A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

Breastfeeding Through Harassment

By Badass Roni

Badass Roni tandem breastfeeding, extended breastfeeding

My photo of me proudly tandem nursing my babies was shared a couple times yesterday. But only this account [an account on Instagram not named here] got me receiving rude comments. At first I was hot with anger (“who the f*ck are they to write anything about my kid’s age?”) and why do people have to say anything negative in general? I’ve literally never left a rude, off comment on anyone’s page ever. I keep it moving when I see something I don’t agree with.

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My Birthday Breastfeeding Story

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, tandem breastfeeding

I have made various posts lately asking you all to share how long you have been nursing. Even I get surprised at how many of us are nursing toddlers and small children. [Read more…]

Extended Breastfeeding


Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding beyond infancy, extended breastfeeding

This is my father-in-law. I’ve posted about him before because he has an interesting breastfeeding story. I’m posting again because he died a couple of weeks ago at 92 years old. And I’d like to share his story again.

His parents immigrated here from what is now Poland and he was born in New York City in 1925. He was breastfed for 3 or 4 years. He remembers breastfeeding from his mother. He never thought that this was strange. His memories of breastfeeding were just like any other memory he had of his mother nurturing him.

Grandpa Lou was always supportive of my work here. Whenever I saw him he asked about this community and all of you. He talked about breastfeeding openly. I breastfed openly and comfortably in front of him. He talked passionately and constantly of social justice issues. He made connections between the breastfeeding movement and women’s issues such as the sexualizing of the female body and women’s role in society.

I have heard too many times over the years that I need to stop breastfeeding my sons because they are getting older and will remember it. People tell me that if they can remember it later they will be traumatized and psychologically damaged. I know this to be utter garbage because I knew an adult who remembered breastfeeding. He was intelligent, gentle, kind, an influential sociologist and researcher, a veteran of the United States Navy, a lover of music and art and a loving father and husband.

Which of these do I not want to pass onto my children exactly?

My Weaning Story

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, weaning story

My blog is 6 years old this week. Exley was hanging out on my lap today while Jack was playing video games when I realized that by the blog’s 7th birthday I won’t be breastfeeding anymore. Jack is on his second week of not nursing. And this guy asked to nurse today, but only because I was about to post this! He goes days between asking. It won’t be long now. When he nursed he asked why there was no milk. I said he can still nurse, but that the milk is gone. I explained that as kids gets bigger and eat more food they nurse less and eventually there is no more milk. This is all part of the journey. Whether you’ve followed from the beginning or are just joining us you’re witnessing my weaning story.

Breastfeeding Is Your Journey and No One Else’s

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, extended breastfeeding

There is not a single voice that matters in this decision besides you and your child’s. A person wrote to me recently about how she had promised her husband that she would stop breastfeeding by 3 years old. Well, the child is now 3 years old and she does not want to stop breastfeeding, but her husband is pressuring her to stop. I told her that her husband’s opinion will matter when he is the one breastfeeding. Too harsh? No. A breastfeeding relationship belongs to the owner of the breast and the one suckling on said breast. Period.

Breastfeeding Feedback

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding advocate

It’s worn out now, but this shirt used to say, “Human. Kind. Be both.” I think this is a good motto when going about life. I often see comments under breastfeeding posts (especially when the child is beyond infancy) that it’s “disgusting,” “ridiculous” or “inappropriate.” Listen up, these statements are subjective at best and totally insulting. You don’t get to hide behind “Well that’s just my opinion.” It’s not an opinion, it’s an insult. And you can take your insults and shove them. You are welcome to ask questions, we love to answer them and share our experiences. We are moms making decisions for our families just like you. It might not look the same as yours, but that doesn’t matter. And you should be capable of understanding that you are not in charge of anyone’s life but your own. We’ve got this. We promise.

