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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Evil of the Boob.

With today's knee-jerk reaction of disgust to all things related to breastfeeding, I could just imagine the uproar a sketch like this would cause in the 21st century. A person commented on the recent outrage inspired by a picture of a baby at a breast on the cover of Parenting magazine... I remember getting that issue in the mail and not even thinking about the implication of their daring to show a baby doing what a whole heck of a lot of babies have been doing for an awfully long time.

I totally respect the decision of those who choose NOT to do it, but some people needn't behave as though it's such a vile act. Okay, there's a a time and a place, I wouldn't do it in front of male friends or out in a public restaurant, but I believe that if I'm discreet and make sure not one inch of my fun bags is to be seen then I don't think I'm the one with the problem. What really creeps me out is why on earth people find it so disgusting, as though there's some sort of sexual implication or something. We're mammals. We lactate. Get over it.

Related to this, I don't quite know how to feel about this story regarding unethical promotion of formula in less developed countries. Is someone MAKING these people buy formula and stop breastfeeding or is there another reason besides effective marketing that the poverty stricken populations of those countries are turning to formula over breast milk? I'm not sure I've got the full gist of this...


Bdubba said...

Amen Sista!

Although I am/was discrete, by the time daughter #3 came I would BF anytime anywhere.A baby has got to eat!!!I have 2 proud public moments to share....First, we were at a street fair type place in a small town. We were with friends who own 2 small dogs (Italian greyhounds). It was on the chilly side that September day so the members of the couple were each holding a dog partially in their windbreaker. Some other dogs lovers were gushing over their dogs and then approached me, pulling away the blanket I had draped over myself while feeding my daughter. This all happened in a nanosecond so none of us could warn them that there was no little doggie under there. (Yet, my puppies were barkin' if ya know what I am sayin'. *wink*) The men turned beet red, apologized and hurried away.

My other shining moment was after having daughter #2 (so a 2 year old and an infant) and I mastered being able to BF while shopping in Sam's club. Although my steering of the buggie was not so good once the 40lb bag of dog food got added to the cart.

There was a 20/20 (or Dateline - those type of shows anyway) on not too long ago that showed a woman participating in extended BFing. I am all for BFing and extending it but she was nursing her 8 year old!!! I think I personally draw the line there. I don't knock her for it but I couldn't do it that long.

calencoriel said...

I don't understand it, either TL. As part of my IB curriculum, I discuss breast feeding in many different aspects and am constantly met with disgust, embarrassment and misunderstanding.

I try to advocate the many benefits, remind the coddled and educated students that I teach that many of them were probably nursed...bc it's better for them and their educated parents would have known this as well...yada yada...and they cringe in their seats.

And, I was like you, discreet, made bottles for occasions when I knew I wouldn't be able to remove myself from public with the little ones, etc.

I also don't get the link either... formula prep has got to be sterile and I can't imagine how women in 3rd world nations are supposed do that...

Clearly...the boob is an evil thing.

TeacherLady said...

Bdubba, that story about the dog lovers was hilarious! And the multitasking thing reminded me of how I would breastfeed my daughter while emptying the dishwasher amongst other household chores. I got good at it because she was small enough to hold her with one arm for the longest time. When no one else was home, I was a little more relaxed about letting the girls sneak moments of fresh air and that led to my very nearly exposing myself to some bloke who came to the door to repair something or deliver something, I can't remember... I just remember being very relieved I noticed the breeze on my chest JUST before I opened the door. Phew.

Calen, that extended breastfeeding thing just doesn't make sense from an evolutionary/biological perspective. It's not enough nourishment for a child that age and it's meant for those who can eat nothing else. My daughter couldn't wait to be a big girl (God help me) and rushed onto mushy foods part time at 4 months, but because she was going to daycare I wanted to make sure she got some antibodies from me so continued to give her breast milk via a bottle or myself on and off for the next two months along with the mushy stuff.

All hail the mighty boob and it's many wonderful purposes.

Snarla said...

When I was still just a young person there was a boycott of Nestle products because Nestle had employees in hospitals in Latin America, dressed like health care personnel, recommending to new mothers that they put their babies on formula, and by the time the mothers left the hospital their milk had dried up and they had to feed their babies formula, regardless of their ability to pay for it.
There's an article on Wikipedia and also here: http://www.breastfeeding.com/advocacy/advocacy_boycott.html

Anonymous said...

Ugh. We had a family incident about it.

Everyone in my family (except me) lactates with the ease of a cow. So my cousin was sitting round at a family gathering, and her toddler comes up, wants nummies. She sits him on her lap, whips out a boob, and feeds him. Ok, no big deal. After a while he gets done and runs off, and she is still sitting there with her breast hanging out, chatting away to us all. My husband walked across the room to get to the kitchen and a glass of water, and understandably did a doubletake before averting his eyes. So cousin got mad at him for staring at her breast. (rolls eyes)

Thank you all for being discreet.

x l said...

Adding to Snarla, also, many object to encouraging women in lesser developed countries to use formula because of their lack of access to clean water with which they can mix the formula.

TeacherLady said...

I guess those women felt intimidated into believing formula was better for their children... I can't imagine why else they would try to spend money they don't have for something that would involve giving their children contaminated water. I guess education is key, and if they don't have it, they're going to feel like the ignorant customer in the sights of a high pressure salesman. I can't stand high pressure salesman, and ones that are willing to put povery stricken children's lives into jeopardy are even more abhorrent.

Seth said...

Breastfeeding from your birth mom is weird but drinking milk from a cow is just fine? We're still the only species that drink the milk of another species, as far as Discovery Channel tells me.

I see no problem with discreet breastfeeding. Hilarious stories all around!

petra said...

I have absolutely no problem with public breastfeeding. It wouldn't be as shameful as it is if women were more brave about it. I plan on breastfeeding for at least 2 years when I have my child.
A few things:
The mother on Dateline supplemented "real food" with breastmilk. Most kids lose the ability to digest lactose around age 5, whether from cow milk or human, so my only concern is that maybe it might hurt her child's tummy. At first I thought extended breastfeeding was weird, but so is drinking the lactations of another animal. At least the kid is avoiding sodas by getting her nourishment from her mom.
Second, formula marketers get disadvantaged women to rely on their products in a lot of insidious ways. They give midwives and doctors incentives to sell the formula to new moms, like sending them on vacations, giving them awards, and even just giving them a little extra food. In a few countries this practice is banned, but it's still pervasive.
Formula makers also give new moms free samples just after they've given birth, so they give their babies the formula and before they know it their breasts have dried up.
Also, because the moms are uneducated, they tend to believe television ads that claim that babies who are fed formula grow up to be smarter. It's pretty much proven to be untrue, but the poor mothers haven't been taught to be dubious of marketers.