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Can You Believe in, Advocate and Support Something You Don't Do?

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm finding the thread on what defines a lactivist to be pretty interesting. While the majority of posters seem to agree a lactivist is anyone who does their best to promote and support breastfeeding, there have been a few lengthy responses outlining some pretty extensive requirements for the title.

A few of the comments (and several of the posts on the forum) have branched off in a different direction and I felt like they warranted a post of their own.

The crux of the points being made is that I've always said (and continue to say) I believe in and support child led weaning. To many, the fact that I'm gently weaning my son rather than waiting until he gives up nursing on his own means I must have been lying about my position on child-led weaning.

I find this interesting.

I believe child led weaning is a wonderful thing for mothers who desire to nurse for as long as their children wish to continue. The benefits of breastfeeding do not end on any particular day. Both mother and child benefit physically from each and every day of nursing. Additionally, I know many moms who find nursing to be an invaluable tool when it comes to soothing a fussy or tired child, or helping a child "reorganize" when they get stressed out.

I have and will continue to stand up for the right of any mother to nurse her child for as long as the two of them wish to nurse.

Now with all that said, many have taken issue with a comment I made on that discussion forum. To paraphrase, I said "child led weaning is a wonderful thing, but it's not for me."

Many have taken that as a personal slam. Me saying they're strange, or wrong for practicing child led weaning. A few have implied that by saying that, I'm making it clear that I'm not one of those "weirdos" who nurses until their child hits college.

So let's break this down. As you know, I'm nothing on this blog if not honest.

The idea of nursing a toddler weirds me out. I've said that quite a few times in the past. I've noted that I'd originally planned to breastfeed for six months. (That holds true for both Nora and Emmitt. I had planned to switch to EPing when Emmitt turned six months.) Then I started nursing Emmitt and six months came and went quite quickly. Suddenly, nursing a six month old didn't seem so odd.

At eight months, things were still going quite well. In fact, they were going well enough that I posted here that I'd decided to aim for 18 months, but was open to going longer than that as long as things were going well. I still couldn't picture nursing a talking toddler, but I was willing to give it a shot.

Then we hit nine months and things started going down hill fast. That was five months ago and nursing hasn't improved one iota. It's not horrible, but it's not fun either. I dream of being done. I dream of wearing real bras and of being able to sleep through the night sometime because Greg is capable of getting Emmitt settled. I dream of being able to take care of a business meeting without staring at the clock so I can get home in time to nurse.

And so, I decided to gently wean my son.

Why?

Because I believe that breastfeeding, while an amazing thing, is not something a woman should be forced to do. Child-led weaning is wonderful when both participants are willing participants. We would never dream of forcing a child to continue nursing when they wanted to quit. Yet somehow, we're ready and willing to raise eyebrows and purse lips when a mother decides she's done. Rather than respecting the dyad and their own individual dynamics, we've elevated the baby's rights over the rights of the mother. This despite the fact that the mother needs to be in an emotional state to tend to baby, herself and often a spouse and other siblings.

Do I believe in child-led weaning? Absolutely. But ONLY when the mother in question desires child led weaning.

Think about it this way. I believe in the benefits of regular exercise, a diet of whole foods and getting eight hours of restful sleep a night.

I haven't managed to pull that off either. :-P

So I ask my readers...does the fact that you don't do something yourself remove your ability to claim to believe in and support it?

Labels:

  1. Anonymous veronica | 6:03 PM |  

    Of course it doesn’t , and people do it every.single.day. Whether it be about caring for the environment, spiritual beliefs, childrearing, how you deal with your relationships, whatever the topic, there is an ideal you have in your head, and then there is your reality, and you do your best to match them up. That’s life!

    In the case of motherhood/parenting in general, women's tendency to judge and compete with one another, comes from the fact that our country/culture does not do a good job at actually showing mothers that it values what we do. And so a lot of times we seek validation by tearing down women who choose a different path. The original poster in that group had a hard time with breastfeeding, and it sounds like she sacrificed a lot. Yet I’m guessing she hasn't gotten a lot of praise for her sacrifices, and so to try to prove to herself that what she did is important and worthy, she will criticize anyone who doesn't make the same sacrifices.

