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Thread: Do you find it creepy when they talk about it?

  1. #1
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    Apr 2006
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    Default Do you find it creepy when they talk about it?

    I am nursing my 20 month old daughter, and it seems like a good thing to both of us; we are not ready to quit.

    But I'm wondering how breast-feeding gets conceptualised, by either mama or baby, when it's an older child. My daughter is very verbal. She asks for NANNA, her word for it. but she also has learnt lots of other ways of talking about it: "Nanna, have it, yeah!" "Nurse please" "Breasts" "Nipple" "A tiny bit" "BIIIG NANNAS! Tiny tiny nipple!" etc. She offers her stuffed animals a go ("Teddy have it nanna!"). I generally draw the line at that, I won't nurse bears or dolls, even if they ask politely. And she's curious and excited to see my breasts when I'm in the bath or changing, and curious about images of breasts in art or whatever. Mostly I think all this is funny and cute, and part of a growing interest in people's bodies and what people do. It's intimate, it's sweet, it's good to talk. But there are also moments when I feel a little freaked out. Isn't all this too close to something sexual? Don't my breasts get to be private any more? This also makes me wary of nursing in public, in case she starts loud commenting on my boobs. Any of you have any thoughts about nursing a talking child?

  2. #2
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: Do you find it creepy when they talk about it?

    I have had the same thoughts, althought my 15-month-old dd does not speak comprehensively yet. I am not concerned about the interactions between me and dd, but how others may perceive and (mis)interpret it. I think a lot of people find it strange to hear a toddler vocalize about nursing, even people who are otherwise very supportive. About 5 years before I had dd, I myself was a bit creeped out when my cousin's 4-year-old son pulled her shirt up and latched on right in front of everyone. So, to avoid any kind of awkwardness, I have started to make nursing a more private affair: I no longer nurse in restaurants, for example, and in general, when we are around lots of other people, I find a private spot to nurse. I hope that dd will respect this approach as she gets older - I assume that she'll be nursing for a while ...

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Do you find it creepy when they talk about it?

    Honestly, the talking was one of my favorite parts of nursing a 2-4yo! It's sweet what they say and do to show how nursing is special and precious to them. When my son was just starting to talk, he actually gave each of my breasts a special name ("big num-num" and "other side.") I felt like I had put SO much work, time, and devotion into nursing this child from birth, and when he could talk about it, I finally felt like I was being rewarded in terms that I could understand and cherish.

    Having said that -- I totally get where you are coming from! Viewed through our cultural lens, the things that a happy nursing toddler does and says about momma's breasts can sound disturbingly similar to what a lover might say, or at least to what media representations of men contain. Before my son weaned, he seemed to take a lot of pleasure in seeing my breasts and in stroking or fiddling with them, my nipples, a little mole under one breast, etc. And of course he was very possessive of them, just as he was of his favorite toys ("No! MY num-num!") Even now, several months after weaning, my son will sometimes reach under my shirt and hold a breast or stroke a nipple as a way of soothing himself when we read together or are settling down for bed.

    But this stuff never squicked me out, because it was always clear to me that he was not being sexual -- he was being child-like. In this sense, perhaps the media images that impact our thinking about breasts are operating on a very childish logic -- Look! Breasts! Breasts good. Buy this, get more breasts." Our babies don't understand that breasts are used to sell beer, or to measure a woman's market value or a man's social status. They just know that momma's breasts make them feel good, safe, and happy.

    I think you are probably wise to consider these issues as you figure out how to navigate public nursing especially. After all, the world is what it is, and you and your daughter have to live in it. But please don't worry for yourself that your nursing relationship somehow crosses a line into something unwholesome.

    --Rebecca

  4. #4
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Do you find it creepy when they talk about it?

    I totally find it creepy! My baby calls me mama, except when she wants to nurse, then it's "mim". So I guess nursing is called mim to her. I always look around like people will know what she's talking about and look at me funny. But then again, I saw a woman at the zoo nursing a baby who looked to be the same age as mine (11 mos) and sas a little surprized and thought the baby looked too "big" to be nursing, so I'm probably not the best judge!!!

  5. #5
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    Apr 2006
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    Default Re: Do you find it creepy when they talk about it?

    Breasts are just not sexual objects to babies. They are food, comfort, love, a safe haven and so many other things. They are in the same category as mommy's arms, something of mommy's that she shows love with.

    It is society that views this tenderness we get from our children as somehow wrong or sexual. Americans grow up seeing breasts used to sell things and entice people, not as a nurturing tool. Landon is 16 months old and still nurses like a newborn. If I'm around, he wants to nurse, so we NIP very frequently. Today we were out with DH and Landon was nursing in the sling and nodding off. I mentioned to DH that my arm was falling asleep and he said to let go (not realizing that Landon was still latched on). I said, without thinking about who may have heard, "He is still eating and I don't want my nipple stretching down to my waist." Then I glance over and an older woman was just grinning at me. OOPS! Luckily, she saw the humor in it. I kinda feel like it is my responsibility to treat NIP as something so common-place and normal that other people will start seeing it that way too. If I act uncomfortable about it, I convey a message that there really is something wrong. If I act confident and at ease, I hope people who see me will tuck that info away and I'll slowly change the world one NIP moment at a time.

