Who supported you in breastfeeding your child? Take this survey

I received a kind email from Jayme Cisco yesterday, asking me if I’d be kind enough to share her breastfeeding survey on duration and support. This was her message that she wanted everyone to read:

Dear Moms,

My name is Jayme Cisco, and I am a PhD Candidate at the University of Missouri. I am also a breastfeeding mother. I am doing research on how moms decide how long they breastfeed, who supports their decisions, and how they experience the social atmosphere surrounding breastfeeding. My hope is that this project will help us understand how to provide better support for all breastfeeding mothers.  

You can help by participating in our online survey. All moms of any age over 18 can participate, no matter how long they breastfed. The survey will take approximately 30-45 minutes. Your responses will remain confidential and anonymous; however, you may choose to enter your first name and contact information should you desire to be contacted for a brief follow-up interview (under 30 minutes).

I know we are all busy with our little ones, but I appreciate your time and hope you will help us learn more about how to support breastfeeding mothers by sharing your experience! 

You can access the survey here:

If you have the time, please fill it out and share.

Thank you and happy breastfeeding, mamas!

<3 Paala

[Photos copyright Nicole diGiorgio of Sweetness and Light Photography]

Did you fill out the survey? What did you think?

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, or comment below!

 

Related

Normalizing Breastfeeding Past Infancy Series Part 1: 50 women share their experiences

After sharing my favorite breastfeeding past infancy photos last week in my post, “Why I support breastfeeding past infancy & why you should too,” I started receiving photos from readers in solidarity. I took that opportunity to ask my readers to share their own personal experience with breastfeeding into toddlerhood and beyond by answering a few questions and a photo if they’d like to share. I wasn’t expecting over a hundred and thirty replies in just about 24-hours but I am so happy these women came forward.

These were my questions, if they felt like answering them:

1) List the age of your nursling(s). 
2) Weaning. Has your child weaned? Share how your breastfeeding relationship came to an end. How you both felt. What age they were. 
3) Does your partner or family or community support you in breastfeeding past infancy?
4) Were you breastfed past infancy? What age did you wean?

These are their words and photos:

(1) Lesley McKissick

1) Current nursling is 2 yrs, 9 mns.
2) Older child weaned herself at 2 yrs 5 mns. I was pregnant and she just stopped one day and was totally fine. 
3) He supports me, as does both of our families. He even talks to his friends about breastfeeding and the awesome-ness of it all!
4) I am told I was breastfed until about 18 months. I have a picture of myself standing on the kitchen table, nursing. 
(Can’t find a recent pic of her nursing, but these are my little nursling and ex nursling!)

(2) Catherine Latchford: Early morning mummies two years old

(3) Danielle Mokas: 12.5 months and going strong!

(4) Darcy Page: My current nursling is 14 months.

My three others weaned at 3 1/2, 4 1/2, and almost 3.

I am completely supported by my partner, friends, family, and online and real life communities. They’d better be supportive, since I’m a volunteer breastfeeding supporter and advocate working toward changing my state’s breastfeeding laws. 

I was nursed until 2 (in the 70s when almost no one was breastfed!)

(5) Heather Pearson: An older photo of me and my nursling. She will be 3 next month and still breastfeed several times a day, especially first thing in the morning and at night before bed. I really witnessed the power of extended breastfeeding last month, when she was in a terrible accident and spent 3 days in the ICU. Being able to nurse her really helped calm her and get through the ordeal.

(6) Laura Major: My son just weaned himself right before he turned 1, a couple weeks ago. It broke my heart. I still try to offer everyday and he wants nothing to do with it anymore.

(7) Amber David: 1) 4yrs7m, 2yrs8m, and 11m

2) None of my children have chosen to wean yet.

3) My partner is 100% supportive. 

4) I was bf until I was about 6 months old and then my mom fell into boobytraps.

(8) Belinda Margetts: Magic sleep boobies 16 mo and no chance of stopping soon. Very well supported by friends and family. Her sister has decided she is giving up boobies when she turns 4 (in 5 weeks) Not holding our breath on that.

(9) Jeni Holland: 1.) currently nursing my 21 month old daughter.