    Good for you for taking care of yourself AND your baby. Emmitt and Elnora are lucky kiddos.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Blogger Amanda | 7:10 PM |  

    It just makes me really... sad, I guess, that the thought of a nursing "toddler" weirds people out in general. So to hear that coming from "the lactivist" is bothersome, yes. If it's not "normal" for you, then how will it ever be normal for ordinary women who aren't "lactivists"?

    I wonder if the day will ever come where people won't think it's strange to nurse a child past a year. I hope so... but at this rate, probably not in my lifetime. :(

    Regardless - I don't think your decision makes you any less of a lactivist.

  3. Anonymous Jenna | 7:17 PM |  

    My Husband supports breastfeeding and is also pro-choice. He can do neither (breastfeed or have an abortion).

    So, the answer is pretty simple... yes, you can support something that you can't/won't do yourself.

  4. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 8:27 PM |  

    See, here's the thing.

    This blog is about being honest and about helping people to see that life is about growing and learning.

    I share what I believe because I believe it. I don't sit down and try to figure out what people want to hear and then write that.

    The world already has enough people putting on an act for the public to keep their poll numbers up. They don't need me joining the game.

    And so, I share my thoughts. I work to let other women to know it's ok to have doubts, concerns or even unpopular opinions. It's not what you feel that defines you as a lactivist. It's what you choose to do.

    For instance, I mentioned I used to be uncomfortable with the idea of nursing past six months. I had no reason for that, just cultural conditioning. I pushed past it because of my belief in the value of breastfeeding and quickly found there was nothing at all weird about it.

    Now I'm nursing a 14 month old with goals of finishing the weaning process by the time he's 17 months. That's well into toddler territory and far longer than I ever thought I'd nurse.

    It's quite possible that if I had another child (and I'm certainly not planning on it) I may go into it thinking two years is a good goal and end up going to two and a half or three.

    It's a progression.

    Tell me, how many women do you know who have nursed toddlers with plans to have done it all along? Because honestly? The majority of women I know who have nursed toddlers will tell you they never dreamed they'd be nursing a toddler. It just "happened."

    Honestly, if I still felt the same about breastfeeding as I did when he was six months old (when I was making posts about what an amazing experience it was) I'd have no end date in site for nursing. But for ME, nursing has become a burden and that burden has steadily grown heavier and heavier. It's unfortunate because I really had planned on going to 18 months.

    Unfortunately the stress and pressure of nursing are harming my ability to be a good mother to my children, a good wife to my husband, a good friend, a good employee and a happy person.

    Yes, breastmilk has benefits for Emmitt even beyond the age he is now. But you know what has even MORE benefit? A mother with a solid hold on her sanity who is able to regain the zeal she once held for life.

    You see, life is about balance. What we hope to achieve and what we find ourselves able to achieve are not always the same.

    It's also about recognizing that everyone reacts to things in different ways.

    For example. Emmitt was born at home. I gave birth to a 9.5 pound baby boy on a futon on my back porch without so much as a Tylenol. It was a fantastic, life-changing experience. It was amazing and I firmly believe it was the best start I could have given him.

    Does that mean I think everyone else should have their kids at home? Heck no. Home birth, while an amazing experience for me, could be a nightmare for the woman who didn't want to experience it. Women need to give birth in the environment that makes them comfortable, even if that's a hospital for an elective c-section.

    I don't suddenly withdraw support and encouragement from my pregnancy friends because I decide they plan to give birth in a hospital, have an epidural or schedule a c-section. Their choices are their choices. They're grown-ups.

    And so what I see going on here is this idea that unless you're willing to make yourself absolutely miserable for the sake of some ideal, you are a bad mother. That our children must come before anything and everything else no matter what the cost.

    This type of thinking misses the reality of life. It misses the idea that compromise is essential to any healthy relationship.

    It says to a woman "it doesn't matter if it costs you your husband, your relationship with your other children, your job, your friends or even your sanity. The ONLY thing that matters is that you get breastmilk into your child until they day they tell you "no more."

    I'm sorry, but that's ludicrous. Women do not stop being human beings with wants and needs of their own when they have children.

    Yes, a "good" mom is willing to make sacrifices for the sake of their child. But how good a mom you are does not directly equate to the severity of the sacrifice you are willing to make.

