“Extreme” Breast feeding: I currently breast feed both my kids

I’m a professional dancer, I sometimes perform in very little clothing, I blog about my life, I make films. But there’s something else that gets me far more attention, although I wish it didn’t…

tandem feeding

I breastfeed my two babies, I “tandem feed” my four-year-old and my one-year-old.
And it shouldn’t embarrass me, but it does.
It makes me feel really uncomfortable when my eldest pulls at my top wanting to feed in public.
It’s not her that makes me feel uneasy, after all, a lot of kids her age still have pacifiers (dummies, blankets, sucking their thumb).
But I can’t bare all the stares, I’ve not got the confidence to not feel bothered about other peoples horrified looks or tuts at me.
And yet, my happy, lively and go-getting four-year-old would prefer “mama milk” to sweets, she even sometimes wants my milk instead of a McFlurry ice-cream!
It is accepted that kids eat fast-food “Happy Meals” made up of fries, deep fried nuggets, a sweet drink and cheap toy.

But when an older infant wants breast milk, this is deemed wrong.

And yet, breast milk continues to nourish a baby/child even after they turn one. Breast milk does not discriminate when a child turns a certain age.
The age a child weans (stops feeding) varies across the world due to cultural and societal norms that we create in different cultures. So what is “extreme” breastfeeding, as the ‘optimal’ age of stopping/weaning is relative to society’s beliefs on breast feeding, which is mostly not based on evidence.

tandem feeding 2

Anthropologist Katherine Dettwyler, PhD, wrote in A Natural Age of Weaning: “One often hears that the worldwide average age of weaning is 4.2 years, but this figure is neither accurate nor meaningful. A survey of 64 “traditional” studies done prior to the 1940s showed a median duration of breastfeeding of about 2.8 years, but with some societies breastfeeding for much shorter, and some for much longer. It is meaningless, statistically, to speak of an average age of weaning worldwide, as so many children never nurse at all, or their mothers give up in the first few days, or at six weeks when they go back to work. It is true that there are still many societies in the world where children are routinely breastfed until the age of four or five years or older, and even in the United States, some children are nursed for this long and longer.

We readily drink other mammals’ breast-milk (cows/goats milk) but people struggle when they see us human mammals drink our own mum’s milk?!

I don’t feed my children to make a point, but I’m always justifying why I feed them as I have stumbled across so much criticism.
So I have decided to use this National Breastfeeding Week to Blog about the fact that I still breast feed my kids.
Not because I’m any better or in any way special. But I’m just doing my best at this parenting thing.
And I find that breastfeeding soothes and nourishes my kids. To me, breast milk is the most magical thing I’ve ever created.
Don’t get me wrong it’s not always been easy due to the stigma around breastfeeding older babies from people I know, including, health professionals.
I’ve been told I’m selfish.
I’ve been been told I’m a bad mum.
“It’s got to stop.”

img_1184

But believe you me breastfeeding isn’t like what you see on the posters where a little baby is just being cradled by its mother and is gently suckling.
It’s like an Olympic sport trying to get a one-year-old to feed sat down when all she wants to do is jump on you whilst feeding or bite you because she finds your squeals funny.
That’s not to mention the added difficulty of a needy four-year-old who just wants to gulp down as much mama milk as possible.
Oh and then there’s the sibling rivalry, all whilst they’re attached to your breasts. They kick each other, my 1 yo pulls my 4 yo’s hair. They fight, they cry but they still love Mama milk.

I never planned to breast feed this long

When I had my first child I was fairly young and naive, I didn’t want to feed in public and I struggled with the concept of breast feeding as I had only ever seen one mother do it.
And then when she came, I got great support from local breastfeeding councilors and groups (all reliant on volunteers.) And day-by-day I continued to breast feed. It is/was great for my own health and for my two children today. Although as with a lot of parenting decisions there’sw no black and white, it’s a weighing up of the pros and cons.

306125_10150938991110890_461799051_n

I’ve tried to wean my kids off “mama milk” a bit, to give me a break, but I find it really hard as it is such a great soother and pacifier. They kick up a storm if they can’t feed. So I ask myself why am I trying to stop them? Because as much as I sometimes feel an aversion towards breastfeeding them, they are still my babies and I value this special bonding time with them.
It is society that is shouting at me that I must stop feeding full stop.
So much so I sometimes I try to hide the fact that I still feed them both.

It is not wrong, and it shouldn’t be a secret.