2.) my youngest has not weaned yet and probably won’t for a while. My middle daughter weaned at 13-14 months because I was pregnant and dried up. My oldest weaned at 6 months due to work issues. (Long story).

3.) my husband fully supports me breastfeeding past infancy. If any family doesn’t support us they haven’t voiced their opinion, so I’m assuming they support us. 

4.) I was not breastfed at all due to my mom having a fever when I was born. She was advised not to breastfeed (this was 30 years ago).

(10) Jennifer Newman McFettridge: This photo was over a year ago, but I am still breastfeeding her. She is turning 4 years old tomorrow! I also breastfed my other daughter in this photo until she was just over 2 years old. I was not breastfed as a baby/child. 

(11) Becca Biggs: Weaned at 3.5 
Support from hubby 
Support from hubby family 
Not a lot of support from my family “he’s to old” blah my baby 
My Breast!! 
I was not Breast fed. 

(12) Christen Prochaska 1) My son is three and still nurses on a regular basis. My daughter is almost six months old and is getting better at nursing every day (she was three months early so we had a late start).

3) No. It actually is one of the recurring themes of arguments with my husband. He finds it embarrassing even though only his family sees him nurse in our own home (my son isn’t interested when we’re out and about). (He only thinks it’s normal to nurse an infant.)

4) No, I believe I was less than six months old when my mom had gal bladder surgery and I guess I just stopped after that.

(13) Crystal Henson: He was 18 months here. He is two now and we are still breastfeeding about 4x a day. My husband is very supportive. 

[Emily Tesnow Photography]

(14) Sarah Gregory-Ferguson: My nursling is 15months and will continue as needed/wanted  My partner supports me fully. My family supports us too! My twin sisters breastfeed and have breastfed theirs until they were around 2. I breastfed my two other girls (now 12 and 8) until about a year. I was not breastfed. All my other siblings were. It is awesome how as my sisters and I have grown the things we teach each other and teach our mother. And the things she has taught us. It is quite beautiful. And so precious! 

(15) Sarah Ann Tyler: 1) my first weaned at 14 months. My daughter is 12.5 months and still frequently nurses
2) my son weaned at 14 months before that he only breastfed at nap or bed time. He moved on like nothing I was expecting it to last longer. 

3) my husband totally supports me breastfeeding with no buts. Some family gets weirded out by it but I don’t care.

4) I was breastfed till I was like 2. My mom quit breastfeeding me after my sister was conceived because of contractions and she had had previous miscarriages.

(16) Christina DeVaux Menis: 33 months and no end in sight  Nursing her 6 month old sister too. 

(17) Victoria Irwin: Still nursing my 21 month old daughter. No sign of weaning yet. Hopefully not anytime soon. I have full support from my partner and family. And I was unfortunately not breastfed. Here is our holiday family photo. 

(18) Becca Steiner: 15 months, still breastfeeding, 110% partner supported, no idea when I weaned.

(19) Steph Uh Nie: 1) my son will be 2 years old this Thursday and is nowhere near being ready to wean! I’ve had my “I’m so done” moments (usually around 4am when he’s twiddling my nipples and I’m PMS-ing) but I’m not. And neither is he. We’ll stop when he’s ready.

3) I’ve felt more opposition from people I’m close to than strangers which is an something I didn’t expect. My son’s father and I are not together and he is not supportive. I’ve had to fight to keep my baby at my breast.
My own mother (who breastfed me until I was about 5 I think, answering the next question;)) is always horrified when I NIP! She’s always telling me how inappropriate it is. 
I am undeterred. I stand here on the front lines of full term breastfeeding normalization with you, my sisters. And if I face ridicule, so be it. 
It’s clear I’m not alone, and my son is happy and healthy 
Love to you all!!

(20) Desiree Tara Woolery Larson: Tandem nursing my 22 month old and 5 month old. 

(21) Katherine Havener: My breastfeeding tally so far – baby 1 – 6 months, baby 2 – 3 years, baby 3 – 3 years 7 months, baby 4 – 14 months and counting. I love breastfeeding but as we hit the 3 year mark, it starts really feeling uncomfortable so I have encouraged weaning both times. I was not breastfed at all. Here is a pic of my third daughter nursing right before she weaned. She’s about 3.5 here. Love her so much! 

