Saturday, July 12, 2008

Breast is Best?


There's a fascinating and disturbing interchange on Inside Catholic about breastfeeding at Mass. One commenter (#22) sees nursing a baby in public at all as part of a Satanic plot to destroy motherhood. This reminds me of a letter I read a while back in the New Oxford Review which asserted that sex is solely for the creation of babies, which, as I understand it, actually controverts Catholic doctrine; after all, sex is not proscribed for those past childbearing years, those who are already expecting a child, or those medically proven infertile.

For the record, I nursed my son on demand wherever that happened to be, including at Mass, and never thought much about it (he just weaned at 28 months, and I did try to avoid nursing him in public after he was about two, since nursing an older baby is something that is frowned upon most places in America). I never used a blanket. There are lots of discreet ways to do it without covering your baby's head, which always seemed to me like something a baby wouldn't really want to have done to him.

Hat tip: Cosmos-Liturgy-Sex.

7 comments:

Tertium Quid said...

My daughter was weaned at two-and-a-half. She is healthy as a horse!

Pentimento said...

That is great - it makes me happy to hear things like this! Your wife is a good mother.

dreshny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dreshny said...

Check this out: Vatican plea to uncover Virgin Mary and show her breast-feeding baby Jesus

What I was actually looking for was a painting I know I've seen: Mary nursing Jesus sitting next to Elizabeth nursing John, but apparently it's nowhere on the web.

Pentimento said...

Wow, I love that painting! Thank you, Dreshny. I don't know if you read the commentary on the Inside Catholic article - very distressing if you're a breastfeeding mother. The funny thing is that the people I know who are the least self-conscious about bf during Mass are the more traditionalist, at least conservative, Catholics.

Mrs. T said...

My oldest weaned at 2-and-a-half, too, and is now a flourishing teenager. I've had progressively earlier weaners since, through no real desire of my own. And I never did the blanket thing, either -- dragging out a blanket and draping it over yourself always seems more conspicuous to me than just tucking the baby discreetly up under there. And I did nurse in church, though not in England, where I felt a little intimidated in general. Nobody ever knew. They just thought the baby was sleeping. Actually, I think most people in church or any other public venue don't even notice that you've got a baby with you unless he/she is crying. And you have to wonder about the people who complain about public breastfeeding -- so they would PREFER screaming?

Many of the earthiest people I know -- eco-breastfeeding mothers, home-birthers; also raisers of chickens in the back yard -- are traditionalist Catholics. (I mean, of the ones who aren't druids . . .).

Pentimento said...

Glad to see you here, Mrs. T.

It's funny. When I went back to the RC Church, I also noticed that all the crunchy things my dyed-in-the-wool lefty pals did were also done by the most arch-conservative trad moms.

My husband recently told me about an email forward he received from a younger, unmarried friend that salaciously and in detail compared a child breastfeeding to the act of sex. It's this kind of thing that has gotten in our culture and provokes the heretical prudery of people like that commenter on Inside Catholic.

And this friend of my husband's is a former seminarian . . .