    How can you possibly think you'll encourage more mothers to breastfeed by telling them that the day they begin a nursing relationship, they lose their right to their body and themselves?

    Breastfeeding does not define a mother. Breastfeeding is one of a million things a woman can do for her child. It's a gift and a blessing when mother and child choose to share that relationship with each other.

    Ultimately, I think people are confusing being an activist with being a zealot.

    An activist works to help people achieve their goals.

    A zealot works to convince people to achieve the zealot's goals.

    It doesn't matter if the zealot's goals are admirable. What matters is the removal of choice from the equation.

    When guilt rather than encouragement is your motivating factor, you've lost the war.

  5. Blogger Heather | 8:42 PM |  

    I weaned my daughter at 17 months, even though I wanted to go for two.

    Why? Part of it was that she was ready. I did just as you did; I gently started dropping sessions, and instituted "don't offer, don't refuse". The last time she asked, and I said "not tonight, sweetheart" she rolled over and went to sleep, and that was that.

    The main reason though? Her nursing style had changed, and it LITERALLY made my skin crawl. I would bite my lower lip, and squirm in my seat. I hated it.

    I did not want my last memories of nursing my child to be resentful, disgusted, and unpleasant. To continue would have damaged me, possibly my relationship with her. I never, ever want to resent my daughter.

    So we weaned.

    I am no less a lactivist than Jennifer for that reason. I fight for women's rights, I support my fellow moms when a worthy cause comes up, I write letters, and do my best to correct misinformation.

    To suggest I'm somehow less because I don't conform to some crunchier-than-thou mom's idea of the perfect nursing relationship? Utterly ridiculous.

    I demand my right to nurse in public, to nurse as long as want. I also demand the right for a bottle feeding mom to go unaccosted by judgmental stares. I also demand the right for a mother uncomfortable with exposure to be able to wear a blanket.

    And if my best friend decides that nursing after a year is too much, or that she can't sacrifice her life and career to be crunchy enough to please people who have no effect on her life?

    SO BE IT.

  6. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 8:47 PM |  

    Man Heather! I kinda feel like that deserves a big ole' round of

    AMEN!

  7. Blogger Fat Lady | 9:58 PM |  

    Ok, so I've read both your posts here and all the comments associated with them. I have not gone to that other forum and read what happened over there. I've been going to message boards, email lists, blogs,etc. since my almost 9yo was an infant so I've seen enough judgmental drivel to last me a lifetime. My time is too limited to choose to read more of it.

    But by reading what you and others have said here, I have an opinion about why you choosing to wean Emmitt has caused some people to get up in arms.

    I think it's simply the name of your blog.

    You have dubbed yourself, not a woman who breastfeeds and and supports breastfeeding, not a person with ideals who may or may not live up to them, not a mother who believes in and supports breastfeeding and looks to balance her ideals and life experiences, not even a lactivist.

    You have dubbed yourself "THE" Lactivist - and that implies, to many, that you can be held to a higher standard than the average mother who supports nursing.

    "THE" is a small and simple word, but when put before noun it says that the bearer of that title is the epitome of whatever follows.

    So being "THE" Lactivist means, to many, that you are the epitome of a breastfeeding supporter. It means that you should be completely at ease with, and ready to live the ideal nursing life. Willing to make sacrifices that someone who is merely "a" lactivist may not be able to achieve.

    If "THE" Lactivist can't hold out and nurse her toddler until he's ready to stop - then what hope do others with no title at all have of nursing beyond infancy?

    If "THE" Lactivist is weirded out by toddler nursing, then what hope is there that people who aren't lactivists at all will come to find it normal?

    If "THE" Lactivist can't handle sleepless nights or rearranging her life to be there to nurse her child whenever he needs it - where will nursing mothers who choose to do these things find support and guidance from someone experienced in these things?

    The things you write about weaning, and your need for it sound perfectly fine and reasonable for Jennifer who supports and advocates breastfeeding. But for "THE" Lactivist, well, it's a bit of a let down to hear she's not going to be the EPITOME of a breastfeeding activist by setting and example as well as advocating in words.

    And that's really what it comes down to. The word "THE" implies that this is someone who will not just talk the talk, but will walk the walk as well.