 

Breastfeeding Ends, No Need to Rush It

My husband caught this slice of life today at the indoor festival. My littlest son was tired and overwhelmed. He asked to nurse so we sat and had a snack while he had mommy time and dozed off for a nap. My biggest son gave the hot dog a thumbs up. Just a couple years ago my biggest would have done the same thing, sought me out to nurse for comfort. But now he, like all the kids, has adjusted and finds comfort in other ways, like a hot dog or hug or just sitting and resting with the family. He is beautiful living proof that they all stop breastfeeding eventually, that breastfeeding beyond infancy does not cause bad habits or psychological harm and that even if left to breastfeed until they themselves decide to stop it will all happen sooner than you think and go by in a flash. And when the comes it will resemble a punch to the throat. Hold them close, badasses, there’s no need to rush it.

The Badass Breastfeeder, Abby Theuring, breastfeeding in public

Breastfeeding Is Power

Breastfeeding began as the thing that brought me to my knees. It shook me to my new motherhood core. It pushed all of my buttons, buttons I didn’t know I had. It brought out anxiety, panic, fear, vulnerability and sadness. It didn’t work, it just wouldn’t work, no matter what I did. I felt like a failure, my body was letting me down and it was letting down the very person it was designed to care for. Then I got help and it began to work. It worked really well. I fought hard for it. And then I decided I would not stop until my boys were ready to stop. It gave me strength and power that I didn’t know I had in me. It has taught me about being a woman, being a mother, being strong when I feel weak, and power when I have nothing left to give.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding

Photo by Leslie at Tiny Bubbles Photography.

Breastfeeding Family Support

Family support is vital to a breastfeeding relationship. It’s so important that without it breastfeeding can end early, before mom and baby feel ready. I have a supportive partner. He’s always listened to me about my breastfeeding goals and supported them even when our first son was getting older. “Extended breastfeeding” was a foreign concept to both of us at the time, but he stayed in the game when I stayed breastfeeding. As well as breastfeeding in public for the first time with a cover. I lasted 3 minutes with cover, it was such a pain. He just said, “Take it off.” Now it’s normal. Breastfeeding anywhere in the world at any age is totally normal in my family.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Through Separation Anxiety

Exley is 3 years and 4 months old. He recently started a phase of separation anxiety with me. He has started to get upset when I take a shower, run to the store or just simply leave the room for a second. I return to find out he had a major meltdown that I had left or I can hear him start to cry and yell for me.

I see this is as a normal developmental stage. He is getting older and realizing that he and I are not connected at the breast. He’s becoming more aware of the world around him and is learning that I am a major provider of safety and security for him. The idea of separation between us is scary for him. 

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, breastfeeding through separation anxiety.

I deal with this by limiting my time away from him and having someone else run an errand if I can. I breastfeed him on demand. I reassure him that I will return and delay activities if needed. I invite him to other rooms with me, even the shower if he wants. I know that he will move through this stage more smoothly if I honor his feelings. I take his feelings seriously and try to be as gentle as possible.

Some people would say that I need to toughen him up; that I need to take this opportunity to teach him independence. Some people would say that I “baby” him and that he will grow up to have issues. (He actually just walked into the room as I am typing this!) Some people would say that I am doing too much and need to not “feed into” these feelings.

I call bullsh*t. He is tiny human who relies on me for keeping him safe in this world. No one would suggest that we ignore an adult’s feelings, so why are we so quick to ignore a child’s feelings? Ignoring a child’s feelings and forcing “independence” leads to adults that have no insight into their own feelings, no way of dealing with stress and increase the likelihood that they will act out or resort to drugs and alcohol. I’ve seen it as a social worker over and over.

I will not conform to disgusting social norms that push children away too soon, that don’t honor the feelings of child and adults equally and that suggest I’m damaging my child when the opposite has been proven time and time again. I will answer his cries always, I will breastfeed him until he is done and I will hold him close every time he needs me to. I know that this will lead a sense of security later in life, more emotional stability and more meaningful relationships with others.

***Edited to add that self care is a priority. This does not suggest giving up self care. This suggests seeing our children’s behavior as developmental rather than a burden and helping them through rough times.