The thing about judging other people for choices they make that are not like choices YOU make is this…
You never know when you might end up making that same choice, the one you SWORE YOU WOULD NEVER MAKE because you’re so great and superior.
Let me give you an example.
I had a friend who had a baby 3 months before I had my first. We both breastfed our babies, but I had to stop breastfeeding my baby at around 6 months because I developed a kidney infection and had to go on strong medications.
My friend continued to breastfeed her baby throughout her first year, then into the second year. I went to visit her one afternoon and the baby was now “2”. As we sat on the couch talking, her daughter crawled up onto her lap, lifted up her shirt and said “I WANT EAT…NOW!”
Whoa. I was all “you’re STILL breastfeeding? The HELL?” She seemed somewhat ashamed and said “I don’t know how to stop. She cries so hard, so I give in.”
“Well, I’ll NEVER let my children breastfeed to the point that they are asking for it by name! NEVAH!”
I meant it at the time, man.
Let’s talk about what just happened in my house 15 minutes ago.
My 15 month old daughter sits on my lap, pulls up my shirt and says “BOBS BOBS BOBS BOBS.”
And I give her The Bobs.
If I had never judged my friend (or my cousin, because, when I found out she was still breastfeeding her two year old, I said “she’s doing it FOR HER! BECAUSE SHE DOESN’T WANT TO GIVE IT UP! She’s not doing it for the baby, she’s DOING IT FOR HHHHHERRRRRRRSELFFFF.”) then I wouldn’t be so ashamed to admit that “I have a 15 month old daughter who crawls on my lap and asks for The Bobs and who still gets The Bobs when she asks for it.”
People aren’t happy that I still breastfeed Gabby. In the past week I’ve had THREE people tell me that I need to “Stop. Now. COLD TURKEY. JUST STOP IT ALREADY.” I hang my head in shame and nod in agreement. “I know, I know…” (because, remember, those people sound JUST LIKE I DID before I become one of “those mothers”.)
I want to tell these people to mind their own damn business, I want to tell them things like “DON’T JUDGE ME.” Or “But, she’s my last baby and it’s really hard on me emotionally and I’m not sure I’m ready to give it up yet.”
But how can I say those things when I WAS one of those people? When I have judged people for doing the same thing I am doing?
I’m feeling very conflicted about this issue now. How old IS too old to breastfeed? And what if your motives for continuing to do it are because of YOUR feelings? Does that make it “wrong” or “inappropriate”? Does that mean I should “Put that tit away NOW?”
Everytime someone finds out that I’m still breastfeeding, I feel like I have to justify it. “Well, I only nurse her in the morning and at night. It’s not like she’s downing the tittymilk all the time.”
The truth is, I’m still breastfeeding her partly out of laziness. Do you know how awesome it is for me to have that option available when The Girl wakes up at 4am? I can whip out The Bobs, lay her next to me and go back to sleep! I’m not ready to give that up yet. Also? I love that time with her and knowing she’s my last baby, I’m having a hard time “letting go”.
What I really want to know though is THIS…
Why is it ANYONE’S BUSINESS how long a woman breastfeeds her baby?
Why did I think it was ok to tell my friend to knock that shit off already? Why did my neighbor think it was ok to tell me that I needed to “Just stop cold turkey NOW.”? I could understand if Gabby was 5 and I was stopping by school on her lunch hour at kindergarten to let her partake of some “Bob” goodness, but she’s NOT EVEN TWO YET.
I wish I had never judged my friend, or my cousin for their choice to breastfeed for longer than a year. Or, at least, I wish I would have kept those judgements to myself. Because now, a decision that should be totally personal and without regard to what ANYONE ELSE THINKS is tainted with feelings of guilt and shame.
(edited to add: I do not feel shame about the fact that I’m still breastfeeding, but because it’s hard for me to tell people to SUCK IT when they get in my face about it because of the fact I had been judgemental of other women in the past. Live and learn, people.)

46 thoughts on “BOBS

  1. NinaKaye

    Yeah, I didn’t breastfeed at all and constantly got the “why aren’t you breastfeeding??” I hated that. In the recent past I’ve got the “she’s still wearing pull-ups?” (that’s been remedied since) and the “you HAVE to take that pacifier away from her! Her teeth are going to be horrible!!” uh, No I don’t have to take it away from her. I don’t want to hear her crying for weeks on end about the damn thing. She’ll need braces anyway, what’s the difference.