    "A" Lactivist can talk about breastfeeding and child led weaning and nursing in public and support others who do those things, people expect "THE" Lactivist to not just talk about and support, but to actually do them.

    All that said, I support your decision as a mother to do what's right for you - and by extension - for your child.

    I know how hard it is to nurse past your comfort level. My first daughter nursed until she was 3yo, which was WAY past my comfort level. I was ready to wean her by the time she was about 22 months, and even that was much longer than I'd ever intended and felt fully comfortable nursing.

    Unfortunately, there was no gentle way to wean her. She adored nursing SO much that any attempt to cut back was met with hysterics. So I just kept going and it was a serious drain on me - mentally, physically and emotionally. I was a wreck. And the way we finally stopped nursing - with me breaking down in hysterics - was neither gentle nor ideal. I would not wish for anyone to ever nurse their child that far beyond their comfort level.

    So, do what is right for you and ignore those who question it. But know that sometimes it's not what you do, but how you present yourself that stirs people up.

  8. Anonymous Anonymous | 5:30 AM |  

    This whole situation is very sad. You act as if breastfeeding women are martyrs and it's such a horrible sacrifice. You call yourself a lactivist and yet you think nursing toddlers is weird? You're not the kind of woman I want representing breastfeeding. Guess what: lack of sleep, lack of privacy, lack of personal time - that's life with children. Grow up, get off the cross and give your baby what he deserves.

  9. Blogger Amanda | 5:36 AM |  

    This sounds an awful lot like the reasons women choose not to breastfeed at all. I don't know how many times I've heard - "Sure it's good for the baby, but having a happy mom is better!" I think most lactivists would agree that every baby is entitled to breastmilk.

    So is it acceptable then for a mom to quit breastfeeding at 3 months because she feels the same way you do? Or should we encourage her to push on to give the baby the nutrition he needs? At what point does the mother's dislike of breastfeeding override the needs of the child? One month? 12? 14? I am just curious. I think it's interesting that the AAP and WHO recommendations are thrown around a LOT by lactivists - yet how are people supposed to take us seriously if we don't follow them ourselves? (I'm not talking about babies who self-wean before 2 years... I know it's possible.)

    For what it's worth, personally I don't think you're doing anything "wrong" as a mom by weaning him. But as one of the loudest voices of "Lactivism" on the internet, your attitude about premature weaning (when the child clearly isn't ready) is what bothers me. If you were my neighbor, I wouldn't say a word and I would applaud you for nursing this long. (And I DO!) But as someone who has put themselves in the public eye with this blog, it disappoints me to see you give the same reasons that many give for not breastfeeding at all.

    And again, I feel like your post about weaning just contributes to the cultural mindset that nursing an older baby is unusual and "not for" most people. Even though research shows that it is still valuable and there are reasons children usually don't self-wean before a year...

  10. Anonymous Anonymous | 6:54 AM |  

    What is it about waving the 'honesty' flag that makes one think the next statement is somehow 'okay', regardless of content?

    If I say, "listen, I am just being honest, but, you are one fat, lazy, uneducated person", my claim of honesty makes the statement no less tolerable.

    That you continue to say the words 'weird' and 'breastfeeding' in the same sentance is just SO wrong.

    Hey, I am just being 'honest'. Way to leave blogging in a big way. You will be remembered by many, I suspect, not for your worthiness in advancing BF, but, for your comments in the last several blogs.

    Remember, I am just being 'honest'.

  11. Blogger Eilat | 8:04 AM |  

    I cant wrap my head around how nonsensical these judgments are. Its not like you're talking about weaning a 3 month old!
    My whole life my parents boasted to me that I was breastfed for 18 months (in 1977). They made it seem like FOREVER and that my mom was a super hero. My sisters were breastfed for 15 and 11 months (the last set were twins). Hooray!
    This made my decision to breastfeed a no-brainer, and also helped me set a "goal" for how long. I figured I could go for 18 months, which seemed like a REALLY long time. When I heard that my dad was breastfed until he was two by my Polish grandmother in Poland in 1950 I thought, "WOW! That is a LONG time to breastfeed". And it seemed amazing but weird. Ditto for the first time I saw a 3 year old nurse. It was weird to me. But I got over it slowly because my son got older day by day. Am I to be ashamed of my reaction?

