Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why "To Three and Beyond"?

First, I want to say that I bear no ill will toward anyone whose child weaned (child-led or mother-led) before age 3. I believe every nursing relationship is unique and beautiful, and each ends in its own time.

However, to understand the scope of my book, here is a little of my own experience. When my first child was nursing, I quickly became a dedicated breastfeeding advocate. There are few things in life I believe in as strongly as I do in the beauty and benefits of the gift of breastfeeding. I became a La Leche League Leader when my son was 2 and decided to let him nurse until he no longer needed to continue.

When he was 3 1/2 and still going strong, we moved out of the suburbs of a big city to a small, rural town. As he continued to nurse, it was hard to come out of the closet. I felt the pressures of the town's conservative values pressing in on me, and I was a bit afraid to nurse in public, although I still did when my son really needed it. I hate to admit that sometimes he had to really get upset to let me know that. He is also on the autism spectrum. Although I didn't know it at the time, I did know that he still needed to nurse and that there was nothing wrong with it at all. I also knew that more people needed to know that.

In my search, I found a glaring lack of support or only smidgens of tangential support. Although I knew many women through La Leche League that practiced extended/full-term breastfeeding, it often seemed closeted. Leaders were cautioned to be careful about the topic so as not to scare new mothers away or to present the expectation that every mother must nurse their child into their teens (yes, being sarcastic here.).

There were books that touched on the topic, such as Mothering Your Nursing Toddler and Adventures in Tandem Nursing, but nothing that said, "Yes, your child is old enough for preschool (or elementary school), and it's okay to continue nursing." or "Here's how to talk to your family when they say that your child is getting to old to nurse." or "Is it okay to night wean your child and still continue nursing during the day?"

Thus, the idea of To Three and Beyond was born. When I began, I didn't know if it would be a book or an article. I gathered over 200 surveys from women with the idea of putting together a compendium on the subject.

Through life circumstances (including my son's diagnosis and the births of my two daughters), the book got put on the back burner, with me doing just a little work on it here and there. In the meantime, Ann Sinnot published Breastfeeding Older Children, which covered the same topic. We had discussed our projects with each other before and agreed that they would complement each other as they approached the topic from different angles.

When I finally began stewing on the idea of the book more seriously, I realized that what really inspired me was reading all of the mothers' stories on my surveys and not just listing the advantages, disadvantages, and strategies of full-term breastfeeding. When that realization hit me, I became mobilized. I wrote a new outline and approached Kathleen Kendall-Tackett and Praeclarus Press with the idea, and it has moved forward from there.

I am really excited about working on and completing this book. I want it to be like a support-group meeting in a book for all mothers who are considering or actually breastfeeding a child past the third birthday. It is normal and extremely beneficial. People just need to know that.

The Deadline Is Approaching

Hello, everyone! I just wanted to send out a reminder that story submissions are due soon, June 15. I have had lots of questions about the book, but so far the submissions are very few (two to be exact!). I'm hoping that you all are just procrastinating and that I'll see a flood of stories in my inbox while I am on vacation in the next couple of weeks.

Remember, guidelines for stories are on my Call for Stories page.

If you have any questions, please do send them. Remember, this book can't happen unless you all share your stories with me (and with future long-termers!).

I can't wait to be overwhelmed with reading all of your wonderful tales!


P.S. Please share this post with your friends, relatives, and anyone else you think might be interested in sharing their stories for this book. Also, if you think of a forum/venue I might have forgotten to contact, please send it to me here.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Book Contract

It's official. I received my signed contracts back today from Praeclaurus Press, a small press that focuses on women's health and is run by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett. As you may know, Kathleen is well-known in the breastfeeding community for her work on breastfeeding and other women's issues. It will be a pleasure working with her.

If all goes according to plan, the book should be published by summer 2014.

Although I have received a lot of queries, I have only received one story so far and that one has gone back for revisions. If you have questions, please ask, and in the meanwhile, start sending your stories in! There won't be a book without them!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Another Chapter: How They Have Grown

I've decided to add another chapter to the outline of the book (I will append this to the Call for Stories post, too). It was in my original plan, and a friend recently reminded me of it. Please share this far and wide so that we can get some representation.

  • Chapter 9: Stories of How They Have Grown: This chapter will focus on first-person stories of grown nurslings (lets say, ages 16 and up). These stories might cover the following topics: How long did you nurse? Describe what memories you have of nursing and what kind of feelings you have toward that time in your life. In general, what positive or negative affects has nursing had on you as you’ve grown older? How do you feel the nursing relationship affected the relationship you have with your mother (or both parents)? Has nursing affected the way you interact or your relationship with other children and/or adults? Please describe. Do you feel nursing for as long as you did made it harder or easier for you to be independent and self-sufficient? Or did it have no affect? Please provide any stories or comments that you would like to share regarding nursing and how it has affected you as a person.
I also want to remind everyone that the stories are due June 15! Please send them in as soon as you can.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Hidden Gem

I came across a video on Facebook today and really think it's a hidden YouTube gem. Usually, if you search for extended breastfeeding or full-term nursing, you might get a lot of dissenting or "that's disgusting" type of results.

However, this is an awesome hidden-camera video of extended breastfeeding and strangers reactions to it (they use an actress as the dissenter). I love that the "public" could see some prepared moms respond to this situation and that there was an outpouring of support for them. Hats off to the moms who participated in this experiment!