Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cultural Perceptions of Breastfeeding



How interesting is this picture?!

I snagged it from this blog that takes a historical look at breastfeeding. It was taken sometime in the late 1930's-40's. I love how the menfolk are just looking on like it's NO BIG DEAL to see a mom nursing a baby. This was before formula was really being used. (It is a relatively new invention after all.)

With W, I realized that many people are uncomfortable when you nurse around them. I find it especially odd that many women are so uncomfortable with it. Maybe that has something to do with the low breastfeeding rate in our country? I know that many moms DO feel very uncomfortable nursing in public. We have no problem flashing skin in any other situation, but a baby nursing with little to no skin exposed? Eek!
I never would intentionally make someone uncomfortable and I practiced nursing discretely but still the reactions from people are priceless.
Apparently women's bodies are only acceptable if "sexy" and an object of lust, but when they are fulfilling their God given purpose us Americans just don't know what to do!
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Reminds me of these cartoons:

6 comments:

  1. I love the pictures and cartoons!! And it's true-- I was just thinking about this the other day. Someone asked me when I thought Evie would be "too old" to nurse (the way she said it sort of carried the implication that she thought it should be sooner than later! ;-) I think it's pretty interesting (as I pointed out to her) that the good ol' USA, with all its advancements and knowledge, is pretty much the only country where early weaning is the norm...

    And I know what you mean; I certainly don't want to make others uncomfortable by nursing in front of them-- but I can't imagine it's that fun to eat with a blanket over your head. :)

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  2. My husband, who totally supported breastfeeding and never even gave formula feeding consideration, thought it was weird that I was comfortable nursing our babies in front of my own father. I told him that my dad was the 3rd oldest out of 10 kids and every single one of them were breastfed. He looked at me quizzically; I informed him that my dad's mom didn't leave the room or cover up. I didn't know any of that until my father told me....his way of letting me know that he knew why God gave women mammaries. However, when at my in-laws' house, I had to find a room away from everyone to feed my kids. MY MIL was so uncomfortable with me feeding her grandbabies. I tried to be discreet, but ultimately I cared more about what my baby wanted and needed, not about any ill opinions people formed of me for feeding my baby.

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  3. I had a female relative like that too. She was SO uncomfortable with me nursing in front of everyone. And she was definitely uncomfortable with me nursing past 6 months. She would even make comments to the baby about it! Issues.
    My dad couldn't care less either. I wonder if his mom nursed her 5 kids?

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  4. How awesome is that first shot???? I love it! So normal that no one cares. Wouldn't that be nice? What happened to us as a nation? Oh, that's right, breasts are sex objects and formula is king.

    Nell

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  5. I love that picture! So far, everyone I know has been pretty supportive of me breastfeeding my son, but we will see if that changes now that we're past 6 months.

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