    How can people judge you for weaning a 14 month old? I just don't get it. Its like were in the twilight zone or something.

    Also, I want to share a little secret with you: even child-led weaning is not so gentle sometimes. At 22 months I decided enough night nursing. Really, I had it. So I said, one night, "no nursing at night, only in the morning". There were tears and unhappiness for a few days, and then he got used to nursing in the morning and that was fine. Now, at almost 27 months we nurse once a day before bed.

    I suppose if I had a blog with your kind of exposure, there would be a thread about how I am abusing my child by denying him to nurse and not being sensitive to his cries, or something. Puh-lease!

    I guarantee you that all of those holier-than-thou women have lost their temper once or twice or told the kid "not now" when he asked to nurse. We just don't know about it.

    BTW - I started reading your blog because of the city kids daycare center story. I believe I sent them a letter at your urging. I come to your blog to be informed about breastfeeding related news and other fun mom/breastfeeding related topics. I hope you can keep it up :-)

  12. Anonymous Holly | 9:10 AM |  

    Jennifer,

    I don't have any children, so I of course have no personal experience with breastfeeding. However, I've been reading your blog for a while now, and I've come to appreciate the way you lay out things realistically. You give us the facts, the ups and the downs of your experiences, and I think that's important. Women should know that breastfeeding is not going go be easy, and setting them up to think it will be would be irresponsible and would make them think they were doing something wrong when they began to have problems. You don't present your ideas as the only way things can be done - you tell people about the choices they have. That's what I enjoy so much about your blog.

    When I have children, I do plan on breastfeeding. I don't know how long, but I can be sure that I'm not going to base my decision on how long "the lactivist" breastfed. I will make my own goals based on what's best for me and my child, because that's what being informed is all about. I think it's silly that those women over at the forum think that mothers are incapable of making their own decisions, and that your readers will follow exactly what you do. Those women over at the forum are missing the point of your blog. Your blog is meant to inform and share your experiences with other women, presenting women with choices, not to convince women that one way is best.

    I just wanted to say that I really appreciate everything you've done for the rights of mothers for breastfeeding, and I am sorry that there are women out there that would attack your decisions to do what is best for your family. Regardless of when you wean Emmitt, you are still a lactivist.

  13. Blogger Natalie | 9:57 AM |  

    "I was a great mom before I had kids."

    We have ideals of what we think we're going do, allow, etc. Then, life happens. We find we judge other mothers as badly as we judged what other girls wore to school in high school. It's really quite stupid and petty. We're only looking to feel good about our parenting.

    Recently, I've tried to be less judgemental of mothers and to look at the whole picture.

    My youngest, Lila, was a water-birth baby. It was life-changing and enpowering. While I wish every mother could experience what I did, some mothers would call natural child-birth the worst experience in their life.

    I baby-wear, cloth diaper and make my own baby-food. While I think everyone should do that or try it, it's really not up to me to judge. The mother who doesn't do what I do, may have patience of steel. She may love doing projects and playing dolls with her children all day, etc. All of which, I struggle with. So, in many areas, she may be a better mother. It took me a long time to realize this. Where I lack, other mothers may excel!!

    I gently weaned Olivia from 15-18 months and by two, I think Lila will be weaned. A bit by me and a bit by her. Do I support mothers who let their child do all the weaning? Sure, but, I know dozens of nursing mothers and only a handful who's children weaned on their own. Two are still nursing their four-year-olds. Not something I would do. But, I support them. Even though I do think it is a little weird - I'm sure I feel that way b/c of our culture/upbringing in America. After all, the world weaning average is four-years-old (am I right?).

    Any child in American who has nursed to the age of one or beyond should be considered lucky. Jeez, when I bring my children in for their well-baby visits, I get wows and that's great, "we don't see that often! Way to go mom!?"

    I guess, whatever choices we make, we're making the best choices for our family. If mom is happy, child will be happy. It's so very simple and no one on the outside really has the right to judge.

