Monday, May 3, 2010

No Comment

I'm borrowing an idea from RW, because sometimes the stories write themselves:

Mother defends breastfeeding her five-year-old

A mother who still breastfeeds her five-year-old daughter and three-year-old son has defended her actions as "what nature intended".

Stella Onions, 45, said children should be weaned naturally until their baby teeth fall out to help fully develop their immune system.

She breastfeeds Josephine, five, and Zac, three, and said despite it making some people feel uncomfortable, the health benefits are vital.

"Lots of studies have been done and in general babies fed on formula are more likely to get gastric infections and urinary and respiratory problems.

"Some studies even suggest that there is an increased risk of certain childhood cancers.

"Also women who don't breastfeed have a higher risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

"When you breastfeed your body releases a feel good hormone which calms the mother and current research is investigating if it helps with post natal depression."

Mrs Onions, from Ludlow, Shrops, said she had time to feed her children because she home schools them, and said their friends think nothing of it.

She said: ""My children's friends have seen them at my breast. They both come and ask for 'Mummy milk'. But nobody says anything bad about it.

"Nature sorts it out for you. When children lose their milk teeth between five and eight years, their jaw shape changes slightly and they lose the ability to suckle. That is when their immune system is fully developed.

"So nobody is going to be breastfeeding teenagers."

The issue of older children being breastfed was lampooned in the television show Little Britain, where a grown up man constantly demanded milk from his mother's breast.

But Mrs Onions insisted children should be weaned naturally for as long as possible.

She said: "I grew up in South Africa where the women see breasts as something to feed your children with, not something sexual.

"Some people are squeamish about it, especially in public, but you wouldn't throw a blanket over a sheep feeding a lamb in a field would you? It's what nature intended."

She has designated one breast for each child - the right one for Josephine and the left for Zac - and while they use to feed together they now drink separately.

She is now campaigning to get more mothers to breast feed and plans to launch a magazine to be distributed to ante natal clinics.

She added: "I am not trying to make mums feel guilty about not breast feeding, but you can't ignore study after study."



Brian said...

"Stella Onions" sounds like a character in an Edward Gorey book.

Things that make me thankful for infant amnesia:

1) wearing diapers
2) not being able to walk
3) not being able to talk
4) pureed everything

...but especially...

5) drinking milk out of my mom's chest.

RW said...

Nature gave children teeth for a reason. And while I'm starting to have my doubts and doing some research about the benefits/evils of dairy products in general, I'm thinkin' teeth are a clue.

tully said...


kr said...

in a general sense, she's right of course

when I was first pregnant in 2000, I ran into some WHO stat that said the average age for weaning worldwide is 4.25 years

she's a little over that, is all, but I'd guess still easily within the middle chunk of the bell curve.

the number of societal underpinnings that affect this perception in America are nearly infinite, so I'll just stop there. Because, you know how I get when I go infinite ;).

Bike Bubba said...

The ancient Hebrews were well known for nursing a long time. I was also told once by a friend from Macao that a great portion of asian "lack of stature" was a cultural tendency to wean children quickly--going from milk to rice is not exactly the recipe for optimal growth, to put it mildly.

That said, I'm pretty glad I don't remember nursing, either. And I'm especially glad I don't remember the little operation that made at least one part of my body look Yiddish, if you catch my drift.

kr said...

circumcision, another decidedly odd addition to our animal life--if we want to talk about clearly freakish and wrong, infant circumcision would be a better place to focus our attention!

Gino said...

to clip, or not to clip...

whatever makes the women want it more it the way i would decide.
but, that decision wasnt mine,either.

hi kr. i missed ya.

my name is Amanda said...

It used to gross me out when women would breastfeed past the age of what the average American views as appropriate. But the more that I read and think about this (as I have never been a mother) the more I feel that this is an individual choice kind of thing. Mostly because our obesession with the yuck factor comes from sexualizing women's breasts.

I used to be against circumcision, too (I'm not Jewish), but scientifically, it really does decrease a chance of infection of (any) disease. So...I don't know. I wonder what most men think about it.

Gino said...

ya know what amanda?
i dont have a clue what most men think about it. LOL

men never discuss the issue in any serious manner.

kr said...

hi kr. i missed ya.

;). I'm tryin' ... I'm tryin' ...

I suspect, Gino and Amanda, that Gen X and younger will see more guys getting activist on this. I gather it was discussed, seriously enough for some guys to come out with Opinions, on my college campus ... it's pretty much like clitoral circumcision in sensual effect, apparently, so ...

plus most people who've had reason to observe one being done (I haven't) more or less swear then and there to at minimum not propagate the practice. I cannot effing *imagine* the trauma.

I am ever more grateful that I discovered alternative (er, *normal*) birth and never set foot in a hospital with any of my births ... *shots* are truamatic, for God's sake! Seriously???!?

Anyhow, last I heard, there was a slightly smaller chance of transmission of STDs, particularly HIV, if a man hadn't been cut. I have a hard time believing there aren't less horrible ways to deal with it (condoms, self discipline, realistic talk about the risks of exposure, keeping kids in school--which measurably limits the number and early onset of sexual partnerships) ...

Gino said...

kr, the two or three men i know who are not cut all had their sons cut.

thats about the best opinion on the matter i have, and i've only actually discussed it with one of them (my best buddy).

kr said...

huh. well, maybe I'm speaking from my Northwest Bubble again. still can't figure how it isn't horrible, though.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

If she's still lactating, I have cultural objections but no moral ones.... (Me, I'm not going to breastfeed Kit when she's old enough to walk up and say "Momma, boobie!")

On circumcision, I don't really have broad experience, but I can say those who, ah, "look Yiddish" (outstanding way of phrasing it!) do get the job done.

I also think it's a pretty horrific misrepresentation to claim that removing a relatively small flap of flesh from the male member, leaving the man fully able to experience pleasure from intercourse, is morally or even functionally the same as causing sufficient structural and nerve damage to the vaginal area that all pleasure from procreational acts is removed.

Add the non-religious motivation for males is sanitary, and the non-religious motivation for females is to keep them from cheating, and the morality is pretty clear. *ugh*

kr said...

My understanding is that the foreskin is actually quite exquisitely sensitive, and in fact I've read some theorizing (from male left-Christianity writers and from feminists) that suggests that removing the foreskin was to make sex less of an overriding drive (whether the priesthood was acting with or without God's guidance is obviously an interesting side question). Nowadays it is sold as sanitation because in the horrific conditions of WWI ditches and Korea/Vietnam, disease did go up ... and then HIV now ... as with many diseases, decent opportunity for hygiene (or condoms) can take care of these concerns.

I'm pretty sure the no-cheating-females thing is probably religious in its basis, actually, even if it, like male circumcision, has been removed in some cultures from that basis. I can't imagine either being invented today and having large swaths of people think, golly gee, now THERE'S an idea worth adopting!! Which to me is a decent reason to ask, why do we still do this weird antiquated thing, then?