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Things we don't advertise

During our play time at the library today Harvey started to get sleepy. I asked him if he wanted to go home and take an early nap and he said, "Nursing?" "Yes," I said, sheepishly casting my eyes around me to see if the other mothers were in earshot, "We'll do nursing and then take a nap."

I don't know what the other mothers in my town, the non-hippy suburban mothers who's civility I desperately crave, I don't know what they'd think of breast-feeding an 18-month-old, let alone breast-feeding an 18-month-old while pregnant. I assume their opinion would be bad, so I try to never bring it up.

And even though some of my neighbors are going through similar sleep issues with their similarly aged child, I try to avoid the subject. In the past I learned that non-hippies don't respond kindly to the idea of co-sleeping. "Aren't you afraid of suffocation?" they'd say about an infant. "Won't he be too dependent?" I imagine the opinion of co-sleeping with a toddler is even worse. "Better nip THAT in the bud," they'd say. "What is he going to do when the baby arrives?"

Our culture doesn't love the idea of either nursing or co-sleeping. Maybe because we love sex so much, both nursing and co-sleeping make us feel icky. Not that I'm the one to diagnose or solve America's Freudian problems. Whatever it is, I just think it's a bummer. Breast-feeding is useful and healthy. But I'm more sad about the co-sleeping thing, because experimenting with crib sleeping at the beginning of Harvey's life caused so much anguish for me. When I was pregnant I had no idea that co-sleeping was even a thing that existed. I just assumed that all babies slept in cribs, period. When I learned about the co-sleeper-brand-product it seemed like a revelation to me - a crib but closer! Unfortunately, after Harvey's birth I couldn't put the thing on my side of the bed because it prevented me from rolling out to get to the bathroom. I couldn't scootch down past it because that would risk tearing. So Dan had to keep moving Harvey back and forth for nursing, and it was just one more thing that made me feel like all these outside forces were separating me from my baby. If I had known that co-sleeping was a thing with arguments for and against, if I had looked it up on the internet, instead of just deciding on my own after a trying time that the baby would sleep next to me come hell or high water, well, that would have been helpful.

But like I said, it's not the sort of thing that anyone would have brought up to me. Because I might judge them for getting all Oedipal with their newborn.

I don't know where I'm going with this. Maybe I just wish the world were more like me so that my life could be easier (a thought that I'm sure no one has previously expressed in blog form). Maybe I just wish I was better at making friends. Maybe I ate a complaining pill for dinner.

Actually, I ate beer and saltines, but I hesitate to bring it up...


Ok, I have to admit, I have a lot of friends who fit that suburban mom stereotype (Hey, I spent three years in Fairfield County and now I'm in Charlotte!), and most of them don't even raise their eyebrows when I whip it out and nurse my... oh god, 22 month old? But I have friends who wouldn't be considered "hippy" who nurse their 2 1/2 year olds, and other friends who would, but weaned their children as soon as they could.

Similarly, we've all talked about co-sleeping vs. crib sleeping, and many if not most of us (like me) do a hybrid, mostly because if I don't have some alone time for sleeping I won't be able to function the next day (and I didn't have him in his crib at all until six months). Other friends co sleep all night long, while still others maintain strict rules about bedtime and the crib/toddler bed.

I guess my point is that you shouldn't worry about what people think. In my experience, all parents are trying to make their way through a minefield of parenting. In my experience, MOST parents aren't judging, at least not to your face, they're just trying to figure it all out too. And you don't have to be friends with the people who are!

Also, I've "picked up" a lot of moms at the library, it's a great way to meet people!

If it makes you feel any less alone, I am trying to wean my soon to be 4 year old and every morning I wake up in a bed between my hubby and my 2 kids. I love cosleeping and nursing through toddlerhood is a lifesaver. There are a lot more people out there in the same situation than you think.

Thank you guys for your comments... probably my fears of judgement are bigger than the actual risk. Or maybe it's just my subconscious coping mechanism to keep me from making friends....

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