    Recently, I lost a friendship because I told a friend I was very upset by her choice not to even TRY breastfeeding. And, while I think every mother who can, should try breastfeeding, I was overly-judgemental and didn't use any tact. I thought I was giving her tactful, loving advice. But, looking back, I crossed a line. For all I know, she has a dark past of abuse and even the thought of breastfeeding makes her upset. It was a hard lesson learned and I while I'm still deeply saddened when I hear of a mother not breastfeeding, I try to look at the whole picture. That has lead me to look at the whole picture of every aspect of parenting and to be less judgemental. You just can't change everyone and some things are just better left unsaid.

  14. Blogger ME | 10:22 AM |  

    One thing that I have NEVER understood is why us as parents have every right and responsibility to decide where our children go, what they eat and drink, what toys they have, what tv they watch, what they can and can not have when they walk through the aisle of a store- even when they may cry or kick or scream and demand! But when, in the very same manner, we say "no" to nursing (whether it be one session, or altogether)- It can be turned into not giving a child what they need! I think what kids need and want are 2 totally different things! People- we're talking about a child whose nutrional needs are being met and enjoys nursing but is gradually letting go one session at a time b/c the mom thinks it's best for her, the child, and the whole family. How is this different than ANY other decision we make as parents? If you still enjoy nursing and your child does as well, then I think that it's great to continue doing it as long as you both choose to. But let's not confuse a DESIRE and a WANT with a NEED. There is a BIG difference.
    Also, Amanda- I felt you had some good points- especially when you said
    "So is it acceptable then for a mom to quit breastfeeding at 3 months because she feels the same way you do? Or should we encourage her to push on to give the baby the nutrition he needs? At what point does the mother's dislike of breastfeeding override the needs of the child? One month? 12? 14? "

    I think that this is definitely a grey area and I see your point. In my opinion the difference of when i personally feel I would need to "suck it up" and give my baby breastmilk over my comfort/desires would have a lot to do with if my child was eating an array of foods and getting most of his nutrition through food/vs milk. But this is definitely a question I have thought about as well. But there is no denying there is a difference between an infant that can only suckle and a toddler that can eat meat and all and nurses a few times a day. But there is no clear line- there will NEVER be one. There will NEVER be an exact moment that EVERY mom and child should stop breastfeeding. And while child-led weaning may sound like the best choice to many, some think it's a little kooky, and some think it's fine for some but wouldn't do it themselves. BUT AGAIN, we make decisions about everything else in our children's lives. Why can't we make this one for/with them?
    -Brenda Z.

  15. Blogger Katie | 12:51 PM |  

    Tell me, how many women do you know who have nursed toddlers with plans to have done it all along? Because honestly? The majority of women I know who have nursed toddlers will tell you they never dreamed they'd be nursing a toddler. It just "happened."

    But these women aren't going around calling themselves THE LACTIVIST.

    Do what you want, but you might want to consider changing your name if you find nursing a toddler "weird." It can be hard to practice what you preach, but you are being quite hypocritical and not acting much like a "lactivist at all." You're making breastfeeding sound like this horrible thing that's enslaved you that you're going to be breaking free from.

  16. Blogger Bethany | 1:42 PM |  

    Yes she is THE Lactivist. And she earned that name by standing up for the rights of nursing moms everyhwere. Jennifer spends much of her time and effort working to expand the right of breastfeeding moms, time and effort that could be spent elsewhere. But she spends it on breastfeeding. Why- because it's important to her.

    I am offended that so many women seem to think that Jennifer's decision to wean will set a poor example. What do these women take us for? Mere sheep who will suddenly wean our babies just to follow the example of THE Lactivist?

    I think it's a wonderful example she sets because she is doing what is best for her family- not what everyone else tells her to do, not what she's "supposed" to do according to whoever.

    You rock Jennifer, and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.

  17. Anonymous Anonymous | 4:47 PM |  

    QUOTE: The idea of nursing a toddler weirds me out. /END QUOTE

    It is this comment that saddens and disappoints me -- because it is coming from you. Yes, of course, you have every right to wean your son whenever you see fit. But here, on this blog, where you call yourself The Lactivist and where you've established yourself as a leader in the crusade for breastfeeding rights --- you think nursing a toddler is weird??

    QUOTE: How can you possibly think you'll encourage more mothers to breastfeed by telling them that the day they begin a nursing relationship, they lose their right to their body and themselves? /END QUOTE

    Wow. Just wow.

