Quick rant (not like an angry rant though – just a my opinion style rant lol)…
This morning I saw (again) another mother get harshly shamed and berated for nursing her toddler “too long”. The child in question is about to be three years old. While I DO get the reaction of shock and maybe surprise or being somewhat grossed out, I loudly disagree with the anger and outcry she faced. One of the most over-used arguments against full term BF was given: “If the baby is old enough TO ASK FOR IT, it is JUST WRONG!”
Let me put it this way. That is both tiresome and incorrect. For one, every baby from first breath on is ‘old enough to ask for it’. Maybe they don’t use words to do so, but we’ve all seen the rooting instinct kick in. Secondly, I have to ask – at what point do breasts magically revert from nourishment to sexual objects? That IS what we are saying, is it not? That up to age one, this is a nourishing baby. Age two, okay, we’ll begrudgingly cede that the WHO recommends nursing to age two for all the benefits.
Aha! But, due to a lack of research, we shall (probably ignorantly) assume that by the time the child is over two and approaching three or more breast milk IMMEDIATELY loses all nutritional value, and the mother is somehow subjecting her child to her incestuous and unnatural desires for continued bonding. The criminal! The pedophile! The utterly disgusting woman, foisting her sex orbs onto her child like that! Oh blech! Icky! Poo! SOMEONE CALL CPS!!!
That seems a bit much, but I literally saw the word incest and MANY references to the sexuality of breasts in the comments, and they all had the same tone of my exaggerated paragraph. It made me sad, because as time goes on the studies that are finally and slowly being done always come up with the same result – longer is good! Longer is better! Extended BF (or full term, which is a nicer thing to say) IS GOOD for the child. It can help prevent things down the road like diabetes and childhood (or even later, adult) obesity.
Bottom-lining it, in my own opinion it DOES make me uncomfortable to see an older child nursing. I believe this is primarily because I was taught that it was wrong. But from ‘behind the curtain’, nursing M (as I have no previous long term experience) has been fulfilling for us both. She is far healthier than we experienced with B, and I like to think some of that is her breastmilk. When she’s sick and won’t take anything else, she’ll nurse – and keep it down. I like to think that helps. No matter what the malady (bump, scratch, fall, tired, upset), I can “stick a boob in it”, and she is instantly comforted.
From my point of view, this is a pair-bond God gave us, and will continue until she stops it. Because, get this, children do naturally wean themselves. There is no magic age where we wake up one day and I’m shoving sex-sacks in her face. As long as she is nursing (and I am producing), breastfeeding remains a nutritional thing. Now, were she to start pushing away and saying “No!” I’d be wrong to try to keep forcing it on her. In the meantime, she’s getting milky white insurance for her future, health-wise. I’m getting a little longer to hold her closer to my heart.
So, whatever age it become “gross” to other people, maaaybe I’ll go underground with it (I doubt it, because that implies that shame is earned), but in the meantime, be prepared because I absolutely reject this “wean the baby or you’re a pervert” ideology, and will not stand to hear it. Not for myself, or for any other momma.
I forgot to mention that a child doesn’t recognize these breasts that she’s eaten from as sexual objects at a certain point, either. She doesn’t wake up one morning and think “Mommy’s NAKED!” and get all pervy. There is PLENTY of time to teach her about nudity and how to be completely ashamed of the body God gave her, oh yes. *loads of snark*
But then, I’m not likely to be ‘that mom’, either. I’m far more likely to teach her that her body is beautiful. That she was created in the image of God. That we respect and treat our bodies as well as we possibly can (stepping on my own two feet right here, absolutely).
Then, get this – when she’s older I am 100% likely to teach her what her body parts are called (GASP!) and even worse, I’ll probably give her a sex talk that is POSITIVE instead of negative, and which hopefully empowers her to walk into her marriage (Lord willing) confident that she is about to have a wonderful and good experience with her husband. I actually WANT her to enjoy what God has given her.
Oh, crap. I am probably going to have grandchildren she raises the same way… what IS this world coming to?