(22) Tonia Neal Johnson: My sweet little nurslings. My son is almost three, my daughter is 6 months. My family and community supports us for the most part. A large number of his friends are breastfeeding as well, and I have people to talk to about tandem nursing…nursing while pregnant…ups and downs of nursing…figuring how/when/if to wean. My husband is my biggest supporter in that he thinks the whole thing is boringly normal.  When out and about, outside my friendly little bubble, I forget that it isn’t. Or more that no one else is talking about it, and that some people even think its weird or terrible. To us, it is just a part of life. 

(23) Emily Ann Oleson: My daughter turned 2 in August and is still nursing with no end in sight. As a LLL leader and lactation counselor I firmly stand behind the benefits of breastfeeding regardless of age. My fiancé supports me 100% although he is wondering when we will be stopping, but none of us could have thought we would continue this long- it’s just what works for our family. 

I was never breastfed and my mom does not agree with my choice to nurse my child, let alone past 2. 

This photo was from a pin up breastfeeding calendar we did over the summer. 

(24) Jeanne Lawrence: 1) 2.5 years old still going strong with no intention to stop or wean. 
3) my mommy friends support it, my husband loves it, my family on both sides supports it. I even nurse him while coaching gymnastics classes and no one has an issue ever. It’s been great.
4) yes all 5 of us nursed past infancy. No idea when we weaned but likely 2 yr because my sister was born then and we did not tandem. The youngest was like 4. We will wean when he’s ready. His Pediatrician asked me to nurse till he’s 3.5 at least. 
Ps in the photo he is holding the cat after they got in a fight and one ended up scratched and crying. This is how they say sorry to each other. A great big cuddle. 

(25) Shannon Elizabeth Bagby: We are going on 11 months and doesn’t look like we are stopping any time soon.

(26) Anna Hurley: This kiddo will be three in May. I am almost 26 weeks pregnant and was sitting inside a bounce house playing when she wanted to nurse. 

When I tell her it is time to switch sides (I don’t have terrible nursing aversion but I can’t really sit in one position for too long because I can’t breathe) she will hold up her pointer finger to indicate one second. She thinks she is hilarious! She kind of is  lol

She also things the idea of milk in the fridge coming from a cow’s boobie is hilarious. Haha! 

(27) Tania Henderson

This is my youngest, 2.5, the above is my oldest about 6m ago, she is 4.5 & they are both still breastfeeding. I am 26weeks pregnant. I have lots of support but was breastfed myself until 6m, then put onto goats milk.

(28) Garner Neuenschwander: 1. I’m tandem nursing an almost 4 month old and an almost 4 year old. 
2. Nope we practice child led weaning. 
3. Yes, I do not give them another option.
4. I was born in 83, my mom weaned me before age 2.

My daughters will be 4 months and 4 years, both next week.

(29) Ashley DeBaca: 18 mos strong. Family makes some silly comments but no harassment or arguments. Not sure when we’re going to wean. I was never breastfed. Lol crappy pic but couldn’t stop laughing. 

(30) Amanda Elizabeth Green: 1. He turns 2 next month 
2. No weaning for us yet! I am back to work and he doesn’t take a bottle, but he nurses when we’re together.
3. Yes. I have the best family and in-laws ever.
4. My mom always bragged about extended breastfeeding me. I was weaned soon after my 2nd birthday. I really think that laid the foundation for my breastfeeding relationship with my son. 

(31) Brandy Kincaid: I was formula fed. My oldest is 9 and nursed until my milk dried up when I got pregnant, she was 22 months old, I lost that baby at 32 weeks, I pumped and donated 500 ounces of milk and oldest Lo started nursing again and stopped at 28 months. Third child nursed 30 months, when I was pregnant and milk dried up. Youngest child is 3 and nurses before bed a few nights a week. I am super sad that he is weaning  I have been nursing the better part of ten years… I have a good friend that has a newborn and is having trouble producing, so I am in the process of attempting to relactate to pump for her. *fingers crossed*

(32) Alexis Lopez-Curry: My sweet 18 month old daughter snuggling my breast while breastfeeding and sleeping I am planning on letting her be the one to wean herself instead of me weaning her.

