Posts Tagged ‘breastfeeding older children’

Out of the mouths of babes…

February 4, 2010

So, this isn’t very radical, but I felt moved to share a little personal story. I want to share it particularly in light of the recent scandal with Clare Byam-Cook, and media coverage over feeding older babies. All too often, people – from C B-C, to woefully ignorant but actually practicing medical professionals, to the average person on the sofa – are quick to say that since there ‘no nutritional benefit’ after 6 minutes/weeks/months/one year (delete as appropriate depending on the speaker), older children do not need to breastfeed, and so continuing to nurse is clearly ‘for the mother’s benefit’. Some imply that this is a sort of psychosis of overprotective mothering, others go so far as to accuse mothers of child abuse for sexual gratification. Rarely do any of these people actually talk to any older nurslings. And so.

Yesterday was a challenging day with my toddler. We had to leave his best friend after a two day visit and travel for many hours on a variety of trains and busses, many of which were late. He was tired, he was sad, and I was trying so very hard to be patient. But by the 5th hour of travel, I’d run out of snacks (two oranges, a banana, and a box of crackers having gone down the hatch), and ideas too. It was well past his bed time, he kept asking to go back to his friend’s house, and to get off the train, etc. I was in that typical frazzled-mother state of just offering one thing after another – do you want a story? a song? a drink of water? – he looked at me, stopped whining and said, “no, I want mok” (his word for breastfeeding). I said, “oh, sure, no problem” (and mentally slapped myself for not having offered sooner, but he hadn’t looked like he was in the mood).

As he clambered happily into my lap, he explained to me, “I’m sad, and it makes me feel better”.

Does nursing my 2 and a half year old son benefit me? Do I find it gratifying? You betcha.
But just you try to tell him that he doesn’t need it, doesn’t want it, and shouldn’t have it. Ha. That would cause a meltdown that only one thing could cure… MOK!