The World Health Organization recommends nursing up until 2 years of age and as long as mother and child are okay with it. Yet, it is still seen as an anomaly and very strange when folks see it.
I've always been one to be very open about nursing. I've nursed anywhere and everywhere and I don't believe in all these nursing cover up and nursing tents. I wear a shirt that I can easily pull up and a bra that easily pulls down. So it's discreet, if you will, but I'm not hiding. There's nothing to hide. I seriously and honestly believe that if Victoria Secret can run television ads and have billboards, no one should give me any flack about using my breasts for their intended purpose. Still, I am one of the very few folks I see nursing a child so big.
But I've been off my game about encouraging folks with breastfeeding. I've been quiet and just tried to keep the peace when folks come at me with stories about how "strong" and how "different" I am because I have been successful with breastfeeding since breastfeeding is oh.so.difficult. I always acknowledge that it is indeed hard for many in the beginning and so women can never overcome that initial challenge. Some women really do have supply issues or face the challenge of continuing a breastfeeding relationship while working. But I also acknowledge that there's a whole lot of sabotage going on including the taboo about nursing in public and making working mothers feel like they are not entitled to time to pump.
Now, me personally, I can't see myself nursing longer than a little over age two. I won't lie: I'm looking forward to having my body back. I want to do a detox and I really want to get serious about weight loss--which is something you can't really do while nursing. But I'm really annoyed with myself that I have let society's warped ideas about breastfeeding get to me.
Today, Z2 fell at the playground. Nothing too serious. I picked him up, dusted him off, and nursed him. Z2 loved it and was back at play in no time. I felt oddly . . . defiant.
Breastfeeding has become so political and such a huge arena for judging women as mothers. If you do breastfeed, you're heralded as a great mom but only if you don't do it too long or too openly or "militantly". If you don't, you could be seen as a liberated woman, undereducated or viewed as just not caring for your baby as much as the next woman. There's plenty, and I mean plenty, of judgment to go around which leaves most of us feeling like you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Here's a great take on the issue from Baj4Life posted on her blog Navelgazing.
Image courtesy of http://www.breastfeedingcafe.com/newsletterwinter.htm