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Monthly Archives: July 2012

What great bosoms you have

Recently I was told that if a child can ask for breast milk, then it was time for that child to be weaned. It wasn’t actually that blunt. It was more like “Don’t they say if they can ask for it, it’s time to stop?” (I want to know who ‘they’ are?).

Another friend recently recounted a story of a work colleague who was ‘stuck’ breastfeeding her infant daughter even though the ‘poor’ colleague had to return to work.

On having to delay a dinner catch-up with a friend until M2 drops her night feed, the reply came that ‘hopefully she will stop before she starts high school’.

I suppose she will be done by then. Nevertheless, the reality is I still breastfeed a seventeen month old child twice a day. As you might expect at this stage of her development, she is learning to speak, so when it is time for a feed she asks for ‘boot’. For the record, I am back at work too (and I don’t feel ‘stuck’).

So if it’s wrong to be breastfeeding an infant or toddler, why does it feel right to me?

The World Health Organisation (sic) and UNICEF recommend breastfeeding, complementary to other feeding for up to two years of age or more. The Australian Breastfeeding Association features an article on its website which highlights the benefits of long term breastfeeding¹.

Some of these benefits in infant-hood include nutrition, comfort, protection against illness and lower medical bills. In the future, the child is less likely to need orthodontics or speech therapy. In later life they are at lower risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes². For the mother, well she has a lower risk for developing breast, uterine or ovarian cancer.

Pretty good outcomes one might think.

This is not a slight upon those women who couldn’t or didn’t breastfeed or decided or needed to wean. I’ve been there with an eight month old (M1) who was no longer satisfied with my milk supply – couldn’t sit still long enough anyhow – and who decided it was time to chow down on chops.

It’s more a plea for those out there who think that is okay to judge on long-term breastfeeding. Of course you can! You are more than welcome to do so. Just do so silently or behind my back. I don’t want to hear that you’re not comfortable with me breastfeeding my infant in my house, even with the subtle terms you may use. It is your problem. This is not a case where a problem shared is a problem halved!

Would you comment if I was a woman struggling in East Africa? Would anything be said if I was living in a refugee camp on the Pakistan border? How about if I was living in a remote tribe in the Amazon? I expect it would be seen as positive, or dare I say even normal, in those situations. And it certainly is. It is for me too, regardless of the western comforts (and attitudes) that surround me.

Most immediately crucial for me, and I suspect for M2, is that we both enjoy our breastfeeding sessions. It will be a rare time in my (and her) life that we will have this closeness ever again. The forty minutes of the day we spend cuddling, looking into one another’s eyes, reading a book and just being together probably won’t happen again, so why should there be a rush to give it up?

 

¹ www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/how-long-should-i-breastfeed-my-baby

² www.unicef.org/nutrition/index_24824.html

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When there’s no window to shop at…

I’ve haven’t had any internet service to my house over the past twelve days and have felt like my head had been cut off.

Okay, it probably wasn’t quite that bad – although I now have an image of myself running headless around the backyard waiting for my body to catch up with the fact that it no longer has a brain. This childhood memory rears its ‘head’ from time to time – particularly when I feel like a headless chicken.

I do own a a ‘smart phone’ so I have hardly been disconnected from the world, but why did this loss hit me so hard?

It wasn’t that long ago that a push button telephone (on a landline connected to the house from cables in the street) was the ‘it’ communication tool. Remember before that there was  a dial phone, sitting on its own table in the hallway. Recall the comforting sound it made as it arced back around to the beginning as you charted its numerical course. Remember how grumpy you got when you spun in error and had to start all over again.

Wasn’t it just a few years ago I bought a Commodore 64 and felt pretty cool playing table tennis with blocks? Oh the nights I stayed up until 10pm playing with that little beauty! I couldn’t wait to brag to my friends the next day about my high scores.

Only half a decade ago I packed away all my communications technology – my PC and mobile phone – and with nothing but an analogue watch headed off on the trip of a lifetime. Okay so I did have a wireless enabled lap top but I didn’t always have Wi-Fi. And yes I did borrow a friend’s spare mobile phone for a few weeks while in London. But apart from those, mostly I was naked and free of communication tools.

In those olden days I didn’t need to connect so often.

So what has changed so much that even though I can still communicate so easily, I am lost without the ‘real’ internet?

It’s the promise of betterment in beautiful bright digital images that warm my screen and my heart.

Yes, I confess. I am an online window shopper and quite frankly the images that appear on a ‘fivebysevencm’ screen just don’t provide the necessary fix. How can a fivebysevencm give me the full picture of those on-sale winter dresses, those bargain tea cups and saucers, that house for sale down my street, that calorie free chocolate (actually I haven’t found that yet but I am sure when I do a fivebysevencm wouldn’t give it the prominence it deserves), or those fabulous red knee high wide calf boots I am looking for?

‘Bah,’ I say to the loss of catching up with everyone’s gossip from all those interwebspace social pages (I was a member of one until an old ex high school boyfriend sent me pictures of himself in budgie smugglers*). I don’t miss those! ‘Bah,’ to playing online games with opponents from all over the world.

Besides I am on Twitter for all those who want to catch up on what I am doing. Alright, I don’t tweet much but that is because I am too busy with my online window shopping – when I have an internet service.

I missed my pictures – mostly generated from emails offering great specials from those whom I have loyalty – or a least a loyalty card. I miss my images of goods and chattels that promise to make mine, the Cliche’s and the Clichettes’ lives more fabulous and interesting and fulfilled than they currently are.

I missed you my icons of Shangri-La from the land of milk and honey and the Garden of Eden. I missed you…

*Thanks Urban Dictionary for that more than apt definition.