I didn’t think much about sleep before I was a mom, but it didn’t take long for me to learn that this was one of the most controversial topics in parenting. My husband, Josh, read a bunch of sleep books while I was pregnant, I didn’t read any. It never occurred to me that it would involve anything beyond lying a baby down in a crib and walking out of the room while they closed their eyes to quiet sleep. It’s what I always saw in the moves! Well, HA! [Read more…]
It’s hard living in my skin. Not in a melodramatic way, but literally. My skin is sensitive and is a recurring source of discomfort. A few weeks ago I got a cold that swept through the toddlers at the local park district building. You know the moment when you realize you have gotten the cold that your toddler and baby have. “Oh what misery we are in for,” I thought. The first time I blew my nose I was reminded of the painful dry, flaky, cracked, bloody skin that will develop from the repeated blowing. Not only will Man Cold surely set in, but Cold Nose will too. [Read more…]
You will most likely not have a negative breastfeeding incident in your life. But that means nothing really. You live in a world where this happens and we all suffer the consequences of misogyny. Breastfeeding incidents occur often. Most of them are not reported. (Sound familiar?) Women are left humiliated, frightened and broken. Something is taken from women when this occurs; a sense of safety and innocence. These are not isolated incidents. They are part of a pattern of hatred of women, violence against women, abuse of women, shaming of women. Where porn is a billion dollar industry, where we pay a ton of money to see women take their clothes off, but women are told to cover up and go to the bathroom when breastfeeding their babies. There is a sickness in our society. One rooted in misogyny and double standards. One that hurts women and children everyday. One that must be cured. Cured by speaking up, speaking out, speaking often, making waves, not shutting up, not waiting for it to get better, breastfeeding whenever and wherever, shouting for each other and not giving up ever, ever, ever.
My Dear Critic,
I posted this photo on Instagram, that social media platform with the reputation of being drama-free. I received comments such as, “that’s disgusting,” “so gross,” “you’re sick,” etc. Nothing we haven’t heard before on social media, where people can comment without [Read more…]
This is Exley. He is 20 months old. He breastfeeds a lot. Like 7,582 times during the day and 10,498 times during the night. We share a bed so he wakes up, latches on and goes back to sleep. He nurses to sleep, to wake up, for comfort, before he eats, after he eats, when he’s resting and all other times too. He is loud. His voice booms in your chest and pierces your ears. He likes to follow his big brother around. Exley thinks he can do everything his big brother can do and falling on his head never holds him back. People often wonder if I get criticized for breastfeeding both Exley and his big brother, Jack (4.5 years old). I do online, but not in my real life. I wouldn’t keep critics in my life anyway. My close friends and family support my decision. Extended family and acquaintances seem to keep comments to themselves if they have any. I plan to breastfeed both of them as long as they want. It’s not always fun, but it works for us. It’s far more than food; it’s comfort, security, attachment, bonding and nurturance. I believe that allowing them to wean in their own time will lead to independence, high self-esteem, health and a sense of connection to their family and the world. I don’t think nursing Jack takes anything away from Exley. I think Exley gains a unique relationship with his brother along with all the other “perks” of breastfeeding.
This is Jack. He’s 4.5 years old. He nurses to sleep and for comfort, a couple times a day, but if it were up to him it would be 75 times a day! He likes to be worn in a toddler carrier if we are in a new or loud place. He likes trucks, Rescue Bots and telling stories. He has ideas for books and plays. He loves to run. He’s sensitive, talkative and funny. Breastfeeding has given him nothing but milk, love, nurturance, security, comfort, safety and attachment which will lead to independence, courage, health, self esteem and emotional security.
By Abby Theuring, MSW
***TRIGGER WARNING*** This post discusses all forms of violence against women. Proceed with caution.
The longer I work at breastfeeding advocacy and activism the harder it becomes to separate issues surrounding breastfeeding and breastfeeding in public from larger feminist issues. Intrigued by the connection I started reading feminist essays and picked up Rebecca Solnit’s book Men Explain Things to Me. I worked up an appetite to [Read more…]