Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Be Careful What You Wish For …

I have just got back from a few days away and we had a fabulous time.  Zoos, museums, the waterfront, restaurants, everything was great and very kid friendly. Except one little thing that really made me think.

To set the scene I have two girls, 4 and 18 months, both fully toilet trained during the day.  When out and about the little one needs help to get her pants down and get up on the toilet, but that’s it.  Generally when we’re out we all go to the toilet together, I mean what else are you going to do with them?  So while we can all fit in a normal cubicle we try to go for disabled toilets whenever there isn’t a parenting room.

I was originally a bit conflicted about this.  They’re disabled toilets, I felt guilty about using them when we’re all able.  But on the other hand I’ve never yet seen a person with a disability going to them, much less found someone waiting when we get out.  Not that I sit there and watch who’s going in or out of the toilets.  But we don’t seem to be inconveniencing anyone so we might as well use them.

One of the toilets we visited on this trip (and we visited a LOT!) was shared use – for parents and people with disabilities.  And it makes a lot of sense, small children and parents have a lot of the same needs.  The toilets are often lower, which makes it easier for littlies to get on them, they usually have handholds that very little ones can use to stabilise themselves, there’s room to manoeuvre a pram as well as a wheelchair and the sinks generally have easily accessible taps little kids can work.  In addition, this one had one of the fold-up change stations on the wall.

It also had a sign, asking

“Parents please limit use to avoid impacting disabled users.”

Hang on a minute.

When I’m illicitly using the disabled facitilities as it were I feel a bit off.  If there was a disabled person around I would definitely wait until after them.  But this is a dual use facility.  It has a change table in there and says so right on the door.  So why is one set of users less important that the other?  Why does one set of users have to ‘avoid impacting’ the other?  Flip it around – would it be reasonable to ask disabled people to be quick to avoid impacting on parents?

OK, it takes longer than normal to change a baby.  And I’m sure the girls and I take ages, although not as long as 3 separate people – we have the production line down pat.  But do you really think parents are hanging around in there for fun?  Dawdling away in the public toilets?  They’re such a fun place to hang out, after all.

And how exactly are we supposed to limit use?  Wait until the nappy is really, really full?  Leave them in the pooey nappy until we get home?  Maybe change them kneeling on the ground in the wind and rain outside?  I admit my non-verbal baby has lots of false positives – she often gives me the toilet signal and then doesn’t produce (although that doesn’t seem to happen at home for some reason).  So should I ignore her and take the chance that this time it was real so make her poo her pants?

Would you ask disabled adults to sit in their own urine and faeces so they don’t impact on others?

No.  That is unreasonable.  It is disrespectful and demeaning.  Yet that is precisely what is being asked of children.  Children are not even being treated as second-class citizens, they are being denied (or limiting) basic human rights of hygiene.

Our society does not appear to want children.  It would be interesting to see what happened if that wish came true.

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Apparently I’m not just Evil, I’m childish too

This picture tells two stories: of the often fatal consequences of bottle-feeding, and more profoundly, about the ages-old bias in favor of boys. The child with the bottle is a girl. She died the day after this photo was taken. Her twin brother was breast-fed. The woman's mother-in-law said the young mother should breast-feed only the boy, as she would not have milk for two. But almost certainly she could have fed both children herself, because the process of suckling induces milk production. "Use my picture if it will help," the mother told UNICEF. "I don't want other, people to make the same mistake"

This picture tells two stories: of the often fatal consequences of bottle-feeding, and more profoundly, about the ages-old bias in favor of boys. The child with the bottle is a girl. She died the day after this photo was taken. Her twin brother was breast-fed. The woman's mother-in-law said the young mother should breast-feed only the boy, as she would not have milk for two. But almost certainly she could have fed both children herself, because the process of suckling induces milk production. "Use my picture if it will help," the mother told UNICEF. "I don't want other, people to make the same mistake" Photo ACC/SCN, courtesy of Children's Hospital, Islamabad, Pakistan

Thanks to Hoyden About Town for the heads up on this story.

Mummy Bloggers spit the dummy over Nestle’s spoilt milk

To start, I thought I’d dig out this photo for the Sydney Morning Herald, they don’t seem to have been able to find it.  I’m hoping I’ve interpreted it correctly that I can use it.  On to the rest of the article.

“Mummy bloggers spit the dummy”

“Hell hath no fury like a mummy blogger scorned”

Well there’s a nice characterisation to begin with – we’re babies who throw tantrums and over-react (that’s general, I don’t like the Mummy blogger tag and many of the people involved aren’t).  And all in the first two lines.  So do we deserve it?

