This was the conversation between my daughter (Little Bean, age 3) and her friend (age 4) at the park earlier this week:
Little Bean: "I can't have ice cream. I'm allergic to moo milk."
Friend: "What's moo milk?"
Little Bean: "It's milk from a cow."
Friend: "That's just milk... don't you have milk?"
Little Bean: "Oh yeah! I have milk! I have mama milk!"
Friend: "What's mama milk?"
Little Bean: "It's milk from mummy. She makes it in her boobs."
My 3 year old is a breastfeeding advocate, and I could not be more proud.
In those first days, weeks and months of motherhood, I never dreamt that I would reach this point. Back then, my nipples were shredded, mastitis was a regular occurrence and I was running on empty. But somehow, through sheer stubbornness perhaps, I kept on going.
"I can do this" became my mantra. And as time went by, my focus shifted from my own personal experience to that of other moms around me. Why were so many new moms experiencing the same trials that I had? Where was the transfer of knowledge, the accessible support and open encouragement? Why was breastfeeding treated as an inconvenient and embarrassing skill to master alone? The answer to all of these questions, unfortunately, is that breastfeeding is not the norm in our society. On the whole, we do not see it, few understand it and too many do not value it.
It's time that all changed.
Slowly but surely, I became more vocal, more confident and more convinced of my position towards breastfeeding. Armed with experience, research and heartfelt belief, I became a breastfeeding advocate.
And simultaneously, almost by magic, so did my daughter.
My 3-year-old is normalizing the normal, without even trying to, because this truly is her norm.
My 3-year-old is oblivious to society's sexualization of the female nipple.
My 3-year-old is not fazed by human biology.
My 3-year-old is not affected by outside judgment.
My 3-year-old is not afraid to speak her truth.
My 3-year-old is freakin' brilliant.
Tomorrow, my daughter turns 4, and while I cannot know for sure what age 4 will bring, I know one thing is certain: My 4-year-old will be a breastfeeding advocate, too.
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This post originally appeared on Mama Bean Parenting.