American Moms Freak Over Breastsucking Infants

August 04, 2006
Dawn Olsen

In this country, we want our breasts to be large, full and barely covered by skin-tight Hooters t-shirts. What we DON'T want, apparently, is to see pictures of babies doing what babies have done since the dawning of mankind: nursing at the nipple of their mother. The outrage over a cover shot on BabyTalk magazine for an article on breastfeeding is hysterically ironic.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingPhotobucket - Video and Image Hosting

For the affront, the magazine received anguished comments such as:

"I was SHOCKED to see a giant breast on the cover of your magazine."

"I immediately turned the magazine face down."

And of course the obvious, "Gross."

A society obsessed with erectile dysfunction, desperate housewives, coin slots and camel toes can't seem to handle the basic function of the human milk delivery system. While no one is advocating breasts flopping in the breeze and milk squirting willy nilly a la MilkbarA Clockwork Orange's Korova Milkbar, this whole shock and awe over nursing infants is beyond ridiculous. What's most appalling about this overreaction is that those who are expressing the most outrage are primarily women and mothers themselves.

Excuse me while I roll my eyes completely in the back of my skull and dislodge them from their retinal nerve endings.

Only in the United States is it considered a "sexual" thing to see a breast performing as it was designed to perform. Babies don't consider it sexual, and any mentally stable lactating mother certainly doesn't find it sexual. Who finds it sexual? The prudish, sexually repressed mentally ill, that's who. There are even mother's who breastfeed that find public nursing "uncomfortable." This really is perhaps the most disturbing notion of all. If anyone should understand the fundamental nature of breastfeeding and its health function, it should be those who actually engage in it.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting As with many bad things in our society, I blame the religious fundamentalists. And Mel Gibson.

Sadly, the downside of this self-inflicted concern over modesty merely makes women who might otherwise want to do the healthiest thing in the world for their newborn that more reluctant to do so. Just as the American Academy of Pediatrics is in the process of pro-actively promoting breastfeeding as the healthiest choice for infants under one year (though many experts suggest the benefits continue well past the first year), we are still saddled with the subconscious baggage of our forefathers.

The statistics of breastfeeding are overwhelmingly in its favor, as for example, these from the FDA website on breastfeeding:

"Human milk contains just the right amount of fatty acids, lactose, water, and amino acids for human digestion, brain development, and growth.

"Breast-fed babies have fewer illnesses because human milk transfers to the infant a mother's antibodies to disease.

"Breast-fed babies are protected, in varying degrees, from a number of illnesses, including pneumonia, botulism, bronchitis, staphylococcal infections, influenza, ear infections, and German measles.

"Mothers produce antibodies to whatever disease is present in their environment, making their milk custom-designed to fight the diseases their babies are exposed to as well. "

Breastfeeding can also likely help prevent obesity, certain cancers, and facilitate mother/child bonding.

Interestingly and perhaps perversely, these days the educated and relatively well-off breastfeed at a much higher rate than those who are not. College-educated mothers breastfed at a rate of 52%, compared to 28% for those with high school degrees. Only 30% of women below the poverty line breastfeed, compared to 46% above the poverty line - and this despite the fact that infant formula is costly ($1200 to $2300 per year).

Breastfeeding, of course, is FREE.

How does the U.S.'s 70% breastfeeding-at-birth rate stack up against its developed peers? Scandinavia, maybe the happiest and healthiest people in the world, hover at 98% collectively as newborn breast feeders; the UK goes 69%, Germany 86%, Italy 85%, Australia 87%, and the trailing the list is France at 50%. Those statistics speak volumes: the French are half-assed.

Celebrities and their babies have tried to make breastfeeding chic - one would think that would rub off on the regular folk. I mean all the cool kids are doing it.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Only Britney Spears seems too dumb to figure out how to do the right thing for her children. Need more be said?

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American Moms Freak Over Breastsucking Infants


Author: Dawn Olsen


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LeeAnn Mitchell
August 4, 2006
02:38 PM

I loved your article and agree there was nothing wrong with the photo. I am 50 years old and breast fed both children and also 'did it' in public. I was not the norm in the late 70's and alot of my friends and family were freaked about my nursing babies. They didn't stop me. Now my first grand daughter has arrived and from the time I was told she was on the way I talked about breast feeding. She is a very happy healthy 4 month old and having my daughter nurse in front of me is one of the most beautiful sights for a mother to see her child as a mother. Now my other daughter is expecting her first and again I am the spokes person for this very healthy and wonderfully normal thing for a mother to do. If either of my daughters acted like the idiots Spears girl I would be greatly disappointed and might consider a slap in the head. Anyone offend by that picture out in the open is a closet pervert. How sad in this day and age that people would think something so special would be gross. Oh yes! one more thing its free and ready to go, like fast food!

Deepti lamba
August 4, 2006
03:19 PM

I'm still doing it! My daughter is teething and is cranky as hell. And when I 'm about to loose my patience with her all I do is plug her in and there is blessed peace for atleast ten precious minutes.

Obviously I'm discreet about it. It isnt as if I whip the whole thing out for the world to see. One has to wear the right kind of clothes to ensure every thing stays hidden.

Ray Grairo
August 5, 2006
01:24 AM

Sri Lanka records the highest rate of breastfeeding in the world and it is 98 percent. We consider breast feeding as a natural process and it has become a part of our life style.

What is needed is to create an awareness of the importance of the breast feeding among the modern youth, the International Baby Food Action Network Coordinator for South Asia Amara Peeris said.

"We are fortunate that 98 percent of our mothers belong to the ever breast fed category. This had resulted in producing a healthy child. There is no major difference in urban and rural mothers regarding breast feeding. However, educating them regarding the benefits will be an effective way to promote breast feeding", she said.

The World's Breast Feeding Week will be marked from the first week of August on the theme "Code Watch; 25 years of protecting breast feeding" focusing on the International Code of Marketing Breast milk Substitutes. This Code was adopted 25 years ago by the World Health Assembly to protect mothers and babies. Sarvodaya Women's Movement organised a seminar to mark the occasion.

The Code forbids promotional practices such as advertising, inaccurate labelling, the giving of samples, posters, calendars and gift to mothers, nurses and doctors. "Time has come to focus more attention on the implementing of the code in our country, Ms. Peeris said stressing that certain violation to the code's guide lines are practise today".

The deaths due to infant milk food had risen over the years and globally over 11 million children die before reaching five years. The infant body is designed to mother's milk and the system will reject any foreign items. The large number of bacteria in the infant food causes dierria and respiratory system diseases which has accounted for infant deaths.

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