There was some pretty nasty stuff going around on Twitter from both sides.  But have a look at the actual blogs and listen to the non-bloggers involved in the boycott.  Does this sound like a tantrum?  Or this?  Or even this?   And the fury was there well before Nestle refused to answer questions.  Not doing well so far, Sydney Morning Herald.  Let’s have a look at the rest.

They got something right, Nestle is one of the world’s most boycotted companies, but it’s not just a dirty water issue.  Please don’t get hung up on formula and forget the child slaves or water rights.  And their timeline is basically backwards, implying that there were already large social media protests and Nestle needed a chance to ‘give their side.’ Sorry guys, not quite how it happened.

Nestle set the event up, probably to test the waters using social media for marketing.  Incredibly cheap marketing don’t forget – what is the cost of giving 20 people a weekend away and giving their family some steak compared with a television campaign?  According to at least one of the attendees, they’d never heard of any questions about Nestle’s ethics and it wasn’t what the conference was about.  But the skewed timeline in this report makes it look as if poor little Nestle was just defending themselves against those nasty activists.

No bloggers were interviewed (or at least there are no responses in the article) but Nestle Australia was.

“This just goes to show that the blogosphere is a tough place to try to have a rational argument!,” she wrote in an emailed statement.

“The event at Nestle USA was held to introduce our company to a number of bloggers. It was very successful, which of course absolutely infuriated the small, biased, vocal group whose anti-Nestle opinions are so entrenched that no matter what we do, they will twist it to present us in the worst possible light.”

Well as a blogger and a Mummy*, whom the Sydney Morning Herald didn’t consult in this story, I have a few comments on that statement.

  1. Nestle hasn’t engaged anyone in the blogosphere on the boycott and their marketing practices, but this list of questions would be an excellent place to start. It looks pretty rational to me.
  2. The large, informed, vocal group was telling you they were infuriated way before the event happened.  It’s because of those dying babies and child slaves.
  3. One of the reasons we’re infuriated is you don’t do anything.  You talk, you make statements, you spin.  But you don’t debate.  You don’t answer questions.  You don’t change your unethical marketing practices.  You don’t buy fair trade cocoa.

So here are a few suggestions for Nestle, and if you do them we’ll look at what light is appropriate:

  • Answer those questions from PhD in Parenting.  As soon as you do, I’ll help get your answers out there.
  • Answer some of the other questions you avoided on Twitter.
  • Agree to the 4-point plan for ending the boycott – it’s only four points!  You can do it!
  • Decide that maybe lives are more important than profits.  You’re one of the world’s largest food producers, so you do have the economic muscle to effect change.

And SMH?  I came away from the original Twitter storm thinking the bloggers invited were a bit naive.  But after all, they’re amateurs who just didn’t think that things like child slavery still exist and didn’t think to check out the company talking to them.  And who wouldn’t be flattered – a multinational company thinks I’m important enough to invite?  I’m not a journalist, I’m a mother and a blogger, with absolutely no training in writing or journalism.  But I can manage to do at least a little bit of reading on this issue and discuss it without meaningless, insulting cliches.  I think there is a lesson for both types of media here – bloggers need to realise that with readers comes responsibility.  And journalists need to remember that they are under scrutiny.

*Actually, there are only two people on this earth who get to call me Mummy.  Neither of them has anything to do with Nestle or the Sydney Morning Herald.

Mummy bloggers spit the dummy over Nestle’s spoilt milk

ASHER MOSES

October 7, 2009 – 3:05PM

Comments 4

A baby drinks milk from a bottle in Sri Lanka.A baby drinks milk from a bottle in Sri Lanka. Photo: AP

Hell hath no fury like a mummy blogger scorned

Men at work…

I’m trying to make a point here so let’s get to it – My husband works in a male dominated industry (mining).   I work in a female dominated industry (early childhood education).   I take our two year old to work with me and I work part time.  I travel a lot for work and I sing to her in the back of the car.  I take her to meetings, conferences, lectures, and networking opportunities where I am always surrounded by lovely women who smile and laugh and we all get on with our jobs.  I always make sure I am at home for 4 days out of 7 and then every second week full for our girl to be with her dad.

Now for his story…  My husband has just started out in the mining industry over the last three years.  He works a lot of overtime and is surrounded by men who also work a lot of overtime and probably have children at home.

