Should BF'ing be taught in school?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Should BF'ing be taught in school?
9
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 8:10pm
I was browsing around the internet, looking for interesting topics we could discuss here when I came accross "A Breastfeeding Education Activity Package for Grades K-12" put out by the New York Department of Public Health. I've been reading a bit of it & I have to admit, I like what I see - introducing bf'ing as the norm instead of the exception to children as early as Kindergarten & continuing that message through High School. Granted, the Elementary materials are not specifically about bf'ing - instead, it is part of a broader subject - animals having offspring of the same kind & how they care for their offspring (with the feeding from mother's body - a cat, dog, baboon, etc).

As the children get older/more mature, the subject mater is more specific about human reproduction & lactation - and the benefits of bf'ing.

If you'd like to take a look at the information, you can find it here: http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/b_feed/main.htm

At first, I wasn't so sure about how they would present such a topic to younger children, but after reading the materials a bit, I think this is an excellent idea. Of course, my children have been exposed to a mother bf'ing & know what it is all about, so it already seems normal to them. But for some children, they either haven't been exposed to bf'ing or don't remember. I like the way this is set up - to make bf'ing the normal way to feed a baby (be it human or other animal), but in a subtle way.

What do you think? Is such a topic/curriculum appropriate for teaching in school (public or private)? How would you react if you found out your child was being taught about breastfeeding (using this curriculum or another)?

Michelle

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 8:15pm
Of COURSE BF should be taught at school...just like sex ed should be.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 8:20pm
I pay a high yearly tuition for my 1st Grader & will be doing so thru 12th grade plus another future schooler on the way....I just really don't place value on teaching children of all ages the benefits of bfing over ffing. Their time is so limited in what they can get into a day I don't see it as important enough to sit other studies aside or limit those to provide this. My DS who is 7 and I have discussed how Mommy's feed their babies including bfing and ffing since before I became pregnant (ttc for over 4 years)...he realizes there are 2 ways to feed babies and he sees pictures of both. Pictures are in all of my books and all of his! I don't think personally I want to pay an instructor to teach my small child this information. Also, how would it be presented would be a major concern? Is bfing going to be portrayed as the "higher ground"? Is ffing going to be degraded? Not points I want my child to hear from instructors. And being a Christian School I really doubt they'd go into these discussions outside of a specified class (i.e. health, home economics) anyway.

One of the buckoos and many reasons we chose Private Christian Schooling was so we would have a stronger say in WHAT our child is and is not taught!

I had all the bfing information during 3 years of Home Economics plus my Health classes and I *do* believe that was enough. Of course, Health is a required course while Home Ec is elective. But I think increase information in health classes would create more exposure to it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 8:35pm
Most definately yes. This is a perfect opportunity to inform the next generation of just how great BFing is and all the benefits surrounding it. Even if they decide against BFing their children, at least they have some knowledge of what BF is all about. It might encourage those, who would have otherwise never given it a thought; especially the girls who may become pg in middle/high school, whose babies have an increased chance of being at risk to begin with. I know alot of the ladies here, wether they BF or FF, have put alot of thought into their decisions and this would be a good way to inform those who normally wouldn't have the resources available to them.

Janet & nursling Sierra

Avatar for mahogny
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 2:19pm
I browsed the curriculum, and I think it's fantastic! I love how it starts the "wee ones" with more reproductive truths than concentrating on breastfeeding, ie the cat has kittens, how the baby animals are fed, etc. I also think it graduates into breastfeeding education very nicely.

I grew up in NY state, and at that time, the "growing up classes" began in 5th grade. (You know, where the girls are shuttled off to their movie about periods, and the boys are shuttled off to theirs about whatever theirs was about. LOL!) Each year got more in depth into the subject, and by junior high, those particular classes were co-ed, and covered much more material, and went for a longer time span. (Several week unit, as opposed to an afternoon movie! LOL!) Personally, I think the breastfeeding education would fit in beautifully in that context. Why should human reproduction education end at diagrams of the uterus, ovaries, penis, vas deferens, testes, etc? I personally love how the breasts are included in the anatomy lessons. Perhaps this approach will de-sexualize the breasts for this up and coming generation!

The high school curriculum is also fantastic, IMO. The biological aspect could be covered in HS bio classes, but the social aspect could be covered in social studies very easily and adequately. (Ex - in American History, when talking about life on the frontier, how did these pioneer women feed their babies? What advantages did this give? How did the pilgrims on the Mayflower feed their babies?) It could also be covered in nutrition classes. When I was growing up, Health and Nutrition was a required class in NY state - don't know if it still is - but the benefits of breastfeeding very easily fit into that class.

However, the outcome would also depend on the teacher. Obviously if the teacher is pro-bf, he/she would more than likely be willing to discuss this. But if the teacher is not pro-bf, or has no personal experience, it would be awkward for him/her to incorporate it into lesson plans.

The date on that curriculum is 1999. I'd love to know if it is currently being utilized by any schools, and what the outcome is/expected to be.

Sarah

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 9:44pm
Did you read the curiculum I linked to at all? If you had, you would have seen that the little ones are not taught specifically about bf'ing vs ff'ing. It is based on nature - cats have kittens (instead of puppies, for example) & talks about how the mommy kitten cares for her babies - which includes feeding. The focus is not on the actual anatomy, etc of bf'ing until HS - where I would hope the students are mature enough to discuss it - from both a scientific & social aspect. Yes, the curiculum is designed for public schools, but I think it would be just as important in a private, Christain school (especially since Mary breastfed Jesus). If I decide to send my children to our Church's school, I would be glad if they used this, or a similar curiculum. If you haven't read it, you might want to - it is quite interesting - regardless of whether you chose to bf or ff your baby.

Michelle

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 10:16pm
Yes, I did. But we have regular strong feelings about what is and isn't taught (outside of home economics and health/biology classes where it is *expected* it will be taught). And those classes are reserved for the jr high and high school ages (7th-12th).

As far as how baby animals eat...that was covered in kindergarten when they did their "farm and zoo" unit and went on field trips to coordinate with those units. But there was no "bfing" angle...it was just, this is how the Mommy Dog feeds the Puppies kinda thing. Which is perfectly fine & acceptable...but nothing more in detail.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 1:44pm
No. There is so much that needs to be taught in school today that this just seems to be another thing to throw on an ever growing pile of stuff that we think is "politically correct" for kids to know. That extra time could be spent on physical education (something that is sorely lacking and could save lives) and math and reading. I have no objection to it being mentioned in the context of biology or health but to create a whole special curriculum for it seems silly. Teachers are spread too think as it is.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 3:24pm
I would think it would be taught regardless. It IS how most animals feed their young and I am sure that is something that is taught in science.

Admittedly I did not read the article. But I would have NO problem with my older kids learning about breastfeeding for humans. In either younger or older grades. But I think it should be required teaching in any kind of class that covers parenting (parenting classes or home ec or whatever). I don't understand why it wouldn't be and I guess I take issue with people who don't feel the same way.

I DID formula feed and I don't regret it but I don't think there is anything wrong with giving ALL the options early on.

Lynda

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 3:52pm
I had it in all 3 yrs of Home Economics and several years of Health.

I agree. Feeding baby animals is covered already in Kindergarten (and preschool for some).

I do think FFing has to be shown as an option and not to be talked down about.