Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting advice!
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we're writing letters to ask our readers for help with a current parenting issue. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
I have no hang ups about breastfeeding in public. I nurse my 19 month old anywhere and everywhere - indoors, outdoors, in shops, cafes, museums, parks, supermarkets or wherever we happen to be when she asks for a feed. But I must admit that I sometimes tire of my breasts being permanently available. It tends to happen on those velcro days when my daughter puts her hand down my bra every fifteen minutes.
I accept frequent feedings as part and parcel of the toddler nursing experience, and when we're at home I just put up with them. But I can get sick of them really quickly when we're out. Actually it's worst when we're at tots groups, and it is not because of embarrassment.
The thing is that the minute you get your breasts out to feed a toddler, you make it pretty obvious to everyone around that you are a fairly keen supporter of breastfeeding. I feel like a bit of a breastfeeding ambassador and the last thing I want to do is turn other mothers off breastfeeding because they think it will make their child needy like mine. In reality she is just a normal toddler, but we are not used to seeing children of her age nursing so any requests to nurse in public tend to be seen as over-demanding.
I was at just such a tots group recently and Cave Baby, having one of her velcro days, was on and off my boobs every few minutes. I was feeling a bit annoyed about this, but not so much that I would deny a request to nurse. Anyway, I happened to be talking to a lady who is extremely supportive of breastfeeding and had nursed her youngest child for three years. But I think she sensed my discomfort because at one point in our conversation she said, "Soon, you'll be able tell her to wait until later to nurse".
This comment sent my brain into one of its customary tailspins. Had she been trying to suggest that my daughter was too old to be nursing so often? Was she giving me a hint that it was time to start telling her to wait until we get home? Was she just saying what she thought I wanted to hear because I was annoyed with my daughter? Did she think that I was uncomfortable with the idea of nursing her in public? Did she think I was in need of permission to refuse to nurse?
Later I wondered when is the right time to ask a child to wait to nurse. I don't want to refuse my daughter, but sometimes it would be nice to say "Wait until we get in the car" or "Wait until we get home". Again, this is not out of embarrassment but rather convenience. I don't want to have to rearrange my clothing in the middle of the supermarket. Breastfeeding is a two-way relationship that has to work for both mother and child, so I have to get things my way occasionally.
Kellymom says that delaying nursing works for children over the age of 18 months or so. Reading other people's experiences (like Hobo Mama's here), I think it takes many toddlers a bit longer to learn to wait. I don't believe my daughter is ready yet.
So, dear readers, I need your help. What I want to know is whether you ever delayed nursing your child, and at what age you felt they were able to understand that they had to wait a few minutes. Please give me the benefit of your wealth of toddler nursing experience. I'll be so grateful!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by the end of the day April 13 with all the carnival links.)
- Replace hitting with…? — Acacia at Be Present Mama is at a loss on how to handle her three year old's hitting.
- Two Questions — Alexandra at Breastfeeding Momma would like some ideas on how to strengthen her bond with her 8-month-old daughter; she's also looking for input on an emotional topic: vaccines.
- Balancing Needs When Baby Trumps Mama — Alison at BluebirdMama wonders how her child's need for noise and energy balances out against her need for quiet and space. (@childbearing )
- The McDilemma — Annie at PhD in Parenting is on the arches of a McDilemma. (@phdinparenting)
- Where is the mutually agreeable solution? When parenting calls for blood draws — Arwyn at Raising My Boychick has a child who needs regular blood tests that are torment for him. How does a parent honor a child when his health is on the line? (@RaisingBoychick)
- When To Wait To Nurse — Cave Mother wonders what age toddlers can be asked to wait to nurse.