Recently my husband refused some overtime to spend a Sunday with us.  Over the weeks leading up to this particular Sunday he had been away … then I had been away … and we had seen each other for one week out of six when his parents were visiting – not really a time of marital bliss.  Come Monday and dear husband is getting ‘pineappled’ at work (that’s his term for being in trouble with the boss).  He is sat down, given a warning and then the BIG boss is on the phone also telling husband that it is in his contract to work reasonable overtime.
My husband asks, “what do you consider reasonable overtime?”
“10 hours a week or one full day.”
“well I worked all day Saturday and overtime on Friday.”
“look… If you want to work in this industry you have to expect to work overtime whenever asked”…

My husband, being a gentle soul leaves it at that and accepts the warning.  He is even convinced that he had been in the wrong.  Until he got home and I had something to say about it.  I say – People make an industry – it doesn’t make itself.

Here is my biggest issue…  It’s almost a feminist issue (leave it to me to make anything a feminist issue).  Well actually it’s a humanist issue that impacts negatively on women as well as men – but the men within the industry are the only ones that can really change it.  THE ISSUE – It is the fact that we have a huge mining industry here in Australia that is mostly full of men.  Most of those men are probably fathers with wives who might happily be stay at home mums (part time in my case) but who still want their children to see their fathers.  However, the head honchos who make the industry are anti-family and therefore anti-woman.  So, are they promoting bad parenting towards our future generations?  Are they promoting negative relationships between man and wife?  Are they reiterating their own outdated beliefs by assuming that women should be the ones to raise children generally alone?

There has been a shift in choice in the world of feminism.  Before it was the choice to work and be liberated from forced domesticity.  Now it is the choice to stay at home and have the well earned support of society or to work with that same respect and support.  However, for those of us who have chosen to stay at home – with a partner in this industry (and many other male dominated industries) we could be taken for granted.

Although … in the end I think my husband is really getting the crappy end of the stick.

Breastfeeding Week- an open letter of thanks

It’s World Breastfeeding Week and we are celebrating at Fusion Parenting.  Come back for a new post on breastfeeding every day!

 

In this, my first Breastfeeding Week since becoming a breastfeeding Mum, I would like to express my thanks to a group of women and men who helped me through the biggest emergency of my life. So below is an open letter to my friends at the Australian Breastfeeding Association…

After a beautiful 27 hour labour my little boy was an absolute natural at breastfeeding. Within minutes he had made his way up my tummy and had latched on for his first warm, milky feed. Before he was born I looked as breastfeeding as something that he and I would learn to do together, but after this, I knew that he would be the one teaching me what to do.

Our first few weeks together flew by with no problems with attachment, supply, nipple soreness….by this time I had attended my first ABA meeting and was an avid ‘lurker’ on the ABA forum. I was very proud of the job I was doing- even with my son’s love of comfort sucking, for many, many hours of the day. My husband and I saw this as a great way to catch up on some favourite tv series- with a fantastic excuse.

But when my son was just ten weeks old I was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma. Further investigation was required to see if ‘it’ had spread. The tests came back…the cancer was metastatic- it had spread to my lymph nodes and liver. I needed to have a number of major surgeries, and right now! By now, the ‘statistics’ predicted that I wouldn’t see my little boys first birthday. I didn’t know whether I would be there to hold his hand for his first day of school, or even be there to catch him as he took his first step. But there was something I could do- I could give him the best start to life that I possibly could.

And so began my journey with cancer. And with expressing. My first stop was the forum. I logged on and tearfully asked if anyone could help me teach my baby to drink from a bottle. An unlikely source of information about bottle feeding, but I didn’t know who else to ask…and these women seemed to have so much information- and compassion.

This proved to be a defining moment in my breastfeeding journey. Not only did these women provide me with the tips and hints I needed to express, bottle feed and return to breastfeeding but they gave me inspiration, motivation and strength. They didn’t just share information- every message came with love, prayers, and positive stories. Every message gave me hope- something that no doctors could.

My wonderful husband knew that focusing on breastfeeding was giving me hope and purpose and he did everything he could to support me. After my operations he was there with the electric pump, at times having to physically hold it up to my chest so I could express the milk out, ridding my body of anaesthetic so I could get back to feeding my baby. And then he would bring my beautiful baby to the hospital and without fail, Toby would latch on, just as easily as he had that very first night when he was born.

