Flustered at seeing older kids breastfed
Dear Annie: My friend, "Lisa," and I both gave birth to daughters seven years ago, and we both breastfed our infants. Lisa had another two children and breastfed those infants as well, but she also continued breastfeeding the others. Now her children are 7, 5 and 3, and all of them are still breastfeeding.
Last month, I took my daughter over to Lisa's house to play. I was shocked when the 3-year-old walked up to his mother, pulled up her shirt, and started breastfeeding while we were sitting at the kitchen table having lunch. Later, as we sat talking in the family room, her 5-year-old son did the same thing. My chin almost hit the floor. I didn't say anything, but Lisa noticed I was uncomfortable. She said, "Breastfeeding is healthy for the children."
After that, I excused myself and left with my daughter. As you can imagine, my daughter had a lot of questions on the drive home. Although she has seen relatives breastfeeding their babies, she couldn't understand what was going on in this situation. I'm not sure I understand it, either.
Annie, I have no problem with breastfeeding infants, but these are walking, talking children who attend school. Am I a prude? And, if this is normal, how should I have behaved? I have not gotten together with Lisa in her home since this happened, and frankly, I'm not sure I want to. But our daughters are in the same class at school, so I am bound to see her somewhere. Tell me what to do. Red-Faced Friend
Dear Red-Faced: Though breastfeeding a toddler is quite common, most children wean themselves long before age 7. Nursing a child that age is often more for Mom's benefit than the child's. Our concern is if Lisa is encouraging an unhealthy dependence. However, what Lisa chooses to do in her own home is her business. The friendship need not suffer. If it makes you uncomfortable, arrange to see Lisa outside her home, and have your daughters play together at your house.
Dear Annie: I have a friend, "Delores," who continually asks for advice, but she has never taken it. After many years of this, I finally told her to stop asking and figure things out for herself.
Now Delores has started asking me questions in my field of expertise. Yet, whenever I give her an answer, she argues about it. My husband says she is arguing because I'm not giving her the answer she wants. What do you think? Bewildered
Dear Bewildered: We suspect Delores would argue regardless of the answer. This is her way of showing her superiority -- not an uncommon response in insecure people. It's pointless to offer advice or answers to someone who wants only to prove she knows better. Either stop answering her or say, "I'm not sure. What do you think?" which allows Delores to expound while you nod your head and ignore her.
Dear Annie: Nearly 46 million Americans are living without health care coverage, including 8 million children. As costs go up, fewer individuals and families have insurance, and fewer businesses can afford to offer insurance to their employees. Already, one in seven Americans is uninsured. America can do better.
From May 1-7, Presidents Ford and Carter will co-chair a nonpartisan campaign, "Cover the Uninsured Week," calling on people from all walks of life to put politics aside and make health coverage a top national priority. During the week, we will highlight the issue through events in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
I hope your readers will get involved by going to CoverTheUninsured.org. Together we can help make a difference in the lives of millions of Americans. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., President & amp; CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Dear Risa Lavizzo-Mourey: Thank you for giving us the opportunity to help our readers, who, in turn, can help others. We hope they will check out your Web site today.
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