mash: parenting / health
Happy World Breastfeeding Week! In honor of this week that is meant to help improve the health of mother and child, I thought I’d do something for my mental health by preemptively answering three annoying “breastfeeding questions” I’ve been asked (and am tired of answering).
How long are you going to breastfeed? The CDC says “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire. The World Health Organization recommends continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.” So I will continue to breastfeed Baby Mash until he self-weans. Why? Because I want the best for Baby Mash, and the longer I breastfeed him, the longer he will benefit nutritionally and immunologically. Also, I want him to be smart; breastfeeding beyond the age of 1 has been linked in studies to higher IQ and academic achievement. Don’t you feel weird breastfeeding an older baby? Before I started breastfeeding, I thought that once Baby Mash sprouted teeth that would be it, no more breastfeeding. But the truth is, now that we started, I couldn’t imagine denying him. I’ll be honest, now that he is older, sometimes I tell him to wait a minute while I do something (you know, mommies have to pee too). However, I have something that he wants, and that’s good for him. Why would I deny him? And no, the teeth don’t hurt. And that fact that breastfeeding a child over one seems so “abnormal” here in a America is just a symptom of a society molded by interested parties to make people think breastfeeding (a) in public and (b) for a longer period of time, is abnormal. In India 95% of newborns are breastfed, and 77% of that number are reportedly still breastfed at 21 to 23 months. Baby Mash and I would fit in swimmingly there. Speaking of breastfeeding in public–yuck! You don’t do that, do you? Well, do you eat when you get hungry and happen to be out of the house? Yes? Well so does Baby Mash. Do you eat in the hot car, the toilet stall, or behind a bush? Neither does he. I do wholehearted agree with modesty–there is a time and place for everything. When he was younger, I could cover Baby Mash with no problem. Now, he flings the cover off. He’s hot and nosey. And when people who don’t have kids, or never breastfed a spirited mobile baby insist I should be able to put a cover over his head, I insist that they should instead put it over their own. I try to be as obscure as possible, both for the sake of modesty, and so Baby Mash, who is uber nosey, will focus on eating. But sometimes, there is no private room, he doesn’t want solid food, and he can’t be distracted into forgetting that his little tummy is empty, and I have no choice. And given no choice, I feed my son. Comparisons of breastfeeding in public to vomiting and using the bathroom in public a ludicrous, and not even worth responding too. And fortunately, I don’t have to respond to that logic or justify myself to anyone, because the law is on my side. And since I don’t care about random people more than Baby Mash, and I attempt to be as modest as a given situation will allow, I feel my son wherever I am. I know that I’ll be asked one of these questions again. And with a smile, even if it is one born from annoyment, I’ll answer it. Why? Because I want to help normalize breastfeeding. And if answering the same questions over and over will help, then so be it.
What are some breastfeeding questions you hear often?