New mothers in the United Arab Emirates are now required by law to breastfeed their babies for two years, according to a clause in the country’s Child Rights law. Mothers who cannot nurse would be provided with a wet nurse by the government. One viewpoint held by the council is that children have the right to be breastfed, according to Islamic teaching; another compared not breastfeeding — just giving your baby formula — to child neglect. Keep reading »
“Today, the choir will sing, but the most beautiful choir of all is the choir of the infants who will make a noise. Some will cry because they are not comfortable or because they are hungry. If they are hungry, mothers, feed them, without thinking twice. Because they are the most important people here.”
It’s not often the Catholic Church does something that I actually like. So I am very pleased to read that when Pope Francis baptized 32 babies yesterday, he first told all the mothers sitting in the pews of the Sistine Chapel not to feel shy about breastfeeding. How awesome is that? Last month, the Pope also told an Italian newspaper that he encouraged a mother to nurse her hungry child in the church, even though she seemed hesitant to do so — perhaps out of fear that it would be frowned upon by fellow churchgoers. Hey, it happens practically everywhere else. By encouraging nursing moms to breastfeed when they — and their babies! — see fit, the Pope is making a strong statement that breastfeeding should not be looked at as risqué or sinful. That’s a message moms everywhere need to hear. [Independent UK] [Image of breastfeeding mother via Shutterstock; image of Pope Francis via Getty]
As 2013 draws to a close, let’s take a look at the Good, the Meh, and the Ugly in the world of motherhood this past year. Keep reading »
Leading the way in creating Mommy Issues For 20-somethings of the future, Maha Al Musa, a 51-year-old mom who told the UK tabloid New! that she plans to breastfeed her daughter Aminah until she is 10 years old. Yes, you read that correctly. She’ll be breastfeeding her child until the 5th grade.
Aminah, who is five right now, has been nursing since birth. Al Musa believes it helps Aminah’s immune system and insists that she’s healthier and calmer than most other kids. She also feels a special bond with her daughter: “The moment I felt that bond, I was instantly hooked,” Al Musa told The New York Post. Um. I get that breastfeeding is supposed to be a bonding experience and all, but isn’t this kind of taking the “helicopter parent” thing too far? Keep reading »
When it comes to mothering and the so-called “Mommy Wars,” the one debate that will seemingly never die is the one centered around breastfeeding. I’ve written extensively about breastfeeding in the past, and in my day job I work on finding accessible ways to educate pregnant women about breastfeeding, in the hopes that they’ll at least be open to trying it out once their baby is born. I’m of the mind that “breast is best,” but I’m also painfully aware that we as a country and society do not make it easy in the slightest for women —particularly working women or those from lower socio-economic backgrounds— to breastfeed. I was a big fan of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week and I try and support women who want to breastfeeding but lack resources/information/help. I also try to support and provide information for pregnant women who aren’t sure about whether they will nurse or not. And, when possible, I help connect parents who want their babies to have breast milk with mothers who have an excess supply. I also will not shame, harass, or harangue a woman who chooses to or needs to formula feed their baby for whatever reason.
I will, however, call out someone who uses faulty logic as reasoning for not nursing her hypothetical future child. Karla A. Erickson’s “Explaining Why, Next Time, I Won’t Breastfeed” was a recent op/ed in the Iowa Press-Citizen that purports to use breastfeeding as the cause of uneven and unequal division of labor when it comes to parenting. Keep reading »
Amy Woodruff, the hand-standing, breastfeeding mom pictured above is a blogger and a yogi who sells handmade goods on Etsy. On her blog, Daughter of the Sun, she explains the circumstances of the photo, which she posted back in April:
“The truth is we were living on a small community in Hawaii where our land was clothing optional and yoga was/is a necessity! I was just doin’ my daily flow when the little sweet pea came to sneak a suckle. Papa had her out in the grass with him and she just couldn’t resist! This happens all the time by the way. When a breast is out and baby is around, they are going to try and get it anyway they can!” Keep reading »
Naptime, feeding time … final exam? For Rebecca Mabrey, 25, of Jacksonville, Florida, that was how her and her 10-month-old baby’s afternoon was going to play out. But she was denied entrance to her final exam at Florida State College for bringing the kiddo along.
Mabrey argued that the exam fell right between her baby’s naptime and feeding time, so she felt that she had no choice but to bring her kid along to breastfeed. (Her husband was unable to watch the kid.) Florida State College did not agree: in an email, they told her children under 16 are not allowed on campus in order to maintain an environment that is conducive to learning. The school also added they were not in violation of Florida’s maternal and infant health care law on breastfeeding because “this is not a prohibition of breastfeeding an infant.” In other words, Mabrey would be allowed to breastfeed her baby during the exam — if only kids were allowed. Keep reading »
At this point, I’m absolutely over the phrase “having it all.” It’s been beaten to death, taken out of context, used as link bait, etc… And I’m over it. I’m mostly over it because it’s a convoluted concept. “Having it all” doesn’t have one universal definition and it is something we only lord over the heads of women. It’s problematic on many levels, yet that doesn’t stop folks from hammering the point over and over and over again. But because the concept of “having it all” is so entrenched in our society, when an accomplished professor (of a feminist anthropology course, no less) ends up bringing her sick baby to the first day of class, and at one point nurses her, it becomes fodder for an investigative story.
Keep reading »