Thursday, 10 May 2012
“You’re STILL doing that? Isn’t she old enough to stop that? If she can ask for it, then she’s too old!” Yep, I’ve heard them all. My daughter is 13 months old so that means I have crossed the line into, no-mans land, a.k.a. Extended Breastfeeding.I didn’t plan to breast feed past one year, shoot, I didn’t even know if I’d make it to six months! I’m not a co-sleeping, granola-crunching, attachment parent that people would expect to do something so “audacious” like breastfeed my toddler. I’m just a mom that wants to give my child the best of me.
Breastfeeding didn’t come easy for us. My milk took nine days to come in and my daughter didn’t latch on for nearly two weeks. It took lots of tears, persistence, and hours with Dr. Google to make it through those rough first months of nursing, but we made it. I fought so hard to give my baby the best food in the world, so why the hell would I stop giving to her because of what some ignorant people might say?
The recent Time magazine cover featuring Jamie Lynne Grumet nursing her nearly four year old son made me think about why I am continuing to nurse my toddler and has sparked a lot of debate nationwide.
Nursing is the most natural things a mother can do for her child. Some may say that he’s too old, or that he doesn’t need to breastfeed. But who is to determine that? Women have been nursing toddlers since the beginning of time, yet now it is not socially acceptable? I admit that before I gave birth I judged a friend of mine that nursed her son for 14 months. I thought she was a quack! Why would anyone want to nurse for that long, it was weird, unnatural, and made me very uncomfortable when she nursed in front of me! I was ignorant. Ignorant about the tremendous physical and emotional health benefits of breastfeeding. And I recently admitted to her what I had thought about her extended breastfeeding and apologized for my thoughts. Who was I to judge her? And yet here I am in the same position being judged.
I think a lot of Americans are as uneducated as I was and that is a huge problem. So many other countries accept extended breastfeeding as the norm. And yet here, a beautiful magazine cover with a mother nourishing her child is looked at like a freak show. America needs to wake up and support mothers that dedicate themselves to EB for the sake of their children. If more doctors and parents talk about the benefits of EB maybe it would encourage more mothers to EB. Breastfeeding takes a lot of work, dedication, and support from friends and family in order to succeed. I’m so thankful for the Time’s cover picture because it will spark a lot of debate and hopefully get more people to think about what EB means for the child.
As for me and my baby, there’s no end date for our breastfeeding sessions. I’ll continue to nurse her as long as she wants. Whether that be another week or three more years, it’s our prerogative.
What do you think about the Time magazine cover? Do you think it will bring some good light on extending breastfeeding?
How long did you nurse your child?