Natural-term breastfeeding

16 April 2011 at 1:07 am 22 comments

WELCOME to the April 2011 Carnival of Breastfeeding! Links to other participants’ posts follow my post!

Some musings, before you get to the post itself:

Wait, there’s a Carnival of Breastfeeding on “extended breastfeeding”? Whoa, sign me up! It’s what I do, what I think about, and what I often post about anyway. . . But wait–why is it called “extended” breastfeeding? Like there’s normal or standard breastfeeding and then extended, as opposed to normal, natural-term breasteeding? Uh-uh, I can’t call it “extended”–I’m a writer and a linguist, and to me, words matter. . . . Okay, I’ll just use the term I want–I’m in!

Some previous posts on this subject:

Some current thoughts:

My son is two years and almost eight months old. I could not have told you, before he was born, that I would still be nursing now. I didn’t know–I didn’t plan this specific part anymore than I planned the exact position I would push in when I delivered him. In both cases, I listened to my body, trusted myself, and figured that my baby and I would, well, figure it out together.

My son isn’t just a morning-and-bedtime nurser–if we’re home together during the day, he nurses a lot, almost every 2-3 hours. If we’re out and about, he asks less often, but at least twice in between morning and bedtime. We co-sleep, and I never set about trying to alter his night sleep or nursing patterns, so he also nurses a lot at night. Lately, he’s become very particular about which breast, at which point, in the middle of the night–I sometimes wake up to a dark room, a clock reading 3:00 A.M., and a toddler yelling, “WA WA OTHER SIDE!” as he paws at my chest. This is rare–usually night-nursing is a much calmer experience, and actually results in all of us getting more sleep than we would otherwise–but has happened, on occasion.

We live in Boston, and we nurse wherever we go–at his daycare/preschool, while standing on the corner waiting for a bus, while on the bus, on the subway, in church, in restaurants, everywhere. But where are all the other nursing toddlers? I don’t see any. Ever. I went to a toddler La Leche League meeting once, in a neighboring town. My son was 17 months, the oldest child in the room. There were two other babies in the 13-month range, but I was expecting more.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll nurse, but it will be as long as my son wants. That’s the only answer I can give. And though yeah, it’s weird to be the only person ever nursing in public without a ridiculous flowered cover or a giant blanket, or to be the only person nursing a baby visibly older than 3-6 months, I don’t plan to stop, at home or in public, as long as my son asks.

So, mamas of nursing toddlers, come out of the woodwork! Stop hiding at home with your nursing two-year-olds! Join me around town!

–Christina

Read the other contributors to the April 2011 Carnival of Breastfeeding here:

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: .

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22 Comments Add your own

  • [...] See the rest here: Natural-term breastfeeding « Massachusetts Friends of Midwives Blog [...]

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  • 2. Elita @ Blacktating  |  17 April 2011 at 7:30 pm

    It’s funny, I always planned to nurse for two years. It was always my goal and when I was pregnant and people would ask if I planned to breastfeed, I would say, “Yes, for two years” without skipping a beat. I never once got a look or a nasty comment, surprisingly. I am lucky to come from a family of “extended” breastfeeders so it’s always been the norm to me. Hopefully it will be the norm once our kids have children of their own and no one will need to be a closet nurser.

    Reply
  • 3. Callista  |  17 April 2011 at 8:26 pm

    With my first child I had planned at least 6 months and then I’d go from there. It was at about one month that I realized I didn’t want to give my baby formula but sadly at 2 1/2 months I had to because of a medication Ineeded to go on. With my second child I was able to nurse as long as I wanted (you can read more about it in my post for the carnival) but I still hadn’t planned a certain amount of time, and I don’t have a plan for baby number three (who is currently almost 3 weeks old)

    Reply
  • 4. My Favorite Moments «Mommy News and Views Blog  |  17 April 2011 at 8:32 pm

    [...] Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding [...]

    Reply
  • 5. My Sleep Breakthrough-Momma's Angel  |  17 April 2011 at 8:40 pm

    [...] Jenny @ Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: The Highs and Lows of Nursing a Toddler Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Suzi @ Attachedattheboob: Why I love nursing a toddler Elisa @ blissfulE: counter cultural: [...]

    Reply
  • 6. The Little Things « On Becoming Mommy  |  17 April 2011 at 8:43 pm

    [...] Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding [...]

    Reply
  • [...] Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding [...]

