Debate: Cultural views of breastfeeding changed?

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Debate: Cultural views of breastfeeding changed?
14
Thu, 02-17-2011 - 1:49pm

How do you think cultural views of breastfeeding have changed since you were a baby?

Breastfeeding, Culture and Atachment:

http://www.attachmentacrosscultures.org/beliefs/bfeed_culture.pdf

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008

Back when I was a baby in the late '70's, the BF vs. FF culures was as follows:

Then: Only a small minority even tried to BF. Few made it even to 6 months. Weaning from the breast by about 6 months or earlier was pushed, with one year being the absolute maximum.

Now: Most mothers accept BF'ing for up to a year is acceptable with at least a significant minority supporting BF'ing beyond a year.

Then: BF'ing was seen mostly as something hippies and third world mothers did.

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Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Thu, 02-17-2011 - 11:04pm

<<As someone who was a mom in that time era, my experience was a bit different. Yes, only a small majority even tried, but 6 weeks was the goal, and extended BFing was 3 months. Only hippies and foreigners BF to 6 months and no-one BF past that point. It was not possible. >>

I know my mom BF'd me until one year so I known there where mothers BF'ing that long. I imagine she was somewhat of an anomaly and I know that there where LLL mothers who where BF'ing till a year or later at that time. I imagine most mothers who made past the early weeks only BF'd maybe 3-6 months in the U.S. Many mothers never made it long enough to consider BF'ing for 6 months or longer due to terrible support from the medical profession at the time and no LC's to turns too. Thus I imagine few considered how long they should BF for because they where forced via bad advice and such to quit very early on. Thing may have been somewhat different then in Canada in terms of when complete weaning was expected.

My dr was very supportive of BFing, but all around me FFing was the norm, and even those that BF also used formula to supplement.

There where doctors in the U.S. who supported BF'ng but as I understand it they where few and far between. Even doctors who supported BF'ing in principle where not trained to support in with proper advice and such and thus ended sabotaging many mother's attempts at BF'ing unnecessarily.

I had heard of that happening in the 60's, but not around the time I was having my boys.

I know they where still offering the shot in the U.S. in the 70's though it probably likely they has largely stopped giving the shot without the mothers consent by the late 70's.

Never heard of them, not sure there was such a thing in my neighbourhood. However, I was fortunate to be living in the Toronto area, where one of the few Canadian LLL groups was located.

Given how new the profession was at the time I believe the few LC's that did exist then where in the U.S. so I'm not surprised you didn't know about them then.

Perhaps not, but I was never hassled, nor did I ever hear of anyone being hassled or asked to leave a place. I BF everywhere I went, even in a rocking chair in a furniture store, and never worried about anyone making a scene about it.

I imagine that how NIP was viewed probably varied depending on where you lived as it does today. Did you see many other moms NIP'ing at the time? I imagine there where so few BF'ing moms and even fewer NIP'ing moms that it's unlikely there would be many incidents regardless of how people felt about NIP. I'd also imagine it was not something that was talked about they it is today.

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Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Fri, 02-18-2011 - 12:17am

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2008
Fri, 02-18-2011 - 10:44am
Actually, the commission to put together a professional lactation-oriented certification was put together in 1982 and the first IBCLC exam wasn't administered until 1984. So they definitely weren't around when Catherine's big kids were little.
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Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Fri, 02-18-2011 - 11:11am

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
<>

I was not referring to IBLC's but to the first LC's in general, who I were not certified. So while IBCLC's definitely didn't' exists in the late 1970's, I do recall reading that their where women offering their services for as lactation consultants/breastfeeding counselors for a fee to BF moms in the late 70's for the first time.

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Community Leader
Registered: 04-18-2003

It hasn't changed that much.

Gail

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006

I grew up in a tiny, rural town. The doctor there was pretty old when I was born. He had been my mother's doctor when she was born (at home). I was born at a hospital in the mid-sixties under the care of the fairly old doctor. HE wanted my mother to breastfeed. Every other mother in the ward used formula. She tells me her experience with near-shame, that the nurses stood outside her room and more or less ridiculed her, "she's the one". My mom is a very sensitive person and was extremely uncomfortable with being different. I believe her sense of shame was not caused by mean or insensitive nurses, but rather a sensitivity to being different and a misinterpretation of the nurse's lack of familiarity with nursing as a reflection on her. Fortunately for me, my mother trusted the doctor and breastfed mefor about six weeks in spite of her discomfort.

Obviously, I think the cultural attitude has come a long way since then, even though it still has a long way to go.

Community Leader
Registered: 04-18-2003

I remember a few years ago

Gail

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