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Mentoring the Next Generation (Almost Wordless Wednesday)

I far too often hear "but I don't want my children to see THAT" in people's objections to nursing in public.  I think we need our children to see more of THAT.

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Reader Comments (45)

sigh, again this reminds me I don't have pics of me nursing. Beautiful. Also, my son last spring (after his sister was born) started to nurse lots of things - including his fav. stuffed animal and a cat figuring that sat on my parents floor lol

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Rebecca: Get your camera out! Now!

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

My 5 year old daughter took this beautiful (IMO) nursing picture. She just grabbed the camera and said, "can I take a nursie picture mommy?" More of THAT, indeed :)


March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

I don't have many shots nursing either. It made my husband squeemish to have a picture of that. Typical man.

The important thing is my oldest has seen it and will feed her "babies" by breastfeeding. If I have influenced just her to breastfeed, that is enough for me :)

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

I have some shots of my son nursing thank god! It's about time already for people to get over it. I nursed in public and did not care if anyone looked or not. My husband (who did not come from a nursing family) told me he thoughtit was the best thing we did for our son!

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmyA

I feel so happy that Amy @muddybootsblog captured some amazing photos of me nursing. I know I will look at them with fondness for the rest of my life!

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChantal

Orion only breastfed for a couple of weeks but he still makes me 'breastfeed' his baby doll Tommy. He says he can't do it because "I don't have boobies Mummy - but YOU do, so can you give Tommy some milk from them?" :D

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnji

Nursing in public is not just a choice for us, but a must. Our older children are 9 and 10, and in so many activities, if I didn't nurse in public, I would miss all the games, musicals and spelling bees! If one of their team-mates ask about it, they don't even bat an eye- they usually just say, my sister is nursing. No big deal to them! I do need to get some nursing photos, though- baby is already 9 months!

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCori

my 2 and half year old daughter told me her doll wanted some booby this afternoon...I was so pleased!

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercarolb


March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

Love it! My friend has a picture of her daughter "pumping". Too cute! Another has one of her son breastfeeding :)

I love the pics I have of feeding my kids. Wish I'd taken more, though...

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJacki (JackiYo)

My son's middle name is Orion. You're the first I've seen it elsewhere :)

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJacki (JackiYo)

this is an argument I will never understand - the not wanting ones children to see THAT. why ever not? Are we really so repressed that breast feeding is something to hide from our children? Most of them were breastfed, they've seen it before, what's the issue? Bringing children up to be ashamed of their bodies and the functions of the body is such a sad thing. Teaching another generation to hide and shame those that don't. Sigh.

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

That second picture totally made me smile. What a tiny little thing that newborn is! And what a lovely picture of a family bonding there.

My toddler regularly asks to "feed" after seeing her baby brother nursing, ("feeding" is generally her putting her face on my bare stomach or chest while I rub her back or head... she seems to intuitively remember, (and currently see with her brother), the closeness and love that is associated with nursing and wants to experience that again.

Both of my girls nurse their dollies and stuffed animals. I'm glad I've normalized it for them.

(Though I do have to say, my openness in nursing has resulted in some funny situations with my almost 2 year old... she likes to poke me now and say, "MAMA'S BOOOOOOBIES!" In public. That gets WAY more stares than the NIP does)

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLooneyJen

I love how the toddler girls are watching so closely to see what's going on and how to replicate it. That's exactly what we need to happen!

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLauren @ Hobo Mama

I have 'met' (online) a few parents of Orions actually. My Orion's middle name is Taliesin... I'm so cruel... ;)

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnji

Love this! The first shot reminds me of my family. My oldest "breastfeeds" right along side of me at times (right from the day DD2 was born!). Her dolls and stuffed animals are well taken care of :)

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGwen

Beautiful picture! One year my daughter and I attended the Breastfeeding Challenge with my youngest nursling. She sat next to me and had brought her doll to nurse and when it was time for the official 'put your babies to the breast' she nursed her doll and put her hand up just like me. It's such a sweet memory. I think I have a picture somewhere - I'll try and dig it out out iPhoto. Thanks for posting this :)

That reminds me I need to see if I can get my husband to take a particular breastfeeding shot I've been after a while. Hopefully I can get some cooperation from my one year old, as we haven't done this particular one in a couple months. She had a habit for a while of standing on the bed to breastfeed while I stood next to it. I think she liked having a bit more say in how she was doing it.

It does strike me as really odd that people feel that children shouldn't see breastfeeding. Children are the ones who breastfeed! Plus, they are WAY less squeamish about it than any adult.