Parents need support to make the decisions that are best for them and their family.

I don’t have a lot of confidence in my role as a mum but this is one thing I feel I’ve mastered and can give to them.
It’s hard work as my husband can’t really put them to bed or when they wake it is normally for Mama Milk.

The problem though with all the stigma around breastfeeding, and people casting their aspersions on me, is it doesn’t allow me to vent how I feel. Because sometimes I really don’t want to feed. I want to be able to sleep, I want my body to rest.

Nobody told me about breast feeding aversion

But when health professionals just say “when you stopping?,” “They don’t need it.” etc. etc.
It just silences me. And I become further embarrassed.
Whereas when a woman who leads a group I go to, chats to me about it, and listens to how I feel, without judgement, it makes life a lot less stressful because I do want to wean them off milk slightly just for my own sanity.
I’m glad it continues to soothe and nourish them, and I will wait until they self-wean but there are times I need a bit of quiet time.
And for now we still have a breastfeeding relationship and yes I look forward to the day where I get to relax in front of the TV some nights instead of doing the bedtime routine.
But for now I’m just doing my best.
Because that’s all we as parents/carers can do.

11214323_10153253014520890_2584490278896147357_n (1)

So as this week marks National Breastfeeding Week. Let’s loose the stigma, value breast milk and what it can do.
But it is not a competition. It is the choice of the mother and child. That’s what’s natural, not what you think parents should or shouldn’t do.

For more information on breastfeeding, go to: http://abm.me.uk/ and https://www.nct.org.uk/

This is also a helpful article which is for all mothers regardless of their choices

 

 

 

Best of Worst

15 thoughts on ““Extreme” Breast feeding: I currently breast feed both my kids

  1. Beautifully written Sophie! It’s such a wonderful and natural thing to feed our babies and to offer them that nurturing. You are an amazing mummy and should be so proud of your breastfeeding journey xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to have An Opinion on this – until I started breastfeeding my own daughter and realised:
    a) there is definitely nothing sexual about how it feels to breastfeed a child (it’s the difference between being licked on the hand by a lover and being licked on the hand by a pet)
    b) there are very few (if any) women who want to expose themselves whilst feeding, nor people who get off on seeing a flash of breastfeeding boob. (Little ones, however, feel very differently about this and like to proudly expose as much of mummy as possible!)
    c) WTF is it to do with me anyway?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Bekki so true!! I’d only ever seen one person feed before! And I never thought I would but u quickly just get into the swing of it! I’m glad I didn’t know I’d be feeding for 4 years plus from the start tho lol. Xxx

      Like

  3. My little one has been feeding for 14 months and we still do it in public. I want him to self wean so we’re not stopping anytime soon. He’s been walking for a while now and I’m starting to worry about public feeding, especially when he gets even bigger. Or when he has a sibling and they’re tandem feeding. It’s not fair, we shouldn’t have to worry about this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I know how you feel. I fed my first until she was 3 and a half (the half counts!). We had to stop as I fell pregnant, it was agony to feed and my milk dried up. You did an amazing job to keep feeding through pregnancy. I got so many comments from mainly family about it but was very fortunate to have a friend who was also still feeding her child of the same age. No one has the right to judge you, especially when you are absolutely doing what is best and right for your family. Well done mama 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw that’s brilliant! I feel every day is some achievement but then there’s so many nay Sayers it’s hard to have a moan when u need one as everyone says “just stop it”. Its Defo helpful having friends in similar positions I’ve started to find online helpful too 🙂 but I’m nervous as my blog will be in a newspaper tomo so hopefully ppl will be as supportive as the ppl who’ve read it so far thx for sharing xxx

      Like

  5. It sounds as though your children are happy, healthy, and safe, so your breastfeeding relationship — and the rest of your parenting decisions — are no one else’s business. Keep on nursing for as long as it’s the best decision for your family! ~ From another mama tandem nursing an 18mo and almost-4yo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah hun you have to do what is right for you and your family and no one else. if other people have an issue then let them. Your little ones are happy and they won’t feed forever I’m sure. Good luck and thanks for sharing with #bestandworst x

    Like

  7. Congratulations on feeding for so long! My daughter has just turned one and I am going to have wean her soon because of going back to work! I’m devastated as I had hoped to feed for as long as she wanted to but it would be cruel and confusing to her to sometimes not be able to have it at bedtime. Keep on doing what’s right for you and your family. That’s what’s best!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s