Attachment parenting, Breastfeeding, Parenting

Beyond Bitty – 100 other Names for Breastfeeding

18 March, 2015

100 Names for Breastmilk beyond bitty

I am so excited about this post, I am sitting in a cafe using their rubbish (but existent) wifi beaming my face off. It has been such a pleasure pulling together all the names toddler have for breastfeeding out there. They cover different languages, most of them have been generated by the children themselves and a few have been passed down through generations. Some of them clearly come from similar meanings and then some of them are just totally wild. Olivia and Donald? Finky and Dumper? Hardly a Bitty in sight! Unbridled imagination – (don’t crush it!!)

A child’s word for breastmilk and the act of feeding is very often one of their first, and often introduced into the family dictionary. It must feel pretty special for a child to have their own word, for something that is so important to them, taken on and used. How perfect to feel so valued and trusted and a part of things. I feel like this list symbolises some of that trust, and the trust inherent in the intimate breastfeeding relationship.

We live in a society where it is common to hear people say “I don’t mind breastfeeding- but as soon as a child is old enough to ask for it, then they are TOO OLD.”

This is a rebel anthology- declaring this position to be an untruth. The moment babies are born they find ways to ask for it, and the moment they find WORDS to ask for it is the doorway to a whole new amazing experience.

Society’s distaste for breastfeeding older children is totally misplaced- in fact,  *breaking news*, massive, longitudinal study just published seem to show that the longer a child is breastfed, the more “successful” she is.

This anthology of names for breastfeeding feels important to me because the word bitty has become so associated with the mockery of nursing an older child. (Thanks Little Britain!)

Let’s celebrate the connection, the emotional and physical needs that are met in breastfeeding, by revelling in this joyous list. MILKY BOOBIES, THE OTHER ONE: ROCK ON BREASTFEEDING TALKERS! You yell your milk cry across the room, go right ahead- show the world that it is normal and right and magnificent to be a breastfeeding child. Beyond Bitty - what toddlers call breastmilk!

Commonalities
There were one or two variations on “mummy milk” present but without a doubt the one that came up over and over and over (ten times!) was “Other side”. This is funny and astonishing! It just shows how much our children tune in to everything from a youngest age. Obviously, we don’t tend to say “Milkies” throughout a nursing session but we far more frequently offer, during the act, “Other side?!” Brilliant.

Different Languages
Susu – Samoan word for milk/ breast (I am interested in the fact that Susu could be milk or breast? This doesn’t seem common?)
Maka- from the word Malako in Russian.
Leche – Spainish for milk
Lait- French for milk and Bord is French for other side.
Dudth is how the Hindi word for milk sounds.
Nyonya is remembered as Swahili slang.
Teta – Catalonion, for milk.

Stories
Here are a few of the accompanying stories…
Olivia and Donald: Lindsey explains “When he was 4 he started calling my boobs Olivia and Donald. Not really sure why. He’s a bit off the wall that one. “Olivia” was sometimes called “Big fat booby” due to the size discrepancy. Poor Donald wasn’t very popular…”
Dips: Abigail says “Because I had to undo the clip on my bra”
Feeju: Marnie “As in “Feed You””
Nulky nulky noo: Hanabee, “Her own poem dedicated to the joys of extended/ never ending breastfeeing.”
Booble: Mo says “This caused confusion one Christmas when we were looking at the wreath on the next door neighbour’s house and I said “That ones made of baubles!”

Big thanks to our brilliant Facebook community and Twitter peeps who collaborated and shared their lovely stories.

ALSO EXCITING: I AM ON YOUTUBE! AND HERE IS ONE OF MY FIRST VIDEOS:
You definitely didn’t think you could hack watching five minutes of someone breastfeeding their toddler, did you? Well, let’s just see if you can! I wanted to try and capture the frantic fun and mayhem involved with breastfeeding older children. I hit record and got it in five minutes straight off. Pahahaha. Breaking for a book. Yelling. All the laughter. Animal sounds. Hands up nostrils. Chest pummelling. It’s all there. Come and find me and subscribe on Youtube as I hope to be giving it a good bash this year.

