Nursing Toddlers are Fun

One of the misconceptions about breastfeeding is that it is for small babies only, and that once babies can walk and talk they are probably too old to nurse.  But in my experience, that is when the fun really starts!  When you have  a toddler that is nursing, you have the benefit of being able to be apart from them for a while without them NEEDING to nurse.  Yet you can still enjoy the closeness and the cuddles that come with the nursing relationship when you are together.  I’m not even going to address  all the health benefits in this post.

Back to the fun part.  When you have a toddler that is nursing, they can really show you how much they appreciate it!  I tried to get my little Lion cub to do his “happy milkie” dance of anticipation for the camera, but he wouldn’t cooperate.  If I ever catch it on video, I will show you.

I only wish I had seen him when my mom took him through the lingerie department at Target.  He gazed up, down, and all around in wonderment.  It looked like a buffet to him!  He shouted, “ME!  ME ME ME ME!”  (Me-me is his way of saying milkies.)  He thought the lingerie department was better than the toy aisles.

Can your newborn nursling be THAT entertaining?  I didn’t think so.

Breastfeeding compared to smoking in public?

Wow…  I didn’t think it could get much more idiotic than saying babies should have to eat in bathrooms… but apparently a deejay said to a midwife that if women can breastfeed anywhere they want, people should be able to smoke wherever they want.  Yeah, that makes a lot of sense….

Read more here, both about the radio interview and why that is the stupidest analogy ever.

Bathrooms are not for Dining

That is a given, right?

What would you think if I asked you to take your lunch into a bathroom stall?  You would probably look at me like I was crazy and say something like, “That’s disgusting!  What is wrong with you and why would you even come up with the idea?”

Then why do so many people think that public restrooms are an appropriate place to nurse a baby or pump milk for them while mom is at work?  If a five-year-old needs a snack while shopping, does anyone object to mom giving him some food out of her purse?  Would anyone suggest he go eat his snack in the RESTROOM?  I don’t think so.  In fact, the last time I had my three-year-old in a public restroom and she tried to get a granola bar out of my purse, I just about flipped my lid.  So why do people think a restroom is an appropriate place for a baby to eat? Bathrooms are not for eating!  Nor are they places to prepare food.  I am appalled when I hear that the only place a woman has to pump at work is in the bathroom.  Hey you–would you like me to make you a sandwich?  I’ll just go sit on the toilet while I assemble it.  Sound good?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  Do I really have to say more?  No, you say?  Too bad.  I have more to say.

Here is one smart lady nursing her baby, who is riding in a shopping cart.  I do think it would be much easier for her to nurse while shopping if she used a baby carrier, such as an Ergo.  I know from firsthand experience that it’s not terribly hard to nurse using a baby carrier, though I can’t compare it to the shopping cart technique–not that I haven’t considered trying it!   But I still think this shopping cart solution is genius.

If you read the comments about her, it’s pretty obvious that the lactivists have been through, left copious supportive comments, and clicked on the “dislike” button for the all of the disapproving comments.    The comments that bother me the most are the ones that say something like, “I think breastfeeding is great, but it needs to be done in private.”  Those psuedo-supportive remarks may sound better than “Dude! That is gross!  That is what formula is for!”   But the attitude of “Yes, breast is best but please keep it hidden” does no one any favors, as it pretty much sets up new moms for unneeded stress and possibly even failure if they attempt to follow that rule.

Babies need to eat often–sometimes newborns need to eat more than once per hour during a growth spurt!  Their patterns of hunger are not always predictable.  This makes it difficult (and sometimes impossible)  for mothers to plan their outings for when the baby won’t need to eat.

But what about a schedule?  Shouldn’t babies  be on schedules?  While there are shelves of books written on the subject, the bottom line that I subscribe to is that if a baby naturally, or with some gentle guidance, can fall into a schedule, that is great.  However, it’s not healthy to try to force a young baby into a schedule.

So, if mom can’t reliably plan her out-of-the-house-life around baby’s feeding schedule,why can’t  she “just” bring bottles of breast milk with her when she goes out with baby?  Some women have a difficult time getting much milk from pumping.  Now I never had trouble pumping milk when my babies were small, but they refused to drink from a bottle!  ESPECIALLY if I was the one trying to feed it to them.   (Yes, I pumped, stored, defrosted, and then threw away enough milk to feed a set of twins.)  Anyway, why should a mother have to go through the hassle of pumping and carrying around bottles, and then the discomfort of engorged breasts that missed a nursing session, just because someone might take offense to her feeding her child naturally?

When my son was entering his playful crawling stage, I had to pull him out of church and take him into the nursery to play one day.  There were a lot of moms and babies in there that day, including a lady I knew who had a daughter very close in age to my son.  The mom was trying to feed her baby a bottle, but she was doing more crying than eating.  As soon as I sat on the ground, my baby decided he didn’t want to play after all–he wanted his milkies.  I was able to nurse him discreetly just by lifting up my shirt.  A few minutes later I realized the baby girl had stopped crying all together.  I looked up and the mom was nursing her under one of those Hooter Hider things.  It just about broke my heart to realize that the other mom had been too embarrassed to nurse her baby in the nursery, even when it has the International Breastfeeding Symbol on the door and she had a nursing cover with her that would hide absolutely everything!

I don’t mean to pick on this woman at all–I like her a lot.  I do mean to pick on our culture that gave this mother her ideas about nursing in the first place.  Why is a mother feeding her baby an issue at all?    It just shouldn’t be this way.

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