Extended breastfeeding. The subject of my latest series is always met with some criticism. The judgment placed upon those who choose to nurse beyond infancy is undeniable. In America, many view breasts as sexual and deem there is something wrong with nursing after a child turns one. Society decides that it is no longer acceptable, despite the World Health Organization recommending nursing 2 years or beyond! Science supports that breastfeeding beyond infancy is healthy, normal and beneficial to do.
Rather than responding to trolls on the internet, I’ve decided to compile a post with my responses to many comments that people leave against extended nursing.
Here are some comments left on a recent article written about my breastfeeding series, followed by my response.
“I’m all for normalizing breastfeeding but this child is to old to be latched onto mom’s breast, why not pump the milk instead? There has to be an age limit to when the child is completely off mom’s tit…. I’d say 2 for the oldest…. anything past that is a bit weird imo”
Dear A Bit Weird,
Why not pump the milk? Many mothers do not respond to pumps. With my first, I was able to pump exclusively for 2 months until she learned to latch and breastfeed properly. When I had my second, I did not respond to a pump what-so-ever. I breastfed for nearly 3 years, despite not responding to a pump. Breastfeeding is about so much more than just the milk. The child is seeking comfort, nurturing, being close to mom, etc. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for two years, or beyond.
“Breast feed all you want… I am just sick of seeing all the pictures! My kids going to the bathroom is normal and I don’t need to take a picture of them taking a dump and share it with everyone”
Dear Taking A Dump,
It’s ridiculous to compare the natural act of breastfeeding to using the bathroom. But in reality, many people think a nursing mother should in fact sit on the toilet while nursing her baby out and about. Many women are told to go to the bathroom to nurse. It is disgusting. Would you eat your dinner on the toilet? Women share breastfeeding images to help break down the stereotype that it is something that needs to be hidden. You are proving the point of why #normalizebreastfeeding is a thing.
“I’m all for breastfeeding and breastfed my 2 kids. However, there comes an age where I have to assume the child’s likeness to become an independent human is at risk.”
I want to reassure you that science actually indicates the exact opposite. Children who are breastfed beyond infancy are actually more independent.
“If your kid can go to the kitchen and get a glass and pour milk into it then he/she is too old to breast feed!!!!!!”
Dear Pouring Milk,
If your child can go to the kitchen and pour a glass of milk, that comes from a cow, how do you think this is more beneficial than the milk that is actually created for their nutrition? Breastmilk is AMAZING, and tailored to the individual child’s health needs. Cows milk is meant for baby cows.
“That boy is too damn big to be doing that..if you wanna give him breast milk just pump it and pour it into a cup of milk…he can grab it out the fridge himself lol smh”
Dear Shaking Your Head,
You are very misinformed. A three year old is not too old to be nursing, not according to any scientific studies. All around the world this is done. It is America’s view that has clouded your judgement. Open your eyes and be less judgemental.
“I gave up when my son was no longer interested and that was around 10 months old. I would have hated having to carry on until he was school age! I needed to get back to work!”
Dear Carry On,
When my oldest was one, I went back to work full time. I was heart broken that our nursing relationship may come to an end so early, but thankfully I was able to continue to nurse her. I would nurse her before work, after work, and before bed. It was the most calming way to reconnect with her after being a part for so many hours. We continued to nurse until she was nearly 4.
“Once a child is old enough to talk and ask for the breast, it is time to pump.”
Dear Asking For The Breast,
When a baby is born, they come out rooting and looking for their mothers nipple. They ask to nurse by being fussy and by rooting. A baby is always asking, just as they get older their way of asking is different. By patting on the mother’s shirt, by sweetly asking, “milkies?”, etc. They always ask. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t receive!
“I’m all for breastfeeding.. BUT…”
Just stop. Stop right there. There is no but. You are either supportive of a mothers right to nurse her child, or not. You don’t get to decide when or where it is her right to do so.
The list could go on, and on, and on. These are real comments left on the internet. There are far worse ones, but I would never repeat them. People are so judgmental it is sickening. Judge less, mamas. Support one another. Just because something feels wrong for your family, doesn’t mean that it is wrong for all. When you nurse your baby from day one, each day it feels natural to continue. There isn’t some magical day that they wake up and they are suddenly wrong for doing so. Hug your babies, snuggle your babies, nurse your babies. And if you don’t want to, that is fine too. But do not put down another mother for doing so. And to the mamas who are nursing beyond infancy, bravo. There are so many around the world who support you and will stand up for you. Ignore the trolls. Ignore the negativity. One by one, peoples eyes will be opened. When our children are no longer children, and raising their own babies, it is my hope that it will be the norm to be able to breastfeed with no criticism. Keep sharing those selfies, keep nursing in public, just keep on nursing mamas!
View the extended nursing series: http://thehonestbodyproject.com/?p=1885