To Stephen Acott,
I recently read your opinion piece published by The Daily Telegraph and I noticed you asked a lot of interesting questions. Perhaps you were being rhetorical but clearly this entire post came from a place of genuinely not understanding and so I would like to take this opportunity to answer some of your questions for you.
“Ask yourself ‘What would my parents have done?'”
My brother and I were breastfed until we self weaned (myself around 1 year, and my brother was 2.5 years old). My parents also “wore” us, and not just when we were tiny babies – the above picture is of myself as a reasonably large toddler on my father’s back. Also my brother and I were allowed to sleep in our parent’s bed whenever we wanted until we moved out of home. We also had chickens and wore cloth nappies!
Though they never called it “Crunchy Parenting” or “Attachment Parenting” – it was just “Parenting”.
“But who breastfeeds a three-year-old in the middle of a wedding? In fact, who breastfeeds a three-year-old full stop?”
To both questions the answer is – me. I have and I do. Actually when I breastfed my son at a wedding he was turning 3 the following month – but close enough.
With regards to the situation at the wedding you described I’m not sure exactly what your issue is. The child was being noisy and disruptive, then breastfeeding made him quiet and still. That sounds like a win to me.
Also many people breastfeed 3 year olds! If you’d like to understand a little bit about why it’s perfectly normal and appropriate to breastfeed at that age read “Why I’m about to breastfeed a 3 year old – again” That might help you get your head around it.
I know this wasn’t a question but:
“ I just did a quick snap poll in the office here and (unanimous) consensus is first birthday is long enough to keep a child on the nipple. “After that it’s all about the mother, not the child,” said Stephanie, the go-to person for all moral dilemmas.”
A handful of people from your office is not a very good study for what is ultimately a health decision. I’d would personally start with looking up the Australian Breastfeeding Association, or the World Health Organisation; which both support and promote breastfeeding toddlers.
Also, your colleague Stephanie is wrong. So very wrong. I don’t have the words to describe how wrong she is, but perhaps have a glance over this post “Weaning a toddler – and failing” and get back to me if you still think that I’m breastfeeding my 3 year old ALL for myself and not for her.
“If you subscribe to points 4, 5, 7, 13 and 20 I want to ask you a couple of questions. How will your child not grow up to be a capital “N” narcissist?”
- 4. You and your husband haven’t slept alone in your bed since your first child was born.
- 5. Your children indicate their need to nurse … in full sentences
- 7. You coordinate your wardrobe around wraps, slings, and other baby-wearing devices. (ie, you “wear” your child.)
- 13. You use “family cloth” instead of toilet paper.
- 20. You talk about transitioning your children into their own bed … about the time they’re ready to go to college.
Seeing as my parents subscribed to points 4, 5 7 and 20 (though not 13, we had toilet paper) and neither my brother or have narcissistic personality disorder I’m going to assume my children won’t grow up to be a narcissists either.
“Where do you get your ‘you’ time?”
I tend to stay up late after the kids go to bed, so that I squeeze a little bit of time for myself, but I think that most parents struggle to find time for themselves when they have small children, no matter how they choose to raise them. Thanks though for your concern.
“Can you hear the sniggering behind your back? If it’s been a while since you’ve been invited out by a non-Crazy Mama there is a reason.”
Umm, not really. No. One time I had a couple of friends over who were talking about that Time magazine cover with the 3 year old breastfeeding and they scoffed and laughed at the idea of a 3 year old being breastfed – obviously unaware at that stage I’d breastfed my son until 3 – and I politely told them this.
Firstly the were very embarrassed by what they’d said and apologised immediately and profusely. Then they asked me a half dozen questions about why I’d chose to breastfeed that long (not like your questions, but out of actual curiosity.) And I answered them all as best I could from my own experience. Funnily enough they didn’t stop asking me out! Despite this revelation, 3 years and another breastfed toddler later, we’re still friends!
With regards to your final words that people like yourself who’ve apparently previously shunned us for how we’re raising our children, would accept us back into their lives with open arms provided we conformed to your idea of how parenting should look – frankly, I don’t need “friends” like that in my life.
I’ll keep my “Crazy Mama” friends any day (if by “crazy” you mean people who either practice, or don’t exclude people who practice, attachment/crunchy parenting.)
I hope that clears some things up for you! And hopefully you’ll be a little bit more informed before you start to rip shreds of how other people choose to raise their children.