Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Momma, Give a Kid a Little Boob Please

I saw something on my walk to the metro this week that stuck in my head. It´s nothing out of the ordinary in Rio de Janeiro. On the contrary, it´s quite common.  It was a Mother breastfeeding her child. 

I did not say baby here people, I said child. The kid was at least 3 years old. She sat down on a bench and put him on the boob. 

Now I love how breastfeeding friendly Rio de Janeiro is. When my boys were still on Momma´s good stuff, I would pop the girls out anywhere for a feed... Up to a point.  Of course there are situations where it´s just easier to pop them onto the chest, I get that, but at 3 years old for heavens sake!

It reminds me of that smoking toddler in Thailand or where ever it was at. No, I´m not comparing extended breastfeeding to smoking.  I talking about the usage of time. It´s a way to occupy and calm the kid down for a minute.  They are not getting a meal at that age, they are getting a mini liquid snack. I don´t get why you don´t get a bottle of water or a snack pack.

I just don´t think that a 3 year old needs boob on demand.  I mean, way to raise the bar for his future wife. He´s going to be sucking on the poor little thing while she´s sleeping.  Get him a juice, a bottle of water, or just tell him to wait a second. It´s unnecessary. 

So why am I making a big deal out of nothing. Not my kid and not my body. True enough but it just weirds me out. When a kid is old enough to ask for a time out on the soccer field to run over for a suck, it´s time to cut the guy off! 

How do you feel about extended breastfeeding on demand? When do you think the cut off point is?


  1. i love this rant.. :)
    i actually did Laugh out loud reading it.
    as for Extended breastfeeding, i am totally on the same page as you. It serves it's purpose in the first year for many, but at 3? that is ludicrous.. I could only breast feed my first 2 for the first 6 months and my last 2 barely made it the 6 weeks.. 1 years old seems to be the norm ( at least here in Canada) but i'm noticing a rise in women having kids later in life and letting kids do more (ie. breast feed for extended periods of time)..
    3 year olds need a juice box or a environmentally friendly container with water in it, NOT moms boob..
    Good for you for writing this and your feelings about it though.. I always enjoy your humor and the way you see things in Rio..

  2. My faxineira said she breastfeeded her youngest son until he was 5 years old and that´s just simply crazy!...she even said there wasn´t any milk left for years but the son just liked it so much that she kept on "feeding" him...

  3. well, I used to think the same way you do, but then I had my youngest, and he was (still is) insanely needy, and he wound up breastfeeding until a month past his 3rd birthday. Now, in his/my defense, we moved here when he was 2.5 yrs old, so the trauma of an international move played a role in us going that long. But, by that point, I absolutely tried to keep it at home. It was a coping mechanism for him, though; it was the only way he knew how, at that point, to deal with stress. So, yea, public nursing still happened in those last 6 months from 2.5 to 3 yrs. I was glad we lived here.

    After his 3rd birthday, though, when it was more habit than coping skills, I cut him off cold turkey and haven't looked back. He survived. I survived. He's got the next 15 yrs or so to forget before he gets married so I'm sure his wife won't realize. (well, he's a very touchy-feely kid anyway, so she might....)

    Anyway, I realized it's a very personal decision. It's one thing to say from the outset "I'm not gonna..." but then when you are in that moment, one more month turns into another year and before you know it, there you are. There are LOTS of valid reasons for it, though. Allergies, food sensitivities, etc. You just never know. My son was seriously premature, had some developmental delays, etc. and a nutritionist and the pediatrician both told us, when he was two, keep it up as long as we were both comfortable because it was the best thing for him (because of his other issues).

    Anyway, just a glimpse at the other side....

  4. I really only has so much room to talk. My oldest just gave up his pacie on his 4th birthday. He had just given it up at 2 and then his brother was born. It wasn´t the brother so much as mommy going to the hospital for 2 days. Poor kid didn´t leave my side or take that pacie out (except to eat) for 3 weeks. He was 2 and 4 months to be exact.

    I totally hear you about the time just goes by thing.

