I love the theme for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week (WBW): Understanding the past – Planning the future. Breastfeeding and a woman’s right to breastfeed (and a child’s right to access food and comfort) has become a much talked about issue in the last year. Maybe it is the larger Attachment Parenting/Gentle Parenting movement that has drawn back the covers on the issues surrounding breastfeeding. Or, perhaps it is because Beyonce and Tori Spelling are talking about their milk supply issues with newspapers and evening talk show hosts? Whatever the reasons, and I am sure there are many intersecting and diverging, that have us talking about breastfeeding – I think it is a good thing. An ‘about time’ thing.
I want my son to raise his kids in a world where it is normal for a mother to nurse her kiddo at a baseball game, a restaurant, or in the middle of an amusement park. I want Aodhan to grow up knowing that if his family (if he falls into heteronormative and child producing ways) wants to nurse their children, his partner is supported to nurse as long as she wants. That she is able to pump at work hassle and barrier free, and that she has access to the support and education that will help her make the nursing choices that are right for her.
That is the future that I want. And I know that it is attainable. I can see how far we have come, but there is still so much further to go. I think there is still a lot of work to do in areas like getting rid of biological determinism and accepting the perspective and choices of mamas who don’t want to breastfeed, normalizing and encouraging nursing relationships that go beyond the perceived normal duration and generally continuing to readjust and reshape social perceptions and attitudes of society. Every day, while reading the twittervism being done by @wolf_mommy, I am reminded of just how much work needs to be done in order to grasp the future I wish for.
In the mean time, in addition to celebrating the accomplishments that we have made, there are some great resources out there for nursing mamas, including: the Canadian site, Nursing in Public, which looks specifically at supporting mamas nursing outside of the house. NursingFreedom.org is a brilliant site that, for our american sisters, includes a great amount of legal information, but also offers a selection of articles about anything and everything to do with nursing.
So, what’s going on with my boobs you ask? It has been awhile since I wrote our post on Play & Gentle Weaning, and I am sure you have been on the edge of your seat dying for an update. Since I last wrote about Aodhan and his beloved ‘drinkah boobah’ things have changed quite a bit. But, like all natural endings, there has been an ebb and flow that takes us each day a little bit closer to a completion of this relationship.
After writing that post, I began declining to nurse during the day, explaining to Aodhan that I was ready to change the way we nurse. He understood that boobies were for sleep and we amped up our playing a great deal and tried to spend all of our days outdoors. We had great success for about three week. And we moved. It was terribly short notice and Aodhan didn’t have much preparation for such a big transition. So the boobies (and mid-day napping) saw a renaisance in our family. I was ok with this. We moved him. Not far, but far enough. His best buddy was a pretty long walk away, and he had to learn how to navigate a whole new place, and was dealing with his life in a bunch of boxes. No problem, buddy. My boobies are here for you.
But, a month went by and his papa started his summer holiday. I decided it was time to go back to no-more-boobies-during-the-day. I decided to be more firm about the once every 24 hours rule – right before bed. We had some tough first days, and the first week included some stickers and the purchase of a toy train (I am so sorry Alfie Kohn, so, so, sorry. But YOU try having boobies that your son would do anything for). Kevin has been so supportive and helpful and I think it is helping their relationship so very much. Aodhan is no longer looking for boobies the second he hurts or feels frustrated. Now he just looks for one of his parents. That’s been amazing. Watching Aodhan replace his love for boobies with his love for his daddy. Wow. I feel so blessed to have watched this new and deeper love take root between the two people I love more than anything else on the planet. My boobies have taught me so much about love, relationships and trust – who knew that they would also help transform the relationship between a son and his dad. I love my boobies.
So yah, our future works closer to being 100% boobie-free, at which time Aodhan will finally, finally, finally get that wibbilie-wobbilie-train-bridge he has been pinning over for a year. And me? I will get some new bras! Hallelujah.
Happy World Breastfeeding Week to everyone, because breastfeeding isn’t just my issue, or a woman’s issue – it is a global issue. It is everyone’s issue.
Making this a part of Natural Parent’s Network WBW BlogHop. Come on over and read some of the other brilliant posts.
I’m celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Natural Parents Network!
You can, too — link up your breastfeeding posts from August 1-7 in the linky below, and enjoy reading, commenting on, and sharing the posts collected here and on Natural Parents Network.
(Visit NPN for the code to place on your blog.)