Condemnation for Breastfeeding? Really?

So, I know I’m usually the different one in my family- on all sides- my mothers’ side, my fathers’ side, my step fathers’  and my in laws.   With the breastfeeding (past whatever age they deem fitting), unschooling, holistic living and all, they probably think I’m nuts but I still do what I do and I really try to keep my opinions about how others choose to live to myself though I do fail sometimes.

Because I’m not on any hormonal birth control or doing anything that would compromise my ability to produce milk for my toddler, girlfriend is still very involved in nursing.  I plan to do it at least until she’s 2 and I have no doubt she’ll make it and go past her second birthday.

So, now I’m faced with the sometimes condemning looks and comments from people who feel I have no business still nursing my 17 month old.

At a family gathering, one person watched as my baby crawled onto my lap, reached into my shirt, pulled out my breast and began to nurse.  Maybe that was too much.  Then, when my toddler began to play and try to stand while nursing and get into odd positions, she commented, “See, that’s why you need to stop nursing her”.

Sometimes, a lot of the time I am slow to speak when a nerve is struck.  I have to evaluate whether a response is warranted and then figure out what and how to say what I need to say.  I am the type who weighs my words so that what comes out is exactly what I mean to convey.  I try not to do it in a negative way even when someone treats me that way.

First, I must say that I shouldn’t have taken it personally because I know the comment wasn’t meant to hurt me and she commented based on her own perceptions which truly has nothing to do with me anyway.

That said, I was a little hurt.  Was I doing something wrong?  Was I harming my daughter? Don’t we all stand and eat sometimes?   Most of what I do with my children is very intentional- not much is done with out a good deal of thought and/or research.  I’m not just making things up as I go along with my girls so when what I do comes into question, I sometimes allow myself (because no one can offend you unless you allow it) to be offended.

As I think about the person who made the comment, it’s almost funny that I even entertained it.  You can’t tell me my stuff stinks when you’re the one covered in poop.  Then again it’s not funny at all because ignorance concerning breastfeeding in America is far too widespread.   I asked my (husband’s) granny if she’d ever been condemned for breastfeeding her toddlers and she replied, “Never!  Only you Yankees would do that!”  (She’s West Indian) I laughed and agreed with her because America has it all wrong concerning birth and breastfeeding- we tend to be about as backwards and disconnected as any group could possibly be. 

So after coming to the realization that I’m not doing anything wrong, I thought about a few things I’d not given much thought to before.    My girls are very well adjusted.  Sure, there were times when it felt like we were Siamese twins but I learned to treasure that closeness knowing it wouldn’t last forever.  They are not still stuck to me today.  Even the baby is breaking free now and it’s exciting to see her grow because she has been the clingiest of them all.

They have no food allergies at all.  They are all quite brilliant if I do say so myself. 😉

More importantly, my girls aren’t sickly by a long stretch.  If the two oldest get sick at all, it’s once a year, for about 2-3 days and that’s it- nothing to even visit a doctor about.  My two oldest may have had one ear infection each- in their whole lives.  I’m not even sure if they’ve both had one.  My baby has never had a fever, and though she has a cold now, I really don’t remember her ever having one before and she’s not had any issues where a sick visit to the doctor was needed.  Sick visits are a rarity in our home.

So, in light of all that person told me she’s gone through with her chidren, I have to say, I must be on to something still nursing my 17 month old.  We will definitely continue.

3 thoughts on “Condemnation for Breastfeeding? Really?

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience with negativity towards breastfeeding especially a baby over 12 months old.

    As a La Leche League leader I hear so many successful nursing moms trying to wean their 12+ month old baby. These moms don’t want to wean they are contacting me to find out how to do it easily because they aren’t ready to stop. What they are missing is how easy it is to calm a toddler on the verge of a tantrum with the breast. It is the most effective tool we have as mamas! My 6 year old will sometimes get out of control and scream at me “I need help calming down!!!!” That means she needs a hug and me to rub her back. I believe that stems from comfort nursing as a toddler.

    Yeah for you! More mamas need to talk about nursing their older babies (a 17 month old is still a baby in my eyes!)

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