    After everything you have written on this blog, after all you have done to stand up for a woman's right to breastfeed, this is how you really feel? You truly feel that women lose their right to their body when they breastfeed?

    I am sorrowed to find these words written here, of all blogs.


    I will no longer be linking to you from my blog. Your support of breastfeeding is not as deeply felt, and genuine, as you have led us to believe -- I say that not because you are weaning your son: but because of what you are saying, now, about breastfeeding.

    ~Beth

  18. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 6:26 PM |  

    Beth, I started writing a response to you and it ended up being something that needed to just be a whole new post.

    You'll find it here.

  19. Blogger JudyBright | 8:57 PM |  

    1. Jen, clearly this hubub could have been avoided if you'd chosen the domain alactivist.com instead of thelactivist.com ;) Maybe you could have chosen "oneofmanylactivists.com" or , well I can't think of any other dumb domain names, sorry.

    2. Some of you are clearly smoking crack, which I think is prohibited while nursing. Put down the pipes and put on your thinking caps. Or just go on judging someone you don't know. It's your choice.

    3. We are imperfect people in an imperfect world, folks. Even if you want to do something good, like extended nursing, but other circumstances at the time outweigh it, then you can't do extended nursing. Being a mother is a lot more than nursing. Maybe she or other women have to choose between extended nursing and being nice and attentive to their kids' emotional needs. What if she just can't handle it at the time? You don't get to judge her life just because your kid is a screaming blind quadruple amputee with halitosis. LOl sorry I just made myself laugh.

    Good gracious which mom here has not been at their wits end and had to make a choice?

    To those who are so quick to judge, you lack the proper information and perspective to judge your best friend let alone a total stranger.

  20. Blogger Amy | 2:37 AM |  

    I read this blog pretty regularly, but I don't often comment. This issue has really struck me, however. I can't help but see a parallel to pro-choice activism. Many, many women (and men) fall into the "personally opposed, but pro-choice" category. Does that make them not really pro-choice, simply because they wouldn't choose to abort, even though they have fought to make (or keep) that option available for women who would? Does that somehow give them less credibility as activists, advocates or spokespeople?

    This is exactly the position Jen is in--she's not opposing any mother and baby who are wishing to nurse longer than she and Emmitt. She's not suggesting that all women make the same choices she does, in fact, she supports them to make whichever choices which work best for their families, whether or not that is the same choice she might make in a given situation.

    The Lactivist is just a woman doing what she can to make the world, and her little corner of it, a place more welcoming to make choices about breastfeeding.

    I applaud your honesty, Jen. Keep up the good work--and enjoy your time with Greg in Europe!!

  21. Blogger yarn_mama | 11:55 AM |  

    You ask- can one believe in, advocate and support something you don't do?

    Well, of course. I support the veterans of our country but I am not one. I believe in / am pro-choice but have never had an abortion. My husband is pro choice and pro breastfeeding and can't do either one... I consider myself an environmentalist yet I use disposable diapers, and so on.

  22. Anonymous Anonymous | 6:42 AM |  

    "Can you believe in, advocate and support something you don't do?" ABSOLUTELY! We do this all the time, and on most subjects (though obviously not weaning, if the brouhaha lately is any indication), reasonable people will agree that support is not measured by our degree of ability or inability to "do"--only by whether we believe in the ideal.

    Non-Jews can believe in the rightness of a sovereign Israel--and many do.

    Men can fight for funding for ovarian cancer research despite their lack of ovaries.

    People who believe in a candidate but donate time instead of money to his campaign are not less devoted supporters.

    And, yes, mothers who intend to eventually wean their children can be lactivists.

    What we need here is a little more understanding and tolerance. That is what I have appreciated about your blog, Jenn, from the beginning. You make your advocacy clear without judging those who would make different choices, either because they have been unable to breastfeed or because they have chosen not to. Thank you for that.

    Oh, and count me as another "I hope you decide to continue the blog" vote. :)

  23. Blogger Sarahbear | 9:44 PM |  

    Of course you can believe in, advocate and support something you don't do. As a previous poster said, she's pro-choice and has never had an abortion. I think that's really the very best example I've seen so far. Just because you support a woman's right to choose what to do with her own body doesn't mean that you would abort yourself, and you shouldn't have to 'practice what you preach' just to prove that you support it.

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