call me the judge

by humanmama on March 6, 2012

There’s something about being a mom that makes me feel like I have an edge. When I see people struggling with being first-time parents, or having animals, or dealing with their aging parents, I feel like I know what they might be going through, and I definitely feel like they might benefit from my helpful advice. This is cute, and sometimes funny, if you’re my really good friend.

If you’re my family, it’s not always cute. And I’ve said many times on here that new parents do not want advice unless they specifically ask for advice.

But that doesn’t always stop me. Why don’t I listen to my own advice and just let people be? It’s partly my nature, it’s partly that I’m an oldest child with a lot of people looking to me for direction. It’s partly because when I was a stay-at-home mom for the first year I hardly knew anyone else who stayed at home, and hardly anyone at all who was close to us with babies, and learned it all by myself. It’s partly because I want to help you.

But it doesn’t always help. And sometimes it actually hurts. Which is where humanmama comes in. AJ might be advicey and seem judging. Humanmama never judges. She only listens. And occasionally jokes. (Okay, usually jokes.)

I saw Mayim Bialik on GMA the other morning–you remember her: Blossom? I know everyone in my middle school wore those horrible hats with the front brim turned up, at least for a time, in homage. Anyway, she’s a semi-normal person, actually got a doctoral degree after being a child star, and has a couple of kids. But she’s breastfeeding her 3-year-old, and she believes in “attachment parenting” where her kids still sleep in bed with her and her husband, and “unschooling” where they homeschool the kids but they don’t have a set curriculum and the kids basically get to determine the course of their studies, more-or-less. So at first, “AJ” was thinking, “what a nut. Seriously?”

But humanmama is much better than that. And she takes over. And she says, really, who cares? Good for her if that works best for them. I personally didn’t want to nurse Helena past the 10 or 11 months that it lasted–actually not even that long except she screamed like she was being axe murdered if I held a bottle near her until she was 10 months old. And although I love my children, no I do not trust them to dictate their own curriculum. If it were up to me I would have lived outside, with an occasional Nintendo and perhaps a bongo lesson, as a youth. No, I believe in this case I’m smarter than them and will let them know what is best, more-or-less, and then they can decide in the future which thing that they’ve studied that they want to pursue. That’s called college.

But that’s only me. And if you’re a big fan of unschooling and nursing until age 12 and anything else out of the ordinary–good for you. I might not do it too, but I won’t judge you. And I’ll try to stop AJ from judging you too.

At least outwardly.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria March 7, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Biological Studies of Extended Breastfeeding, from:
Buckley, K. M. (1992). Beliefs and practices related to extended breastfeeding among la leche league mothers. The Journal of Perinatal Education, 1(2), 45-53; 53. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/203568746?accountid=36015

“One aspect of extended breastfeeding that has been studied is the effect of nursing on the child’s health. Breast milk can be a beneficial source of nutrition for the child in that second-year milk has been found to be very similar in composition to first-year milk [7]. Breast milk also continues to be a source of protein, fat, calcium, and vitamins up to 1 to 2 years [8]. Moreover, the immunities in breast milk have been found to increase in concentration through the second year of lactation despite the fall in milk production that accompanies weaning [9]. There is also evidence that in industrialized countries extended breastfeeding may be related to fewer gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses, and to have a protective effect against otitis media [10, 11, 12, 13]. Whether the protective effect of breastfeeding is due to immunological factors, nutrients contained in human milk, changes in the caregiving quality associated with breastfeeding, or with the mother’s self-concept in relation to the child has not been clearly established.

Mothers are also believed to benefit from extended breastfeeding. With long-term nursing comes the continued release of the hormone, oxytocin, which is known for its tranquilizing effects and for eliciting caregiving behaviors [14].”

The article touches on the intolerant attitudes in the United States compared to widespread acceptance of extended nursing in other countries. Thank goodness humanmama it is a citizen of the planet, though. I’m sure she appreciates the medical and emotional benefits of extended breastfeeding for both mothers and children.

E sleeps with us and I stopped nursing her at 17 months as the result of the aforementioned societal intolerance.

If my husband weren’t convinced that children can get a good education in public schools, despite seeing every day what a shambles our public school system is in at his own place of employment, then I would love to unschool my children.

So I guess I’m a nut who still sleeps with her child and would still be nursing if it hadn’t been for the skepticism of friends combined with a grueling travel schedule. I believe in attachment parenting. It’s good to hear that humanmama won’t judge me for that, much as AJ might be inclined to.

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Maria March 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I couldn’t resist adding this one, as well. It’s even more emphatic about the benefits of extended breastfeeding:

“The World Health Organization recommends that children be breastfed for up to two years and beyond, as do UNICEF and the Canadian Paediatric Society.'”3 The American Academy ofPediatrics advises breastfeeding for at least one year, and thereafter for as long as both mother and child desire it.4 In fact, in many parts ofthe world, it is normal to breastfeed for two or three years or even longer.s “[There is no] documented time beyond which continued breastfeeding is harmful, useless, or detrimental,” states Linda Smith, an internationally known lactation consultant, childbirth educator, and author ofseveral breastfeeding textbooks. “There is no evidence that curtailing breastfeeding before the child selfweans is an advantage to the child.”6

But even in the face ofall this evidence, extended breastfeedingis often seen in the US as weird, or even as child abuse. Sexualized by society, the breast has been taken out ofits original context as a source ofboth physical and emotional nourishment. Many mothers receive criticism from well-meaning but misinformed family and friends, and even from their pediatricians.”

The article goes on to offer research based evidence for each of the following statements:

“Breastfed toddlers get complete nutrition
Breastfed toddlers are physically healthier
Breastfed toddlers are emotionally healthier
Breastfed toddlers are smarter”

Steinkraus, K., & Waldor, P. (2007, Extend breastfeedings benefits. Mothering, (144), 80-87. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/212525717?accountid=36015

I’ll stop now.

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aj March 8, 2012 at 7:59 pm

hee hee, alright already. Guess I’ll nurse the next one until he’s 7.

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hollyweasel March 8, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Ellen still breastfeeds Elise at 15 months. Personally, I hope she creates a boob-fetish, and Elise turns out to be a lesbian like her mamas – but I doubt I will be so lucky. :)

And I have to throw this in here – it’s one of the best SATC quotes ever: “Some people have arts and crafts, we judge”.

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