(33) Mon Salazar: 1. Son 3 yrs, daughter 9 months
2. No weaning yet, but my breastfeeding relationship with my son has ended on my part. I do not enjoy it at all but he is still determined on nursing so I’m just sucking it up. Breastfeeding relationship with my daughter is going great and hopefully for a couple more years.
3. Yes and no. No one really cares but once in a blue moon my partner will say “it’s time” and I get very sad. 
4. No, I wasn’t. My twin and I had an occasional wet nurse for the first few weeks of life.

(34) Crystal Brown: My boys are almost 4 1/2 years old and 17 months old. I will be breastfeeding until they decide they are done. My oldest still nurses at least 3 times a day and more if he’s not feeling well. My youngest, well, he nurses pretty much constantly right now! I nurse them both anywhere. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I cherish our nursing relationship! I couldn’t imagine not nursing either one. I share our story and photos on Facebook in hopes of helping to normalize full term breastfeeding and inspire other moms who may feel pressured to wean before they would like to. My husband is extremely supportive. He has never had anything negative to say about it and he shares the facts with people who question it. Some family members have expressed some discomfort with it, but for the most part I haven’t gotten much negativity. I was adopted and was not breastfed at all. My mom always said she didn’t feel like she missed out having never been pregnant, but she always wished she could have breastfed. You may definitely share our story.

(35) Penny Laurel CaptaincrunchMontgomery Schlanser: I’m nursing a 21 month old and my oldest still nursing will be 5 in May.

(36) Leyla Forrest: I nursed 4 years 9 months and 8 days, tandem for 14 months. Breast cancer stole that relationship from us. I kicked it’s booty…..I’m 100%.cancer free. 

I support ALL moms breastfeeding relationships whether it be pumped, donor milk, from the tap, 3 hours….days….months….years or beyond. And please be vigilant about your bodies.

[Photography by April Smith]

(37) Sally Briles Rogers: Nursing a 3 year old and 15 month old…best thing ever!..it provides an instant calm on those tense days. My 3 year old still takes 2-3 hour naps (not sure if related to extended nursing but I’ll take it!)..i also have 2 older children that I nursed until 1 year..didn’t know much about extended nursing then .great support from family..one funny conversation was when my Dr told me it was time to wean my 1 yr old and I laughed and said “well I guess you better tell his older brother then too !”..nothing more was said.

(38) Katherine Skinner Francis: Nursed my last till 2yrs 3/4 months he weaned him self as my milk dried up with pregnancy. But he still once in a while shows interest and then changes his mind makes me wonder if I’ll be tandem nursing.

(39) Hana Sai: 1) My son is currently 10 months old. 
2) He hasn’t weaned and doesn’t show any signs of it. I’m hoping we will make it to at least 2 years old. 
3) My husband is okay with us going to two years old. Not sure how he feels about going any further than that.
4) I was breastfed until 1 year old

(40) Lowenna Rappo: 1)This is my 2.5 yr old (3 in June). We are tandem feeding along with her 4 month old sister. (I also comp with formula due to low milk supply, tongue/lip tie). (Had to comp for both girls). She fed throughout my pregnancy even when I lost my supply. 

2) We have night weaned (at 2 yrs 3 months just after her baby sister was born) although she sometimes sneaks in for a feed after a bad dream etc. 

Hoping to feed her till about 3 but will let her wean on her own. 

3) They are supportive but some only think I should feed her at home and not in public. I have had some positive comments and some negative but my husband is supportive. Being in Australia we are lucky that breastfeeding isn’t too frowned upon. 

4) I was breastfed until 1.

(41) Sandi DiMarco: This pretty much sums up how nursing my toddler is this was about 5 months ago, he’s now 18 months, and we are nursing g through pregnancy!

(42) Ashley Nichole McMullen: I am currently tandem nursing my boys ages 25 months and 13 months. My husband is super supportive! He’d breastfed if he could.  My parents and siblings are supportive as well. The rest of my family is slightly weirded out by my “extended” nursing. My 25 month old has been slowly weaning as we are down to 2-3 sessions a day. My 13 month old is still very much attached! 
I was formula fed. My mom was young and a full time student. She however, nursed my two youngest brothers past infancy!
This is our first nursing session together.