  2. Dana

    I, too, used to be all judgemental, but in just the opposite way: I used to fuss at women who quit “too soon.”
    Wouldn’t you know it – my first son was “tongue tied” and couldn’t latch on for anything. It killed me not to be able to nurse him for the first two years, as the WHO recommends.
    Then with my second son, I was so proud to nurse. I was going to nurse him 3, hell maybe even 4, years to make up for what I lacked with my first. Then the little demon grew 16 teeth by the time he was 10 months old and I finally had to quit. The biting was just too much and he was too young to understand what kind of power those pointed suckers held.
    So my plan to nurse for a total of 4 years dissolved into 10 months. I felt like such a failure in the WHO’s eyes until I realized: my baby is fat and healthy and big and strong.
    As mothers, we are each others and our own biggest judges and critics. At a time when we are all so insecure and need each others’ support so much, we fail ourselves and our sisters.
    I’m so proud of you for nursing your baby so long, for doing what you think is best for your child, and for sticking your tongue out at anyone who gives you shit about it.

  3. Rachael & Eva & Ana

    I believe in child led weaning.
    But I also believe that both mom and baby should be comfortable with it.
    It’s all about what works for you and your baby.
    It is sad that we have to look for other’s approval. But I just smile and nod at the advice I get and still do my own thing.
    I am tandem nursing Eva and Ana. Some people find something wrong with it, but I don’t.
    Don’t feel guilty for what you said or thought years ago. As parents, we change with each child and even each day.
    And dont’ feel guilty for being one of those moms you used to tell to stop.
    We live and learn.

  4. Caitlin

    I think Rachel summed it up by saying that it’s about what works for you and your baby. Breastfeeding is not something only for the baby – it gives a lot to the mum too.
    Plus, that’s what the bobs are there for, right? Use ’em if you and Gabby want to.
    And it’s kind of lost in the American Pediatrics Association but the World Health Organization does recommend breastfeeding for AT LEAST two years.

  5. Bronwen

    I nursed my daughter until she was 11 months old and started biting. By then, it was really just morning and night, as she was in daycare and I just couldn’t let down for the pump.
    I hated giving it up – it’s such an intense bond. You know, you have something that no one else can provide for her. Who would want to abrogate such an important position in another’s life?
    That said, my baby was a real easy weaner (hah – that sounds funny!). I think you should pick the time that’s right for you both.

  6. Aitch

    Okay yeah so my daughter turns 15 months old today and this past weekend was the first weekend where she hasn’t nursed at least a little.
    I am so conflicted by it. I thought I would feel relieved or happy, like FINALLY! But damn we were good at breastfeeding. She was a terrific nurser, i made lotsa milk and we both enjoyed it. But she’s all done with it, she wants nothing more of my Bobs and I feel a little sad. I meaqn I never wanted a baby that nursed until 2 years old, but heh, not so easy to say now….Especially, after reading this. I might be a little jellis.
    Just keep going with it until she doesn’t want anymore.

  7. Christine

    You are expressing guilt over what others are thinking (and the fact that YOU used to think it), not over whether or not you’re doing something that is out of line. That is very telling. It is a good thing for you and your daughter. So, it’s one of those wonderful? moments as a parent where you have to grow thick skin for the outside world and know you are doing something great. When your daughter decides one day that she no longer needs it, she’ll let you know!
    Study the history of nursing from the beginning of time. You’ll start to realize that those opinions are based on a way of life that we’ve created, not necessarily something that is natural or normal. Find yourself a local La Leche League and go hang out with those ladies every month. It will help you to realize that you’re not the only person letting your child do the weaning.
    And in the meantime, just look at people after the ugly comments and say something like, “Well, you pour milk all over your cereal that comes straight from cow tits. So, who is the bigger freak?”

  8. jenny lee

    ok…i’m totally one of those people that would tell the other people that that is just gross and be totally like you when (and IF) i have my own. so i understand you there. what i’m thinking is…do it til she’s in preschool …who cares. what i’m thinking (and i know i’ll get knocked for this…so don’t even and if you have a bad comment to me…go make it on MY blog) ok so my reasoning behind the preschool thing is, when they are old enough to drink from a cup without spilling, they are old enough to be potty trained and they are old enough to drink regular milk. THAT’S JUST ME. everyone is different. and i am NOT judging. you know i’m not judging you yvonne. 🙂

  9. lex

    My daughter called it “Boo.” At 2 years old she was still saying “I want some boo.” She finally weaned herself at around 2 1/2. It just kind of happened. I got tired. She had enough. I talked her into having “a little bit.” So she started asking for “just little bit boo, mama.” One night, she just fell asleep without it. A week later, in my stupor, I lifted my shirt at 4am to calm her and we both looked at each other and started laughing. You go on with Gabby as long as you both want to. Sure, you “judged” before and said things, but now you KNOW. You rule!

