So. On my facebook page last week, I recounted a conversation with our nurse at the girls’ 15 month well-check up that went like this:
Nurse: You’re not still doing that breastfeeding thing, are you?
Enter crickets and awkward silence.
Definitely know what her thoughts are on breastfeeding toddlers. Sheesh!
I was recounting this to my bestie, who's still nursing her 22 month old, and she said this—“Breastfeeding should become like a callous.”
She’s right. It should.
When a new mom reveals that she’s breastfeeding, we applaud her. Well done, you!
When that same mom with a 15 or 18 or 23 month old reveals that she’s still breastfeeding, it’s not so much applause anymore. It’s often this awkwardness of a person staring at you with, “Wow, isn’t he/she/they a little old to still be on the teat?” going on in his head.
Instead of people becoming accustomed and accepting of the fact that a mom has made the choice to breastfeed, it goes from being something worth cheering about, to being this uncomfortable thing we aren’t going to talk about. Instead of people becoming “calloused” to the idea of breastfeeding, the reverse happens, it goes from a no-big-deal-callous to a sore; an open sore right on your face where people awkwardly avoid looking at you.
Why is that?
Seriously, I'm asking.
I mean, we all have a value system, right? And when something bumps up against what we think is acceptable, we raise our eyebrows.
But. But, why is breastfeeding beyond a year seen as a negative thing by so many? Why is it one of those things that causes eyebrow raises?
Do people not know how cool breastmilk is?! Check it out:
So, Brad comes home from work and gives me a kiss. He also gives me the germs from that lady who coughed on him in the elevator. Yummy. My body takes elevator-lady's germs, and makes antibodies, which go right into my breastmilk. The girls gulp down the boob juice, as my husband calls it, full of all those antibodies, which helps them fight off elevator-lady's coughing germs, which they were exposed to when Brad kissed them. Follow?
Isn’t that so cool?! Nature’s perfect cocktail. Don’t you kinda want some, served up with one of those little umbrellas? It’s ever-changing, and perfectly adjusted. Don't you wish everything was like breastmilk? It makes me want to breastfeed, like, for forever (don’t worry, I won’t).
This isn’t a knock at women who aren’t/didn’t breastfeed. Seriously, no judgments. This breastfeeding thing is hard business! We’re all just trying to survive. You just do what works.
But—for those who have gutted it out one year and beyond—you deserve one big round of applause! No matter how many comments, or strange looks you get--you just keep on servin' up those boob juice cocktails!
Okay, I need to say this. Nursing twins is a completely differnt ball of wax. If you haven't done it, let me just go over a few of the challenges that twin mamas might deal with:
weak latch, or a baby that's too small to latch; NICU time, which inevitably leads to bottles, which can lead to nipple confusion; traumatic birth experiences, which affects milk coming in; supply issues to feed two infants---just to name a few.
That's to say nothing about caring for two infants at the same time. And, and--let's not forget those crazy hormones coursing through our bodies. It's all hard, exhausting business.
So--twin mamas may have some, or all of that to battle against in order to have a successful breastfeeding relationship. It is SO hard. Without lots of support, I would have never been able to do it. Truthfully, if I had had to go back to work, I would have never been able to do it either. I'm fortunate, I get to stay home, and for awhile, the ONLY thing I had to worry about was nursing the girls and working on my supply. There's no way I would have been able to do that with a job.
I'm so thankful that we're still nursing, but a whole lot of things were in place to make that possible.