On Lactivism

April 17, 2010

Lactivism is the advocacy of breastfeeding. I consider myself a lactivist which should come as no surprise since I am nursing a toddler. Lactivists come in all forms and I try to remain mindful that I want to be the nice, helpful, non-judgemental kind of lactivist. I am unconvinced that militant lactivism is of benefit to anyone.

I wanted to share a few great lactivist links that I recently came across:

Newborn Breast Crawl – This is a really cool video of newborn babies crawling – yes, crawling! – up to the breast. Breasts shown, so you may not want to watch this one at work. Watching this I was reminded that babies are born to be breastfed.

Why Seeing Breastfeeding is Important – I’ve always nursed in public, though I find myself cutting back just a bit now that Calvin is getting older. I do believe that breastfeeding anywhere and everywhere is an important step in normalizing breastfeeding. I think nursing in public paints nursing in a very positive light: a content baby and a mom who can be anywhere she pleases.

Take the Risk and See – Give Extended Breastfeeding a Try – There probably aren’t too many first-time moms who plan to be in an extended nursing relationship. My personal set-in-stone nursing goal was to nurse exclusively for six months and to continue to nurse until the first birthday. After I made that goal, I would evaluate and move on from there. That was seven months ago and I haven’t even thought about weaning. Why would I stop giving him the perfect food? Why would I give up the ability to comfort and soothe him at the breast? And of course there is one of my favorite side benefits – why would I want to lose my ability to consume a little extra junk food?

If Calvin doesn’t show some interest in weaning soon, then I think I may end up tandem nursing. Honestly, I have mixed feelings about it. But I feel that the downsides to tandem nursing don’t even compare to the downsides of forcing a milkaholic toddler off the breast. The average human weaning age is somewhere between two and five years old. While I probably will not pursue a 100% child-led weaning method, I will certainly continue to use gentle techniques that show respect both to Calvin and to the nursing relationship that we have established.

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8 Responses to “On Lactivism”

  1. jen Says:

    Hi Liz-

    You commented on my bathroom post a few days/weeks ago (where does the time go?). I wanted to make sure to stop by to say hi and thanks! And then, I looked through your blog and was surprised to see so many great parenting tips & info about things that I’ve become increasingly interested in (AP, specifically) as my husband and I have begun to think about having kids. I love that you present material, but give it your own thoughts/interpretation… Will have to keep an eye out for your blog as we (hopefully) become parents!!

    • Liz Says:

      Hi, thanks for stopping by! I think it’s great that you are thinking about AP before you have even started having children – I was the same way! I read about AP for years (maybe I am a bit obsessive) and at the time I didn’t even know any other APers. Best wishes to you as you embark on this journey!

  2. Catie Says:

    Liz, what a great video! Do you care if I share it with my midwife?

    I think I want to do the breast crawl with my next baby. Once I watched it, I did it with Paul. It was pretty funny.

    • Liz Says:

      Of course, share away!

      It is pretty cool that a brand new baby can do that. It is supposed to be a rite of passage that can help the nursing relationship (not sure how true that is… just one thing that I’ve read). On one hand I would love to try it, on the other hand I am a little impatient.

  3. Anna Dollar Says:

    I’ve been thinking about weaning my 19-month-old daughter, mostly because I’m wary of continuing to nurse while pregnant (we hope to be expecting some time in the next year or so), and then when we’ve got a newborn at home too. It’s encouraging to hear that you’re thinking about tandem nursing.

    • Liz Says:

      Sounds like we are in the same boat! How often does your daughter nurse? My son is still nursing pretty frequently and I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to try to wean him. If he were showing signs of readiness, then I might try to encourage that. I am secretly hoping that he will wean when I become pregnant, but if that doesn’t work then I think before too long he will be old enough to either agree to wean or agree to reduced nursing sessions.

  4. Melodie Says:

    I tandem nursed my girls for 5 months until my oldest daughter turned three. It was nice and I’m glad I did it but I’m also glad it ended when it did as some days it made me squirmy. My toddler suddenly looked so big!

    • Liz Says:

      I hear a lot of stories that seem to follow this type of pattern! I guess I will probably have the same story someday.


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