The surgeries performed managed to rid me of all the cancer and since then I have become a ‘regular’ at my local ABA meeting. I am also proudly ‘addicted’ to the ABA forum and consider the women there as friends. These are women who have seen me bare my soul, even though we may have passed each other on the street without even knowing.

I have blessed to meet some of the ‘angels’ from the ABA forum- the girls who gave me the gift of encouragement, to keep feeding my baby and to fight for my life.

Breastfeeding – Prepared for LIFE!

It’s World Breastfeeding Week and we are celebrating at Fusion Parenting.  Come back for a new post on breastfeeding every day!

Welcome to the Carnival of Breastfeeding readers.  I hope you enjoy this piece, there are further links to other carnival posts at the bottom.

 

There’s so much that could be said on this topic.  It could be interpreted as preparing the baby by giving them a healthy start in life.  In spite of what some commentators are trying to say, breastfeeding is healthier, and it is important.  And don’t even think that all this is just something those poor plebs in the third world need to worry about – note that one of those references looks specifically at developed nations. 

It could be interpreted as preparing the baby for the rest of their life by looking at the long term benefits, you know the decreased risk for later obesity, diabetes, some cancers and increases in intelligence.  (A variety of references can be found here.)

Then there are they psychological benefits, the bonding and close relationship with their mother, which prepares the whole family for the turbulent toddler years.  Breastfeeding may be protective for child abuse  and abandonment.

Or the fact that breastfeeding decreases the risk of SIDS , which is definitely preparing a baby for life.

And there are all the ways it helps the mother, which keeps her in the best condition and prepared to look after her baby, including reducing her risk of breast cancer, osteoporosis and the (surprising?) fact that exclusively breastfeeding means both parents get more sleep

And then of course there are all the tiny little things that happen normally and naturally, because breastfeeding is the normal way to feed a baby.  So it does the whole developmental job it is designed for, not just feeding, and prepares the baby’s jaw for talking, gives the mother’s body a break before the next pregnancy, gives the baby the sleep needed for development, allows the baby to experience a wide range of tastes and prepare for family foods, and generally gets the baby ready for the rest of this adventure called life.

Like I said at the beginning, there is so much that could be said on this topic, and I’m sure it will be admirably said by the other contributors to the carnival.  What I want to talk about is Breastfeeding – Prepared for LIFE!  A life that is as big and as bold and as exciting as I can make it.  Because isn’t that how life is supposed to be?  I don’t want a boring life, a mundane life, a routine of an existence.  Sometimes that’s what I get, but it’s not the life I plan and prepare for, and it’s not the life I plan and prepare for my children. 

Because I breastfeed I can be spontaneous, just grab the keys and the change bag and off we go.

Because I breastfeed it doesn’t matter if we’re stuck in the waiting room or a queue for a couple of hours, I’m completely portable.

Because I breastfeed we can camp on whatever beaten track we like, it comes sterile and pre-warmed.

Because I breastfeed I can have dinner with friends and spend the night chatting over philosophy and a nice glass of red, a sated baby cuddled in my lap. 

Because I breastfeed I fit into those ridiculously small airplane seats for a long haul flight, it doesn’t have to be made up and mixed.

Because I breastfeed I don’t worry about the quality of water at my destination.

Because I breastfeed I can live in a cyclone and flood prone area, serene in the knowledge that when the trucks don’t get through for three weeks my baby will be fine.

Because I breastfeed I can take my one year old to a restaurant, certain there’s something on the menu that will appeal to her.

Because I breastfeed I can go to a concert or show, we’re experts at attaching quickly and quietly in the dark.

In other words, because I breastfeed we are prepared for living.  Babyhood is not something to be hidden, scheduled, confined.  It is an introduction to the whole wonderful world, a celebration to be shared, something that allows adults to step back and rediscover life as their children experience it for the first time.  Through breastfeeding we are prepared for life, prepared to begin the new journey with our children in the same way we intend to go on.

 

Other Carnival of Breastfeeding posts:

Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: Breastfeeding in Emergencies
Hobo Mama: Prepared for Life: Breastfeeding in local and global crises
Zen Mommy: How breastfeeding has shaped my toddler’s view of breasts
Pure Mothers: Marketing away real milk
Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: Tips for consistent & long-term breastfeeding success
Cave Mother: Three moments that make me thankful I breastfeed
Breastfeeding 1-2-3: Breastfeeding as a lifesaver in emergencies

Lunch!

I haven’t blogged in a few weeks because I’ve recently returned to work, and it turns out that being at work takes up a lot more of my time than I remember. Some mornings, it really does take ages to get a toddler out of bed and dressed.

