Why Are Americans so Uncomfortable with Extended Breastfeeding?Danielle
Extended breastfeeding! It is a term we have heard a lot about since that horrid Time Magazine cover fell into our laps a couple weeks ago. In the weeks following, there has been a lot of discussion about breastfeeding as a whole and breastfeeding toddlers.
Last weekend while sitting down to a family dinner for Ben’s birthday, my dad asked me what I thought about the Time cover. I went off on a short tirade and tried to make him understand that in reality there is absolutely nothing wrong with breastfeeding a toddler. But my dad is old school, and while he tried to be open-minded, I could still see his hesitance.
Lets face it – America looks at boobs and equates sex. There is no denying that at all, and in my opinion (and we all know what opinions are like!) that is the root of the problem. We have grown up in a society where breasts are for the pleasure of men and women in an intimate manner. They are there to attract people in a sexual manner; not to feed babies!
But there is the root of the problem. Feeding babies is what breasts are made for. It may not be their sole purpose, but it certainly is the biggest reason. Or of course, we wouldn’t lactate!
In other parts of the world — including developed nations all over Europe — women typically breastfeed far longer. What we consider to be extended breastfeeding is just normal breastfeeding in their culture.
As time goes on, the rates of breastfeeding here in our country are increasing. Is it due to better education?
Is it the fact that the economy is not as strong and families can’t make the choice of formula due to money?
Is it because mothers are learning the health benefits?
Maybe it is the help moms are getting in the hospital when they have their baby?
No one can really answer that question for everyone of course.
But as I get off my soap box, I guess my real point is… extended breastfeeding is normal. The fact that most women in America don’t do it isn’t the norm when we are compared to the general population of the world. Maybe we should stop equating breasts to the celebrities with their boobs running all over TV and look at them in the manner in which they were biologically intended? HA! Pipe dream with that one!
What do YOU think the problem with extended breastfeeding is in America?
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