Thursday, June 10, 2010

To Breastfeed in Public or Not

Most of you are aware that C Monster nurses, he is now 2 and 1/4 and still loves his breastmilk or lolo as we call it in our home.

I decided just before he turned 2 to call my milk lolo that way when a 2 1/2 year old screams at the top of his lungs "I want lolo" when you are in the middle of the grocery store you do not have to worry about what others might say.  I know I really should not worry about what others say but I do.

When C Monster was about 18 months old a stranger addressed him while he was nursing and told him he was to old to be doing that - I corrected them immediately.  When C Monster was 18 months old it did not phase him one bit I am not even sure he knew what the stranger was talking about; however now that he is older and understands a lot (more then I sometimes realize) I don't want this situation to repeat itself again.

So after that incident we slowly started encouraging other liquids on the go and kept nursing for at home, nursing rooms and at friends or places that I knew would not be judgmental.  Am I doing harm to C Monster with this I don't think so.  If he asks for lolo when we are out I usually try to figure out why he wants it - is he hungry, tired, hurt (beyond a kiss fixing it)  or just needs mama time. Typically it's because he is hungry - if it's for any other reason we find a quite spot and nurse - this is rare.

The reason why I started questioning if I am doing the right thing today is...  C Monster had an appointment to get a vaccine today as I always do I nurse him during and after the vaccination.  The nurse was surprised but ok with the fact I wanted to nurse my 2 1/4 year old during his shot. Christophe barely even flinched during the shot - just another breastmilk miracle.  After the nurse was done she said take as long as you need and started to close the door, I said no no it's ok we will finish nursing in the waiting room.  (I know they don't typically like it when you occupy the nursing station after the nurse is done - I think and hope she was just trying to be polite)

We sat down in the waiting room across from a family with a little new born (maybe 2 months at the tops) and started to nurse.  The father asked me if my son just got a shot and said wow he is so big we don't even think we heard him cry - what a brave boy.  I answered yes and explained that if you nurse your child during a shot they don't feel it as much.  The conversation when from there and the mother and father poured their hearts out to me on how they want to breastfeed but they can't seem to figure it out and so on.  We talked for a bit - I am pretty sure all her issues where due to a horrible latch and well by the time C Monster was done nursing and fast asleep in my arms; the mother decided to try to breastfeed her little one instead of giving her a bottle when she started to fuss and guess what she said it did not hurt, and we could all hear and see the baby girl gulp down her milk.

I gave her all the names of the various resources in the area for breastfeeding support and she said thank you and we parted ways.

Did the fact that I was nursing a toddler in public help this mother and baby maybe - would she have reached out to a total stranger otherwise maybe - we will never know.  However a situation like this make me think twice next time I ask C Monster to wait 5 minutes for us to get to a more convenient spot to nurse.

PS - if you are wondering what are the resources I gave her:
La Leche League Toronto Help Line - (416) 483-3368
Toronto East General Breastfeeding Clinic - (416) 469-6667

So I ask you are nursing a toddler? What do you think when you see someone nursing a toddler? Would you nurse a toddler in public?

1 comment:

Karen said...

I frequently nurse my 2+ year-old toddler in public, but I have recently started saying no to nursing in the aisles while grocery shopping or doing other errands because I know that his requests to nurse at these times are either because he doesn't want to be doing the errand anymore or because he's tired (and I no longer bring my mei tai with me everywhere, so if he falls asleep while grocery shopping, I pretty much have to carry him or just leave the store)