Thursday, May 17, 2012

Breastfeeding your preschooler and beyond...Time Magazine

If you haven't seen the new Time Magazine issue this month, please pick up a copy for the full story.
This isn't a new subject, and its been around for hundreds of years, however, it's the first time I have seen such a huge statement made in the media about it.  I've read some of the heated discussions on this topic in response to the magazine article.  I don't believe it would have created such a emotional response had they not published photos of mothers breastfeeding their preschoolers, especially on the front page.  It seems more shocking now that you have seen the act itself.

Once the emotional, knee jerk reaction of "ewww" was out of the way, and I've had some time to collect my thoughts about this, I thought I would share what my opinion was on this subject.  Lets first get the obvious issue out of the way, what these mothers are doing is not harming the health of these children, if anything it's a benefit to their health.  I have also read some responses from men and while, I do empathize with them having an opinion, they have no authority to really talk about this issue (unless its was their kid).  The reason I say this, is because you have to have breastfed and experienced the relationship that occurs personally to really know whats going on here.  Before I was a mother, I would have had no ability to empathize properly or have an educated response.

When I found out I was expecting again, and starting thinking about breastfeeding all over, I felt happy.  I also started thinking about how I wished I could give my "liquid gold" to my toddler again and protect her from all the illness that she was constantly exposed too.  We went through two winters with her constantly sick.  All mothers know what I mean, its almost impossible to avoid it.  It doesn't matter where you take them, how many times they wash their hands, they are exposed to all the germs and have to endure the sickness, sometimes lasting months!  When I was breastfeeding my first daughter, she was never sick.  The only reason I stopped was because she decided at 11 months she had enough with "moms boobs."  I was never faced with the conundrum of having to wean her because I felt it had gone on long enough.  I cursed breastfeeding the first time around weekly, threatening to quit almost daily.  Once she stopped, I was shocked at how devastated I felt!!  Finally, I was free, yet I missed so desperately the relationship we had that only a mother and child can have, breastfeeding.  I joked to my husband that I would allow our next child to breastfeed until they were 3, if need be.  Now that I have a 3 year old, I can see how uncomfortable I would be with that arrangement.

Once my second daughter was born, I started breastfeeding once again, except everything looked different this time.  I wasn't going to take this time for granted, or waste it, by hating it.  My second daughter Jorja, gets the odd bottle fed to her by my husband, and usually she doesn't finish it.  If he goes back on the road for another week, I know the milk that was defrosted, that I pumped, will go to waste.  So I decided, instead of pouring my hard earned milk down the drain, I would mix it with my 3 year olds milk and put it in her sippy cup and see what happened.  One part breast milk three parts cows milk.  She didn't notice a thing, yet I felt extra special seeing her drink it.  My three year old has not gotten sick ONCE since I started doing this.  I've only done it a few times so maybe it is a coincidence, but she has been exposed to more germs this winter then the others combined.

Only my husband and mother know that story, but I share it now with you to make my point.  Unless you have been there and done that, you really have no idea what you are talking about.  I would love to see you show me a doctor that will tell you what these mothers are doing is wrong.  That said, I cannot imagine that the little boy on the cover of Time, sucking his moms boob, will not come back and haunt him when he's 15 and in high school.  I get it, you are proud of what you are doing.  However, I take offense, that the article is implying that a mom who chooses not to breastfeed this long (or is unable) is any less of a mother!! To the children pictured in the article and the mothers who exposed their child to future criticism that is out of his or her control, doesn't make them any kind of mom, that I would stride to be.  A breastfeeding relationship is so beautiful, but its a relationship just like anything and it goes both ways.  If you feel its time to stop for YOU, for whatever reason then you should not feel any guilt over that.  We can't change how others react to our decisions, so somethings are better off kept a secret, done in secret.

1 comment:

  1. Here is a blog done by a woman that knows the woman on the cover. Worth a read