I remember, as a child, seeing my mother and her friends breastfeeding. I do believe it influenced me positively, and I hope that seeing me breastfeed, and seeing other mothers breastfeed, will influence my own daughter. And maybe my son, too. Breastfeeding really should just be viewed as normal, instead of something that needs to be hidden away, and I think that this kind of mentorship really will help pave the way for that.

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

Love it! I never let anyone take pics of me nursing DD when she was little because it felt awkward to me but I am not only going to allow them this time- but encourage it! I REALLY want a nice pic of my girls tandem nursing together once i have this baby. :)

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBess /MumtoEve

I have a few photos of me nursing my sons way back "in the olden days". And of my sons nursing their baby dolls and stuffed animals. Now my kids are all grown up and having breastfed children of their own. Just last week middle son had his first child, a daughter. My granddaughter Joli, another son's daughter who was nursed by my beautiful DIL, visited the hospital to meet her new cousin. A hospital volunteer came by passing out toys. Joli chose the baby doll. The volunteer then handed her a doll bottle. She told the volunteer "I don't need a bottle!" The woman insisted and Joli gave us a look that said "Doesn't this woman know ANYTHING about new babies?!" and refused to take it.

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaume

Thank you for sharing Becky!

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I love this so much! Breastfeeding my babies was so gratifying...that's the only word I can think of right now, because it is so BIG there is not one word that can describe it. Sometimes it wasn't always great, but sometimes it made me feel so happy that I wanted to cry. I don't have too many pics of me nursing my babies but my favourite pics are taken by me looking down on them while they are nursing.

People have totally lost perspective on this. Breasts are for breastfeeding. Simple. Why do we have to hide this from our children? About 2 weeks after my first baby was born I went to a mall with him and I had to feed him. I was still uncomfortable with nursing, so I went into a bathroom that had a chair where I sat to nurse him. One of the best things happened to me that day. An older woman came in to use the bathroom. She looked at us and we had the usual exchange, "how old is your baby? What's his name?" and so on, she then said, "don't be embarrassed to feed your baby, how would you like to eat in a bathroom? go and sit on a bench in the mall where you can see people and they can see your beautiful baby". I was a bit surprised, but I'll tell you that I never breastfed my baby in a bathroom again. Sometimes we get annoyed at people for commenting on our parenting, but I can tell you that I'm so glad that this woman said this to me. It gave me the little push that I needed to be confident to nurse my babies when they wanted to nurse, no matter where I was.

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

How beautiful. My favourite sight in the whole world. I can't get enough of nursing photos.

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTreacy

These are amazing photos. I especially love how, in both pictures, one member of the family is gazing at the camera.

My son, when seeing me nursing, would look down at his own chest and say "i have small nipples", just as when seeing me pregnant, would look down and say "i have a small tummy, there's no baby in there." Not a big deal, but I hope it means that he's connecting with pregnancy and nursing in a way that I never did as a child or adult, until I had my own.

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChocomonkey

My daughter doesn't remember breastfeeding (she stopped at 11 months) but she loves to watch other people feed. I got my training package (to be a breastfeeding counsellor) today and she straight away grabbed all the booklets with photographs and said 'baby books! baby milk!' She loves our Australian Breastfeeding Association calendar too. I hope women she sees breastfeeding out and about don't mind her shouting out 'baby milk!' I suspect not -- I always found it adorable when children took an interest as I was feeding.

March 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSpilt Milk

I love your blog so much. You do such an incredible job of advocating for breastfeeding and attachment parenting! My toddler watches me nurse our baby -- anywhere and anytime she gives me her little baby sign for it. Though I've certainly received plenty of uncomfortable looks from others when in public. In fact, I was verbally attacked once in Austin when stopping to breastfeed on a public running trail. The woman, who was with her child, told me I belonged in a barn and what I was doing was disgusting.

I hope when each of my girls are women that no one blinks an eye when they nurse in public because it is so completely accepted and endorsed across the board, so mainstream, and so NORMAL.

Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures!!

March 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMonica Cravotta

Amazing! Thanks.

March 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEilat

Thanks Monica! :)

March 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

My daughter nursed until she was 3.5, and now she watches me breastfeed her newborn brother. She likes to lie in bed with us, and usually has a hand on my breast while I nurse him - like "Ok, they're yours now, but I still love 'em too". With luck, she'll be watching him nurse for another 3 or so years... so it should be pretty much stamped on her brain ;)

March 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJuliette

I feed them, they feed the dolls, I feed the dolls! I have some gorgeous photos taken by the 4 year old, digital automatic cameras are brilliant for that. She's mostly given up now, but every week or so she whispers in my ear to ask if she can have some "special Mummy time."

