Breastfeeding a toddler is not child abuse
I had the pleasure of riding the London underground this week. As I sat amongst the sweaty mess that is the commuting population of the capital city I heard a baby start to cry. Doing my best to try and block out the familiar noise my eyes refused to obey and they sought out the sound. To the left of me sat a woman who was desperately trying to rock her son off to sleep; he must have been about a year old. The crying was relentless, nothing seemed to be working and I was just on the verge of tossing the child a half eaten Twix when suddenly the mother popped out a breast and all was well with the world. The incessant wailing stopped and calm descended on the carriage.
Two stops later and it was time to disembark. I squeezed through the mass of people and half tripped off the tube behind two younger girls who collapsed in a heap of giggles on the platform.
"Did you, like, see that?" one snorted to the other.
"Like, oh my God, she just got out her boob. That. Is. Disgusting," commented the second.
"The kid had teeth and everything," went on the first. "It is like child abuse, and I bet she likes being bit."
I walked on and away, climbing the escalator two steps at a time feeling oddly ashamed and slightly murderous both at the same time.
You see, I am one of those...
Yes, I am a lactator...
My child is over two and she still feeds from the breast.
Normally I couldn't give a rat's ass what anyone else thinks but to be compared to a child abuser? That stung a little.
For my daughter and me, breastfeeding makes both our hearts sing a little. When the morning breaks, we start the day in an embrace where she nestles at my breast and together we doze on, both caught in happy thoughts. As the night begins to fall, we kiss goodbye to the day with a hug that starts at my bosom and finishes with a kiss on the lips as her eyes start to close.
It makes us happy, as my daughter has not had an easy start to her life. In the last two years she has endured epilepsy and three months bound in a spica cast - boobie has been her constant. Had she been born healthy, I very much doubt anything would be different, boobie would still be around, but I would be writing about it a little differently.
Will I stop?
I imagine so. It is unlikely she will welcome me in my fifties flopping out a boob to line her stomach at her graduation before she hits the bar?
But rest assured it will be in our own time, not when society tells us so.