Breastfeeding as Disgusting, But OK (or, On Letting Other People Keep Their Stuff)

We went to a family party with my husband’s family this weekend. It was a lot of fun. There were delicious pizzas on the grill, fun drinks, and most importantly, fun people.

I love that this big noisy Slovenian family I’ve married into gets together and has fun. And they pull other people in, too. One of J’s cousins married someone who has a beautiful firecracker of a Croatian mama. She’s fantastic. Her name is Vesna (because I think maybe if I tried to shorten it to an initial, even on the internet, she would know and maybe I’d hear about it). We talk about canning, about which local farms we go to to get the best blueberries, peppers, and apples. We talk about childbirth and momming and chemicals in our food. She’s so interesting.

This weekend, at the July 4th party, I got to have this conversation with Vesna:

V: I made this one. It has flour, organic sugar from Costco, eggs, and butter. It’s good!

K: I believe you! I think I’m going to try some, even though I don’t really eat butter.

V: Why you don’t eat butter? It’s good for you.

K: I agree, usually, but S has a milk protein allergy and he gets sick. He’s still nursing, so I have to avoid it too.

V: He’s still nursing? FROM YOUR BREASTS? That’s disgusting!

K: HA! Wait, aren’t you from Europe?

V: Yes! Over there they do it until like age seven! It’s disgusting!

K: Well, we really like it, and it’s really good for him. We all got the flu a few months ago and he didn’t get it. And every time we’re all puking he’s just fine. It’s awesome.

V: Oh….huh.

K: *shrug*

V: Well, does he eat any solid food?

K: Yes definitely! Breastfeeding a 3 year old is not like nursing a newborn. He only nurses about once every day or two.

V: Well, that’s ok then.

K: Cool, thanks. Hey! This IS delicious!

 

If I had chosen to think differently about what she was saying to me (in particular about how much of it actually belonged to me and should direct my actions), I might not have felt like that conversation went very well. More importantly, if I was reacting from a place of defensiveness, it likely would not have gone very well. But as it stands, I think it was kind of hilarious and I look forward to talking to her about it again at some future family gathering.

 

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