Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cultural Support of Breastfeeding

I'm pretty sure none of my husband's friends would consider themselves to be lactivists. In fact, I suspect they haven't heard the word and would be somewhat embarrassed if I explained what it meant. And yet, I have found these guys to be part of the culture that supports breastfeeding.

Happy nursing boy

Let me give you some sweeping generalizations about these guys. They're college grads, some pursuing Masters degrees. They play video games and board games and talk about computer specs for fun. They are aware of current events and debate politics for hours. This isn't the football crowd, but neither would they be familiar with terms like attachment parenting, intactivism, or gentle discipline. In fact, most of them probably don't know nursing bras exist.


When I nurse him, no one bats an eye. They continue to talk with me, neither staring nor awkwardly avoiding all eye contact. He is almost a year old and no one has suggested that he is getting too old. Granted, this may be because they don't know that culture frowns upon nursing toddlers, but I'm OK with that. These guys react as if nursing is the same as giving a bottle, totally normal. (As an aside, I think it's interesting that a group of young men, many of them single, react appropriately to a nursing mother, but multiple women have expressed disapproval that I'm "still" nursing Peter.)

I am so grateful for this unquestioning acceptance of how I feed my son. And they'll probably never know. Because if I said thank you, they would feel awkward. :-)


  1. Nurse on, mama, nurse on! David will be 13 mo on Friday and is still nursing 5 or 6 times a day and is showing no real signs of wanting to ween anytime soon (and he already looks like a 3 year old - especially when his long legs are sticking out from the cover that i choose to use when nursing in public). Just nurse that little boy for as long as you (and he) want and know that you are doing the best thing for him (and for you)! And i think it's great the Jeremy's friends, at the very least, don't seem to notice, at most, and extremely respectful young men who will hopefully one day be supportive of their wives making the same decision.

  2. Thank you for writing this post. I enjoy hearing about positive experiences while breastfeeding. It's these that will help change things for the better.

  3. @Donna: Yeah, we're planning on letting him initiate weaning and he certainly doesn't want to yet! A few years is such a short amount of time in the grand scheme of things, I can't see rushing him through this stage. Good to know we have solidarity. :-)

    @Zoie: Yep, one step at a time! Perhaps nursing will be seen as normal again some day.