March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeb

I adore how my daughter holds my (large) breasts in her tiny hands like she's drinking from a coconut. Lol. I definitely have no fear or shame in feeding anywhere or any time! I LOVE that second photo.

March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLuschka

I don't have any actual memories of myself or my sister breastfeeding though I do remember when my sister was weaned at around 2.5 because she put up a big fight about not wanting to stop nursing. I wonder with pictures if it's easier for more of us today because of digital cameras - we don't have to feel embarrassed about the guy at the corner drug store devoloping pictures of us we might not be comfortable with him seeing!

Has anyone here watched the movie "Millions" ? It's from 2004 but I just watched it this last fall - it's about two brothers, one is 7 or 8, the older one is maybe 11 or 12. In one scene (not really related to the main plot) the older brother pulls up a lingerie website on the internet to show younger brother and points out that you can see the nipples of the woman in a photo. The younger brother asks what they're for, and the older one pauses for a minute and goes, "Well, they're for feeding babies." Then they talk about their mom (who is deceased) and how the older brother remembers their mom breastfeeding the younger brother.

It's just a short scene, but not the kind of thing you see often in movies, and I loved it.

March 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterzellion


I'm all teared up seeing these pictures. After writing this I will go upstairs to snuggle and hopefully feed my almost-six-month-old. I feel very lucky that she is so easy to nurse. My son wouldn't latch on and I regret that I don't have that memory. We tried everything with him and it was super stressful - I ended up pumping milk for him for eight months. It is a privilege to breastfeed.

March 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngelika

[...] in Parenting wrote a post about Mentoring the next Generation, which I loved. It may have been a “Wordless Wednesday” post, but it speaks volumes, [...]

What gorgeous shots! Just the other day I was nursing my infant in Starbucks with my toddler nearby. A mother was sitting next to me with her infant and toddler. The toddler asked her mother what I was doing and the mother responded: "I'll tell you when you are older." It made me want to scream and educate that young girl but I didnt want to step on the mother's toes!

March 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeyond Prenatals

I love your site and am especially happy to see so much positive info on breastfeeding. I have two children and nursed each until almost 2 years old and loved it. I always smile at nursing moms I see and hopefully make them feel comfortable.

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercapability mom

These pictures are beautiful! I'm breastfeeding my third, and the elder two (4 and almost 2) are fascinated by the process. So are my cats, who will snuggle up to Anya in the hopes of extra pets and protection from the elder two. Nice to know I'm not the only one with gets two extra human snuggles and a couple extra cat snuggles when I'm feeding my youngest. I also love your practical approach to science and parenting!

March 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

My 2.5 year old has been "nursing" her dollies and stuffed animals for over a year now. We made sure she had her own nursing pillow ready for when her baby sister arrived:


And I nurse in front of my teenage nephews all the time. No objections at all from their parents. If we, as the parents, treat nursing as normal, so will our children.

March 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshleigh Miller

I remember my mum breastfeeding my little brother and sister. We all used to join in the cuddles if we were so inclined! So I have many happy memories of breastfeeding, this really helped me (along with the iron will of my mother - love you mum!) when I had a rough time starting feeding my daughter. I cried every single time for the first two weeks as it was so agonising (due to a number of separate issues that needed worked through as well as wrong advice from the midwives at the hospital). Knowing that it would become a wonderful thing I kept on going. 7 months later and we LOVE 'milky' time together. It is so effortless and rewarding, all the hard work paid off.

On a side note, a friend with 3 year old twins visited recently and got a free lesson in breastfeeding from me - one of them sidled up to their mum and asked her why the baby was biting me...so I was glad to be the first person to show them that milk doesn't just come from a bottle.

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

I am breast feeding now and I do it as casually as I should in front of my daughter(who was breastfed) and nephew. They both see it as normal. And my daughter agrees that if it's healthier(by far) for babies then it should be done. Right now she swares she isnt having babies but if/when she does I am certain she will nurse. and my nephew acts as he should. he is 10 and it's no big deal. he joked and said my breasts are just tools to the baby as much as his fork and spoon is to him. This is the way it should be. I dont understand the stigma.

March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTessa

[...] the Next Generation Published March 28, 2010 BF advocacy Leave a Comment Mentoring the Next Generation (Almost Wordless Wednesday) www.phdinparenting.com I far too often hear “but I don’t want my children to see [...]

[...] Blog post Mentoring the Next Generation (Almost Wordless Wednesday) www.phdinparenting.com I far too often hear “but I don’t want my children to see [...]

[...] being used to feed babies before they are introduced to them as sex objects. This means that they should see their own mother (if possible) and other mothers breastfeeding, so that they understand the natural function of the [...]

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