For some reason the most natural maternal act as become the controversy o’da day. Strange considering that it has been around for as long as man, well woman and child has. You know that we have gone left when the organic method of nurturing and bonding with your child as become a point of contention. Perhaps it is an American issue, there are countries where the culture and the economy has kept feeding one’s children from the source not only common, but is the only choice. It is not viewed as offensive whether done in private or in public, it is just –what you do when you baby is hungry, you whip out the tit. Perhaps because we as a country and culture have so many choices, and those choices drive the concepts of acceptability that we find ourselves in this type of predicament. Think about it, with the the number of working mothers, and single mothers the idea of actually being available for your newborn in order to breast feed has diminished, even in a failing economy when breastfeeding is free, in our culture, it can be viewed as an “inconvenience” or even an impossibility given they way that we as a culture function. It takes extra time, time away from your baby to pump your milk. The fact that when new mothers are in the hospital (even though they are taught to breastfeed) they are given formula as a parting gift- as an option I think speaks volumes. Modern mothers (not all, but a lot) just don’t have the luxury of being able to as much time with their babies. For most after a few weeks they are back to work. American women have to fight for a minimum of maternity leave. For instance in Canada they offer paid 55% up to $485/week for 50 weeks (15 weeks maternity + 35 weeks parental leave shared with father). In America we offer 0 weeks (CA: 6 weeks 55%, NJ 6 weeks 66%, WA 5 weeks $250/week possibly starting 10/2015; pregnancy treated as disability: HI 58%, NY 50%, RI formula.) Perhaps this is why we have things like “Attachment Parenting” popping up. Attachment Parenting encourages mothers to respond to their babies’ every cry and form close bonds with near-constant physical contact: “co-sleeping” (letting them sleep in the bed with parents rather than in cribs) and “baby-wearing” (carrying them on slings instead of pushing them in strollers). This is the ideology which spawned the controversial Time Magazine cover of mother Jamie Lynne Grumet, breast feeding her 3 year old child who is standing in a chair.
“People have to realize this is biologically normal,” she said, adding, “The more people see it, the more it’ll become normal in our culture. That’s what I’m hoping. I want people to see it.”
True indeed, albeit I think that when a child has a learners permit to drive it might be time to ween but that’s just me. This concept of Attachment Parenting illustrates my point perfectly. Since when does a parent have to “attach”? There was a time, and there are places where this idea of being with, and bonding with your child does not need to be so… heavy handed. Ok I get that, but for how long is this supposed to be practiced? singer Alanis Morissette, 37 was quoted as saying:
“I breastfeed and I’ll be breastfeeding until my son is finished and he weans,”
Well, I guess the question then becomes, does a child ween themselves or do parents ween the child? Does that go for potty training as well? There is something to be said of forced- or let’s say “encouraged” independence or separation, because let’s face it, there will be a day when Mommy and Daddy will not be there and a child will certainly hear the words “No” or will have to wait. Flash forward to the first day at school. As an educator I just think this is a nightmare waiting to happen. A child that has been tended to at their whim, who’s every desire supplied on demand is going to have a harder time transitioning into a group environment with shared attention. My question is, when, and how in the attachment parenting paradigm does that kick in? To me the concept of Attachment Parenting idea is one of a privileged lifestyle (nothing wrong with that, just sayin’) the average American mother does not have the luxury of that kind of time for that level of “devotion”.
But back to the subject at hand, breastfeeding. Now there are photos of military moms breastfeeding in uniform that have people (military folk) up in arms (well not literally in “arms”). Some think that is defiles the uniform… I think that it might be another version of don’t ask don’t tell. You might be a mother in the military but please don’t let us know that you breastfeed. Personally I don’t see the big deal, when it comes to breastfeeding it is the healthiest choice a mother can make but I do draw the line at your toasting your child’s graduation with your teat!
What are your thoughts?