    Reply
  • 8. Old enough to ask for it « normal, like breathing  |  17 April 2011 at 9:12 pm

    [...] Natural-term breastfeeding « Massachusetts Friends of Midwives Blog on April 17, 2011 at 8:55 [...]

    Reply
  • 9. Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC  |  17 April 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Christina! I think the more we talk about this and just DO it, the sooner the biological norm of breastfeeding beyond infancy will also become the cultural norm.

    Reply
  • 10. Breastfeeding Older Twins :: Breastfeeding Twins  |  17 April 2011 at 11:17 pm

    [...] Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding [...]

    Reply
  • 11. Elisa | blissfulE  |  17 April 2011 at 11:20 pm

    If my youngest toddler bumps herself or is over-tired or over-stimulated, I’ll offer the breast in public, and I certainly respond to any nursing requests.

    My policy is only to nurse my youngest in public (except in case of emergency), not because of social stigma, but because I want to do whatever we’re out to do, not sit and nurse the whole time.

    So, I’m nursing three children (4-year-old, 3-year-old, and a 19-month-old) but you’ll only see the 19-month old nurse in public these days. And even she will have to step aside for her little brother or sister coming in June!

    Reply
  • 12. Gratitude for extended breastfeeding | Reproductive Rites  |  18 April 2011 at 12:56 am

    [...] Jenny @ Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: The Highs and Lows of Nursing a Toddler Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding Rebekah @ Momma’s Angel: My Sleep Breakthrough Suzi @ Attachedattheboob: Why I love nursing a [...]

    Reply
  • 13. Breastfeeding Flavors « TouchstoneZ  |  18 April 2011 at 7:22 am

    [...] Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding [...]

    Reply
  • [...] Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding [...]

    Reply
  • [...] Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding  [...]

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  • 16. Heather B (HomemadeMom)  |  18 April 2011 at 8:27 pm

    My son will be 2 in June and we are still breastfeeding. He’s the longest I’ve nursed of my 3 sons. I don’t plan on weaning until he’s ready, whenever that may be. However, I feel a lot of pressure to wean, so we only nurse at home and never in public anymore at this age. I can’t wait to participate in this blog carnival!

    Reply
  • 17. A Song for Mama’s Milk | Caffeinated Catholic Mama  |  19 April 2011 at 10:24 am

    [...] Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding [...]

    Reply
  • 18. kariannafrey  |  19 April 2011 at 11:01 am

    I am loving the phrase “natural-term.” It now has a place in my vernacular! I had the pleasure of nursing my 19 month old in the check out line at the market (to avoid the inevitable melt-down) and let me tell you about the “looks” I would get there! Que Sera Sera.

    Reply
  • 19. The best thing about breastfeeding – The Milk Mama  |  19 April 2011 at 11:49 am

    [...] Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding [...]

    Reply
  • 20. onbecomingmommy  |  22 April 2011 at 5:24 am

    Ha ha! So true! As my son’s first birthday is next week, I’ve vaguely (as you say above) considered weaning…and in considering, I typically end up thinking “definitely not yet.”

    But, with so many moms who seem to feel the same (and all these stories in the Carnival!), I have yet to EVER have witnessed a nursing toddler in public! It’s a downward spiral. NOT seeing the toddlers nursing certainly discourages many of us from fighting the norm.

    Thanks for your call for natural-term (love the term!) breastfeeders to stop hiding! I agree whole-heartedly!

    Reply
  • 21. Childins theter | Selezniov  |  26 April 2011 at 12:19 pm

    [...] Natural-term breastfeeding [...]

    Reply
  • 22. Zoie @ TouchstoneZ  |  26 April 2011 at 8:24 pm

    This is a great post for the breastfeeding carnival. I agree that it’s unusual to see breastfeeding in public. It’s even more rare to spy a nursing toddler. It’s even more rare to see nursing kids or tandem nursing. I think it’s affected by the low numbers of breastfeeding babies who are weaned before toddlerhood. I do know there are a lot of closet nurses out there who just don’t feel comfortable in public for whatever reason (just like there are a lot of people who won’t cop to co-sleeping)

    I remember every single time I got a disapproving stare or comment. I also remember every single time I got acceptance or encouragement. I try to make a point to encourage mamas who are nursing in public-maybe they’ll go a little longer if they know at least one person supports them. Good for you for doing the same and helping to normalize breastfeeding at any age

    Reply

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