Monday, November 29, 2010

Breastfeeding and Signing: Your Stories, Part 2

We recently talked about signing with little ones - particularly, signing about breastfeeding. In one of our breastfeeding and signing posts, we shared a few stories from readers who have signed with their babes. 
We didn't get to fit everyone's stories into the first post, so here is part two! Enjoy these sweet stories of breastfeeding and signing.
Read more about learning to sign with babies and toddlers at Natural Parents Network, and find ideas on how to sign "breastfeeding" at Code Name: Mama.

Did your little one use a sign to nurse? 

Hannah nursing her son, Tobias
From Hannah:
I remember the first time my son signed milk on his own without any prompting from mom or dad. One day when he was about 9 months old I pulled up on the driveway on my lunch break from work; my husband and son were outside waiting for me. My son's eyes lit up and with two hands in the air he signed milk.
He is now 14 months old and we have used the sign daily. Besides the cute factor, it is helpful on "strange" days (traveling, or when I'm away in the evening, or when our normal routine is thrown out the window for some reason) that he can specifically communicate that he wants to nurse. Sometimes if he is fussing or whining my husband asks him "Do you need something from mommy? Do you need milk? Can you ask her nicely?" and then he signs for milk.
I am glad that he can usually ask politely and happily, as I don't want to give any weight to the myth that breastfeeding toddlers or babies fed on demand are whiny and demanding.
Hannah is a former music teacher who is enjoying being a stay-at-home-mom this year.

Laura's nursling, Rosemary
From Laura:
I researched signing while I was pregnant and knew I wanted to use it in my parenting. I had first seen it through my sister, who had taught her daughter a few signs. I remember thinking how cute it was that a baby could communicate through signing before they could talk. So I was off on my own journey of teaching my daughter to sign. I tried to always be consistent with signing, showing her signs of simple things. I started when she was very young. Most of the time I wondered if she even was paying attention, and around her ninth month I even worried whether she would ever pick up on the signs.

I should have known that her sign for nursing would be the first one, but it still made me gush! I taught her the sign 'milk' for when she nurses, and when she first learned it she was so happy! If she saw a man or her dad with no shirt she would sign 'milk' near their nipples, it would make me laugh so hard, and of course while she is nursing she signs it over and over again with her little fist in the air. It was adorable and very memorable. Soon I made it a requirement, if she wants to nurse she must sign 'milk' for it, now I am working on getting her to sign 'milk please'.

I never would have experienced such sweet joys if I had not made it to nursing a toddler. She is now one year old and is signing many other things and learning to communicate very well!

Laura is a first time stay at home mom. She is the youngest of six children, and so when it came to parenting, she wasn't short on any advice! In her family breastfeeding beyond a year was normal. Rosemary, Laura's daughter, is now 15 months old and their nursing is going great with no end in sight. Laura blogs at Terra Cotta Momma.

From Shelly:
My daughter Lily is 15 months old and still nurses three to five times a day/night. We are also teaching her sign language and she knows signs like "more," "all done," "bath," and "water". When she was younger, I used to ask her if she wanted mommy's milk, and I would lightly pat my chest. She is not using words yet, but now that has become her sign when she wants to nurse. She gently pats her own chest and makes a little "mmm mmm" noise. I love it!

Jessica nursing her son after finishing her first marathon!
From Jessica:
I have two year old boy/girl twins that I am still breastfeeding. We took a sign language class when they were about 9 months old. I really only ever used the signs for "milk" and "more" and "food," but they used all three all the time. In fact my son still uses the sign for "more" even though he can talk a lot now. Before they could talk they used the signs all the time. It was so cool to know what they needed even though they couldn't express themselves verbally.
Jessica is a mom, wife, runner, alumni relations director, photographer, reader, cooker, thinker, list maker, swimmer, redhead, cat-person, neat freak.


Rosemary is SO cute! I can't wait until my nursling can sign to me. Also: I'm endlessly impressed by people who can breastfeed twins, especially extended.

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