- I don't love you Mama! — CurlyMonkey wonders what to do with her daughter's intense feelings. (@curlymonkey_)
- Help a Mama Out — Danielle at Born.in.Japan isn't getting much sleep with her cosleeping, night nursing, cranky little guy and hopes you can help with some suggestions for shuteye. (@borninjp)
- Dear Abby: My daughter really misses her Daddy — Darcel at The Mahogany Way needs to know how to help her daddy's girl get the connection with her father she needs — and not feel left out in the process. (@MahoganyWayMama)
- What's Going on at School? — Deb at Science@home is in a quandary: how can she find out what really goes on at school without stepping on the teacher's toes? (@ScienceMum)
- April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Advice — Dionna at Code Name: Mama wants to find volunteer work that includes her toddler. (@CodeNameMama)
- A Beatnik's Beat on Life — Erin at Beatnik Momma does not want to engage in "mommy wars." She'd like your input on how (and how much) to discuss her natural parenting choices with curious friends and family who parent differently. (@babybeatnik)
- Dear Abby — The Grumbles at Grumbles and Grunts gave her son a banana...and no solid food since. What's the next step in baby-led weaning? (@thegrumbles)
- Excuse me, I have a poop question — Jessica at This is Worthwhile has two questions for your consideration. One is about toddler stuttering, the other about toddler tinkling. (@tisworthwhile)
- The Half Empty Nest Syndrome: What to do when Momma gets replaced by a cow? — Joni Rae at Kitchen Witch Momma is suffering from "half-empty nest syndrome": what do you do when your babies start growing up? (@kitchenwitch)
- Peer Pressure — Kate at Momopoly worries what message her daughter's new friend is sending — but how to break up such an infatuation? (@Momopoly)
- When I Fall Down — Katherine at Momioso.com needs your wisdom on how to be more gentle and at peace with herself. (@naturalparent)
- A question of sleep and sanity — KeepingMumSane needs your toddler cosleeping advice in order to, well, keep mum sane! (@keepingmumsane)
- April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting advice — Lauren at Hobo Mama needs a chiropractor … or help getting her 36 lb toddler to walk up the stairs. (@Hobo_Mama)
- Driver's Ed for Mommies — Maman A Droit is a self-confessed terrible driver and is scared to drive with her baby in the car.
- Solo Parenting — Mammapie at Downside Up and Outside In needs tips for being a single working mother while her partner's away. (@mammapie)
- Itsy Bitsy Biter — Mamapoekie at Authentic Parenting needs your advice about her daughter, otherwise known as the pitbull.
- How Can I Avoid Beauty Obsession? — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! is at a loss ever since her tomboys turned into wannabe princesses. (@bfmom)
- Seeking Stability in Chaos — Michelle at Seeking Mother is in a heart-wrenching position. She needs your input on how to make a toddler feel secure during a time of transition, the illness of a parent, and multiple (new) caregivers. (@Seekingmother)
- Mama, That's Too, Too Boring! — Michelle at The Parent Vortex started out asking how to encourage her preschooler to get dressed — and four days later, she began to without prompting! (@TheParentVortex)
- Parenting Advice for the Girl From Outer Space — Mommy Soup from Cream of Mommy Soup has several questions for you, from how you play favorites when no one's your favorite to how to tell off strangers curious about the ample size of your family. (@mommysoup)
- Diaper Duty Dilemma — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries has a simple request: talk to her about cloth! (@babydust)
- What Do You Need My Son — pchanner at A Mom's Fresh Start wishes her calm four-month-old hadn't turned into an inquisitive and dramatic six-month-old. How do you handle changes in baby's personality? (@pchanner)
- Dear Natural Parenting Community — Sarah at OneStarryNight wants to know how to respond to criticism from family and friends over breastfeeding. (@starrymom)
- Natural Parenting Carnival — Help — Sarah at Consider Eden feels like either her to-do list or her parenting is suffering, because she can't do both! (@considereden)
- To potty learn or not to potty learn — that is the question — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes wants to know whether it's time to start potty training. (@sheryljesin)
- Seeking Patience — Starr at Earth Mama looks to the collective tribal wisdom of this community to learn how to teach patience to children.
- A Dirty Girl Comes Clean — Tashmica at Mother Flippin' is struggling. How do parents deal with their inability to keep their children protected from danger? (@Mother_Flippin)
- Uli and the Pussy Cats — Thomasin at Propson Palingenesis has a toddler who likes to put kitties in headlocks and ride them like horsies. How best to separate the little beasties?
- Perceptions of Discipline — Zoey at Good Goog doesn't use conventional discipline with her child — and doesn't know how to respond around people who do. (@zoeyspeak)