Monday, March 10, 2008

The breast of times

I've nursed my son through four birthdays now. I know what the critics say, but it's what he wants.
For us, nursing has become a brief bedtime ritual that lasts as long as it takes me to sing the alphabet song. It involves little overt emotion; most of the time the process is as perfunctory as the tooth brushing that precedes it. It no longer offers much nutrition: My milk has dwindled to a few desultory drops.
. . .
American Pediatric Association guidelines recommend breast-feeding for 12 months, and after that for as long as "mutually desirable." But what to do when the desire -- on the part of at least one party, anyway -- shows no real sign of abating? When physical nourishment is almost beside the point, and what we are talking about is mostly the emotional kind?

In some quarters, my decision might still be considered criminal. In 2000, a 5-year-old in Illinois was taken from his mother when a baby sitter reported to police that he was still breast-feeding. In 2003, a Dallas mother was arrested after having taken a picture of herself breast-feeding her 1-year-old. Even in Madison, Wis., where I live -- once famously described by radio host Bill O'Reilly as a place so liberal you expect "people to be communing with Satan" -- the line separating "OK" from "Oh, yuck" still seems thinner than a bra strap.

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1 comment:

Mercurior said...

4 and 5 years old suckling on the teat of these women.. thats pedophilia. there is no need for a child who can eat solid food, to breast feed.