Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Breastfeeding carnival roundup: the nursing toddler and breastfeeding how-tos

Mary Cassatt mother and childI found out that there's a carnival today called "This is What Nursing a Toddler Looks Like," sponsored by It's All About the Hat. (And it is all about the hat, isn't it?)

Since I just found out about it on the day of, obviously I'm not a part of it, but I recommend zooming over there to read the carnival participant links, particularly if you are (as I am) the mother of a toddler nursling. There are beautiful photographs, pictures of tandem nursing, a retrospective from an 11-year-old who remembers his nursing days fondly, links to research on the benefits of extended breastfeeding, and funny, funny stories of the shenanigans nursing toddlers go through.

I wrote "Hiding a nursing toddler" at 18 months when I was musing on the advisability and logistics of continuing to breastfeed a toddler publicly. Mikko is now 23 months and showing no signs of slowing down, and so far my solution to my dilemma has been...to continue to ignore it. I just keep on breastfeeding him when and where he wants. So far I haven't had any conflicts with looky-lous over it. Although I've realized, from comments even my closest friends have made, that they don't always realize that Mikko is breastfeeding. I guess I'm better at being discreet than I thought.

Anyway, I'm just glad that carnivals like this exist, so that I can feel part of a larger community of mamas who embrace and encourage the entirely natural but entirely unsupported act of breastfeeding past a year.

I'll just add in my funny nursing-a-toddler story here for the fun of it:

We finally had Mikko baptized a couple weeks ago. (Note: Explaining infant baptism vs. dedication and why we wanted to do either, and why we waited almost two years to get around to it, is out of the scope of this post, but ask if you want me to go into more depth.) We were standing in front of the church with two other couples (who of course had very young babies instead of huge toddlers) and Mikko was overwhelmed at all the attention — all those eyes staring at him! People laughing his way!

As he always does when he wants comfort, he started gesturing for "nummies," which is to point at his chest. I acknowledged in a whisper that I understood and told him we would have nummies soon. I was in a dress (for once) and wasn't brave enough to nurse him during the baptism ceremony. When his first gentle sign language didn't work, he got more and more emphatic, until he was gesticulating wildly, stabbing himself in the chest and heaving with frustrated breaths. I kept calming him down, and he'd forget for a few minutes and then start up again. His sign language having not had the effect he wanted, he resorted to sticking his hand down my dress. I hope this is all on the video we had a friend take! Don't worry, though — he was completely unfazed by the water on his head, and when we sat down, he had all the nummies he wanted, right there in church (but not in front of the whole congregation!).

The other breastfeeding carnival I missed somehow (I was kind of out of it during April, finishing my novel) was the Motherwear one. I'll just link to it here — The "How-To" Carnival of Breastfeeding — so you can check it all out. There are posts on how to be comfortable around breastfeeding mothers, how to breastfeed hands free, how to stop nosy questions, and how to teach your baby nursing manners, plus many more. Well, at least, those were the ones that sang out to me, with my mannerless toddler!

"Mother and Child" by Mary Cassatt courtesy ProMoM.org

4 comments:

Melodie said...

This is great. Very enjoyable to read. Love the story about your son tryinjg to get your attention. It sounds like he was quite patient really. Mine would have been screaming from the get go. sigh. We're working on that....

Rachel said...

My son, at a year, also started clutching kneading at my chest during his dedication.

Lisa C said...

lol, funny story. Thanks for sharing the link.

Hobo Mama said...

I definitely expected more screaming — ha ha! Not that this is a good thing, but he had actually been sick the night before so was somewhat subdued. I wonder if anyone besides Sam and our good friend standing next to us noticed and recognized what he was wanting — I'm guessing not.

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