    On the other hand, It pissed me off to have my maid (like your Maijita) tell me that I really had to get my youngest off the bottle at 1 yr when she breastfed her kid out of habit until she was 4. What´s the difference?! In my defense, my youngest had hardcore silent reflux and an unknown lactose intolerance. He didn´t gain weight easily and the bottle was one way to get stuff down him.

  5. We in the west are so hung up about this. Babies should be breastfed as long as they want to. I think a big problem is misinformation about breast milk. Babies will receive what they need from the breast. If they want a high quantity of liquid that is what they know how to get. If they need more sustenance that is what the breast will provide depending on how they suckle. All this silly talk about 'they will still be breastfeeding when they are dating' stuff is just silly. People don't understand enough about breast milk and nursing in order to give an educated opinion. Breastfeed or don't and it is your choice but don't say - My breasts were too small to have enough milk or the milk was too thin or there is nothing there after a few years or it will make my baby a homosexual or it will make my baby a mama's boy or breasts are for my husband not my baby.

  6. Trying to stop! Trying to stop!

    I've set a deadline of the end of the month (the Canadoca will be 18 months old). It's true you should never say never - the idea of nursing freaked me out more than the idea of giving birth, though I knew I'd do it if I could as it would be best for the baby. Now pediatricians here and back home are recommending to breastfeed until 2 yrs old. Can't imagine wrangling down a 2 yr old to breastfeed. Not to mention the very public ways they'd be asking for it! I started calling it "quiet time" months ago in anticipation of her yelling out that she wanted it in the supermarket. Somehow quiet time sounds better than most of the alternatives ;) People definitely raise their eyebrows when they hear I'm still feeding her....

  7. Don´t get me wrong. I agree that you should do it as long as you and your child are happy. I don´t think it should be used as a pacie. That is a different thing. I don´t think it should be used as a quick comfort if the kid falls down. I think breastfeeding is what it is but should not be used as a crutch at the older ages. Kids need to learn to deal with the little things a little at a time, you know.

    Of course there are special situations.

    That being said, my kid had a pacie until he was 4. I was so embarrassed and that helped me keep it in the house.

    But I do not think your child gets all they need from the breast at 3+. They need food, they need to consume more of that than the other. Supplement, sure. I have met more than a few people who keep saying that their kid won´t eat (over 2 yrs) so they keep pushing the breast. Just like a bottle, if a kid knows they´ll get that over the food, and that´s what they want, then they will wait you out.

    It´s a personal thing. I loved breastfeeding but couldn´t imagine doing it after 1 year/18 months. 3 year olds are impossible for me to imagine!

    And I agree Anon, it won´t make a homosexual, mama´s boy, or anything like that. But why do people push potty training and let their "big boy" suck on a breast? It doesn´t make sense.

  8. "Can't imagine wrangling down a 2 yr old to breastfeed."

    Then don't. Don't force it. That is cruel If baby wants it, give it but don't force feed. Perhaps the child wants to wean. Fine. I had one baby who weaned herself at 12 months.
    A baby who is breastfed and is offered solid food will eat the food that they need to survive. A 3 year old is not getting all the food they need from breastmilk. They need solid food too.
    A breast is not exclusively a pacifier or a source of food. It is all those things. It is not a crutch, something to go to to avoid facing life. The availability lets a child face life.
    And don't forget the health benefits a child receives from breastmilk.

  9. But as you said "People don't understand enough about breast milk and nursing in order to give an educated opinion" The jury is still out on the health benefits of breast feeding in toddlers. It´s definitely not bad for them but doesn´t necessarily mean it gives an advantage over other kids. I know plenty of extended breastfed kids who are constantly sick, just as non-breastfed toddlers.

    And I disagree with you about it not being a crutch. As all things, it can be. Some mothers use it just to shut their kids up like I used that damn pacie. Given you can´t just rip a crutch out from under a kid, you can start giving them other ways to manage stress. I do not think it´s natural to breastfeed up to 3.5 - 4 yrs. I can give you 3... ok, 2.5.

    All good things have their limits and extend breastfeeding kids do not need to be on the boob all the time. That´s what I´m saying. You can explain to a 3 yr old that they need to wait until you get home, or where ever before they get their Mommy boob time. You don´t need to pull it out on demand. They are not infants.
    If you want a baby, go have another one.