I have been sitting on this thought for quite some time now. If you know anything about me you know I advocate for women’s rights when it comes to breastfeeding as well as use my private business to educate women and their families on the power of breastfeeding, the gift that it is and the courage to come to their own decision based on the information they have before them.
I am at a new stage in our family breastfeeding story and it has left me feeling insecure and a bit out of my depth but all I know is that I want to continue normalizing breastfeeding in my home, in my community and in my business.
My oldest Honour will be 4 in 2 days…2 days!! I cannot believe those years have flashed past with all nighters, sunny days, tantrums, belly laughs and adventures all around but they have. He has never been one to refuse the boob…from day 1 he latched pretty well and was a milk monster his entire life, hardly wanting any solid food until after his first birthday. He nursed through my pregnancy, even when there was little milk to be offered but we did night wean around 2-2.5 so I could catch a few z’s before the next baby kept me awake all night 😉 I am not ashamed (but a little intimated by other’s reactions) that he still occasionally nurses. He is still such a child and when he reaches towards me, asking for milk and settles quietly against my breast, eyelids fluttering and anxiety melting away I know I am making the right decision. It is really hard though, even as a breastfeeding advocate to go against North America’s norm of weaning at 3 months…the ever present remarks, comments and opinions still flash through my mind as he rests so naturally in my arms and I question that if people experienced natural term breastfeeding, would they feel so uncomfortable with it? Probably not. For it is in that moment, the rare moment that it is now, when I sense his worry float away, a calm envelope him as he grasps my arm, his eyes begging me not to cut him short and I do not care for society’s remarks. He looks big, he looks confident, he looks mature but in the grand scheme of his 80+ years he is barely starting, he is entering a stage where he fears to be alone, he is entering a stage of knowing he can be lost, a new awareness of loneliness and he needs that safety net, home, his Mumma, what he has known since his first night this side of my womb and I feel honoured to still be able to offer that to him.
I never planned, never even dreamed of breastfeeding my child so long. At first it was my goal to reach a year. Done. He was still such a baby and hardly touching food so I continued. I wanted to have a second child so we night weaned in hopes of getting pregnant and it happened but I did not want to wean at that point as it was too much of a fight when I was already exhausted from pregnancy so we flowed with it. When we had Journey I knew tandem nursing was an amazing sibling bonding moment so we tried it and it was an A+ trick for getting both to sleep at the same time when Journey was a newborn…I found it a bit difficult when she was bigger so I switched to them nursing separately but all was still ok.
Now we are nearing his 4th birthday…and my plan was only until he was 3 which ends in 2 days. I don’t know why I feel a need to put a limit on it…maybe for an answer to those offering their negative opinions? He rarely asks and I never offer so I might just see how the next couple of months go…I feel insecure because I feel alone. But that is ok. It is ok to move forward not knowing the outcome. He won’t nurse forever and I want to end on a positive note, it has been a beautiful relationship we have shared and I would not change it in the slightest teensy tiny bit.
I want him to be a man who supports his love in her breastfeeding journey or in any journey where she feels more on the outside of the norm than the inside. I want him to know that women’s breasts, just as their arms, necks, legs can serve more of a purpose than just as a source of enjoyment. Their legs can both brush their partner’s leg with tenderness and carry themselves up and down mountains or up and down stairs with babies, laundry and children. Their hands can stroke their husband’s face with desire yet turn wrenches, care for the sick and write wonders. And their breasts. Their breasts can be sexual in nature yet they can nurture their children, build tiny immune systems and create a safe space for scared, anxious and sad babies. A woman’s body is multi purpose and in North America we see so much of it as single purpose…that needs to change and I can only start here in my own home, with my boy and girl. Teaching respect, reminding them of their power, their strength and that their destiny is for far more than just another’s pleasure.
Start in your own home mothers and fathers. Talk about it. Even if you do not breastfeed, make it normal. Do not objectify women and their breasts. Do not give them a single purpose. A slender throat can be just as sexual but we don’t give it a single purpose, to turn someone on. It is an integral part of our system, as are our breasts. Educate, respect and let us raise a generation who can pass a woman breastfeeding her child and not jump to a quick judgement. I am trying in my home. I am not perfect. I am still learning and even feel intimidated by the task before me in an crazy over sexualized society but I want to try. I owe it to my son, to my daughter and to their future partners. Will you try with me?
In this parenting journey, learning and growing together my friends,
p.s. The photo above, it is Honour ‘feeding’ Journey. It is normal, it is sweet and I am overjoyed he wants to help her get ‘mumma’s milk’. <3