bfeeding a toddler
Typical mom of two Katie Hamilton is shrugging off that Time magazine cover photo we can't stop talking about. She knows it was just to sell more magazines, and she thinks most nursing moms know that's not how you nurse a child. But she says it's great that we're talking about it -- especially about extended breastfeeding.

So she gives her reasons for feeding her almost 2-year-old daughter. As another mom who breastfed a toddler, a lot of her reasons resonated with me. But some of her reasons reminded me of why a lot of other moms are turned off by attachment parenting.

Katie thinks that one-year cutoff seems too arbitrary. "It's not like you turn one and all of a sudden it's like 'okay, that's it, you're cut off!' There has been this bond, this connection, and to cut it off right at one, there's no need for it." So yeah, I agree with the arbitrary date. But the bonding? Based on what I read, the bonding you get from breastfeeding should go on even after weaning. You breastfeed so you can build that foundation that will carry you and your child past breastfeeding. 

If anything, knowing that you've created a bond with your baby through nursing -- however long you did it -- is supposed to reassure you when you do finally wean. But saying that you're "cutting off" that bonding just makes moms who wean feel guilty.

"Attachment Parenting isn't about an elite group of mothers. It's about mothers doing the best they can to meet the needs of their baby and follow their natural instincts in the biological norm that keeps their baby healthy and happy." Well sure. Moms of all education and income levels do AP. 

But what does she mean by "natural instincts in the biological norm" -- what's this norm? Does she mean worldwide? Because that's one of the least-helpful justifications for extended breastfeeding. Just because it works for the Dutch and the Maasai of Kenya doesn't mean it will work for Loreliee Danvers (I made up that name) of Akron, Ohio. There's a whole lot more support for breastfeeding moms in The Netherlands and in rural Kenya than there is here. So to compare us with those moms is unfair.

Here's why I kept nursing my toddler: Because we both wanted to. Because I was too lazy to wean (I admit!). Because it burns an extra 500 calories a day (I admit!). Because I could afford to. Because it didn't bug me. Because it made him so damn happy.

Really, no need to get preachy and list health studies that will make other moms feel like they're doing something wrong if they wean. I think the key phrase is "do what works for your family." I'm all for supporting moms who DO want to keep nursing but feel pressured to stop earlier. I'm totally in your corner, ladies! But let's be real about the reasons why we keep breastfeeding.

If you breastfed past one, what were your reasons? Moms who stopped earlier, why did you wean?

 

Image via AP/YouTube