A little bit ‘taboo’

So here’s something only my friends know about me…

I’m still breastfeeding my toddler. Yup, you heard it right, my two-year-old still latches herself onto my (sore, swollen) nipples every night before bed. Now, she doesn’t fall asleep on there anymore (apart from last night, since she’s poorly), she just has a 5 min comfort suckle.

Why does nobody know about this, you may ask? Because it’s still, somehow, taboo.

Baby needed boobie, apparently

Just this week, I’ve had judgement. Mostly, it comes from people who are ‘concerned’ that Stevie is too old for her boobie. Well, in the words of my lovely hubby, if she was too old, she wouldn’t have it any more. These are the worst kinds of people. There is no basis to this claim, other than it makes them feel uncomfortable. I do have an issue with this – Stevie only feeds at bedtime, these days, and barely then, so who, exactly, is it offending? It’s nobody’s business how I put her to bed.

The other type of people are genuinely concerned about the safety of breastfeeding whilst pregnant. Some people, not incorrectly, are curious whether I still have milk left for her. Well the straight answer is ‘no.’ My body has been producing colostrum since 13 weeks (I travelled for a job, so had the luxury of seeing what I expressed). And it’s perfectly safe to feed whilst pregnant, as long as you have a healthy, low risk pregnancy. I have been very lucky, both times now, to carry children with ease. Long story short, if you can have sex, you can breastfeed.

Stevie’s first latch

Breastfeeding was the most wonderful child-rearing tool for me, with Stevie. It’s something just she and I have to share, it’s all ours, and I hope to have the same experience with the growing babby. It also helped me to lose all my breastfeeding weight and be back in shape by 6 months post partum.

6 months PP

I’m sharing this story because it was World Breastfeeding Week recently, and I wasn’t sure how to say what I wanted to. But here it is. I’m proudly breastfeeding a toddler while I’m pregnant. So there!

All breastfeeding information can be found on the Kelly Momand La Leche League websites.

Little rant…

I'm thinking of numbering these rants – what with all the pregnancy hormones whizzing around my body, there'll be a few…

Here's the latest:

The Pigeon Pair

I understand that, 50 plus years ago, having a boy was important to the family. It was pivotal that the family name was passed on. And, because you had to wish for a boy, there was the wish for the girl afterwards, so a parent could 'experience both.'

But this is the 21st century. If Princess Charlotte had been born before Prince George, she would've been queen of England before he was king. So why is everyone still so obsessed with whether another family then their own is having a boy to go with their girl, the 'perfect pigeon pair?'

I grew up the eldest of three sisters. Due to complications in childbirth with me, which resulted in an emergency section, my mum had scheduled Caesers with my sisters. When the surgeon delivered my youngest sister, he apologised, as he handed her to him, for her lack of penis. I paraphrase, as it's just from memory, but it was something along the lines of
"I'm terribly sorry, Mr. Holmes, but you've got another girl…"
My dad always said that he had to work not to injure the poor man, for apologising for a healthy child. He asked to see her ten fingers and ten toes, and said he didn't care because he had three perfect (yes, the man was nuts) healthy children – and we all just happen to be female.

The primary question, when we tell someone we're expecting our second, has been
"Oh, you must be dying for a boy!"
Well no, actually, I'm not. I would be so genuinely, genuinely happy with either sex. I have my reasons for being excited for either, but I don't feel I have to justify them to anybody. Men, generally, say to Pete that he must be keen to pass on the family name. Cue eye roll. Women, with sons or without, tell me I just must experience a son's love for his mother. Well, as one of three girls, I can tell you, is be surprised if any boys love their mother than we girls love ours.

But what really gets my goat, really gets on my nerves, is people who don't believe Pete or I when we tell them, honestly, that we don't give a s**t.

We do not live in the dark ages any more. The sex of my baby (which we don't know, by the way, and won't until he or she comes to greet us) is none of anybody else's concern. But even if someone did have a deep, vested personal interest, it is awful to think that our friends would be less excited for us because our baby doesn't match THEIR own expectations.

So, when someone tells you they're expecting a child, don't ask them the gender straight away. Congratulate them, tell them you hope everything goes well, wish them luck, and, if it means that much to you, lament their lack of a pigeon pair in your own time…

The ‘Mumming’ Part

This is going to be a longer post than usual. Forgive me if it sounds like a vent, but I assure you it's not.

Recently, more so than usual, I have seen mums, and mums-to-be, judged and questioned for their parenting choices. People, whether they are parents, grandparents or just well-meaning non-parents, seem to want to share their opinion on how you conduct yourself during pregnancy, and how you conduct yourself and your baby during their first, well, 18 years.

Constance Hall, who has long been one of my favourite 'mum-bloggers,' has often spoken of the need for the much-spoken-of 'village' when raising children. And, for the most part, I agree with her. However, when does the village stop being helpful, and become just unhelpful, judgmental, unsolicited advice?

Every woman can read every pregnancy and parenting book under the sun, but she must decide what advice to take, what advice to throw away and what advice, quite simply, doesn't suit her. But why is it deemed okay for other people to insist on their own advice being accepted and blindly taken? I'm on a lot of Facebook mum's groups, and the people giving that advice get incredibly offended when people don't blindly take it.

But, here is my issue. I'm a self-confessed research junkie. I like to know why I'm doing things, before I do them. So why, even though you may tell me that "my kids were fine" doing such and such, must I take that advice blindly, even though it goes against every motherly grain I have?

Without this post going too much off into a tangent, I'll come to the point quicker.

Each parent or parent-to-be knows what type of person they are. No parent deliberately sets out to harm their child (well, apparently some do, but thankfully I've yet to meet that person). We do everything in our power to guide and aid our children into becoming well-rounded, pleasurable adults in the way we know possible.

Somebody, this week, voiced worry that I would be 'that' judgmental mummy, because of my own parenting styles with my own child. But why would I? I know, because trust me when I say I have had plenty of opinions on my parenting, how horrible it is to hear your own ways and decisions questioned. As long as your child is in no danger, I have no views I'm willing to share on how you raise them.

So you breastfed for 2 weeks and didn't enjoy it? Well no problem, at least you tried.
So you gave purées at 4 months? I'm sure your child has a great appetite.
So you let your child cry it out in the hope they'd sleep better? That must've been really hard for you, but I'm sure you feel better for the sleep, now.
So you are blue cheese all the way through your pregnancy? Good for you and I hope you enjoyed it, and I'm super jealous as I haven't! Please have some for me!

These are just 4 examples of parenting styles that differ from my own, but your children are not mine, and I don't know your household to comment.

I wish people, any people, would be respectful of the time, effort and overall guilt that goes into raising a child and offer just their support and well-wishes. It does take a village, but not the sometimes cruel village that seems to be occurring more and more these days.

Parenting is not a competition, and one parent's philosophy is not necessarily any better than the other's. We all need to be more aware of the trouble we are each going through, accept it and embrace each other as parents. No comparisons, no competition. Take that, Sanctimommies!