By Sofie Thomson
With the breastfeeding community going from strength to strength I see more and more beautiful videos of mothers who are breastfeeding shared on social media. Unfortunately they are almost always plagued by hundreds of comments, full of vicious debate. This is especially the case with the videos where the child is no longer an infant. What happened to live and let live…?
The comments vary between stating how “unnatural” it is to feed a toddler with milk from the mother’s breast, and sure, it could probably be considered unnatural in a country where formula has become the norm! However, that doesn’t mean it’s biologically incorrect.
In these videos, mothers are baring it all in the hope of making another breastfeeding mother’s journey that little bit easier, that little bit more normalised.
How brave is that!
I am a huge supporter and advocate for breastfeeding. If you’ve followed my blog you’ll know this. I have written about my heartbreak over not being able to breastfeed my daughter and I’ve written about my pride in persevering in breastfeeding my son.
I have vaguely brushed over how my son is now a toddler, but I’ve done so carefully and discreetly.
I share that I feel pride in that I’ve breastfed my son, but what I don’t say is that I feel wary of the fact that I still am. My son was three in March and he is not ready to move on from the breast. I am at this point conflicted. I would like him to feel ready to move on but I won’t force him.
I can’t even make my kids cleans their rooms! I’m not really the enforcing kind of mother.
Removing comfort and love in the shape of a breast before a child is ready is traumatic on a whole other level, so regardless of my feelings, I continue. Not for me, but for him.
Don’t get me wrong, I love cuddling up with my blonde-haired boy after a busy day. I love how my breast milk still make his eyes flutter and his entire body relax in my arms. Tonight I looked down at him as he slipped away, this little boy of mine. He stretched his arm out and he stroked my belly, the place where he once lived.
He is just this little bundle of love. I smell him and he smells the same as he did three years ago. I try to almost inhale this moment as I know it won’t last forever.
To you he may look big, but to me he is only just a day older then yesterday.
As I listen to his calming breathing, I cry quietly.
Last night I made the unfortunate mistake of reading the comments left under a video of a mother breastfeeding her three year old.
Reading the comments made me feel angry and hurt at once. My son is three – this could be me they we’re talking about.
“That’s disturbing”, “she’s abusing that kid”, “he is going to get bullied for what that sick woman is doing to him”, and the worst one – “she obviously just enjoy having her tits sucked”.
I tried to argue how we are biologically meant to feed for so much longer then we do. I argued that my child isn’t even near biological weaning age – I linked research and information but it was ignored. Anecdotal comments in the form of ignorance prevailed.
I was told that I abuse my son.
As I’m lying here with tears running down my cheeks, I think about how awful we are to each other. How cruel and horrible we can be to absolute strangers whilst hiding behind a keyboard and taking no responsibility for the very real people, that we hurt.