(43) Alissa Gomez-Dean: Tandem nursing my almost 3 and 4 year old! Will post a pic when they wake up and nurse again! Love these!

(44) Lacee Martin: They were just over 14 months here and self weaned a week after this picture so it’s our last nursing picture.

(45) Kimberly Mulkey: 1. Daughter is 3 1/2
2. We are weaning, we are both ready, and she gets it now and that makes me happy. I’m extremely proud of myself for nursing this long, I never imagined it would have ever turned out like this. 
3. My husband (we are now separated) has become unsupportive at her age, and has been since she was 2. Lots of people (co workers and friends) say it’s weird, I don’t think it’s weird. I laugh it off and don’t let it bother me! 
4. I wasn’t breastfed.

(46) Michelle Streeter: 1. 19 months on the 27th
2. still nursing
3. No one has said anything negative to me about it at all.
4. I was formula fed
This was taken tonight.

(47) Joyce Blanton Joyce: Nursing my baby girl at 19 months…first time nursing in public since she turned 1. I was afraid to nurse in public when she got bigger. This was at my nephews graduation and the only rude comments were from my own family. We are still nursing and she’s 26 months  I love nursing her and am proud of it! She’s my youngest of 7 kids and the only one I breastfed past infancy 
1) 26 months 
2) not even close
3) My husband, my work, and my mom yes but not my sister.
4) I was formula fed

(48) Samantha Paige Skaggs: Nursing my son who turned 2 end of October. We have a lot of support from family! I think we may start a slow wean soon to end by 3 yo. I didn’t breastfeed my first past 4.5 months so this is awesome! I was only nursed to 6 weeks.

(49) Michelle Sherrill Rushing: My nurslings are 3 and 1. My older two were weaned early (14 months and 19 months) because I didn’t know any better. My oldest went on what I now know was a nursing strike and at the time I just thought she had self weaned and stopped offering. My second went through what I now can recognize as a developmental transition and would regularly nurse for just looking enough to cause a letdown and then leave. I thought this meant he no longer needed milk and therefore no longer needed nursing so I essentially force weaned him. When you know better you can do better so my little two will nurse until whenever they choose. My husband reports to have No opinions on when the babies wean. He leaves mother/baby feeding to be decided by mother/baby. He believes fathers are not biologically meant to be part of that decision. In daily application he is very supportive. Extended family (my mother and siblings) were supportive until I got pregnant with #4 when #3 was 15 months old and I continued breastfeeding. They braved a few judgmental comments and questions while I was pregnant and were met with some pretty hostile feedback. They no longer offer opinions but do occasionally ask whether my 3 year old is STILL nursing. I confirm that she is, with a warning eyebrow, and the topic quickly changes. I do find some support in the community, but less and less as I pull closer to the front line of the oldest nursling in the group. I certainly was not breastfed past infancy. I believe my mother waned us all to cows milk in a bottle around 6 months.