  10. jen

    She is way too young to even worry about it. I breastfed my first until he was two and a half, and I wish I had breastfed my third longer, but my ex made me wean him before I returned to grad school.
    Jesus Christ, she has years before school, and even if you were still nursing when she is five, who the fuck cares? It’s your life, your kid, your business.
    I doubt she will nurse til Kingdergarten. I really do. Enjoy it while it lasts.

  11. Mindy

    1. Sixteen months.
    2. Three years.
    3. Three years and change.
    And you know what? I didn’t listen to anyone because my children got to hang onto that special me-only time for as long as they needed it. My second was able to tell my first what “mama” tasted like–and this was like a year after he weaned. He remembered it as such a happy thing, and my oldest was fascinated and a little frustrated that he couldn’t remember. My third listened in and agreed. “It tastes like pink milk. Like pink candy milk.”
    Don’t listen to anyone. Until they offer to wear your boobs they don’t get to comment.

  12. zee

    I ditto what Mindy said. ALL of what she said.
    I breastfed my son until he weaned himselve, in a very casual manner – 3 years.
    When I had my daughter I wished and hoped and prayed I would be able to do the same. She breastfed till she weaned herself – 3 years.
    I’ve been blessed, and so have my kids.
    So are you, Yvonne. Remember, you and your little princess = blessed.
    Those others, pay no attention. They don’t get to have a say.

  13. Shannon

    12months weaned himself
    10 weeks – my bleeding nipples and me crying during the nursing caused me to stop with the second, and my daughter was weaned on the 4th of july when she was 9 months old. If we chose to do everything the way everyone told us to do it….imagine what we’d be like. if you want to nurse her, nurse her. if you want to stop, stop. whats important is you and her… go hug her.

  14. Tracy

    I was only able to breastfeed for 3 months. When K was 12 weeks, I had to go back to work, and let’s face it…grooming dogs, there was a.) absolutely nowhere to go to pump, and b.)even if there was, it would have been full of dog hair. Eww. So, I was really bummed that I couldn’t do it longer.
    That said – if I could have, my target would have been 12 months. I don’t think Gabby’s so far past that that you should feel ashamed or bad that she’s still nursing. IF it were me (WHICH IT IS NOT), I’d probably try to start working on weaning soon.
    I did, however, work with a lady who nursed her six year old daughter. Only at night, when the child slept in the “family bed”.
    Um…is it just me, or is that sick and wrong? Cuz I thought so 12 years ago. (Good god, that child would be 18 now. I SERIOUSLY hope she isn’t still nursing. THAT would be hard to explain to college roommates…)

  15. Rori

    as far as asking for it being the “limit”, that is horse puckey. Babies who are taught sign can say they are hungry very very early…
    I think it is up to you. *hugs*
    However, I would say if she is tall enough that you do not have to sit down to breastfeed her? That might be time to stop.

  16. clickmom

    My three went 2-11, 3-5, and 3-6. Or something like that- you see, they all stop eventually and so will Gabby when she is ready and you are ready. If you wait til they are ready there is nothing traumatic about it, no crying, no bargaining, no lost sleep. You are giving both Gabby and yourself a tremendous emotional and physical gift. The benefits of nursing continue as long as and for ever after wards so the longer the better. Every extra month gives her protection from a laundry list of disease and you too. It also increases her IQ and emotional well being.
    I say, learn the lesson, don’t be so judgemental, and even if you are thinking it, just don’t say it, and nurse for as long as you want. Your choice. Embrace it.

  17. PoeticaL

    As long as she wants the Bob and you have the Bob and are willing to give the Bob…who gives a Bob what anyone says…..we change we evolve …your former Bobless opinion did the same…big whoop-de-Bob!!

  18. mrs Darling

    I breast fed my son until he was almost three years old and he weighed 40 pounds. He was 11lb 4 0z at birth so he was always big. Talk about stares. I got em. I never cared one bit though. Stuff like that just never bothered me. Eventually kids will self wan when they’re ready. Enjoy it while it lasts!

  19. hed

    I weaned my daughter when she was almost three. I started getting assvice from people when she was about 6 months old, telling me to stop. It came from everywhere; from both sides of my family, friends, a random woman in a restaurant who had the audacity to come up to me and tell me to take it somewhere else, where people weren’t trying to eat.
    Didn’t matter. I knew what I was doing, and I knew when it was finally time to stop.
    I really don’t understand why people feel the necessity to tell people how to raise their children. As a rule, I think as long as I don’t see someone physically harming their children, or verbally abusing (name calling, cussing them out, etc.) in public, it’s no one’s business but theirs.
    She’s a gorgeous kid, and obviously very happy. Have fun with her, and don’t worry about the people who feel the need to constantly give assvice.

