When Toddlers Are Exposed to Breastfeeding (PHOTOS)

toddler breastfeeding dollA lot of people go into parenthood having never seen anyone breastfeed before. We can blame the '50s idea of "technology trumps nature" that loaded some women up with milk-drying drugs. And some hang-ups about breastfeeding linger today.

Still in other cultures, women have always been witness to moms, aunts, cousins, and sisters breastfeeding, so knowing how a baby's latch should look and that the "C" hold can help aid the breast into a baby's mouth was common. And when it was a woman's time to breastfeed her own baby, those things came much more naturally.

Instead, now we have women who will see another woman nursing in public with half an inch of skin visible and she'll be upset that her children "were exposed to" such a thing. And you know, they should be concerned, because this is what happens when kids have been exposed to breastfeeding:


Yup, even little boys get in on the action!

Seeing breastfeeding as a normal thing, a normal way to feed babies, starts in childhood. If kids are lucky enough to be breastfed into toddlerhood so they initiate this kind of play out of the care they're given, that's great. Others will learn it from seeing a sibling or even a cousin being breastfed. Men who were exposed to breastfeeding as children often become some of the most supportive dads of breastfeeding moms.

But if your kids don't have the benefit of learning that breastfeeding is a normal way to feed babies, then when you see your child notice a woman nursing in public, rather than admonishing the woman, take the opportunity to simply explain it to your child:

"She's feeding the baby. Mommy's bodies make special milk for their babies and the baby drinks it from her breast."

The more we see it as normal and TREAT it as normal, the more it will be considered normal, and a great place to start is with kids.

What do you think of these toddlers mimicking their moms?


Images via Robin Wensaur; Niki Miller; Sherry Barday Durgin; Niki Miller; Alisha Anne; sean dereilinger/Flickr

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