Anyway, being that I’m back at work, I’m back in the swing of packing lunches. I have a bit of a thing about lunches – I love packing tasty, healthy foods. Even more than that, though, I like packing pretty lunches.

baby bento - sushi and tomato

The Japanese have a tradition of packing nifty lunchboxes, called bento. The word ‘bento’ simply means ‘boxed lunch’ or something like that, but that’s a deceptively simple explanation. The most simple bento is a box of rice with an umeboshi, but bento may also be incredibly elaborate. Apparently some mothers at certain kindergartens in Japan compete with each other to make the most intricate bento for their children, with the result that they spend hours fiddling about with food.

I don’t do that. I like speed bento. Although I like spending a few minutes on pretty flourishes sometimes, I really don’t want to spend more time preparing a lunch than I do eating it.

There are plenty of resources around on how to pack a bento for adults. Where I find bento techniques incredibly useful though is in packing toddler lunches.

Bento has taught me three things. The first is how to choose and pack foods so that they’ll be safe to eat. The second is how to make the best use of available space – the more compact a lunch, the better, in my view. The third is how to make lunch look delicious.

toddler bento - lots of yummy things!

Everyone eats first with their eyes, and then with their mouth. This is particularly true of toddlers, who are notoriously fussy. Even children like mine, who will eat anything at all, have fussy days – favourite foods suddenly become anathema and are eyed suspiciously. Bento encourages the use of colour, particularly foods which are colourful in their natural state – different coloured vegetables, and the fresher the better. Bento often also incorporates cute touches like miniature food picks or vegetables cut into interesting shapes. Little picks are not just pretty – for a toddler, they can be a way of making some foods easier to eat. Little divider cups don’t just keep food separate – toddlers love investigating containers and sampling the treasures contained therein.

You don’t need a lot to get started with bento. You can spend a lot of money on a purpose-designed bento box, or you can simply use any old plastic container. Because I have a bit of a thing about lunches, I do have quite a collection of bento boxes, but I also have quite a collection of other plastics. The toddler bento pictured in this entry all use containers bought from a supermarket or department store: the first two are Willow containers, about $8 or $9 for a pack of three; and the third are made by Décor and cost less than that, again for a pack of three. I collect plastic spoons from our local gelateria and icecream parlours. Although you can buy vegetable cutters to make flowers or animals, you can also easily and quickly cut fruit into traditional designs.

fruit and sammiches

Reckon you can do it? I reckon you can! Pretty soon you’ll be looking for excuses to pack lunches for your kids – or for yourself.

The octopus myth

When I was pregnant, I spent a long time waiting for the day when I would start to feel like a hippopotamus – large, uncomfortable, waddling and enormously heavy…though I’m sure that if you were to ask any hippo they would strongly dispute such a characterisation. Anyway, I waited and waited and waited, but before I knew it, the baby was born, no hippos in sight. I never felt uncomfortable or awkward or waddling…how I may have looked is a different matter entirely.

A similar thing has happened to me with breastfeeding. When I started breastfeeding my newborn daughter, I soon learned that the recommended age for feeding was a minimum of two years. I looked down upon the tiny little creature nestled so comfortably in my arms and everything just seemed to ‘fit’ so nicely…a newborn baby just seemed to be the perfect size for breastfeeding. How on EARTH would I be able to breastfeed an ENORMOUS two year old???

I looked around to get an idea of what a two year old was actually like and I tried to imagine what it would be like to breastfeed a child of that age and size. I was, to be honest, slightly alarmed – all those ARMS, all those LEGS…all that WRIGGLING about – WAS IT REALLY POSSIBLE TO BREASTFEED A TWO YEAR OLD??? It seemed to me that it would be rather like trying to put a wetsuit on a thrashing octopus…awkward, unwieldy, frustrating and quite frankly, nigh impossible. Nevertheless, I set my goal as reaching the magical age of two and I figured that I would somehow work it out.

I now have an eighteeen-month old daughter. Somehow, somewhere along the way, my newly born baby slowly morphed into this ENORMOUS creature, with all those arms and all those legs and all that wriggling about. Somehow, somewhere along the way, she just FIT. Nope, she doesn’t curl up neatly in my arms like a newborn baby…her legs hang over my lap and she usually fiddles with a toy in one hand while poking and prodding at me with the other. But somehow, it works…it feels comfortable, natural and normal. I now no longer worry about how on earth I’m going to breastfeed a two year old, or even a three year old for that matter. I know that they will still fit. Because they’re meant to.

