Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Quieter Side

Last Wednesday when I was giving blood, one of the American Red Cross workers saw that I was reading Mothering Your Nursing Toddler while giving blood. She commented, "I should read that book. I still nurse my 19 month old daughter." "Yeah," I said, "I thought I'd read it since I'm still nursing my 16 month old." Then we talked about people we know who have breastfed 3 year olds, 4 year olds and how good it is for them.

A few weeks ago I was driving around Salt Lake checking out yarn stores I've never been to. It was hot out- over 100- and Margaret was getting fussy and thirsty, so I hurried into a yarn store, found a chair and sat down and nursed. There was a 7 month old playing on the ground. Her mom came over and saw me nursing and asked how old Margaret was. When I replied that she was 15 months old, she said, "It's so good; I nursed all my older children until they were 3!"

Also on that knitting day venture, I went to a Columbian restaurant for lunch. Margaret and I were the only ones there so we chatted with the wife of the owner. When we were done with our lunch, a family came in to eat and the lady we had been talking to went to take their order. In the meantime, I decided to nurse Margaret. When she walked by us to give their order to her husband she saw me holding Margaret and wondered out loud at how quickly Margaret fell asleep. I smiled and said, "Oh- she's not asleep! She's just finishing her lunch!"

Last January, I mentioned a woman at church who was struggling with nursing. She is still nursing. A couple of weeks ago she asked me if I was still nursing Margaret and when I said yes, she said she didn't know many people who nursed this long, but said she knows it's good for the babies. I shared some stories of friends who've nursed preschoolers with her.

Yesterday at the park, I pulled down my shirt and nursed. A couple of weeks ago, I nursed Margaret during (yes during) an eye exam. Lactivism isn't all nurse-ins and letters to companies and congresspersons (though those can be fun!). Simply making breastfeeding part of your day can be lactivism. Do you have any experiences you want to share of these sort of quieter lactivist moments?


  1. I have to be a quiet lactavist, because my husband doesn't want me to be any more radical than I already am! lol (although those aren't his words). But, I always nurse at church, and I talk about nursing all the time to nearly everyone I ever talk to!

  2. I went into the mother's room at church with my then 12 month old. There was another mom there, nursing her 2.5 year old. She was new to the ward and from another country. I smiled at her and found out that she spoke Spanish so we were able to have a conversation. I said I was so happy to see her nursing her toddler. She said that she was a little embarrassed. "Don't be!" I insisted and told her that I nurse my children until past 2 as well.

    In having conversations with my friends and neighbors, many of them nursed past 1, and plenty until 2 or 3. In one month I found out that my backyard neighbor and my downstairs neighbor also nurse well into childhood. I think it's FAR more common than we expect, it's just that women don't nurse as much in public or in the open as they used to (which is a shame.)

    Anyway, my second child is 2.5 years old and starting to really wean himself (going a day at a time without nursing.) Pretty soon I bet he'll go to several days between nursing and then none at all.

    It's so amazing to be able to nurse a child until THEY decide to stop, you know, when they're emotionally and physically ready--and NOT when the Gregorian calendar tells you.

  3. Once Iris (who was about 16 months old at the time) and I were on an outing with a friend and her 8 year old niece. The little girl was very curious, and I don't think she had seen anyone nurse before. She evidently went home to her Mom with a lot of questions! I did feel a little awkward, but I think it was a good thing. I think little girls in particular can benefit from seeing nursing, nursing in public, and nursing older babies!

  4. Thanks to your blog (and others) and my now toddler who suddenly decided he NEEDS to nurse regardless of where we are, I am finally gaining the courage to breastfeed more in public--without hiding in a corner. In fact, yesterday we were shopping at a department store when he decided to nurse and I actually nursed him as I shopped! It was a big moment for me.

  5. I think this is beautiful. I'm glad you've had so many chances to have good conversations with people, and it's so encouraging (as an mother of a nursing 2-year-old) to hear that other women are practicing extended nursing, if sometimes on the sly. Truly, thank you for sharing your experiences.

    I was nursing at a barbecue yesterday for our Bible study, during a quiet moment when our group was going around and sharing things we were thankful for. I was the only mother in the group, and I had a thought to avoid my turn or cover up more or something, but -- no. It was natural, and I treated it as natural, and everyone apparently accepts that. I hope I'm inspiring any future mothers (and fathers) in our group to just take breastfeeding as it comes.

  6. Oh, I forgot to ask -- do you recommend Mothering Your Nursing Toddler? I'll have to see if the library has it.

  7. Hobo Mama, I do recommend it. I haven't finished it because I've been knitting a lot and not reading as much. It's surprised me how much I like it. I didn't think you could do a whole book on toddler breastfeeding, but it seems you can! A lot of the reviews online said, "I read this when my child was 2, I wish I read it when they were 1!"

  8. Thanks for reminding me about that book. I borrowed it from the library when my son was only a few months old, and I started to read it but decided to wait until he was older to finish it.

  9. I am new to the nursing thing and it has taken me awhile to feel confident in my ability to help my baby get a good latch, and her ability to stay latched on since she's only 3 months old. But we were at the Gardens at Thanksgiving Point (beautiful I might add!!) and I had her in a ring sling. She was so content and in a really great mood just being cuddly and looking up at me.... I love those mommy moments. After an hour and a half or so of walking around she started to get fussy so I nursed her in the ring sling as we walked. It was kind of a cool moment for me because I felt like I was being more confident about my ability to nurse her while others could potentially see. I still had to support her head quite a bit, but it totally worked! I had a comment from someone else who was with us about someone seeing me and I said, "there are laws that protect mothers who are nursing in public... " and just went on walking. It was definitely a step forward for me, and I even called my sister (a new parent as well) to tell her what I did! I felt pretty good!


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