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Friday, May 11th, 2012
Maybe it’s just because I’m currently nursing, but I’m surprised that the Time magazine breastfeeding cover (at right) is causing such a stir. Top Google search? Newspapers across America? Entertainment Tonight? Really? This is the most-talked about topic out there right now?
First off, Time sure knows how to get our attention. I get glances while discreetly nursing my tiny three-month-old under a blanket in public. Throwing a hot young mama up there openly attached to not young child? Yes. People are gonna talk. More than even I expected. All this press, and from what I can tell, the issue hasn’t even hit newsstands yet.
That said, I’m not going to comment on attachment parenting, which is what the cover is actually addressing. (I do have Beyond the Sling, by Mayim Bialik, aka TV’s Blossom, waiting in the reading pile at the moment, so we’ll resurrect that thread when I finish it, hopefully sometime before my kids leave for college, dammit.)
But I can comment on breastfeeding past a certain age. Before I had a child, I’d decided nursing was for babies. Meaning small children with no teeth or verbal skills. It was a knee-jerk opinion based solely on the feeling I got when I saw grown children actually ask for the boob, then climb onto mom’s lap on their own to get at it. If the kid can ask for it, I thought, they shouldn’t be getting it anymore.
I’ve said this before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again: And then I had kids.
I’ve written about my own nursing experience on this blog before, most notably on my post about weaning, but to recap: Before I had my first, I didn’t even want to breastfeed. I told myself I’d give it three weeks, for the health of the baby and whatnot. I ended up nursing Roy until he was a year and a half old. By that time, it was limited to before and after bedtime, but still. You better believe he was able to ask for it.
He wasn’t as old as the kid pictured. But he was a lot older than I ever figured he’d be while still nursing. The experience pushed me into the “To Each Her Own,” breastfeeding camp. I know that’s often the theme of this blog, but it can’t be helped because it’s what I believe. We are different people, raising different kids, and no one has the one-size-fits-all magic formula. We need to quit judging and concentrate on trying to figure out what’s truly best for ourselves and our kids.
Meaning that at this point in my life, when I’ll nurse my child while getting my hair washed at a salon without batting an eye, this cover doesn’t bother me one little bit. You? If it does bother you, especially, I’d love to hear exactly why.
Categories: Development, Food, Health and Wellness, Love And Diapers, Must Read | Tags: attachment parenting, Beyond the Sling, Breastfeeding, extended breastfeeding, extended nursing, Mayim Bialik, nursing, Time magazine, Time magazine breastfeeding cover
Thursday, March 29th, 2012
I’m not necessarily a lactivist. It’s just that I have a newborn who demands to eat quite a bit. And if we’re out and about, I’m going to feed her. I’m nursing exclusively, so feeding her means attaching her to my boob. Having a newborn as well as a toddler also means that I don’t have the time, energy or self-consciousness to worry about whether or not that dude over there will be bothered by the sight of a baby eating as nature intended. I just don’t give a sh*t. Wait, does that make me a lactivist by default?
I kind of just like saying that word.
So it was Family Day at the hair salon last weekend. For the three of us, at least. I was in for a long overdue foil, and at the last second, my awesome stylist agreed to sneak the boys’ haircuts in while I was processing. (Christine happens to have a son about Roy’s age as well as a newborn daughter at home, so she’s 100% down with our crazy/volatile family situation at this moment.)
Initially, I’d envisioned this outing as a chance at a little me-time. But after the boys got involved, it was clear it’d be anything but. The big question was: What to do with Vera? The girl does not sit silently in her car seat, whether or not it’s locked into a moving vehicle. She usually does sit silently on me, but could she be counted on to perform (meaning not perform?) on command? Newborns. So darn unpredictable.
We decided not to chance it, but rather let her roll with the boys. I’d sneak in a quick nursing session during the dudecuts. Then she’d take off with the boys again.
But Vera is definitely a mommy’s girl. She screamed for nearly the entire hour I was gone. Once the three of them got to the salon, she nursed and then fell sound asleep in my arms. So after the boys were nicely sheared, we decided it was best for everyone’s sanity if she just remained snuggled in my arms.
Of course the sweet snuggling stopped abruptly once we went in for a rinse. So there I was, reclined in the wash station (right off the busy waiting area, by the way), my head in the sink, cape thrown aside, tanktop and nursing bra stretched down, adjusting that little newborn body against my tummy with one hand while blindly navigating her wailing mouth to my bare nipple with the other. Nothing to see over here, folks! Just feeding my screaming kid while getting my fancy beauty needs attended to! Move along!
Darned if I didn’t successfully nurse her in that awkward position, then proceed to have my first-ever haircut/babygazing session.
And so the day brought two milestones: Our first girls’ salon outing, and my oddest nursing experience yet.
Friday, September 30th, 2011
When I left you hanging last week at the end of Part 1, Clint and I had a solid plan for weaning our 18-month-old in place, but I was having cold feet.
Once I realized that it was me, not Roy, who wasn’t ready, I thought about it—really thought about it—and came to this conclusion: Too bad for me. I want my parenting choices to be based on what’s good for my children, not what makes things easier for me. I decided to go ahead and give Roy the opportunity to stop, as planned, and see what happened.
Night one was all Clint. No nursing and no bottle, for the first time in Roy’s entire life. I said good night, leaving Clint armed with a sippy cup of water and a pile of books, then disappeared downstairs, boobs and all, to wait for the screams.
You guys. The screams didn’t come.
About 15 minutes later, Clint ambled downstairs with the baby monitor, broadcasting nothing but the chirping crickets of the sound machine set to “Summer Night.” “That went well,” he said.
I was happy? Yes. Sure. I was happy.
Then came night two. My turn. Usually, it’s nurse then night-night. Tonight, I was not going to offer, yet not going to refuse, before reading a few books to reinforce the new tradition Clint established the night before. Suffice it to say we had an uncharacteristically short breastfeeding session followed by a long book-reading session. Which is good. Right?
Night three with Clint, and therefore no nursing whatsoever, again went bump-free.
On night four with me, Roy began to nurse—out of habit, I suppose—but then stopped, almost immediately. “Moon,” he said. The boy wanted to read “Goodnight Moon.”
“Moon, or milk?” I asked, wanting to make sure he understood the decision he was making.
“Moon,” he repeated.
We haven’t nursed since. Clint and I had prepared for the worst. Had set aside a month for weaning, plus another month for backup in case one wasn’t enough. Instead, the kid was done by the end of week one. Clearly, he was ready.
Truth be told—and again, much to my surprise—I still wasn’t. Not that I was a basket case or anything, it was just hard to see the daily, snugly, mama-baby tradition we’d established from the very moment he was born fall by the wayside; hard to see my first and only not need me as much as he once did. I never realized that parenting could be summed up as the long, slow, heartbreaking process of your child needing you less and less. That’s how it feels some days, anyway. I do know and appreciate, deep down, that my little boy slowly and confidently gaining independence is a very good thing, and for that, I’m proud. Of both of us.
(In case you missed it, here’s the first part of our journey: From Reluctantly Breastfeeding to Reluctantly Weaning, Part 1)