“For a minute Rose of Sharon sat still in the whispering barn. Then she hoisted her tired body up and drew the comfort around her. She moved slowly to the corner and stood looking down at the wasted face, into the wide, frightened eyes. Then slowly she lay down beside him. He shook his head slowly from side to side. Rose of Sharon loosened one side of the blanket and bared her breast. “You got to,” she said. She squirmed closer and pulled his head close. “There!” she said. “There.” Her hand moved behind his head and supported it. Her fingers moved gently in his hair. She looked up and across the barn, and her lips came together and smiled mysteriously.”
— John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
Mamabearof4: Long time lurker, first time poster—I’ve seen a lot of negative comments posted about this, and I just wanted to say kudos to Rose of Sharon. That stuff is liquid gold.
BrAyDeNsMoMmY: Proud hobo-breastfeeding Mama right here! I fed my little scamp the good stuff for 6 months!
MommyNeedsWine949: You go, Mama! Although I just wanted to point out that The World Health Organization actually recommends breastfeeding old hobos for up to two years.
HeartOutsideMyBody: That’s fine if that’s right for you, but I formula-fed my old hobo and he actually started freighthopping a full six months before most breastfed hobos I know
MumOfBoys: Anyone have any tricks for increasing supply? My old hobo just eats and eats constantly, and I can’t tell if he’s getting enough. Does anyone else wish their breasts had little lines on them indicating millimeters, instead of just the sag of world-weariness? Lol
Crazy4Minions: Your body knows how much milk your old hobo needs! Trust your body! That being said, your old hobo could be starving
MommyNeedsWine949: I hate to nitpick, but did anyone notice she had to support the old hobo’s head? I’m not a doctor, but I feel like 600 months is a little delayed to not have neck support? I have a great pediatrician if she needs someone.
HeartOutsideMyBody: Every old hobo develops differently, my old hobo didn’t learn how to tie a bindlestiff until he was nearly two and he’s doing just fine
Crazy4Minions: That sounds like a fine motor issue. You should see an Occupational Therapist
askUrFather16: Our OT passed in the drought
MommyNeedsWine949: Does anyone else’s old hobo keep falling asleep when he’s nursing? I’m afraid he’s not getting enough
BrAyDeNsMoMmY: I wish Ma Joad hadn’t insisted on holding up the comfort to screen Rosasharn from view while she was taking her shirt off. Breastfeeding an old hobo is NATURAL and she shouldn’t have to feel the need to cover up
treazureTheMomentz: Did anyone else notice that Rose of Sharon waited until she saw old hobo’s lips moving? That’s a late hunger cue, it’s so important to whip out your boob at the earliest hunger cues
HeartOutsideMyBody: Not true, I wait until my old hobo is weakly groaning and wordlessly mouthing. If you stick a boob in their mouth every time their eyes look dry and vacant, you’ll spoil them
mySonHasAHeroHisNameisDaddy: You can’t spoil an old hobo, everyone knows that
Crazy4Minions: It seemed like the old hobo was co-sleeping with his boy in the gloom. It’s really irresponsible for a book like this to promote unsafe co-sleeping habit
BrAyDeNsMoMmY: Thank you, it’s so important to follow the ABC’s of safe sleep: alone, barn, crying.
mySonHasAHeroHisNameisDaddy: My old hobo co-sleeps with me in a pile of gloom and we love it
WorkingMamaHero: Is it just me, or was anyone else jealous that she had an entire rain-soaked barn to nurse her old hobo in? At my work, our pumping room is basically a glorified closet. Totally unethical. Though I should note, I do work at a closet supply company
treazureTheMomentz: This might be a little off-topic, but does anyone else love dressing their old hobo up in overalls? Pic in comments.
MommyNeedsWine949: SO CUTE. Although I’m really concerned that you have his straps on incorrectly. The bib of the overall should be level with his armpits. I would want someone to tell me if I was dressing my old hobo wrong!
Riane Konc has written humor pieces for The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Reductress (and more). You can follow her on Twitter @theillustrious and see more of her work at rianekonc.com.