Can I Mommy Without Boob?

Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Essentials

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared the parenting essentials that they could not live without.

Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


I am approximately 13 months into being a mama. My parenting experience is limited to all things baby – pacifiers, teething, diapers, moby wraps, etc. I know nothing about discipline, schooling (or unschooling), dealing with grade-school bullying or teenage peer-pressure. Haven’t been there. Haven’t done that.

The most significant part of my parenting so far has been my commitment to breastfeeding. It was such a struggle in the beginning, and I am so proud of myself for continuing. Nursing is truly a defining part of my relationship with my son. I don’t know how I would’ve bonded with kiddo without it. Not because I think a non-nursing mother can’t bond with her child, but because I honestly can’t imagine our newly formed mommy/baby relationship without our cuddly, skin-to-skin feeding times.

“Boobing” (our family’s super clever euphemism for nursing) is the main way I stay connected to my active toddler. But with my increasing work hours away from kiddo and his increasing interest in the world outside of my bra, I’m afraid our nursing days are numbered. And I’m terrified of that. I don’t know how to mother without boob. It’s the parenting must-have I can’t live with out.

The logical side of my brain understands that kiddo will continue to love me, need me, want me, even when our breastfeeding relationship comes to an end. But the paranoid, emotional side of my brain worries that nursing is the only thing connecting me to my son. I see the amazing relationship developing between my husband and kiddo -- a relationship based on playing, laughing, silly faces and funny dances. That relationship is growing and getting stronger, while my relationship based on boob is on its last legs. I'm worried my husband has used up all the fun, toddler bonding stuff and there's none left for me. I'm not as cool as daddy, and without nursing what good am I?

I know weaning is just a part of growing, but boob was my go-to mothering tool. I'll have to come up with more tricks in my mama repertoire. As kiddo grows and changes, I have to grow and evolve as a mom.

Maybe I'll learn how to juggle...

