Sorry for the lack of posts, but I’ve been sick. Actually, I’m still sick. I’m home from work today because I just can’t freaking breathe and I’m stuffed up beyond belief. So, I figured while I’m home, I could tackle something I’ve been wanting to address since last week.
I watched 20/20 last week because it featured a whole bunch of parenting topics and truthfully, I could probably write a post about any of them. Like the women who collect “Re-born” dolls. These dolls look freakishly lifelike to the point where the collectors take them out in strollers in public and people don’t realize they’re dolls. And the women who own the dolls don’t correct them, they simply play along. Creepy.
But what really got my attention was the bit on extended breastfeeding. Here’s a 5-minute clip if you want to see what I’m talking about:
Yeah…breastfeeding at 7 years old. Now keep in mind, I’m a breastfeeding proponent. I encouraged MJ to breastfeed with Will and she did for 4 months. She would’ve gone longer if not for certain complications beyond her control. And together, we made the decision to breastfeed for a year before weaning him. It wasn’t a hard and fast deadline, but we chose it for several reasons.
First of all, I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a human milkmaid. To be chained to your baby and feed him every hour or every two hours. That’s gotta be draining. And second, we chose a year because we wanted him to start weaning so he wouldn’t be too dependent on MJ for comfort. Besides, with bottle feeding both parents can be involved instead of just the mom getting all the bonding time.
Yet when I espouse these viewpoints — especially on some of my parenting boards — I am scowled at, looked down upon and at one point I was even told that I shouldn’t be allowed an opinion on breastfeeding simply because I’m a man.
First of all, I know breastfeeding is the best thing for a baby. That’s an unassailable fact and I’m not disputing it. There are more benefits in breast milk than anything else, so we can skip that argument right off the bat. And sure, organizations like the WHO recommend breastfeeding until at least 2 and the average age of weaning around the world is 4,but take a look at the kids in that video. They are 5 and 7 and STILL breastfeeding. That’s just creepy and weird. I also think it’ a detriment to the kids socially and developmentally because it means there is way too strong of an attachment to the mother than there should be at that age.
And let’s not look past the effects extended breastfeeding could have on the marriage. The first few months after a child is born is hell on a marriage. There is almost no intimacy between mom and dad because the baby needs mom for sustenance. But as the kids get older and cease their attachment to mom’s boobs (and hopefully stop sleeping in the family bed) that’s supposed to be the time for parent to rekindle their marriage. But how can that happen with a 5-7 year old still suckling mommy’s boobs?
And lastly, while I’m a proponent of breastfeeding I am not a zealot like many other La Leche League fanatics. These are the women who not only support breastfeeding, they tend to look down on others who do not make that choice. And that’s something I just don’t understand.
First of all, breastfeeding is not always a possibility for every woman. And second, some moms just don’t like it. Yet they feel bad about their true feelings because that jackass Dr. Sears and every other breastfeeding zealot out there makes them feel guilty for not feeling like breastfeeding is the most rewarding activity on the planet. And beyond that, it’s obvious some people feel men are not even entitled to an opinion simply because they don’t have working breasts.
It’s a personal choice and people should just relax. Formula is not the Devil’s elixir. A baby can have formula from the get-go and be just as smart and healthy as a breastfed baby. Everyone just needs to relax. And if you’re still breastfeeding your kid at 7…cut the cord already!