  20. danelle

    I hope you know me well enough by now that I don’t say what people want to hear when they ask, I tell the truth. Personally, I think 15 months is too old.
    BUT – I am also the type of mom that doesn’t let any damn person tell me what I should or shouldn’t be doing. I’ve done a lot of things with, for and to my kids that folks had an issue with.
    ” I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it.” ~Voltaire

  21. Dina

    I’ve been following your journal for a couple months now *waves hello* and I felt I needed to comment on this post b/c it moved me so much.
    My daughter, my last, my number 2 is currently coming on 4 months old. I’m currently breastfeeding and loving it. I’m loving the ease and the cheapness of it all. And the closeness too.
    My son, #1, was unable to latch on so this is all new to me. I was disappointed when I couldn’t breastfeed him which drove me to a small ’bout of PPD. Eh, I got over it and he went on to be formula fed. No biggie.
    Sad thing is, I also judged someone for breastfeeding for so long, her son is 2 years old and she’s pregnant. She’s unsure of how she’s going to get him off as he too pleads with her. I thought it psycho that she made him ask and say PLEASE and he tells her to switch when one goes empty.
    I have yet to master that technique of knowing when one is empty. I said once the teeth come in I would stop. Teeth are coming in soon, as she is expressing every sign of teething. Drooling. Sucking on her hands. Pulling on her ears. Irritability. And I’m not ready to stop. I pushed it on to 1 year, but who knows what that’s going to look like and how I’m going to be feeling.
    Like everyone has been saying to you… go with how YOU feel. If you’re okay with it, then sail on sista. I feel ya on the ease of it all, in her late night feedings I lift the shirt shove it to her face and fall back asleep. Nevermind that my shirt is tucked under my chin and the “bob” is hanging out to the air.

  22. Debbie

    Its your biz. Forget about what you used to think and consider it a lesson learned. Its human nature to be judgmental.
    When Gabby starts telling you what not to eat cuz its makes her Bobs taste funny, might consider stopping….

  23. ben

    Yeah, um, I can’t really say one way or the other, being a male and being bob-less (more or less).
    I agree with Valerie that you should stop before the child leaves home, but I’m hoping that your daughter discovers Pop Tarts or something to take her mind off the Bobs.
    It is healthy, or so I’ve heard, and it’s a bonding experience (as long as you aren’t giving a speech at school or something when she comes to lift up your shirt) and I really don’t know why people feel they know better than you do.
    Are they concerned about her nutrition? Just look at her.
    It’ll happen soon enough, but apparently NOT soon enough for some folks. Oh well.

  24. Katie

    The BOBS! Too funny! It’s okay, we all have our “eat our past words” moments (I’m having one with Pull-ups right now). I wish I had nursed mine longer but I either got pregnant again, couldn’t keep up with the demand (twins), or the very last one (and a tubal) she gave it up on her own at 16 months. Waaaa!!!

  25. girlplease

    Ok, since I am not a parent, my opinion doesn’t count because I just don’t “get” breastfeeding beyond an infant. But to me, if they can say “Bobs” then its too old. I just picture being in public and a kid lifting a shirt, saying Bobs, and going to town.
    And like I said, I’m not a parent so what the “f” do I know? I saw my new puppy feed from her mom and it grossed me out. Bodily fluids just gross me out, period.

  26. susanne

    I breastfed my Gabriella for 17 months, when she used the boob for comfort it was the end. Of course she complained but I offered her the bottle instead and yeah well, them little ones are smart and it only took a few days and it was over. BUT! if the child *feels* that mother doesn’t want to let go then it is a dead cause. Besides, we are all DIFFERENT!! *keep smiling*

  27. chris

    My youngest, and last, baby is 11 mos old and still nursing all the time. Since he will be last baby I fully intend on nursing him until he goes off to college, or longer if he goes to college locally 😉

  28. Candy

    I always said once they could ask for it by name, they were too old, but both mine weaned themselves and I never got faced with that decision. But I don’t think 15 months is too old.

  29. carson

    Breastfeeding toddlers isn’t for the faint of heart. Our culture somehow believes that cow milk, designed for baby cows, is better than human milk for baby humans. I nursed my daughter to 15 months (when she learned to walk, she wouldn’t sit still any more), and my son for 20 months. He still asks to nurse, but I needed my body back to take medication that’s not ok to nurse on.
    Don’t sweat your old judgemental self. We’ve all done it, thought we had the answers for someone else when we haven’t figured out our own questions yet.

