I never thought I would still be nursing my son, Kai when he could say, "I want boob-a." Of course, he is two and not say, seven, an age that some cultures nurse their children until. But still, as a toddler he no longer easily fits into my lap or is able to sleep spooning my breast. Rather, he curls up like a cat to get his fix, squirms and kicks, twists and kneads, until there are days when I understand why moms wean their children.
However, I have never been so glad to be nursing as when we recently traveled to Thailand. To write about the benefits of nursing a toddler on a 25 hour plane journey seems a little redundant. You can easily imagine how we were calmly able to deal with uncomfortable sleep, air pressure, boredom, and hunger (even kids hate airplane food). But the real benefits of nursing came from Kai having his favorite brand of comfort while we were in a new, often overwhelming, place.
I was able to nurse him through the mental Chatuchak Weekend Market as well as during a very bumpy speedboat ride to Ko Phi Phi. When jet lag had him turned upside down, he could have booba to help him fall back asleep at 3am. And when the overly friendly Thai ladies would grab him to say hello, or try to force him to eat all varieties of sweet fruits, he could instead latch on and feel more comfortable.
Sure, I got looks as I walked through the airport, with Kai in the Ergo, content to nurse. People laughed, pointed, and some even tried to touch my breasts. But to be frank, I get the same stares here in San Francisco, so that didn't bother me.
What really reinforced my ability to nurse was seeing how easily Kai can travel, adapt and take in a new frenetic culture. Surely it is not all because of the boobas, likely mommy and daddy play a part as well as Kai's nature. But I like to think that nursing has helped mold Kai into a good little traveler.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
OK, so maybe we are a little ambitious--a 25 hour travel day from San Francisco to Bangkok, not once, but twice, with our very active two year old--but how else were we supposed to get there? Well let me start by saying this: Toddlers and airplanes are a likely pair, you just have to be a little savvy.
Leading up to our trip, I stressed about how I could possibly keep Kai in his seat for that long, how he (or any of us for that matter) would be able to sleep; if we'd have enough food; and how Eddie and I would keep ourselves sane. It turns out that the excitement of the flight, coupled with an arsenal of tricks, are enough to entertain even the squirmiest two year old.
Here's what I ended up bringing: trains (including a few new ones), cars, about twenty soft cover books (a few of them new), stickers, play doh, plastic animals, snacks, a portable DVD player with a variety of short movies, crayons and plenty of diapers. Though I was thankful to have that arsenal of toys (and I used them all--even for a minute), it turned out that Kai didn't need that much.
He slept the majority of the red eye flights--both of them. Spent a good amount of time watching his DVDs, reading, eating and nursing (I do have to say how glad I am to still be nursing--more on that in another post). And aside from one impatient outburst on our first flight to Hong Kong, he was pretty content on the airplane.
So how do you get a toddler to be cool with an entire day of travel? Make it fun. Kai didn't care if he was watching another airplane take off from Bangkok or riding the Skytrain in the Singapore airport--it all was good fun. We laughed and sang songs; he was just happy to be in such close proximity to mommy and daddy for so long.
Plus, while normally we would have preferred to fly direct, we broke it up with two layovers, which worked out to our benefit, giving Kai plenty of space to run and explore. In Hong Kong they have this giant toy airplane set up for kids to play on while mom and dad slurp giant bowls of noodle soup. And in Singapore, which wins for best airport...ever, besides having gardens galore, plenty of delicious Indian food and laksa, they also have free movies, free video games, free internet, free drawing stations, and a small hotel that costs next to nothing and you can either sleep there or merely take a shower!
And much to my surprise, Kai woke up this morning after two straight days of travel, asking to go back on the airplane. I guess it wasn't worth the stress in the end.