Not to want to evangelise re breastfeeding?

(82 Posts)

A member of my family on DH's side is pregnant at a young age (teenage) and has expressed her intention to feed her baby formula from the outset. Boobs, in her view, are not for feeding babies and breastfeeding is weird and her mates would give her stick.

I have breastfed successfully (whee!) and have no problem at all with her plans, since it's naff all to do with me.

However, her mum and my MIL are aghast that she won't even try and want me to lay it on thick with her to encourage her to have a go. I have said that I will do no such thing - it's not my place and I wouldn't have liked someone having a go if the roles were reversed. If she asks me about breastfeeding then of course I'd be delighted to answer her questions but I'm not going to give her unsolicited advice.

MIL thinks I am being unreasonable and should be encouraging young mums to breastfeed - but I really think I'm not and hectoring will help no one. AIBU?

achillea Sun 27-Jan-13 00:07:58

When I say breasts I mean nipples and mammary glands. Sorry. Keep your hair on.

Chunderella Sun 27-Jan-13 14:54:09

Ok, you're incorrectly using the two terms interchangeably, hence your confusion. Maybe don't talk about other people's lack of knowledge about the human anatomy, then! Humans need nipples and mammary glands to lactate, but not breast tissue, and as such we don't know why we developed it. As the presence and amount of breast tissue makes no difference to ability to lactate and we don't have any evidence that it ever did, it can't be because of that. We don't even know enough to suggest that breasts, as opposed to nipples and mammary glands, even have a primary function.

Incidentally, I remembered where I first read about this theory. It was in 'The Whole Woman' by that renowned upholder of patriarchy Germaine Greer. The chapter entitled 'Breasts'.

achillea Sun 27-Jan-13 16:25:26

But would you agree that the primary function of mammary glands is to feed babies whether or not they are surrounded by breast tissue? And that it is right that when women have babies they are enabled to see and understand this and put the breast tissue matter aside by not focussing on the fact that they are sexually attractive to men?

Chunderella Sun 27-Jan-13 17:09:00

Mammary glands, yes. I don't know of any other reason for them other than lactation. I'm not really sure what your second sentence means. Perhaps you would rephrase? If you're saying that when women have babies they ought to come round to your point of view and see their breasts as only or primarily for lactation rather than as sexual, then no. There is insufficient biological evidence to back up that view, and as we live in a society where breasts can be both, either or neither, it is for the individual woman to assign her own priorities. In the absence of such biological evidence, persuading women is not enabling, or allowing them to understand. It's imposing baseless dogma.

Chunderella Sun 27-Jan-13 17:12:55

Oh, I should probably add that I don't particularly value the sexual aspect of my own breasts, whereas I have done some breastfeeding and may do so again when I (hopefully) have DC2. So this isn't about imposing my own point of view, but about upholding the right of other women to theirs. If you prefer to define your breasts as primarily or totally for lactation after having given birth achillea, I support your right to do this.

ethelb Sun 27-Jan-13 17:41:28

@achilia what @chunderella is saying is fairly standard evolutionary theory. Just because you have never heard of it doesnt mean it is true.

I do wish ubscientifically educated people realised that their 'opinions' mean little compared to scientific theory.

achillea Sun 27-Jan-13 18:06:11

Thanks for that Ethel. That really adds to the debate - which is may I remind you about a pregnant teenager reluctant to breastfeed.

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