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Blogging about Breastfeeding – Hearing from the Breastfeeding Blogosphere

I confess – before I reluctantly started this blog a few months ago, I didn’t read too many blogs.  I have a page of RSS feeds but they are mostly professional and academic blogs. But I am compulsive researcher and a news addict.  So my e-mail in-box fills each day with Google Alerts and e-newsletters.  Writing and speaking about mothering and the law – most often breastfeeding and the law – meant that I was led back to a few blogs where the topic was breastfeeding law and politics.  The writers of these blogs became people I knew and corresponded with – Jennifer Laycock of the now apparently defunct The Lactivist (though I highly recommend scouring the archives while they are still up) and Angela White, a fellow lawyer, of Breastfeeding 1-2-3.

I talked a lot to both Jennifer and Angela about how and why they took all the criticism that rained down on them in blog comments.  Why bother?  You can help people in more anonymous ways, like I did.  Or do satisfying speaking or teaching gigs – go home after the conference.  Once I did some guest commentary for The Lactivist and the depth of the anger in comments was bizarre. Okay, I admit I took a little thrill out of giving my breastfeeding street cred to someone who assumed from my name that I was a man who couldn’t possibly know what it was like to breastfeeding in public. Yeah, see that picture on my website home page of the women breastfeeding – the tiny baby head almost entirely obscured by the gigantic breast?  My kid’s tiny head. My gigantic breast.

I guess I didn’t learn I would never want to be a blogger because here I am.  Moral of The Lactivist blog commenters-gone-wild story may only be that I don’t play well in Lubbock. And I can probably live with that.

My point is I have always been uncomfortable with the idea of blogging about my life. I don’t want people having a view into my living room – it’s messy, I’m private, I’m tragically insecure. I like to write about facts and about other people’s experiences. But I have never thought twice about writing about my own breastfeeding. It doesn’t feel particularly private. I did it everywhere and in front of everyone. I respect other people’s right and desire to keep their own breastfeeding experience private.  But while I have thought a lot about blogging at all – making myself a target of the judgments of other people because of my opinions or my writing style, and I think very seriously about what information I will reveal about my children, breastfeeding was too important a part of my life to not write about.

Backtalk at Blogher just did a video (is this a vlog? help me more experienced bloggers!) on blogging about breastfeeding.  It was interesting to me because I got to see the faces and hear the voices of some more bloggers who write about breastfeeding and who I have been reading since becoming a blogger myself.  A few I have come to know on Twitter (where I strongly encourage people come for a swim).  Take a look at this.  Not only does this show a diverse group of opinions on breastfeeding but on blogging on breastfeeding.  Of course the personal is political. Of course the decision to write about breastfeeding is both personal and political.  But I admit that I am baffled that it is such a big deal.

While all of the women here are interesting and intelligent, I want to mention that Queen of Spain is a long-time journalist who is very very funny to read (and now I see she is funny on video as well). Annie of PhD in Parenting works very hard at serious research blog posts and is very good natured when I point out legal errors (because from the Canadian perspective, U.S. law is counter-intuitive). And Elita at Blacktating brings sharp insight to this subject from a perspective largely ignored.

This is What a Nursing Toddler Looks Like

Top Hat over at Its All About the Hat suggested a Breastfeeding Blog Carnival called “This is What a Nursing Toddler Looks Like.” [This is my first blog carnival so I will link to the other participants as soon as I figure out the rules of the game – UPDATE: I have added some links at the bottom to other Carnival participants.] Luckily for me, the Carnival theme left a good bit of room for interpretation since I don’t currently have a nursing toddler. I have many fond memories of nursing my kids when they were toddlers and so do they. I and they remember how important it was that they could nurse when they were sick or hurt or needed comfort. We nursed when they needed some time with mom. We nursed when they were getting used to sharing mom with a new sibling. We nursed when they were hungry. We nursed to sleep. We nursed standing up and sitting down and in positions I used to call “Olympic Freestyle Nursing.”

A nursing toddler can also go hiking and he looks like this:


But with my kids getting older, I am seeing more of what a nursing toddler looks like when he is no longer nursing and is no longer a toddler. That can be someone who really understands how important it is that kids get to nurse and mothers get to nurse their kids. A former nursing toddler isn’t fazed by seeing women breastfeed wherever they are.

A few years ago my then 12 year old son saw me helping to organize a nurse-in. I explained that a woman had been quietly nursing her baby on a bench in a shopping mall when a security guard ordered her to stop and move. She refused, saying she needed to finish feeding her son. Soon she was surrounded by security guards who engaged her husband in a shouting match and left the woman terrified. When the mom shared her story and the shopping mall management refused to respond to her complaint about her treatment, a nurse-in was planned.

My son was confused – why would anyone think there was something wrong with a mother feeding her baby? Then he was mad – this was wrong. He asked if he could come to the nurse-in. When he saw me making signs, he asked if he could create one for himself. I told him that we expected press coverage and there was a chance his friends would see a photo of him from the protest. He was adamant that he wanted to be seen.

Back to the Carnival theme – This is What a Nursing Toddler Looks Like. He looks like a proud breastfeeding activist.


UPDATE: Other What Does a Nursing Toddler Looks Like Carnival participants.

A Breastfeeding Toddler Photoshoot, Escaping to my Controversial Place

The Joys, Humors, and Struggles of … , The Mother’s Lamentation

Nursing a (and Around a) Toddler Creates Cute Stories, Melissa’s Place

I Never Thought I’d Nurse a Toddler, The Prudent Woman

The Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding a Toddler, Breastfeeding Moms Unite

Nursing an Older Toddler, Musings of Mommy Bee

My Nursing Toddler Story, babyREADY

Beautiful at Any Age, A Piece of My Mind

This is What A Nursing Toddler Looks Like, Three Girl Pile-Up

This is What a Nursing Toddler Looks Like, Permission to Mother

This is a Nursing Toddler, Gaze Into the Heavens

This is What a Nursing Toddler Looks Like, My Seaside Retreat

Nursing a Toddler in a Ring Sling, PhD in Parenting

This is What a Nursing Toddler Looks Like … , Mama’s Apple Cores

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