Hehe, all the fun, eh.

Thank you for taking part in this breastfeeding anthology. And if your child DOES call it Bitty – good on them. Don’t stop them! The word can be reclaimed!

If you missed out it isn’t too late- add it in the comments 😀

PS – If you like this post share it all about – play a little part in normalising breastfeeding… !

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28 Comments

  • Reply zehra 18 March, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    i loved this!!!! we do lots of giggling and chatting while feeding
    ayla says “Ashoo mama” which means other boobie . we aren’t sure how she came up with ashoo for other side but presume it was when we were putting on her other shoe and somehow stuck!

    • Reply Lydia Smith 19 March, 2015 at 11:03 am

      Just had to share my daughter walking up the stairs one time singing “Milk, milk, here I come!”

  • Reply Elisa 18 March, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    What a great post and such an adorable video!! The bond between you and your little darling is just precious! Thanks for sharing and yes, I wish everyone could see breastfeeding as a natural beautiful act of love.

  • Reply ThaliaKR 18 March, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    Fabulous!

    ‘That! Want that!’ – made me laugh out loud.

    Blue Milk has a great post on ‘if they can ask for it they’re too old’. Slow internet is foiling my attempt to link to it but I’ll try again later.

    Keep up the great work!
    :)tkr
    ThaliaKR recently posted…Lactation Cookies: 3 Reasons and 12 Recipes to Make Some for a New ParentMy Profile

  • Reply Steph 18 March, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    I love this Lucy! Especially the infectious giggles, and your positivity about this beautiful thing that people insist being so weird about. My LO is 2 and only feeding in the night now. I’m ready to wean because, well, SLEEP! But people are totally freaked out by the fact that I’m feeding a toddler who can talk. It’s as if the ability to communicate somehow negates how brilliant breastfeeding is. So silly. X. Also, ‘we’ do “boobies pwease”, “nat one”, and ‘we’ve’ also been known to yell “”yay, boobies” and fistpunch the air before 😉
    Steph recently posted…International Women’s Day 2015 and why you should never apologise for being a feministMy Profile

  • Reply ThaliaKR 18 March, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    Found it!

    https://bluemilk.wordpress.com/2009/10/19/old-enough-to-ask-for-it-and-other-things-i-really-didnt-know-about-myself/

    An extract:

    “I used to say I wouldn’t breastfeed a baby when it was ‘old enough to ask for it’. My sister enjoys reminding me of this because as it turned out I breastfed my daughter for almost two yeas and I hope to do similarly with my son. Maybe longer. By any definition, at two years of age they can generally ‘ask for it’. I try to recall not just what I thought but more significantly what I felt at that time, back then when I was so certain. What concerned me and why? The thing I didn’t understand when I found it somehow repulsive to breastfeed a child ‘old enough to ask for it’ is that babies ‘ask for it’ right from when they’re born, and they never stop ‘asking for it’, their methods just gradually increase in sophistication, a sophistication that you watch unfold and that otherwise causes you to beam with pleasure. And if you found yourself compelled to oblige them with their earliest requests then you shouldn’t be all that surprised that you’re responsive to their later requests.

    Here are just some of the ways babies ‘ask for it’. They cry shrilly, they nuzzle you, they latch on to your fingers, and they turn their face towards you if you brush their cheek. Then one day while balanced in your lap they throw themselves backwards to be laying down near your chest. They clamp on to the fleshiness of your arms and they suck you a hickey. (If you teach your baby to sign then they might, like my baby, even begin signing ‘breastfeed’ to you at five months old). As they’re passed into your arms they tilt their heads sideways with their mouth gaping. They burst into impatient tears at the sight of you undoing your bra. Or they reach their arms down your dress, or they lift up your t-shirt. They usually do all this before they finally ‘ask for it’ with a spoken word and even then their word may be nothing more offensive than the adoption of a particular pitch when they plead “Mama” at you. At what point are ‘they old enough to ask for it’, and at what point is it too much?”
    ThaliaKR recently posted…Lactation Cookies: 3 Reasons and 12 Recipes to Make Some for a New ParentMy Profile

  • Reply Cathy 19 March, 2015 at 1:28 am

    Oh yay! ‘Eat’ made it into the list. I should add that Violet also has another addition to this. ‘MORE EAT.’ Usually boomed at 11pm, midnight, 1am, 2am, 3am….