    There is nothing wrong w/ teaching your child that when you are in public she needs to ask quietly to nurse. Since she already has a code word for it, just reinforce her use of it. You can give her a good lesson on acting respectfully towards you and getting her own needs met at the same time. Then you can worry less about how people will react when she shouts for a "nipple" in public because it will be a secret that you two share.

    Pam

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Do you find it creepy when they talk about it?

    I was a little nervous about DS talking about it when he was 14 + months. The reason being, that our word for breastfeeding is "teter" (pronounced teh-tay) which is french for nursing. Except one day, my sister kindly pointed out to me that it sounded like he was yelling "titty", which had never occured to me with my first baby. It still sounds kinda like "titty", but people around me have just gotten used to it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Do you find it creepy when they talk about it?

    I completely agree with nptkam! Breasts are designed to provide nutrition to children and that is their primary purpose. Although I am not sure that I will breastfeed past a year, I personnaly do not see anything remotely sexualized when children who are bf talk about breasts. It is normal and natural.

  8. #8
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: Do you find it creepy when they talk about it?

    No, not at all. I love toddler nursing because it is so much different than nursing a newborn/infant. Every stage is special but as they get older and leave the sling nursing is my only chance to hold my toddlers. I love the stroking, hair twirling, dental exams and best of all the talking! It is so cool to be able to dialogue about how the milk tastes, how much milk there is and when and how we are going to nurse. My three year old daughter tactfully named each side about a year ago, right around the time others were beginning to understand her speech. It is a great secret between us that one side is chocolate milk and the other is orange juice. Funny thing is orange juice is her favorite side and she doesn't even like real orange juice.

    She doesn't just talk but hugs her booboos, kissses them and tells them thank you, I love you and other lovely things. In her sleep she will reach out and stroke them. My breasts are clearly very important to her and not at all in a sexual way. Last night my husband brought her home after her very first night away from me. We had gone to a marriage retreat and he had to bring me home early because I was ill. Once I was tucked into bed he went and got DD and put her into bed with me. She didn't have a word for me but immediately went to nurse and it was an unusual all nighter. She needed to reconnect and feel safe again after our seperation. I was so afraid that if we were apart for so long that she would never want to nurse again and it would be over. She never cried at the sitter's, slept with her sister and seemed perfectly fine with me being gone. So I thought maybe it was time and we would never nurse again.

    I nursed all the stuffed animals and dollies she brought to me. She also nursed them and I have such sweet pictures of her mothering her babies. I have one great picture of me nursing her and I am surrounded by dolls and stuffed animals that also want a turn. It is cool that she understands that mothering is nursing.

    I love mothering my child through nursing. I am so incredibly blessed and I really feel that a woman can not fully experience motherhood without nursing. I know it is not popular to say so but child led weaning allows for the fullest development of the mother child bond. I know this the hard way since we have children who were adopted from foster care that were never nursed and have severe attachment problems. Much of their suffering would be alleviated had they been nursed and had a proper mother child bond. I have tried to model this gift for them in allowing them to see my mother my biological children through breastfeeding.

    I never worry about what others think about my nursing any more than I worry about the child carrying around a security blanket, teddy or a binkie. This is what my child needs and that is all that concerns me.

    Anne

  9. #9
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Do you find it creepy when they talk about it?

    My dd who is 18 monts old will say "I want boobie" "peese". Then when I lift my shirt she will say yay and clap. I ask her sometimes "what one do you want," and she say "ummm, that boobie and point" Sometimes she just wants to lay her head on them and love them. She has started offering boobie to her baby, (who is Daisy Duck). ANd I just think it is cute. Its funny now that she can talk, if she asks for it and I say no, she gets mad and vocal about it!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Do you find it creepy when they talk about it?

    It is society that views this tenderness we get from our children as somehow wrong or sexual. Americans grow up seeing breasts used to sell things and entice people, not as a nurturing tool.
    I totally agree with that! I'd change "Americans" into "westeners", as I am pretty sure that the western world in general sees the female breasts as sexual.

    My DS is 21 months old and nurses often. Since a while he also started to ask for his favorite toys to be nursed.
    Recently I made him a little soft doll. When I gave it to him, he took it, gave it a huge smile and hug, climbed on my lap with it and put it to my breast. I thought it was extremely sweet because
    1) he obviously really liked his dolly
    2) he immediately put the human figure (doll) to the breast.
    3) (my home made dolly was recognizable as a human figure, boosting my self-confidence as a seamstress)
    No other toy 'nurses' as much as his doll. He even nurses it, LOL!
    There is one car (his beloved Citroën 2CV) that gets nursed. He loves that toy, it is somehow special to him.

    I feel that for him Love = Nursing. I think this is very healthy and natural. After all, that's what he sees, what he lives day in, day out........

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