(50) Anya Matkowski: 21 months old and going strong.

~~~

Did you or are you breastfeeding past infancy? Comment below or send me an email at paalasblog@gmail.com with your favorite breastfeeding photo (with credit to the photographer if needed) or just your words to help normalize it, show support for other moms who have come out internationally in the media or those that are closet breastfeeding. We are not alone. 

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Related:

Out & About: Beach day in Santa Cruz

[With my children in Santa Cruz, California]

We were in the mood for some sand and surf yesterday so we drove down to Santa Cruz for the afternoon. It was a perfect beach day – blue skies, calm breeze, nearly 80 degrees. I cannot believe it’s “winter” and snowing in other parts of the country! I forgot to bring my nice camera so I just took a couple phone snaps. And if it’d realized it was going to be that gorgeous, I would have worn my swimsuit.

The kids didn’t have suits either but that didn’t stop them from getting wet from head to toe and stripping down to their birthday suits. Ah, to be young and have zero inhibitions. I didn’t see anyone else naked but there isn’t anything wrong with kids enjoying the sun and water on their skin so I let them have their fun. If we’d been closer to home, at Lake Anza or beach near Alameda or Berkeley, there would have been a good handful of naked young kids like ours. Instead, the kids in Santa Cruz were wearing soggy disposable diapers or sand-stained undies.

One little girl did ask my eldest child why she didn’t have any clothes on and she told me later that she said it was because she didn’t bring her suit. And that’s okay. I know I’m not the only one who sets their children free. I’m set on letting my children enjoy their skin without putting any of our strange Puritanical hangups on them when they’re just little kids, or wasting my time being overly concerned with prudes or perverts. I can only hope there were other kids letting it all out and having a blast in the buff in another part of the beach.

Moving on! Here I am breastfeeding at the beach.

Have I mentioned he turns 1 in a mere week? He’s still nursing every couple hours or more so of course, he wanted some milk at the beach. We had lunch at my husband’s favorite, Woodstock’s Pizza, and funny enough, while I was in Trader Joe’s next door picking up some bananas for the beach, wearing Quint in my Ergo, I was approached by a woman and asked if I was interested in modeling for Onya Baby. What a nice compliment! I gave her my contact info and look forward to hearing from her again. I’d love to model for my own Onya or a little extra spending money.

What else can I say about our beach day. Well, parking was harder to find this time than our last trip a few months ago. We could only get a 2-hour metered spot. Next time we should get a full-day parking permit to avoid having to cut our fun short. My husband also wants to take our eldest to the Boardwalk next trip for some of the rides. I hope she’s tall enough.

How do you feel about naked babies on the beach? Are your kids little nudists as well? And do you have an Onya?

Join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, or comment below!

 

Related

10-minute meal: Burrito Bowl

I just made lunch and thought I’d share. It took maybe 10 minutes to assemble and less than that to eat it.

Burrito Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 5 romaine lettuce leaves, chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup of fully cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup of fully cooked pinto beans
  • 1/4 cup of fresh pico de gallo
  • 1/2 lime
Heat your rice and beans however you like to do it, top with your veggies, fresh pico (or make your own – dice up fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro), and squeeze your lime on top. Enjoy with tortilla chips (I eat salted Trader Joe’s organic corn tortilla chips.) Done!

You can squeeze the second half of your lime in some water or make limeade if you want it sweetened. How easy is that lunch? Now, in the past, I probably would have put some grilled chicken or salmon with sour cream and cheese on top but I’m vegan-leaning these days so none of that. And I don’t even miss it. If I want to jazz things up later in the week, I might grill some bell peppers and onions, grate some tempeh like cheese, and put those on top. If I make this for dinner with my husband, sometimes we make margaritas to go with it. Or I fry up some corn tortillas and serve all that was in the bowl in taco shells. Super yummy.

Another quick and easy meal, and breastfeed-mom approved!

What’s your favorite quick vegan lunch?

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Related

10-minute meal: Veggie udon & cranberry-kale salad

I know what you’re thinking. “What is going on, Paala? It’s been ages since your last food post! What have you been eating?!” I know! I’ve felt a slump in making “fancy” things these days, much less documenting them, but I just felt motivated to share my 10-minute meal with you.

Maybe it’s because I had that whole time to myself to make it while my husband tended to my baby’s first of the night waking. The sexiest thing my husband said all day was “I’ll take care of the baby so you can finish eating your food.”

So! Here I am. Eating soup and blogging. This dinner is kid-friendly and super yummy. Though, I prefer to make it after bedtime so I don’t have to share. And I added some red-pepper oil so I really don’t have to share. What I love about this soup is that all that liquid boosts my milk and even when I’m exhausted, I still have energy to make it.