    *tired face*

    Lovely video too x
    Cathy recently posted…Siblings MarchMy Profile

  • Reply Siobhan 19 March, 2015 at 2:08 am

    Love this!
    My second started everyone calling breastfeeding gung gung – I think because we used to say “Are you hungry?” She’d then say “yeeeeess. Gung gung”. Happy times.

    • Reply Tamsin 20 March, 2015 at 9:22 am

      That’s funny! Really similar to DD’s name for it since she was little – gagun gagun. I read somewhere that those sounds are made by the same mouth shape & tongue movements that they have when actually breastfeeding, which seemed like an interesting connection.

  • Reply Cathy 19 March, 2015 at 3:10 am

    “Um”. From when he was about 18 months and latch started to get lazy – and sore! – so I would unlatch and say “no, big mouth – like this – aaahhhuuuuummmm!” Now it’s “Mummy, can I have um please?”.
    His little brother has never known it by anything else!

  • Reply Anna 19 March, 2015 at 4:13 am

    Thank you for sharing – this was beautiful! Brought back lovely memories of “boo-boo time”! We finished breastfeeding when my little girl was about 14 months, so I’m not sure how much she remembers, but she was totally delighted to watch Juno as I explained to her what was happening! Oh I feel a bit emotional now – I must go now and eat some chocolate to soothe my twitchy ovaries!!
    Anna recently posted…Restoring the balance.My Profile

  • Reply Lara 19 March, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Wonderful!

    My boy started asking for “neee”, when he was 18 months old.
    “Nee” is also his word for snow (the german word for snow is Schnee, but the “sch” is still impossible to pronounce for him.)
    I am not sure, why and how he came up with it. Maybe because it’s both white?

  • Reply Karin 19 March, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Lovely article. My daughter called it num num… brings up sweet memories. Thank you for sharing this!
    Karin recently posted…‘I am sooooo HAPPY with the product. I am a first time Mum. Makes breastfeeding a absolute JOY….”My Profile

  • Reply Sue 19 March, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Love it! My 21 month old calls it Boobies and Munk and Ondondon (Other One). There was a brief phase of calling them Betty and Bob a few months ago when he was ill over Xmas, it made everyone laugh a lot and cheered him up at the time, but I didn’t encourage that one…(too much like Bitty plus his dad’s dad’s name is Bob..nuff said!).

  • Reply Nicki 19 March, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    My daughter nursed until she was 26 month. She called it “eese” I remember taking her to the store with me and having her sit in the cart, she would try to pop out lunch while we were shopping and I told her to say please! From then on out it was “eese”.

  • Reply Carie 19 March, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    Oh I love this – especially the story behind Donald and Olivia!! My littlest isn’t quite up to more than hitting my chest and nuzzling in to make his feelings clear but his big sister alternates between “Mama Milk!” and “Mama cuddle” and then will sit up half way through, poke at me and say “Now that one!”
    Carie recently posted…The birth of a quiltMy Profile

  • Reply Jane 19 March, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    I too said I’d stop when my child could ask for it . . . so perhaps that’s why my son was slow to get going with his speech! We picked Booboo for him and it stuck. And everyone knows Booboo comes out of Booboos – unless your my daughter who chose her own name. “Babouf” is what she drank from my “baboufers”. We wonder if she was French in a previous life. In any case she too foiled any plans I had regarding weaning (when she started speaking at 8 months) and continued feeding until 2 and 3/4 when she announced “I’m a big girl now, I don’t need babouf anymore”. And that was that.

  • Reply sophia 19 March, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    Its so true they make their own words. We name them, and in turn, they name their (our) boobies. My 3 year old says “boobieoo” or on really enthusiastic days, “boobieoowaaah” no idea why. I never liked the word boobies so I always said “do you want milk” no idea how he even knew the word boobie!