A few days ago, a friend of mine dropped in for a chat. Somewhere in the conversation (I think we were talking about my desire for my husband to take my daughter camping for the night so I could have an evening in on my own) it became apparent that I was STILL feeding. My friend, a childless male, looked slightly perplexed and then commented “Oh well, she won’t be needing that for much longer”. Then, a short pause, as he cocked his head to one side, looked at me and said “How old is she again?”

And so, in a very subtle, quiet, unobtrusive way, I was given the message, yet again, that YOU MUST NOT BREASTFEED A CHILD AFTER THE AGE OF ONE. The message was so clear that it could have been written in big, bright flashing neon lights. Because, of course, as everyone seems to know, Breastfeeding After the Age of One is Dangerous. Unsafe. Unnecessary. For Your Own Reasons. Weird. Just Plain Wrong.

I know that I have now entered that territory in which I feel that I need to be a little bit more secretive about the fact that I am STILL breastfeeding. In the small town where I live, many mothers do breastfeed, but the age of 1 is definitely seen as the upper limit. To venture beyond this point is seen as being, well, quite frankly, weird…perhaps even bizarre. Why on earth would you keep breastfeeding when they can have cows milk at that age???

Personally I’ve got nothing against cow’s milk…when it’s given to baby cows that is. But the idea that I would wean my child from my milk on to the milk of an animal…well, quite frankly, I find that weird…perhaps even bizarre. I feel slightly ashamed of myself that I am not more open about breastfeeding my toddler. I have told some friends who I know have breastfed past the age of one and I’ve mentioned it casually in conversations to strangers, but I don’t feed my daughter ‘in public’ anymore and I am careful about what I say and to whom. Partly this is because we are still fairly new to this town and I know that whatever I say will eventually do the rounds. I’d like to think that if I had the anonymity of life in a big city I wouldn’t care less about where and when I fed my daughter and whom I told.

I’ve never yet been openly and directly challenged by someone about why I’m still breastfeeding my daughter, but I thought that if and when the moment arrives, I’d like to be really clear about it….so here’s a short list of MY reasons…

*Because the World Health Organisation recommends that babies are breastfed for a minimum of two years, and thereafter for however long the mother and child desire. To be honest, I’m not usually one for following ‘the rules’ – they have to make sense to me first and be backed up by good research (hopefully one of my fellow bloggers will blog about ‘the rules’ of starting solids and how Baby Led Solids turns all that on its head). Anyway, this is one recommendation that does make sense to me and is backed up by good research.

*It provides immunological support. I suppose I see my breastmilk as being almost like the ‘other half’ of my daughter’s immune system. Children are so susceptible to infections and illness in their early years of life and the consequences of recurrent infections can be quite serious for bodily systems that are still developing (think ear infections here). I know that breastfeeding has ensured that my daughter has had an amazingly illness-free start to life – she has been sick just once in eighteen months – no ear infections, no gastro, no vomiting, no skin problems. And she isn’t ‘protected’ from snotty-nosed kids either. She recently picked up and sucked on the dummy of a child who had two rivers of green snot streaming from his nose…she didn’t even get a sniffle. So the other part to this story is that my daughter has never needed medication or a trip to the doctor and I haven’t suffered sleepless nights tending to a sick child.

*It provides ideal nutrition. Everyone who has a toddler knows how fussy and finicky they can be about food. By continuing to breastfeed my daughter, I know that even on days where she hardly eats, she is still receiving proper nutrition and isn’t likely to starve!

*It provides comfort in times of distress and it is still a surefire way to calm her and soothe her into sleep – even if she rarely feeds to sleep nowadays, it does slow her right down before bedtime and makes the night-time routine that little bit easier.

*It provides some quiet spaces in the day where the two of us can just be peaceful, still, and enjoy some beautiful mother-daughter moments together. Actually this is more of a ‘perk’ than a reason for breastfeeding per se.

*OK, this is an aside, but if we were ever caught in a natural disaster situation where we didn’t have access to food or water for a while…well, my daughter would be fine.

I’m sure there’s a lot more reasons that others could add to this list and I’d love to hear from any other mum’s who have or are breastfeeding past the age of one. What have your experiences been and why did you decide to keep going past the age that our society considers to be the ‘norm’?

For my part I’m just glad that I’ve experienced the seamless transition from feeding a newborn to feeding a toddler, without letting my preconceived notions (about the octopus) get in the way…