Friday, 11 May 2012

Time Magazine's breastfeeding cover

First of all, let me say that I HATE the caption on the new Time Magazine cover.  "Are you Mom enough?"  Seriously?  We are all moms doing the very best we can, making decisions that are right for us, our spouse, our baby, and our family.  While I love the attachment parenting philosophy, I would never say that following it makes me a better mother than someone else.  Absolutely ridiculous.  And yes, of course I believe Time Magazine put this specific image on their cover in order to sell magazines.  It's naive to believe otherwise.  They are in the business of selling their magazine.  I wouldn't expect any less.

But the article did make me think about breastfeeding and this new little baby who is coming.  Caleb and Benjamin were both breastfed, but I ended up weaning them when I got pregnant, which meant that I never faced the idea of determining when to wean them.

Here's an interesting paradox, that says a lot about our North American thoughts on breastfeeding.  If you asked me how long I would breastfeed a baby, I would probably tell you about a year.  If you asked me if I would breastfeed to 2 years old, I would probably tell you "no."  However, Benjamin was about 21 months when I stopped nursing him.  That's nearly two years old, and I hadn't even considered him too old to nurse at that point.  Even now, when we cuddle up in the rocking chair at night or before nap, it flashes across my mind to nurse him.  He's nearly 2 1/2 years old, and truly, he still seems so young.  If you asked me if I would nurse a 3 year old, I would say absolutely no way.  And yet, I think the days creep by so slowly that he would be 3 before I knew it and I still might be nursing.

Interesting, isn't it?  It's almost as if I've been conditioned by society to balk at the idea of nursing a 3 year old, never mind past that.  But the world-wide average age to wean is actually between 3 and 6 years old! In North America, less than 30% of moms are nursing past one month.  I don't have a stat on nursing past a year, but I bet it's very, very small.  My guess is that it has something to do with the high number of moms who go back to work after their baby is a year old, therefore making it much harder to continue nursing.  But I wonder why that mindset affected those moms who choose to stay home?

It makes me wonder how long I'll nurse this new little baby.  Knowing it's my last, and that I won't have to wean because of a pregnancy, how long will I go?  Will I hold on even longer because I know I won't be doing it again?

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