  • Reply Margeruerite 21 March, 2015 at 5:08 am

    The study which you are referring to isn’t as big of a deal as breast feeding mothers make it out to be. The potential IQ increase is only up to four points more, the better education is an extra semester and a half at school, and the income increase was that of $25.00 a week. This study is problematic because one of the correlating factors that go along with long term breast feeding in Western society are parents who are already better educated and better off financially. When the WHO recommended breast feeding for up to three years they were encouraging mothers in the developing world to continue the practice and not feel like bad mothers in places where infant and child mortality is over 20%. There has never been a significant breast feeding research project that has found any conclusive data to say that breast feeding past 6 months is any more beneficial than not– most surveys are conducted on monkeys and their habits. I’m sorry, but it is really creepy to see this increase in long term breast feeding mothers. If your kid can ask for it he or she should have the motor skills I already feed themselves. These moms who aren’t breast feeding out of necessity but out of emotional need are really becoming creepy.

    • Reply Mimi 24 March, 2015 at 7:28 am

      First of all- may I just point out to Marguerite that you are visiting a blog that is PRO extended breastfeeding. If you find mothers so “creepy” for breastfeeding their child the way nature intended why are you even spending your time looking at this page? And trying to down play research? Those few extra points in IQ may not be high enough in your books but it’s still a plus to have extra points rather than less! All I can hope is that maybe you will pick up some useful information about why extended breastfeeding or breastfeeding in general is so beneficial for the child and mother.
      I think you need to look at your own issues with how you view breasts and breastfeeding…. News flash!! BREASTS are for producing MILK to nurture infants and Children NOT to satisfy the sexual needs of men which is unfortunately how this society sees them. And maybe why you find it creepy? In many cultures it’s totally normal to breastfeed until the child self weans which can be from the ages of 2 until 7! You’d probably have a heart attack from shock! But let me tell you, YOU would be the weirdo for finding it strange in that culture where breasts are seen as what they are intended for.So in saying that you find Mothers ” creepy” for extended breastfeeding just makes you sound like you have issues.
      Also- ” these moms who breastfeed not out of necessity but out of emotional need ” Come on! You can’t force a child to breastfeed if they don’t want to, and if the child still wants milk then IT IS a necessity! To that child it is important and vital to many things including their immune system and their emotional wellbeing. And I would like to just point you in the direction of a previous comment- babies have been communicating since BIRTH that they want to feed.Their way of doing that becomes more sophisticated as time goes on.
      I hope that you can widen your knowledge and in the future not be so judgmental in how you view extended breastfeeding and Mothers in the future and not think that Mothers have emotional issues and that’s why they are carrying on feeding their child.

    • Lucy
      Reply Lucy 25 March, 2015 at 11:17 am

      The idea that mothers breastfeed for their own emotional needs is an absolute myth.

  • Reply Millers 30 March, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Great post and interesting about the Samoan word for milk and breast. In Thai they are also the same – ‘nom’.

  • Reply Pepe 16 April, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Teta – Catalonion, for milk? Its a mistake

    • Lucy
      Reply Lucy 17 April, 2015 at 10:45 am

      Oh, what a shame! One of my readers advised me of this x

  • Reply Tipsmom 14 March, 2016 at 1:07 am

    Haha so cute!!

  • Reply Carmen 29 March, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    Love it! My 21 month old calls it Boobies and Munk and Ondondon (Other One). There was a brief phase of calling them Betty and Bob a few months ago when he was ill over Xmas, it made everyone laugh a lot and cheered him up at the time, but I didn’t encourage that one…(too much like Bitty plus his dad’s dad’s name is Bob..nuff said!).
    Carmen recently posted…Breastfeeding DietMy Profile

  • Reply Frank 3 April, 2016 at 9:04 am

    My 15mo has just started asking for milk rather than just bunting my boob’s with his head.
    He now points imperiously at my decolletage and says “lookatdat!”

  • Reply Hollyp 10 December, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    My 18 month old daughter calls it ‘Toot toot’ and now says ‘Toot toot pease’ when she wants to nurse and often comments enthusiastically ‘mmm toot toots nice!’ Durong nursing. Needless to say we find this hillarious

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