breastfeeding, which hopefully will lead to some education about it. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with extended breastfeeding if it is working for both the mother and children. There is nothing, I mean nothing, sexual or perverse about nursing your child. Breastmilk does not stop being nutritious once a baby is 6 months, 1  year or 2 years old which is exactly why the WHO recommends nursing up to 7 years old. Yes, 7, as in a child who would typically be in the 2nd grade. That does not mean they do it all the time or don’t eat regular food, drink from cups, etc.

It makes me feel so ragey when I hear these uneducated people say when a baby is 3 months or 6 months, or has a tooth (which would be as early as birth) it’s time to stop. Or when they say it is gross or sexual. Or of course, when they can ask for it, cut them off. I’ll admit, I used to say the latter, until Ella could ask for it. She can’t say, hey mom I want some milk, but she is not shy about tugging at my shirt.

I’ve become quite a closet lactivist. Which is surprising to even me. I HATED breastfeeding at the beginning. It didn’t come naturally to me. Of course I understood how it was supposed to go, but it hurt. There were many days during the first six weeks of Ella’s life that I cried, boobs out, dripping milk, nipples so painful I didn’t want anything to touch them let alone let Ella nurse from them. I stuck with it, mainly because I’m stubborn and I knew that I wanted Ella to get all the perfectly composed nutrients she needed. It got better.

Here we are 10 months later and I love nursing. Ella does too. It is the first thing we do when we get home from daycare. It is like a quick reconnection for us after several hours apart. Nursing provides more than nutrients, it provides security and comfort for her. It works for us. I’ve been very lucky to have never dealt with mastitis or an inadequate supply. I’ve never been through a nursing strike or thrush. Overall I’ve had a very positive experience and plan to continue nursing until Ella is ready to stop.

If you asked me 5 years ago, hell, even a year ago if I would even consider extended breastfeeding I would have said no, without hesitation. As we inch closer to the year mark, which was my original goal, I find myself and Ella unready to wean. I never planned on being an extended breastfeeder but I don’t think you really know what is going to work for you until you’re there.  Josh isn’t quite on the same wave length as me. He has always been very supportive of breastfeeding, but like many thinks 2-3 years old is getting too old for nursing. He would like it if Ella were weaned by 18 months. We’ll see.

So, breastfeed or formula feed, wean or extend, do what is right for you. Try not to rush to snap judgment and please, support fellow moms.

These moms, like every mom, are doing what they think is right for their children. That’s all we can do.

2 thoughts on “It’s About Time

  1. That cover got me riled up. Especially the new coverage I saw last night about. I totally agree that it does not represent breastfeeding in a realistic light; it was just to stir up controversy. I also agree, though, that discussion about breastfeeding is good and will hopefully lead to more education about it. I just don’t understand why it is anyone else’s business how long someone nurses their child for. There is no right answer. And it was hard to watch some of the coverage which only presented the opinion that extended breastfeeding was bad, deviant, or unhealthy.

    I was a huge lactivist in what I said, but in the first 2-3 months I was pretty shy to actually nurse in public because I was afraid of getting mean comments or asked to leave. Getting out of the house was great for me in the early days, but I often nursed in the car or in a changing room if I was at the mall. I was finally able to shake that and nurse proudly in public. I am still sad that I’m not nursing my son anymore. Once we got going, I really had hopes to continue nursing to age 2, but it didn’t work out for us.

  2. I don’t mind the shot as much as I find the text – “Are you mom enough” and a reference of driving mothers “to extremes”. The kid is 3 years old. Not 30. And the article doesn’t seem to be well-informed either. I am all for normalizing extended breastfeeding. It is not an extreme practice. They phrame it as such, however.

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