Breast feeding doesn’t start when a woman gives birth…

I was getting dressed this week in our room and Tobias our youngest came in. He pointed to my bra I was putting on and said ‘what’s that thing?’ I explained it was called a bra and that ladies wear them to hold their breasts and keep them comfy. By the time I had fastened the hooks Ollie our eldest had come in started to talk about mummy’s ‘boobs’. He giggled a little but Tobias was more concerned with ‘what are they mummy?’ Ollie and I talked to him and told him that breasts are used to feed babies and that I fed him, Henry and Ollie. Ollie could remember me feeding Tobes and asked if my ‘boobs’ still had milk in, I said no they didn’t because Tobes didn’t need my milk anymore and once the baby doesn’t drink the milk the milk stops being made. Both of them looked at me with a little bit of awe. Milk coming from mummy’s boobs was obviously quite a novelty and just a little bit cool…

This conversation got me thinking that these sorts of snatched conversations are really the start of breastfeeding. Seeing their Mum getting dressed my boys asked perfectly normal questions and I was happy to answer them. Seeing me breast feed their younger brother 2 of my sons got to see what breasts are for and that became a natural part of our home. Their father was comfortable with me feeding and this was great for them to see. Boys need help and guidance and above all example to begin to learn and respect women and their bodies.

Oliver was watching a film this week and for the first time he said ‘Mummy, that lady has a very nice shaped body..’ and this, I felt was the first time he had noticed a woman’s figure, or at least the first time he’d told me he had. I agreed (as she really did have a lovely figure!) and we chatted about what he liked about her, he just said he thought she looked pretty. He’d said other things about girls before, that he likes long brown hair and smooth skin so this wasn’t a total surprise but I was taken aback that it had happened so soon. Our neighbour (a gorgeous model!) also told me that whilst round their house she had untied her hair and shook it free and Oliver noticed this and said ‘I so prefer your hair down’ she thought this was adorable, especially for a 7 year old but she appreciated he was appreciating her beauty and that’s still allowed I think.

What’s not allowed is to treat women as objects. It’s not allowed that women can be viewed as vacuous ornaments that decorate a home beautifully. Women have brains, dreams, personalities and aspirations and I, as a mum to 3 boys, must take some responsibility in showing my boys this. Yes my gorgeous little boys who think Mummy making milk is awesome will soon turn into teenagers who will giggle, get embarrassed and flush bright red at the mere mention of the word ‘breasts!’ all of which, I think is perfectly normal. