My Favorite Thing About Tandem Breastfeeding Isn’t About Breastfeeding

Tandem breastfeeding has so many great motherhood benefits. Yes, I adore the double-snuggles with my children. Of course I enjoy being able to nourish them both at once. I can’t complain about my postpartum body either, thanks to two milk-guzzlers. I even get weepy when little sibling hands touch each other across my cleavage. My favorite thing about tandem breastfeeding has nothing to do with lactating or being connected with my kids.

Not every tandem session is all sweet-nothings. Usually, I’m nursing one right after the other, with Lanoy being first dibs always and Humnoy not liking that. I have to plan it right or the toddler demands to only nurse and try to shove his sister off her side. Another nap fail include the famous 2-minute nap for the newborn, who only falls asleep side-lying and is over-dramatically startled by my ninja attempts to put her down. It’s just easier to just have both on even though I don’t really want to.

No one ever said breastfeeding two children would be easy but it does make one aspect of parenting easier. My favorite thing about tandem breastfeeding is when they fall asleep at the same time. Not every session produces two sleepy kids but when it does, I just thank the mammary gods for the one mommy victory for the day. I’ll take the sweaty forearm and aching back for a synchronized sleep session any day. Yes, I selfishly love the pragmatic side of tandem breastfeeding but it’s still hard to beat the sweet sleepy faces of my babies on me.

How do you handle nap time?

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This Week’s Tandem Breastfeeding Photos

The last time you heard about tandem breastfeeding from me was from The Tandem Cyclist a la Humnoy. Over there, I captured the moments after Lanoy was finished feeding but there are also times (many, actually) where I actually have both kids nursing. It usually starts out me nursing her then Hum sees her getting all the good stuff and he asks to nurse as well. The next few minutes is me adjusting the baby’s legs and me turning slightly on my hips to accommodate both nurslings amid his impatient smacking of the lips. Once is all said and done, we all have a “peaceful” moment together (with lots of gentle reminders to not poke his little sister in her eye or remove her socks), just my nurslings and I enjoying a nice boobie break.

TheLaotianCommotion.com: tandem breastfeeding a mom's view

Dealing With Negative Comments on My Breastfeeding Toddler Meme

Negative gymnurstics pinterest

For every positive and relatable feedback for my breastfeeding toddler meme I conjured up when Humnoy was 13 months old, I had yet to see a single negative comment. You see, breastfeeding is a hot topic: you either breastfeed because you’re anti-formula or you’re doing it for too long. I myself have been caught up, involved in, and contributed to the circus of Breastfeeding Wars. There was this one time it even happened on Yelp of all places and then, of course, Twitter.

The Pinterest caption doesn’t bother me. I’ve heard much worse regarding the choice my child (and I) made to not sever a breastfeeding relationship before he was ready. It is actually the comments that still have me question how this society can be so jaded by recent decades’ efforts to shame the natural process of feeding children. After all, why are my breasts (still) filled with milk if it was not meant for my human children? What is it about my child’s physical abilities at a certain age that trigger a time for his weaning off the breast? Isn’t it ageist to assume how someone should be fed based on how old they look to you?

My final question after the one negative post I’ve seen was, “Who cares?” Who cares if a 17-year-old posted an ignorant caption under my meme? Who cares if I respond to her with my favorite method to deal with internet meanies, by way of sarcasm? Who cares if your sister breastfed for 11 months and my 2 years is too long? Who fucking cares?

With that, I love how there is this growing community of breastfeeding mothers and supporters that enjoy the picture. By continuing to share it and laugh at it, you are normalizing breastfeeding. You can talk about this and about ones you’ve encountered with your wiggly nursling. Only within this community have I felt normal for doing what’s actually normal. Being in this special form of support, I realize there is far more positive reaction to breastfeeding a toddler and taking pictures of it then posting them on the internet. The one negative time I caught it isn’t going to change a single choice in the breastfeeding journey because it is mine and my children’s, Continuing my effort to advocate for breastfeeding is contributing more positivity to the already outpouring of positive feedback for breastfeeding past infancy and a solitary reaction of ignorance is just that.

How do you react to negative comments on breastfeeding?

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Is This What Weaning Looks Like?

Last night, I had rocks for boobs (aka the newborn hasn’t been awake to eat for a few hours) and tried to figure out how to relieve the stabbing pain. I knew my options were limited to:

A) Wake a sleeping baby.
B) Express some milk out.
C) Have toddler nurse because you should never wake a sleeping baby.

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It turns out that Humnoy wanted nothing to do with my boobs, for once after all we’ve been through. I offered; he did me a solid by suckling once, unlatched, and then awkwardly stared at his once-beloved dirty pillow. At this point, Lanoy had just stirred and I grabbed her so quick, she barely had time to open her eyes. As she’s deflating my implants milk, I recall the last time Humnoy actually nursed. It was the day after she was born and he wanted a snuggle. He asked and I offered and he nursed.

After last night’s first refusal, I offer again after a bedtime meltdown. He’s frazzled and tired and agrees. His sister had just nursed and in a milk coma from what I’m guessing is my plethora of backed-up milk and as I’m dripping milk, Humnoy has a taste and goes: ‘Blech! Nyoooo!’ Complete with a wave of his little hand, he turns down milk. Both my ego and my heart broke a little.

With his special month day approaching on February 13th as his last month before the Big T-W-O, he very well could be done with breastfeeding. Top reasons are:

1) He doesn’t ask to nurse anymore.
2) He falls asleep just fine without nursing.
3) He literally goes ‘Nyoooo!’
4) He has successfully associated the boobs with his Bébé sister: “Bébé! (Bay-bay!)” – when he sees my boobs out.

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My heart both aches and is relieved. I’ve come this far in my breastfeeding journey with Humnoy to then overlap into my second journey. Before, I thought this second journey would be tandem nursing but it is with Lanoy. He may humor us all and ask out of the blue, which I anticipate. He may be done with ‘nome-nome‘ at a few days shy of 23 months old, which I admit I do not fully accept. The beauty of child-led weaning is that it’s not up to me and that whoever the journey is with, I let them show me what weaning or how the beginning of that journey looks like.

Has he finally weaned? How did you know your nursling weaned?

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Why I’m Glad My Toddler Isn’t Weaned

“Smack-smack” goes his little mouth. Rather than use the sign I had dutifully taught him or even the word we use to indicate “milk,” Humnoy lets me know he wants to nurse with an overt smack-smack. Tonight has been the second night that he’s nursed to sleep. Before this, he would fall asleep cuddling and I thought that it was the beginning of the end – no more ‘nohm-nohm’ (the Laotian term and what we say for milk), it seems. After all, he’s big and practically two.

Alas, I’m still nursing a two-year-old. Maybe Humnoy will fully wean before Bébé brother/sister comes but if I know my kid, he wants whatever you’re having. I haven’t had a solo PB&J sandwich in his waking hours since ’11. If Bébé is nursing, he will be sure to nurse too, which is why I am preparing myself to tandem nurse. Actually, I honestly hope I get to tandem nurse. You know how so much more easier it is to get a 2-year-old down to sleep with a breast in his mouth? My memory is still foggy but I also remember how easy it was to get a newborn to sleep with a breast in its mouth too.

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I have a few weeks left to find out his true interest and timeline in breast feeding but I’m pretty grateful I can coerce sleepy time with a little bit of boob. So, call me crazy, selfish, or lazy but I hope both kiddos nurse just so they’ll fall asleep at the same time! Oh, the perks of sibling bonding and continued immunological benefits are nice too. Oh, yeah. All that.

What are you looking forward/favorite thing about weaning (or not weaning)?

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Pregnant and Breastfeeding During World Breastfeeding Week

I kicked off World Breastfeeding Week (August 1 – 7, 2012) with nothing but a wee little announcement yesterday. Yes, have you heard the news? Before I shared the news with my online followers, I knew I had to mentally prepare for all the positive and happy tweets and articles revolving around WHO/UNICEF’s joint effort to promote a ‘Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding.’ During all the excitement from all my fellow lactators, I was also immersed in my own guilt filled with irresponsibility, sorrow, and pain (literally).

I knew I was pregnant the day I nursed him and my nipples were extremely sore. We sat and nursed our usual routine and I jumped from the pain! I thought he bit me, but he was just happily nursing like he always does. 13 weeks later, this soreness has not gone away. I consulted my midwife about this and she noted that it’s normal and may/may not subside therefore once my milk for the newborn comes in, Humnoy may just wean completely. Hearing the “w” word has always made me squirmy and ache for my son. I had always planned to follow his lead when it comes to the end of his breastfeeding. Yes, yes, even if it came down to this. With this pregnancy, I feel solely responsible for my plummet in milk supply and his abnormal behavior that he’s had lately, which I attribute to my changing body and its hormones.

Aside from the sad face he gives me when he nurses between each deflated breast, we just happily carry on. I literally grit through each nursing session from the discomfort but I know it’s a part of his routine and he is still a baby at 16 months, no matter how well he walks, talks, or eats. He is my baby therefore we shall carry on as long as he continues latching on.

Happy Breastfeeding Week!

 

 

 

Sh*t Mainstream People Say About Cow’s Milk

main·stream/ˈmānˌstrēm/
Noun:
The ideas, attitudes, or activities that are regarded as normal or conventional; the dominant trend in opinion, fashion, or the arts.

From pregnancy activities to interest of homeschooling, all my choices in motherhood are due in large part to because everyone is, well, not doing it. In addition to creepily rubbing my pregnant womb, strangers and especially well-meaning friends would offer their advice – generally unwanted, of course. “Normal” has evolved into ignoring the biological and instinctual cues as parents for the sake of conforming or convenience.

Here’s my experience with shit mainstream people say about…
Putting my kid on cows’ milk

“Why isn’t he on cows’ milk?”

Did you know the we are the only mammal on the entire planet to regularly consume another mammal’s made-for-their-baby milk? Human infants are born to be nourished with human milk just as baby cows are born to be nourished with cows milk. Well, ‘cept for this kid. According to Dr. Group, cows milk has its share of nastinessdangers due to the extreme processes that milk undergoes, as well as the high amounts of antibiotics, hormones, and genetically-modified substances that cows are continually exposed to [therefore…] cows release toxins through their milk, as milk is a natural exit-portal for substances that the body cannot use.”

20120412-002411.jpgImage from http://www.sodahead.com/living/cows-milk-is-a-foreign-substance/question-2256115/?nomobile=true

Think about it: do you think the term “lactose intolerance” has been around since the dawn of civilization? There is no milk product in Lao food preparation, Lao cooking, or consumption of Laotian cuisine. Don’t get me wrong – we (GH, Humnoy, and I) eat cheese. I freakin’ love cheese but I am interested in transitioning to goat cheeses and/or raw types (GH terms: expensive, overrated cheese). At least that kid got it raw and organic in Cambodia, a neighboring country to Laos!

We attended a cousin’s birthday party where another couple (the father is my Mom’s cousin’s husband’s brother – yeah, true story) had a child around the same age as Humnoy. Humnoy was fascinated with their daughter’s sippy cup, which apparently had milk in it.

Mom’s cousin’s husband’s brother: “Can he have some?”

Me: “Oh, he doesn’t drink cows’ milk.”

Mom’s cousin’s husband’s brother: “Oh, so you’re still bre— uh, he’s still drinking your milk?”

Me: “Yep. He is breastfed. *runs after Humnoy as he sprints to the kitchen*

Other Uncle: *Asian accent* “He should be drink cow milk!”

My kid totally got me out of that conversation. He’s my soul mate.

They are all Lao but have raised their children in America, the land of dairy farmers, right? I’m not saying children who grow up on cows milk are unhealthy but why does my kid have to drink it just because everyone does? The conversation didn’t get beyond that but it makes me wonder about the urgency of cows’ milk once a child meets a certain age.

What are your thoughts about consuming processed and manufactured milk? Any other shit mainstream people said to you about cows milk?