Breastfeeding Your Toddler is Your Choice

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 07:22
Submitted by Carlin Ross

I applaud Thandie Newton for posting this pic of herself breastfeeding her two year old with the caption, "This is what my body is made for. And the rest is my choice. #Freedom.".

Of course, the conservative blogs ripped into her, pixelating her breast where her child is latched on (not really sure why because there's no nipple. I had to go to Thandie's instagram page to find the original version) and calling her out for breastfeeding her two year old.

We have sexualized the natural to the point that a woman comforting and nourishing her child is a sex act - sexual abuse in some minds. I'm still breastfeeding Grayon, mostly in the mornings when he comes into bed with us or if he's cutting a tooth, and he's going on 16 months. I don't know how moms calm down their toddler without breastfeeding.

When he turned one, I felt this pressure to wean him like if I didn't he wouldn't develop toddler skills. Then we started talking about IF we wanted to have a second baby. I hadn't had my period again because I was breastfeeding on demand so I was considering moving him exclusively to a sippy cup. But, organically, after he moved out of our bed and into his own crib (by his choice) my period came back.

That's the thing about motherhood. It's all there in our DNA. We've been doing this for millions of years and our bodies know. We don't have to make seeping changes or dominate our children. Culturally, we have this authoritarian model where we preach "training" your child to do or not do certain behaviors. We never consider allowing them to develop in a loving and safe environment where we assist their milestones.

And on the sexual abuse bs - why do we sanitize our children's environment so there's no mention of sex? Have sex with your newborn in the bed - that's sexual abuse. Masturbate with your baby in the room - that's also sexual abuse. Have your child walk in on you and your partner having sex and you should scurry away and scold them.

Really? So my child seeing his parents emote sexually is going to harm him in some way. Watching hard core pornography is how he should learn about sex? Think about that for a minute. How do we think people living in one room tenements had sex? How do we think we had sex in the cave? Parents don't have ten minutes alone - we all have sex with our children in the room and I think that's the healthiest way for my son to learn about sex. I want him to see sex as a loving, joyful exchange between people who have genuine regard for one other - not as a dominant act demeaning women, catering to a "male" sexual appetite that's been carefully shaped by corporate interests to foster addiction and dependency.

Breastfeeding your toddler is normal. It keeps them happy and healthy. Being able to experience pleasure is hard for so many of us. I want my son to be comfortable receiving pleasure - physical touch and comfort - I want him to expect love and intimacy.

For me, anything else would be sexual abuse.

Editor in Chief & Keeper of All Things Betty Dodson