I’m not ashamed to say that I breastfeed my almost 2 year old. If we are out in public and he wants some milk I’ll let him nurse.
No I don’t just whip it out and flash everyone while doing it. I’m discrete and most people seem to think we are just cuddling when I nurse him.
But occasionally I get someone who just ticks me off and sticks their nose where it don’t belong.
Here are my least favourite ways you can handle seeing a toddler breastfeeding, and recommendations on other ways to be helpful instead.
Commenting about how gross it is.
Commenting to a stranger in general about something they are doing is bad manners in my book. Unless they are hurting someone or doing something illegal it’s not your business so but out.
It’s not your place to try and make someone feel bad about their choices. And you don’t know what their situation is, there could be a medical reason, or maybe Mom is just starting to feel bonded to kiddo and has continued feeding because it’s helping her build on that.
Heck kiddo can also be a lot younger then you think too! My not-even-2 year old gets mistaken for a 3 year old frequently.
So agree to disagree, and move on.
Instead of automatically tearing someone down why don’t you ask the mom how things are going.
I had one lady do this while I fed in a mall a couple months ago. Was a great conversation.
She didn’t agree with my choice to feed after a year, but she understood my reasoning. We both left the encounter feeling good about the chat.
Covering me/toddler while feeding
Usually this is a well meaning family member or friend who sees you are feeding and comes up and covers you with something so others can’t see what is happening.
There are a couple things here to note,
1. What ever you just covered me with will make me and kiddo hot. Thanks but I’m already sweating and so is kiddo, you’ve now made the process harder and longer.
2. You are telling me that you are embarrassed to let me be seen doing something that comes naturally to me. If it’s that bad then we don’t need to hang out.
3. Some improvised covers will give me a rash or cause kiddo to have a hard time breathing. Yup your messing with our health.
If you really feel the need to give me privacy feel free to turn your back and just not look. We can still have a conversation if you can look me in the eye while we talk.
Assumptions about how I’m raising my kid
Random strangers assuming that I’m teaching my son all sorts of “depraved” things because I’m still breastfeeding him.
Yes, I’ve actually been told by some random guy walking past that I was damaging my son and his future by encouraging his obsession with boobs.
I’ve heard comments along the lines that I am “sexualizing” my kid by breastfeeding.
I’ve even been classified as a “granola mom”, which I had no idea what that was until I went and looked it up after.
The list goes on and is quite long of the things I’ve been accused of.
Lets please realize that one choice the breastfeed for however long works for Mom and Baby does not guarantee specific other choices around parenting.
Also, feeding is NOT a sexual act between Mother and Child. It’s a way to keep toddler fed, happy, healthy and building a strong bond with Mom. All things that set them up for some cool development stuff down the road. (Not saying this is the only way to build that, feeding is just one way of many to work on these things)
Sexualizing my chest
Men walking by staring at my boobs, or making rude comments about how “exposed” I am and things they would like to do.
Yes I’ve had a guy walk up and ask for a taste…it was unsettling, and creepy. Not to mention he disturbed kiddo who then needed to start the process over (cause of who he is).
Lets all come to the realization that women’s chests are not just men’s play things please. Grow up! Breasts were designed to nourish the young. That is what their primary function is.
Don’t get me wrong, with my husband they can be also fun & exciting. But if I’m feeding kiddo that hormone cocktail isn’t the same. Kiddo won’t turn me on, and the random male stranger isn’t going to get anything more then an assault charge if he tries to touch…
Kiddos activity as he feeds…
I have an active toddler, like running a mile a minute until he falls asleep kicking and screaming.
This means that most of the time when kiddo wants to nurse he also wants to move/be active. Belive me some of the positions that he has gotten into are rather uncomfortable for me.
Also when he hears something he wants to look at he is NOT likely to let go when he whips his head around to see what is happening.
He climbs on me, and around me. He moves and twists in ways that make me wonder what the heck…
and if I try to calm or slow him but wrapping him up I get bit. Yup, kiddo likes his freedom to move and I don’t blame him.
This is where I teach him to be gentle, it takes reppition and had required paitience I didn’t know I had but it’s getting better.
I also have started to read to him more while he is nursing. Helps keep him occupied and helps me not to get all twisted up.
And some days I just go with it, I call these the Breastfeeding Olympics because really? He has turned nursing into a sport requiring agility, strength and speed so why not?
Notes From a Breastfeeding Toddler Mom . . .
I made this choice for a reason, if it honestly bugs you that I do this my question is why? What is it about nourishing my son that has made it your problem? Am I really hurting you?
If it is simply that you are uncomfotable with the possibility of seeing something you don’t want to (like my nipple) then please look elsewhere. You don’t need to stare, and I will be discreate.
I am still breastfeeding my son because I choose to, because for me I’m just starting to feel connected to him. And it’s the only way I get to cuddle regularly. Is it hard? YES. Are there challenges specific to feeding a toddler? YES. But I’m willing to go as long as he chooses to ask for it. Why? Because I belive it’s the right thing to do for us and it’s part of what I reallly want in life.
That doesn’t mean I think less of anyone who hasn’t fed this long, I belive everyone makes the choices that are right for them and their situation. Some women don’t get the oppertunity to breastfeed. Others have it stollen from them, and still others choose NOT to breastfeed for personal reasons.
For those of us who have dealt with abuse sometimes the best Self-Care is stopping breastfeeding.
Weather you have breastfed or not, I belive we should all have the option of choosing our own path on this. And we each deserve to be supported.
So what do you think? Have you fed a toddler? What were your pet peves about doing so? Or why did you choose not to? I’d love to hear from you.