Sunday, December 27, 2009

Musings on the "normal" raising of babies

It says something about the hippie upbringing I've had that every time I see someone walk past with their baby balanced on their hip, struggling to juggle their shopping bags or open a door, I think "why aren't they wearing a sling? It would be so much easier!".  And every time I see a baby being bottle fed, I shudder, thinking how much better/healthier/cheaper/more convenient breastfeeding is (before someone feels a need to tell me that some people are unable to breastfeed, I realize that.  But the fact remains that the great majority simply choose not to!).

I grew up surrounded by lots of granola/hippie homeschooling moms. ;-) Babywearing and breastfeeding (and co-sleeping) have always been what's *normal* to me, and I find myself surprised at how *abnormal* those things are to much of the population!  So many people think breastfeeding is "gross", co-sleeping "dangerous", and so many people don't seem to even know about the existence of babywearing.

Instead, what's "normal" to most people is formula in plastic bottles; strollers and carry-able seats; disposable diapers and cribs.  All so artificial, and so *removed*!  The world is a strange and sad place when that's what's considered *normal*.

Continuing in the same vein, I found this video recently, of art from all over the world depicting the baby Jesus nursing.  I'm not Christian in the slightest, but that didn't make me find this art, or what it says about the cultures that created it, any less lovely.  From the blog, Peaceful Parenting, that created this video:

"Images of Mary breastfeeding Jesus were once ubiquitous in churches around the world. But eventually in North America, as the artificial feeding of babies became more popular, and the plastic bottle replaced the breast, our nipplephobia got the best of us and these sacred images all but disappeared from churches and art galleries in North America."




  1. Thanks so much for posting this! I agree, I can't believe how artificial child-rearing has become :/

    The whole question of home-births as well; hopefully I'll always live in a community that's as supportive of mine is about midwifery and all.

  2. Thanks Idzie!
    the video was great! it warmed my heart to see so many breastfeeding pictures all at once. I loved the angles of some of the breasts and cringed every time it showed baby jesus touching the other nipple while nursing:)

  3. Hi
    Thanks for sharing, I have been enjoying reading your blog.
    much love Martine

  4. awesome. i agree. i have a friend that gave birth a few weeks ago and gave up trying to breastfeed after a week. i feel sad for the baby and for the mommy, that it didn't work out. her nipples were bleeding from all the trouble. i don't know how things could have been different for her but .. i feel the same as you - wish every mama knew the benefits of co-sleeping, wearing, BF'ing, unschooling, etc. you keep on writing, okay?! happy holidays from israel. :)

  5. I've had the same experience of not realizing how "abnormal" I am as a parent until I'm around the "normal" kind. I just go about my merry, full-term breastfeeding, cosleeping, toddler-babywearing way, though.

    Thanks for the video of the Mary breastfeeding images. I love breastfeeding art! It always touches me when the art in question is so right on, when I've seen that same look or gesture in my own baby, the tilt of his head as he feeds, or the twiddling of his hands. Love seeing that reproduced by artists, because it shows how common and out in the open breastfeeding must have been then!

    Glad to have found your blog!

  6. I tried a few different slings, but I never quite got the hang of it. However, breast feeding seemed pretty natural and normal and easy for me, until my son mostly weaned himself at 10 months, preferring bottles during the day. He was just too busy! I missed the wonderful closeness of it. Funny though, unlike Suzy, I cringed at some of the breast angles and loved the baby touching the other nipple while nursing, so sweet...

  7. I think the vast majority of women do not breastfeed because they lack a good support system. Studies show that 66% of women start off breastfeeding but only 22% are still nursing at 6 months.
    I think until you have a child of your own you should be a little less judgmental. Most mothers are doing the best they can.

  8. hey idzie
    btw i went to xmas church service (1/365). the priest went on a rant vs modern society then asserted that "mary homeschooled jesus" and therefore his hope for the future lay in the fact that more children were being homeschooled. i nearly fell off my pew ... really ;))