|From a terrific article on Public Breastfeeding in The Maneater.|
She commented that many of the young mothers in her church don't breastfeed for very long, and that those who do may be asked to go to the Nursing Mother's Room rather than nurse where anyone can see them. On a recent outing with other mothers and adolescent daughters, the topic of breastfeeding came up, and one of the ladies said something like, "Oh, we really shouldn't talk about things like that with the girls around." Really??? Maybe that's why the young mothers in that church don't breastfeed for very long...perhaps if they were exposed to the normalcy of breasts being used to feed babies, they might actually succeed!
I decided to ask our ANM moms for other examples of breastfeeding being considered taboo, and
got some very interesting responses. In the interest of protecting our moms' privacy, I'm just going to use an initial here, not names.
SHHH...We don't Do That Here!In some families and cultural groups, breastfeeding is considered something that is either inappropriate or should be kept hidden.
S. had a grandmother with an interesting perspective:
My Nana told me that only poor people breastfed because they couldn't afford formula.
T. has a family where breastfeeding is kept very secretive:
My family keeps breastfeeding a secret! One of my aunts kept it so well hidden that even though she nursed three of my cousins (and our family has ALWAYS gotten together on average 2-3 Sundays a month) it took me having my first baby to find out! She was my biggest (and only related) supporter for all three of my children! Even with her support, I was still banished to a bedroom for feedings. I couldn't imagine nursing in front of my grandfather, anyway. He refers to breasts as "bosoms." I am glad that I was able to bring it up to my younger female cousins; all but two had never known anyone to nurse. Now they are finally comfortable enough to come in and keep me company!
K. was at a baby shower where she had this conversation:
|From Mommy Letters to Baby.|
One woman was telling the mom-to-be about the private nursing room we have at church. I piped up with a "But don't feel like you *have* to use it!" and explained that I nursed my last 3 children right where I sat during church services (usually less than 5 rows from the front, even). The nursing room mom said, "I was too modest to do that..." As if modestly really has anything to do with it. I certainly didn't disrobe!
You're Still Doing THAT??
Not too long ago we wrote a tongue-in-cheek blog called "How Long Do You Plan to Nurse That Baby?" Unfortunately, here in the South most women do not nurse even the full year recommended by the AAP.
|Apparently it's even taboo on Facebook!|
No one in my family has breastfed longer than the first few weeks to a month. So most of my family asked, many times, "Are you STILL nursing?" after he hit 6 months. My mom won't look at me when I'm nursing, and once told me he was "old enough for formula; there's nothing wrong with it." I finally said, "no. No. NO!" I asked her if she had ever even looked at the ingredients of formula. She was shocked when I told her the first ingredient was corn syrup. My grandmother is more "supportive" and just says she has her opinions about it, but knows I've researched it, and that it's my body and my baby.
B. had this to offer:
My mother complains that I'm still nursing my 11 month old. She says that's why they cry when she holds them.
P. had a supportive family, but commented about a neighbor:
I did have a neighbor ask me why can't I just pump and put it in a bottle now that she's "so old." (her baby is only 19 months old.) Why would I pull a toddler from the source and introduce a bottle at this age?
Gotta Love Those Great-Grandpas!
It seems that some great-grandfathers tend to be more supportive than the women of their generation.
The first time I had to nip (nurse in public) with my ENTIRE family, I thought my grandmother was going to turn beet red. My granddad, noticing what I was doing said very loudly because he's mostly deaf," If anybody doesn't like it, they can just get out of here." I needed his support as a new and nervous mom. I didn't even know how much until he said that...not to mention the comic relief of everyone hearing him!
Finally, this discussion made M. remember her baby's great-grandfather:
This reminds me of a sweet comment made to me by my husband's 90 year old granddad. I was a new mom nervously nursing our first baby under a cover. Granddad told me about when he was a boy with several older sisters. Whenever it was time to feed the babies, all the mommies would sit on the porch together, rocking and chatting while they nursed.
Do you have a "Taboobie" tale to share? Leave it in the comments so we can all enjoy it!