WARNING: there are boobies in this post!
This is quite a brave post for me to write and the fact that it is a brave post saddens me greatly. For some of my close friends, this will come as no surprise but for all my other FBBFF (Facebook Best Friends Forever) I anticipate reactions ranging from raised eyebrows, scrunched noses and a few ‘good for you’ silent nods.
Here goes…I still nurse BOTH my boys. Yep, you read that correctly…both the Lord and the General are still on the boob!
Now before we get into the details, let me just be clear on one or two things:
- I am not looking for a debate or to launch a guilt-trip
- I am not a breastfeeding expert but I am an expert on MY children
- I am not ‘one of those mums’ (I’ll explain this one later)
My breastfeeding journey didn’t get off to the best start with the Lord. Quite early on in my pregnancy I developed high blood pressure and so took medication to control it. Skip forward to the Lord’s arrival and all seemed ok, apart from the 24-hour screaming as soon as we got home. After a couple of days without a wet nappy, we were straight to the ER with a dehydrated, three-day old baby. Cue the amazing lactation consultant Maureen who calmly hooked me up with a Supplementary Nursing System ( I had very low supply due to the blood pressure meds) and the Lord ate for the first time since leaving the hospital.
I cried for hours. I cried to see him satisfied and happy for the first time in his short life. I cried with guilt because I had ‘put him through this’. I cried at the thought of this massive, tough journey I had ahead of me. But, with the support of Mr. British Maple, the help of formula (not the milk of the devil, by the way!) and a lot of commitment we became exclusively breastfed in 10 weeks.
Breastfeeding can be very tough for a lot of people but with perseverance it can be the most rewarding (and cost-effective!) way of life.
I didn’t set out to nurse this long, nor did I ever think I would end up nursing not one, but two toddlers at the same time. In fact, I considered weaning the Lord while I was pregnant with the General because ‘reliable’ sources assured me that as soon as my milk dried up, he would self-wean. How wrong they were!
It was this reluctance to wean that encouraged me to keep the Lord on the boob. He is an incredibly alert, sensitive little soul and the fact I can continue to offer a quick, easy comfort when things get rough makes me happy (and my life is a great deal simpler too!
Now that we have established how it all started, let me dispel a few myths about why my journey is not yet over:
- No, I am not a crunchy, unshaven mum who only feeds her kids breastmilk and kale.
- I am just too lazy to deal with the tears that will undoubtedly come with weaning
- No, I am not that mum who waps her boobs out in the middle of the supermarket because my articulate three-year old asks for milk
- But I have been known to scoop up a screaming pre-toddler and nurse them in a carrier and continue with my shopping in peace so no one has the foggiest what I’m actually doing
- No, I am not worried that the Lord will go to school screaming ‘I still drink nu-nu milk’
- The Lord and I have strict boundaries around nursing – never in public, only twice a day and only for a count of 20. He never talks about it outside of the house
- No, I don’t get oodles of warm and fuzzies because I still nurse every day
- There are some days I would rather chop the girls off than have either of the man cubs anywhere near me but I wouldn’t swap snoozy nu-nu for the world
- No, I don’t judge you because you didn’t nurse/ don’t still nurse
- If anything, I am sometimes (and only sometimes) a little jealous of the freedom you have
- Yes, I will eventually wean them
- But only when the time is right for everyone
Being a Brit in Canada I am fortunate enough to be able to compare two seemingly similar cultures and when it comes to breastfeeding they couldn’t be further apart. In the UK the majority of mums I know wean by six months (if they breastfed at all) and in Canada I know very few people who didn’t nurse until the one-year mark.
The World Health Organisation recommends nursing until two years and beyond, and in many parts of the world this is perfectly normal. Which is why it saddens me so much that I have sat on this post for months, building up the courage to admit that I do something that is biologically natural.
I am not ashamed of nursing my beautiful man cubs, and nor should anyone else. I only hope my public declaration will encourage more people to ignore western societal pressure to conform with the notion that breastfeeding is somehow only for infants.
Please share this with any mums or mums-to-be who you think need a little nursing cuddle!