Let me preface this by saying that this post is meant to be informational. I feel that no mother should be judged by how she chooses to feed her child. As women, we should be supporting each other through the hurdles of motherhood, not belittling. Whether one mother nurses their child until they’re six months or four years old, we should be supporting that mother’s decision because it is what’s right for them.
Since the TIME Magazine cover came out, there has been a huge uproar amongst mothers about extended breastfeeding. A lot of misinformation has been spread about regarding the subject, which has been painful to watch. So I am throwing together this quick post to bring you some unbiased information about the benefits and normality of breastfeeding beyond the normal six months to a year. Extended breastfeeding is not for every mother, just as weaning at an early age is not for every mother. Let’s remember that the decision to nurse your child beyond what our society sees as “normal” is the mother and child’s decision. When I hear of people who object, I always wonder “How is it hurting you? How is it hurting the child? How is it directly affecting you?” It’s not. Please, mothers, let’s be supportive of each other’s decisions. It’s hard enough being a mom as it is.
Jessica Martin-Weber of The Leaky Boob (a really great breastfeeding resource if you haven’t had the chance to check it out) had quite the backlash this week when she posted a picture of herself breastfeeding her two-year-old daughter (it was adorable by the way). The hurtful comments were hard to read. Jessica responded in a very eloquent, respectful way and I commend her on that. Here are a few quotes from her response to the backlash that I thought were particularly well-stated:
“Yes, I know a child could see the picture and get crazy ideas like… breastfeeding is normal. My 13yo took the picture for me and I hope more children see breastfeeding. I’m far more concerned about what they may see on the cover of most fashion magazines and don’t get me started on the images you can find on FB.”
“My children are confident, beautiful people, they are not emotionally stunted in any way. Breastfeeding has not hurt them, it has been right for our family.”
“Yes, there is a breast somewhat exposed in that photo. There is a small child breastfeeding from it. If you find this sexually stimulating you need help or you haven’t matured past junior high. Grow up or see a therapist STAT.”
“You may not choose to personally breastfeed a 2yo, fine. Do what’s right for you and I’ll do what’s right for me. I won’t tell you that it’s “wrong” either, I’ll just respect that you made your choice and I made mine.”
There are plenty more awesome comments but this post would be way too long. You can head over to her Facebook page here if you want to read the whole response.
Below I am listing a few articles that came about after the TIME Magazine outburst. If you agree with extended breastfeeding, if you don’t, if you’re on the fence about it, please read them.
No one is saying you have to nurse your child until they’re two. Or three. Or four. But just because it is a choice that some mothers may not make or don’t totally agree with doesn’t mean it’s ok to spout off misinformed, hurtful, or downright nasty comments to those mothers who do. The same goes for any mother, whether she breastfeeds or bottle feeds. We’re all trying our best.
We are always open to hearing your opinions but let’s please keep it respectful!