Mamas on Bedrest: Is Your Partner “Fed Up” with Breastfeeding?July 18th, 2012
I know, most women think their breasts are theirs… (But) to everyone chanting “My Body! My Choice!” I say, “Your Body! Our Nookie!” We are in this together, women and children, men — and breasts.
When I first saw a commentary on James Braly’s editorial on extended breastfeeding, I was all set to write a ranting reply. But something told me to take a look at the editorial before commenting and I am so glad that I did. Mr. Braly not only had, what I believe to be, a very valid personal argument for his opinion, he also offered salient points for his opinion from the standpoint of a couple and a family.
Mr. Braly and his wife have two sons, one 5 1/2 and one a toddler whose age is not given in the written piece. At the time of this publication (July 15, 2012), his wife is still nursing both boys! Mr. Braly’s description of his oldest son as “a five-and-a-half-year-old young man with a full set of teeth and chores” did make me chuckle. But as he further described him it made me think. 5 1/2 years old really is a sizable boy. Putting it into perspective, my son is 6 and stands level with my breasts (I’m 5 feet tall!!) and is 62 lbs. He has already gotten his permanent front teeth. The thought of still nursing him not only turns me off, it’s also a little scary! I’ve seen my son attack a burger and it ain’t pretty. I cringe thinking of him coming at me with that voracious appetite.
I am well aware of the benefits of extended nursing and wish that I could have nursed each of my children longer than I did (my daughter weaned herself at 10 1/2 months when she learned to walk and my son was weaned cold turkey when I caught a virus, subsequently became hypothyroid and my milk production abruptly ceased.). But truth be told, knowing myself as I do, I know that I would not have nursed either of them beyond 2 years. While I was sad when I got sick with my son, once I released the emotions, I was quite happy to have my body back. As for the cuddling and bonding, I still cuddle both my children; my daughter, who will be 10 years old this fall and stands nearly as tall as I am and my son who is 6 yet still occasionally climbs into my lap, wraps his arms around my neck and gives me hugs and kisses while his feet graze my ankles. Your baby is your baby and that will never change. If you want further evidence, I once saw a photo of Shaquille O’Neal and his mama in a big ole hug. There she was, “cuddling” with her 7ft 1in baby boy! A mama will always have open arms and heart for her baby!
So while the argument of “bonding” for extended breastfeeding is a valid one, I have to say that breastfeeding is not the only way in which a mama can maintain that “bond” with her child. And I agree again with Mr. Braly when he says that the decision to breastfeed for an extended amount of time has to be a decision made by not only mama and child, but also mama and her partner. Children are a wonderful expression of love between a couple. But when a couple ceases to have “couple time” due to the addition of children or the increase in family responsibilities, that couple is in trouble and may cease to be a couple unless they adapt and make time for themselves.
I really liked how Mr. Braly summed up his argument,
“So to all nursing moms, except perhaps those who used a lab technician, I say that the foundation of the parent-child bond is the parent-parent bond. Unlike the baby chicken or the fertilized egg conundrum, partnership precedes parenthood. That’s how you got into this position to begin with: by attracting a man who liked what he saw, and wanted to see more of what even the scientists researching extended breast-feeding call mammaries, not Mommaries.”
While many women may not like his comments, Mr. Braly makes a very persuasive argument and one that I believe may save many marriages-and hence families-if at least considered.