Sunday, August 15, 2010

Been reading ...

I have actually managed to read a bit lately. Not sure how, perhaps it is the welcome addition of Gleebooks to the local shops. Perhaps it is the fact that there is less on tv, or my appetite for tv is waning at the moment. Whatever the reason, it has been really nice to reacquaint myself with the joy of words on a page, as opposed to a screen.

One of the books I have read recently is Breastfeeding older children by Ann Sinnott. I am breastfeeding Chet at 22 months, and while I don't really consider that at 22 months he is an older child I guess I am probably moving into that territory. There were mothers interviewed in the book that were feeding children aged 6 and over and also tandem feeding long-term. An interesting point made by the author was that (of course) feeding a 4 year old is very different to feeding a newborn. A 4 year old would probably feed a couple of times a day compared to the 8-12 feeds required by a newborn.

Although I didn't agree with everything in the book - I am not sure, for instance, that it is possible to suggest that all positive aspects of your child's personality and development are down to having breastfed long term - it was certainly a thought provoking book. I must admit to feeling some unease about really long term breastfeeding but I guess with children you never know where things are going to end up. I do know that when I started breastfeeding I was more focussed on whether it was possible and on the logistics of getting it all happening to even think of an end date. And I guess for us we will keep on until such time as either of us wants to stop.

I particularly liked one of the author's final points: "Sustained breastfeeding is however not emerging in developed societies but re-emerging. Today's long-term breastfeeding mothers ... are not only picking up almost-forgotten threads but they are also the continuance of a line of rebellious women." p253. Bring on the rebellious women I say!

Naturally there are many ways of being a rebellious mother - those Mamabakers down the south coast made me laugh out loud with their antics - thanks Mama Mogantosh for reminding me that us mothers can be tired, rebellious, feminist and funny as all get out.

Further reading:
Mothers who breastfeed beyond babyhood
Can breastfeeding really be good for older children? Emma Cook meets mothers who keep going up to school age and beyond.
The Guardian, Saturday 9 January 2010


  1. Interesting. This reminds me of a conversation I had with my GP when we lived in the US. I was b'feeding my then-10-month-old, and he asked when I was going to stop. "Well, I guess when she's ready", I replied. "When will that be?" he asked. I goggled at him for a bit, then pointed out that at 10 months she hadn't been able to give me her opinion yet! I knew that general attitudes to breastfeeding were very different in the US, but I was shocked to encounter it from a doctor. He then proceeded to tell me how *bad* breastfeeding was for maternal health. So I shocked him back, by disagreeing and suggesting he check the latest literature...
    None of my children were breastfed much past 2 years, for various reasons. I don't enjoy it much, so didn't want to do it for longer - luckily, neither did they :-)
    Yes, hooray for rebellious women!

  2. Breastfeeding - bad for maternal health - how does that work I wonder? Good on you for disagreeing, I think I would probably be so gob-smacked that a GP had said something like that that I wouldn't know what to say. I agree with you - ending the breastfeeding relationship when both parties are ready is really the way to go. And ... I just realised - you are Graeme's sister-in-law - thanks Kate for reading and commenting - much appreciated. It is very exciting for me to receive comments from people I don't actually know!

  3. It's fun, this blogging thing, isn't it? Most of my comments come from people I haven't met, even though the blog is aimed at family and friends (and I know they read it, too).
    The doc's idea was that breastfeeding takes too much out of the mother, especially calcium, and I'd end up with all sorts of deficiencies and osteoporosis. He definitely wasn't prepared for a patient to say "I don't think that's so, according to the latest studies breastfeeding actually increases the efficiency of calcium uptake..." :-D


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