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.