Because we don't see it often enough.
Because there is still a lot of misinformation about the benefits of feeding into toddlerhood.
Because women are not supported as mothers.
Because feeding during pregnancy can be really hard.
Because there is too much bad advice around.
Because a lot of Mamas feel the need to breastfeed toddlers in private.
I remember the first time I saw a tandem feeding Mama. My eldest child was about 6 months old and I had just joined an attachment parenting playgroup. I knew I agreed with feeding as long as Mother and baby wanted, even if that meant through a pregnancy and beyond, but I'd never seen it in action. It was confronting. Not only seeing a child older than 2 breastfeeding (I'd never seen that before either) but to see his younger sister feeding on the other side. Later at home I felt sad that seeing toddlers feed in public, as well as tandem feeding, is such a rarity and made such a big deal out of.
When I was pregnant with my second child I was surprised that my eldest daughter weaned all of a sudden about three weeks before her sister was born. What surprised me more was how sad I felt. At just over two years old she still seemed so young! I was grateful however in the months to follow when I only had one child at the breast. When I fell pregnant by surprise just before my second born's first birthday I was determined to keep the feeding relationship going through my pregnancy and beyond to make it to her second birthday, which would be four months after the next baby was going to arrive.
I won't lie. It was not all rainbows and unicorns. I had supply issues which made my little nursling rather unhappy and nipple pain that I was not impressed about but I made it! The look on my child's face when my milk came back in after the birth of her sister was priceless: “boo back in there!” I was a Tandem Mama. But I never fed them at the same time in public. Always one at a time. I felt embarrassed and all too aware that what I was doing was not what western society considers “normal.” That was until the day at the aquarium I mentioned.
Sure, people were staring. One rude woman actually pointed at us. You know what I did? I shut my eyes and pretended I was at home on the big recliner. Then I started thinking that more women need to feel free to feed wherever and whenever they want. There I sat, on the floor, a child at each breast and my eldest at my side and I started smiling at everyone who checked us out. And I counted my blessings that my 2 year old had stopped screaming.
We are proud to host today's guest post from Shae. Shae is a stay-at-home homebirthing, home-cooking, unschooling Mama to 3 amazing girls. She blogs over at Yay for Home!
Do you have a story to share about nursing in public and/or the normalization of breastfeeding? We'd love to host it!