So – breastfeeding. I think most of those in my circle are in favor of doing it, but the debate reigns on where and when. This breastfeeding article gives some good points, and here’s a few of my own to add. (And here’s another one from the opposite side of the issue!)
First, a history lesson. The controversy on breastfeeding is a fairly new one. It begins a few generations ago, when companies first introduced infant formula. Initially, they claimed that it was “better than breast milk.” They convinced an entire generation of new mothers that their own milk wasn’t as healthy for their baby, and so they bottle-fed their babies. An entire generation of children grew up being very little exposed to breastfeeding. In removing a primary function of the breast, that left the other function to take over – sexualization.
This took place during another shift in society – that of becoming more sexualized, more open. Fewer clothes, seductive poses, declining marriage rates and rising numbers of unwed mothers, and so much more. Enter technology, and the problem explodes with posting seductive pictures, chatting online, and sexting. Conservatives and the church react to what they see as a growing trend, and breastfeeding inevitably gets swept up in the fray. Breasts are sexualized, and we already have a problem with women “not covering up” and thus by logical conclusion that extends to breastfeeding, as well.
It wasn’t always like this. I remember reading an older book, a fiction novel, probably written sometime in the 30’s-50’s. Not so long ago, but before the craze started. One scene in particular featured a woman feeding an infant (she was a wet nurse). A man in the scene studied her, with more awe than being turned on. Being moved by the miracle he saw, he even reached forward to touch her – and not only were they not married, they were not even a love interest, simply good friends. Not saying whether the scene was morally right, but the point is, things weren’t always this stiff about breastfeeding. There was a time in history where it was perfectly acceptable for a woman to feed her baby so naturally – and she didn’t hide away in another room to do it.
A note for those who say that breasts aren’t naturally designed to be sexual – take a peek at Song of Solomon, as well as a few passages in Proverbs and other areas. Even then, the breast was most definitely sexual and intended for the man’s delight and pleasure. “Let her breasts satisfy thee at all times” wasn’t written for the babe. There’s nothing wrong with breasts being sexual; it’s all about balance. Like most things in nature, they serve a dual purpose. It’s all about time and place.
So… what IS that time and place?