What’s in that huge bowl of soup? Okay, here’s the list.

Hearty Veggie Udon Soup

  • Fresh udon noodles
  • 1 cup of chopped sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup of diced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas or edamame
  • 1 thinly sliced or grated carrot
  • 1 thinly sliced celery stalk
  • 1/2 cup of fully cooked rice
  • Red-pepper oil to taste, usually just a few drops for me

Boil some water on the stove (take that time to make your kale salad). Boil as much as you feel like eating. Put your noodles in the water after chopping them up, if you like them short like I do. Toss in your chopped veggies, and everything else you feel like adding, maybe some green onion and tofu would be tasty as well, and boil for just a couple minutes. Done! And I do add some soy sauce to my soup. I’ve read a lot of back and forth about soy these days and have not settled on my position yet except to say, I try to only eat non-GMO soy, organic is possible. As for the noddles I use, I totally cheat and use Annie Chun’s udon soup bowl as my base but I’m considering using just their organic noodles to avoid any possible GMOs in their sauce.

The salad is hardly worth typing out. But here you go.

Cranberry-Kale Salad

  • 4 dragon kale leaves
  • Handful of dried cranberries
  • Raspberry vinaigrette

Dice up the kale, toss on some dried cranberries and top with raspberry vinaigrette.

Enjoy!

What’s your go-to meal after the kids go to bed?

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Related

Out & About: Mortar Rock in Berkeley

We spent our Friday morning and early afternoon at Mortar Rock in Berkeley. Let me tell you, there’s nothing better than finishing off the week with a nature day. Well, I suppose we spent Thursday stomping around in the leaves, running up and down trails under the redwood trees as well. We enjoyed relaxing and breathing in the smells of nature, listening to the birds, and climbing with each other and their friends. Personally, watching my kids flourish, grin from ear to ear, see them doing what I did as a child, feeling the dirt and damp moss under their toes, is priceless.

Here are a few of my photos.

Quint was up at the top with his friends (L) and my eldest was at the bottom (R), about to share the second half of that banana with me. She’s a sweet child. Well, all of mine are really.

It’s a very kid friendly rock, even more so than Indian Rock a couple blocks down the hill. There are carved steps to walk up or the side of the rock is easy enough for them to clamber around on. At the top there is a great, wide area for having lunch, chatting with friends, breastfeeding. I just love his little toes feeling the warm sun. He still hasn’t needed to wear shoes. Lucky boy!

The sun flare was unintentional but I like it.

There is a tree off to one side that kids, even my three year old, can scoot down and climb down to the ground and then run back up to the top of the rock and do it again. This is my middle daughter climbing down.

This is what unschooling looks like for us.

My goal for my children is to let them be immersed in nature for as many years as they desire, let them spend countless hours playing make believe together, caring for each other, creating art, and building things. We keep our balance by keeping things slow, only doing what will help the whole family feel harmonious. Being in nature certainly brings us harmony as a family.

This was my daughter the day before on a slightly chilly day, carrying a banana slug on a stick in Redwood Regional Park.

Do you have a dedicated nature day? 

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Why I support breastfeeding past infancy & why you should too

I’ve seen quite a buzz around extended breastfeeding, also called full-term, long-term, or natural-term breastfeeding, in the media these last couple weeks since Denise Sumpter told the world about how she’s breastfeeding her 6-year-old. Since I am Facebook friends with Denise, I got to see her reactions to the things people were saying about her and her daughter’s choice, good and bad, and I feel compelled to say my piece.

Why all the controversy?

A couple years ago, the world exploded after seeing Jamie Grumet breastfeed her three-year-old son on the cover of TIME magazine. (Read her side of the story.) When Maha Al Musa shared her story, breastfeeding her then 5-year-old that is still breastfeeding at 6, she was met with similar backlash.

The shorts answer is that I think people fear or immediately dismiss what they’re not familiar with or don’t really understand. Add the fact that women are far from treated with respect, that women’s bodies and their breasts are oversexualized, commodified, and there’s a big mess that needs fixing. Rather than try to realize the world is too big to fit everyone into the same size box, or stop to realize that women should just be respected, that moms know what’s best, the mob starts yelling in all caps at women like Denise, Jamie, and Maha from their keyboards. I was also faced with some international public backlash after I dared to free my nipple while feeding my baby on the other side. Why does it matter what women do with their breasts and their children? Women have the right to be in control of what we do with our bodies and we have the basic human right to breastfeed our children.