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Not Without Him — The love Starr at Taking Time shares with her husband is the foundation of her parenting.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without B(.)(.)bs — From an uneducated dreamer to a breastfeeding mother of a toddler, nursing has forever changed Kristy at Strings to Things's relationship with her daughter and her outlook on life.
  • Raising a Child in the Internet Village — When Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has a question or concern about parenting, she turns to the Internet. What did parents do before Google?
  • Partner in Crime and ParentingBethy at Bounce Me to the Moon can't imagine parenting without her husband's sense of humor - he brings her laughter and love every day.)
  • I Make MilkPatti at Jazzy Mama can't imagine trying to mother her babies without her breasts, but she could do it if she had to.
  • New Perspectives Bring New BeginningsMJ at Wander Wonder Discover, who is a former authoritarian mamma, has gained perspective via parenting.
  • Time Out!Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog explores how time apart can increase your capacity to give unconditionally.
  • Unimaginable Without HimKristina at heyred designs is celebrating her amazing partner, without whom none of her parenting experience would be possible.
  • My Parenting NecessityClaire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl needs "me time" in order to be the Mama she wants to be.
  • Babywearing As a Way of LifeDarcel at The Mahogany Way talks about the benefits of babywearing in everyday life.
  • Parenting Partnership — Sometimes Abbie at Farmer's Daughter doesn't appreciate her husband enough, but she definitely couldn't imagine parenting without his help.
  • Parenting EssentialsMomma Jorje loves her parenting products, but she needs you even more.
  • My Parenting Must-Have: SupportJoella at Fine and Fair wrote a letter to her daughter about the role that support from friends and family plays in her mothering.
  • It's More Than Just Hair — Think doing hair is full of fluff? Too girly? Useless? Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas used to think so too.
  • The Minimalist Parent — The parents at Living Peacefully with Children embrace a minimalist perspective when it comes to baby gear. A good sling is all they need.
  • Without My BreastsCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama can't imagine parenting without her breasts; here's why.
  • Loves Books, Loves PeopleSeonaid at the Practical Dilettante discovers that the library is a perfect fit for her family's needs.
  • An Ode to the Maya WrapRevMama's next child might be named Maya, because of her fondness for the sling.
  • Avoiding the Padded RoomPecky at Benny and Bex is here to testify that it takes a village to raise a child.
  • My parenting essentials, from Tivo to battery-operated monstrositiesLauren at Hobo Mama presents a list of parenting essentials you didn't even know you needed (and probably don't…).
  • Attachment Parenting Through Separation: It Makes It a Little BetterJessica at This Is Worthwhile talks about how she couldn't survive her separation without attachment parenting and the bond it's afforded her with her 3 year old son.
  • Parenting EssentialsDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the principles she used to parent her children from infants to adults.
  • My Parenting Essentials — The things that are truly essential to Kim at In Desperate Need of Entertainment aren't things at all.
  • I'm No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without...Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about what she needs to raise her children.
  • February Carnival of Natural Parenting — Through her experiences over the last five and a half years, Casey at Love What Is has discovered her most important tool for parenting is using her instincts.
  • CNP: I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without __________.The Artsymama discloses the one thing that gave her back control of herself as a parent.
  • Laugh Until I Cry — Laughing with her sons keeps Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes connected and grounded.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting WithoutLuschka at Diary of a First Child realizes what the one thing she can't imagine parenting without is, and it turns out it's not a thing after all.
  • It Takes Two — Here are a few of the reasons why Jenn at Adventures Down Under cannot imagine parenting without her fabulous husband.
  • Stopping to Listen — Though it wasn't easy at first, Knocked Up - Knocked Over cannot imagine parenting her daughter without listening first to what she is telling her.
  • The Essence of Parenting — There are many wonderful resources that make life easier for Michelle at the Parent Vortex to parent, but the essence is the relationship between parent and child.
  • What I Cannot Live WithoutSybil at Musings of a Milk Maker considers her computer to be a parenting lifeline.
  • True Blessings: White Noise and GrandparentsKat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment can't live without her white noise machine and the support of her parents.
  • The Necessities! — What "stuff" does a natural parent like Lily, aka Witch Mom really need? Not much, it turns out.
  • Mama Showed MeMama Mo at Attached at the Nip writes about how parenting wisdom is passed on by example.
  • Ode to the Loo — For Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch, the bathroom is her safe place, where she can take a minute to calm down if she is feeling touched out.
  • Go, Mama. Go!Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has been able to integrate her many roles through her get-up-and-go parenting essential, exercise!
  • My Other HalfBecky at Old New Legacy realizes what a relief it is to have her husband parent alongside her.
  • Grace, Love, and CoffeeMrsH at Fleeting Moments realizes that lifelines can take the form of the profound, or the mundane. Both are ok.
  • Supportive Spouse, Check! — There are so many parenting tools and gadgets that are superfluous, but the one essential, for Danielle at born.in.japan, has been her supportive spouse.
  • Why I'm a BabywearerMeredith at Becoming Mamas reflects on the ways babywearing has enhanced her mama baby relationship...and made life easier to boot.
  • It's Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!Rachael at The Variegated Life can't imagine parenting in the big city without the marvels of Prospect Park to share with her Critter.
  • Yes, Thank YouAmy at Anktangle offers tips on how to ask for and accept help, an essential for successful parenting.
  • Parenting Essentials Checklist: Mom’s Inner Rebel and Her Kids’ VoicesOlivia at Write About Birth reflects on raising global citizens and saying no to societal norms.
  • Eco-Mama Online! — An Eco-Mama living in the mountains of a nature island, Terri at Child of the Nature Isle finds it essential to connect to nature and to connect online.
  • Sorry, We Just Sold the Last OneNev at The Adventures of Lime confesses she missed out the day they handed out patience.
  • LaughTashmica at The Mother Flippin' Blog reveals her super power, her talisman agains mean mommy.
  • My Priceless Parenting Resource — What do books, a magazine community, my mother and the local playgroup have in common? Lucy at Dreaming Aloud tells us...
  • The Gift of Shared TimeTree at Mom Grooves strives to experience the world from her daughter's perspective.
  • Follow the GigglesDionna at Code Name: Mama can’t live without the sound of her child’s giggles - come watch her video and you’ll agree!
  • Can I Mommy Without Boob?Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama shares her fears about weaning and losing part of that the mother/child bond.


