Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Breastfeeding Diaries: "If they can ask for it, they're too old."

I've heard a lot of 'reasons' why toddlers shouldn't be breastfed, and they do all tend to be pretty illogical. But the one that confuses me most is this: "If they can ask for breastmilk, they're too old for it."

Say what?

Eleanor figured out ways of asking for various foodstuffs from around the age of 18 months. She could ask for "apoo" (apple), "mana" (banana) and "bedtit" (breadstick) before she worked out a word for breastmilk. Should I have denied her these foodstuffs as well? And when she comes to me now asking for "tow mout" (cow's milk) or "orange doose" (orange juice) should I say, "no, you're asking for it, so it must be bad for you"? If this rule doesn't apply to any other food or drink, why should it apply to breastmilk?

I think it's quite sad, though, that this particular old wives' tale is so prevalent, because it could deprive mothers of some pretty amusing (and occasionally heartwarming) conversations!

Eleanor's first word for breastmilk was "mut" or "mot". That gradually evolved into "mummymut". Or, more commonly, "MORE mummymut!" Then one day, tired out from the regular feeding that marks a teething session, I cried, "But you've had LOADS of mummy milk!"

Yep, you've guessed it. The demands then turned into, "LOADSA mummymut!"

Eventually she realised that phrase didn't really make me feel inclined to feed her, so she progressed onto "little TIIINY bit of mummymut" in a wheedling voice. She still uses this phrase sometimes, or a variation on it. And she never just has a little tiny bit.

Then there's her signal to swap sides. At first it was just "side" then that turned into "errside", usually said with a grin and a wrinkled nose. I was actually quite sad when she figured out how to say "other side" properly. Although it sometimes comes out as "udder side" which makes me feel GREAT. I love being quietly reminded of my similarity to a cow. Really.

Once when I was feeding her before bed she climbed down after one side. I like to tank her up before bedtime so I gently said, "have you forgotten something?" She grinned, said, "other side," and climbed back up. That then became a little skit she did at practically every feed. She'd wriggle off, look back cheekily, say, "dotten something?" then throw herself back on my knees shouting, " OOOTHEER SIIIDE!" She still does that sometimes. It still makes me chuckle!

Other times, what she says makes me realise how important "mummymout" (as it is now called) is to her. A few months ago she fell and badly grazed her knee. After cleaning and dressing the graze the only way I could calm her down was to feed her. For weeks afterwards she would regularly relive the incident, almost always with the phrase, "you had some mummymout to mate you feel better." (She refers to herself in the second person. And, as you've probably guessed, she can't pronounce 'k'. I'm trying not to stress about it.) Even now if she's hurt or very distressed she will sometimes ask for, "mummymout to mate you feel better." I love knowing the comfort it brings to her.

Then there was the line she came out with the other day, which really touched me. Mid feed, she looked up and in a very matter of fact tone told me, "mummymout is tastier than water or tow mout." May not be much competition, but it made me happy!

Seriously, anyone who feels they have to give up breastfeeding because their child can talk is missing out on some weird, funny and sometimes very moving conversations!

1 comment:

  1. I will never forget the phrase mummymout! Doesn't ignorance breed bold assertions. Such a ridiculous wives tale. My daughter could sign for milk very early on, should I have stopped earlier??? Thanks for sharing with #BFingDiaries

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