  30. Mieke

    People don’t really ask me anymore, since Jonas stopped well into his third year, except for my mother in law. Gabo JUST turned two on Saturday and I used my doctor as an excuse, “my pediatrician said since we are still nursing, I shouldnt’ even think about stopping until the end of this years cold and flu season around April”.
    That shut her up and gave me the voice of authority to back it up. I love nursing. Gabo loves nursing. It’s cozy time.
    Enjoy it.

  31. Amy

    I try not to judge other mothers for just that reason, Y. If I’ve learned one thing from being a mom, it’s that what you want and expect and not necessarily (or ever) what you get. So you think your kid will never use a pacifier, and you get one that can’t live without it. Or you want to breastfeed for two years but you have supply issues at 9 months. We’re all doing the best we can, and it doesnt do anybody any good to judge each other.
    Live and learn is right. I love it that you admit to this: it’s hard to admit when we’ve been wrong before!

  32. Laura

    I don’t know what it is about breastfeeding, but it’s one of those topics that turn women into the most judgemental bitches on the planet, on both sides of the argument. I always try to remind myself that I truly have no idea what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes, no matter how much I THINK I can relate, because there are a billion influences going on that I couldn’t possibly know about. Anyway – nurse as long as YOU are comfortable with it, and don’t even worry about what other people think! (Easier said than done, admittedly.)

  33. Tammy

    I cracked up at the thought of you stopping at school for a “Bob-break” at lunch time.
    Eight. Eight is too old for the bobs. There, did that help? Or, whenever she grows her own.
    Seriously, I think whenever you and Gabby are ready will be the right time. Until then, enjoy it guilt free.

  34. Michelle

    Your Bobs. Your baby. Your business.
    I breastfed my youngest until he was 28 months old. And it was him that did the weaning- I would have probably gone on for another 28 months. lol
    Breast babies are not kean on weaning early. It’s best to let Gabby decide when she’s done. I always joked that I was going to have to go to school with Joe so that he could nurse at lunchtime. For awhile, I feared that would really happen. lol
    No one understands until they have been there. Like I told my MIL who had a discussion with her therapist about how I was ruining my son- “Until it’s your boobs he is tugging at, you have no say in this matter.”

  35. Cyn

    I weaned my son at 8 months because I was tired of him wanting to nurse at night. I got tired of him hanging off of my boobs. Then he got sick and wouldn’t eat anything so I had to breastfeed him again. The second time around it was easy to wean him. He didn’t seem interested in it anymore. I was lucky. Even though he started showing signs of teething at 4 months, he didn’t get teeth until after I weaned him.
    My BF’s mom didn’t like me nursing him in the livingroom at her house. I can’t remember how old he was though. No one ever told me I should wean my son but I am sure they would have if I had nursed him for over a year.
    Tell people thanks for the advice but you are doing what you think is best for you AND Gabby.

  36. VenturaMom

    I am a total lazy nurser. I haven’t weaned because I can whip out the boob to stop a tantrum, fix a boo-boo, or send her off to sleep. Why give up the magic power of the boob (or Bob)? My daughter is 2 (and a quarter!) and just loves her “mommy milk.” Rock on, nurse on, sister.

  37. Maddie

    At the end of the day the guilt of depriving your child of something she needs/wants will be more unbearable than the immediate guilt of having to explain yourself to stupid people.
    So, I guess, just do it for the guilt.
    (I mean well, I swear)

  38. Kay

    Well I don’t think 15 months is too old.
    I generally think breast feeding and bottle feeding should stop by 18 12 months they no longer have to rely on the nutrients since they are getting food and once they have all their teeth (some take till 18 months) they should stop it all due to dental issues and again since it is no longer their sole source of nutrition, after that it is just harder and harder (and becomes socially unacceptable as you probably have encountered) which is no good for either Mother or child, noone likes to pry their kid off their boob for the 1st day of Kindergarten…
    (heh..just kidding).
    Seriously, wouldn’t worry about it yet.

  39. Kay

    Oh and I looked on the lalecheleague website and they said common age is 4-5…seriously that is too long. Your child should be getting some other emotional bond from you besides this at this point in life and the nutritional thing is a VERY moot point by this age.
    It also says that people think nothing of a toddler with a bottle but breast fed they will,,I call bullshit…I talk about a kid that can fix their own bottle just as quick..LOL
    Honestly..even the LeLeche are not getting the whole nutritional, bad for your teeth, social 5 yr old I know wants to spend time under Mommy’s shirt, that is just not right and gets into deeper issues (Mommy’s mostly) of why she can’t let go and move on.
    This is just my opinion, I can’t help it.

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