A woman using her body to nourish and love her child is something to be thankful for amid all the heartache in the world. Normalizing breastfeeding, seeing it from newborn to 7 or so, is important. That’s why I appreciated seeing NPR & Buzzfeed support breastfeeding past infancy this week, not to mention the Pope stepped out in support of public breastfeeding for the second time as well. (Thumbs up to Pope Francis for knowing what’s up, right?)

Why is nursing an older child is perfectly acceptable in my book?

Because I trust mothers and I trust children. They’ll wean when they’re ready. It’s that simple. Not to mention it’s supported by people that should know what they’re talking about. There is a reason the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Family Physicians specifically recommend breastfeeding for 2 or more years. There are only benefits for the health & bonding of the child and mother, without any proven negatives.

Dr. Katherine Dettwyler, anthropologist, author, teacher, and long standing supporter of breastfeeding past infancy, was quoted in a recent NPR article, “I would say that the benefits of long-term breast-feeding — as long as both mother and child want — are enormous. Long-term breast-feeding allows for normal development of the child’s brain, facial structure, immune system, and emotional resilience to life’s slings and arrows….People should be informed that nursing a 6-7+year-old is a perfectly normal and natural and healthy thing to be doing for the child, and that their fears of emotional harm are baseless.”

The AAFP supports breastfeeding past infancy in their latest position paper, stating, “breastfeeding ideally should continue beyond infancy, but this is not the cultural norm in the United States and requires ongoing support and encouragement. It has been estimated that a natural weaning age for humans is between two and seven years. Family physicians should be knowledgeable regarding the ongoing benefits to the child of extended breastfeeding, including continued immune protection, better social adjustment, and availability of a sustainable food source in times of emergency. The longer women breastfeed, the greater the decrease in their risk of breast cancer. Mothers who have immigrated from cultures in which breastfeeding beyond infancy is routine should be encouraged to continue this tradition. There is no evidence that extended breastfeeding is harmful to mother or child. Emerging research on nutrient content of human milk into the second year of lactation suggests that breast milk continues to offer significant nutritional and immunological benefits.”

Like many mothers who find themselves breastfeeding an older child, I never set out to nurse past infancy when my first child was born back in 2009. Then my second child was born and my first wasn’t ready to stop. She wasn’t even 2 years old yet. So we kept going. Then my third child was born and my first two were not ready to stop. Now that I’m here, breastfeeding my 5-year-old, 3-year-old, and 11-month-old children, not all at the same time obviously, I can say that it’s been the right thing to do for my family.

During my three years of blogging here, I’ve made it my goal to help others in whatever little way I can by sharing my breastfeeding journey. I have decided to reshare my favorite tandem breastfeeding past infancy photos to show my support for Denise Sumpter and all mothers who have faced unnecessary scrutiny for merely following their child’s lead and breastfeeding past whatever silly cut off people think is acceptable and breastfeeding anywhere, anytime.

[Photos copyright Nicole diGiorgio of Sweetness and Light Photography]

In the first two photos, my daughters were 2 and 1-years-old and in the third, my daughters were 4 and 2-year-old. However out of the ordinary it is for the US, they’re still going at 5 and 3-years-old. I hardly ever tandem them anymore as my 5-year-old only asks once every couple weeks. But I’m proud be able to be there for them in that way and though I am looking forward to them weaning, I know they’re gradually tapering down on their own and will stop when they’re ready.

Why everyone should support breastfeeding past infancy

However confusing breastfeeding past infancy may be to those that don’t understand it, allowing a child to keep going past the average weaning age takes dedication and nothing but love on the part of the mother. It’s a healthy and beautiful part of breastfeeding that should be celebrated, not condemned. We could all learn a few things on how to cherish mothers and breast milk from Mongolians, that’s for sure. Let’s take a step back and support women. Really support them. It’s easy, right?

So, if you see a mom feeding her older child out in public, give her a thumbs up. If you’re following your child’s lead and letting them wean when they’re ready or when you’re ready, good for you. Do what you feel what is right for your family and know that you’re supported.

Do you support breastfeeding past infancy? How old is your nursling or how old were they when they weaned? 

Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, or comment below!

 

**Update**

I just thought I’d add this poster I saw HLNTV tweeted earlier today:

Our dismal national average weaning age vs. the global weaning age is one more reason to support breastfeeding mothers. Breastfeeding saves lives, money, and pollution, and helps cut the risk of obesity, other illnesses, and some cancers. It’s a win for everyone.

 

 

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