June 10, 2005

It does a body good.

When I was in the doctor's office with my daughter the other week, waiting for her to be seen for her staph infection, I flipped through one of the parents' magazines and came across an article written by a woman explaining why she has chosen to nurse her children until they are older. At the time of writing the article, she was still nursing her youngest child, a five-year-old girl, and had nursed each of her older children until they were anywere between five- and seven-years-old. She explained in the article that she lives with constant ridicule heaped upon her by friends, family and strangers because everyone thinks it's weird she's continued to breastfeed her children for so long. I have to say, I find it odd and disconcerting. However, I did think the author made an excellent point is stating that the reason she believes people are so turned off by the idea of nursing children past infancy is because our Western society has so sexualized female breasts that we can't comprehend her desire to nourish her children with what she believes to be the best food for them as a non-sexual desire. She said she believes her children have benefited from being allowed to nurse into childhood. I think she has a point about the way we view the female body, but I can't help but thinking that the idea of nursing my seven-year-old daughter is repugnant to me. Not that I would personally view it as a sexual act in any way if I did do it, but my daughter is a kid. A kid with opinions and thoughts and observations and there's just something really discordant in my mind with nursing a child old enough to unbutton my shirt and use my breasts as a self-service bar. In fact, in the article it's mentioned that the author's daughter indicates her desire to nurse by saying, "I want some numies."

I nursed my daughter until she was fourteen months, so I don't see myself as a person unaware of the benefits of breatfeeding, but I have to say I was ready to be done with it when I was done with it. It's tiring in some ways having to be so physically tied to your child. My daughter took bottles when I wasn't around, and that gave me a lot of freedom compared to some women whose babies would only take the breast, but it was still a challenge for me because I had to carry my breast-pump around everywhere to keep her in supply and to keep my breasts from exploding. No matter what, I was still tied to this whole activity of nursing every second of my day. I can't see keeping that up for seven years. It boggles my mind.

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