WPA poster promoting breast feeding and proper...

After the release of the TIME magazine cover “Are You Mom Enough”, the internet was a buzz with pro and anti breastfeeding comments. I wouldn’t be called “Crunchy Conservative” if I didn’t weigh in on this, would I?

First of all, I’ve nursed all three of my boys (and will nurse baby due in August) until they decided it was time to stop. My younger two quit nursing (self-weaned) due to pregnancy. I’ve heard the milk tastes funny due to the change of hormones, however, never tested this theory. My second son quit nursing at about 9 months, when I was three months pregnant with baby #3. My third son quit nursing at 18 months because I was 8 weeks pregnant with baby #4.

My first child, however, nursed much longer. He was 2.5 when he quit nursing. And there’s nothing wrong with that. My husband was deployed and my Doctor (and his pediatrician) encouraged me to to continue nursing as more of a comfort/security issue. I wasn’t going to deny him of it. His dad, after all, was in a war zone. Our son needed security and stability. And if that meant nursing, I was fine with that.

I never used a chair ( like the TIME cover) to nurse him and it was mostly just nursing before bed and naptime after the age of 2. People would say, “If he can say it, shouldn’t you stop?” No. Honestly, one of my favorite memories of his toddlerhood is when he was tired he’d say, “Mommy, I go ni-ni nurse?” It was great. When Daddy came back, he was more focused on his traditional routine of Daddy reading to him at bedtime and he became uninterested in nursing. He’s only had one ear infection in his life and is one of the healthiest kids I’ve ever met. While I’m sure some of it is due to good genetics and diet, I believe a lot of it is due to nursing.

In case you’re keeping track, with the exception of two months after the oldest stopped nursing and I conceived baby #2, I’ve been either pregnant or nursing since February 2005. The old “But I want my body back” argument doesn’t fly with me. You’re a mother. Nothing is really yours now. Deal with it. The earlier you accept that, the better.

When nursing my oldest at a restaurant (and I own nursing tops and do it discreetly), I had a woman ask me to take him to the bathroom to nurse. Unacceptable. I looked at her, smiled and said, “He’ll eat his meal in the bathroom as soon as you do.” She left. I also refuse to put a heavy blanket over my child’s head while nursing. Do you eat under a blanket? Neither should he.

Which brings me to the most asinine argument ever, “pooping is natural but you don’t see me dropping my pants in the middle of a restaurant to do it.” You’re mixing two different bodily functions. This argument just does not apply to breastfeeding. Stop using it.

When my oldest was a month old, we traveled to my hometown for Christmas Eve services. My mom gave me a funny look when I went to nurse my son during Mass. I replied, “Baby Jesus was breastfed.” She smiled and nodded. After seeing three children being breastfed (and how healthy they are compared to other children the same age), she’s become a breastfeeding advocate as well.

Maybe if more people would do what is natural and best for mom and baby, more people would see how “normal” and healthy it really is.

Stop judging people for doing what is best for their children. Breastfeeding is normal and natural. It’s a shame the way our society has sexualized breasts. We’re just using them what they’re designed for.

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