  1. First I have to say - just because he's getting more interested in the outside world and cuts down on nursing sessions does not mean he's ready to wean. This coming from the nursing mama of a 3 yr old who thought on several occasions that weaning was imminent ;) Second - don't worry, you will develop additional ways of connecting and loving your little one! I know it seems like hubby might have the market on playing, but I'd encourage you to focus on playing/roughhousing/etc., it works wonders :)

  2. My son is 11mos and I almost wrote about breastfeeding too! Don't worry mama, I'm sure you'll still have a while left before he weans :)

  3. My carnival post is about boobs too ;-) Aren't they great!?

  4. I bet you are a WAAAAY cooler parent than you give yourself credit for being! I, too, dread weaning because I will miss the closeness and the convenience of fixing any upset with boobage. My LO is 16mop & our nursing relationship is still going strong. You may have quite some time left of your own.

  5. Ahhhh, bless you. My daughter is 9 years old and honestly, she still sometimes looks at my boobs longingly LOL!

    But now she looks into my eyes for comfort, falls into my lap for cuddles, asks for 'girlie nights' where we kick Daddy out of bed and camp down for the night, tells me she loves me, needs me, can't be without me and I her...

    I feel for you, I really do, but it's your heart and your unconditional love that holds you together :) Best of luck for your weaning journey; you are going to be fine because you've built a wonderful, strong foundation.

  6. Oh, I loved reading this...I have such acute memories of being Here, when I could tell my son was close to weaning, and while on the one hand I was getting hugely frustrated that he pretty much seemed to see me as the Milk Bank (or Moo Cow) and nothing else, I was terrified that once he stopped nursing he would completely lose interest not just in the Moo Cow but also in ME.

    There was this day about 2-3 weeks after weaning (he self-weaned just after a year old, just lost interest and stopped on his own) when I was just sitting in the glider hanging out, which is where I used to nurse him most of the time. He wandered into the room and saw me there. His face lit up, he toddled over and crawled into my lap and just hugged me. We rocked there for a while. It was one of my most beautiful Mommy moments, and I still remember it vividly more than 7 years later.

    You are so much more than the Boob. He knows it, even if he doesn't know yet that he knows it. Wait and see.

  7. Thanks you guys! I hope I still have some more time before he weans... Some days he's more interested than others. I love the online natural mama community. (Another popular carnival post topic!) Thanks for the support!

  8. this is such a sweet post. I'm so glad you shared it. I was only able to nurse my daughter (weakly) for the first 3 months and I still grieve for the loss... but I can tell you for certain that the booby love won't end! And skin is still good even with a cuddle. My daughter would fall asleep quicker and totally soothed if I just cradled her topless. Skin still works! Sometimes she even does a face-plant plfffft move between them. (hey! that was daddy's move!). Poor daddy...
    You write so beautifully that I feel the bittersweet time your in... mostly the sweet.
    and juggling is a good idea!

  9. Boobs are awesome!

    Great post! I don't think I could be as good and patient a mommy if I didn't have boobs to distract the cranky baby, soothe the sad baby, or lull the tired baby to sleep!


  10. Aw, I know what you mean. My milk's dried up because of pregnancy, and it's really been an internal struggle to move from relying on boob for everything to finding new ways to connect, soothe, feed, etc. But I'm here to let you know it can be done! And, as Dionna said, I will testify that it's not a foregone conclusion that weaning is anytime soon for you; sometimes they just go through phases. But, whenever it happens, I know you'll find your way through the transition and you'll find that your baby loves you for you, too! :)

  11. Your post brought back so many memories for me. I nursed my first son for 11 months and would have done it much longer, but he self weaned. I was crushed. I also wondered where our reltionship would go without our special time together. Rest assured, whenever you and your baby stop nursing, there is life and very strong love after nursing. But, it is a wonderfuly sweet time! Enjoy!


Thanks for commenting!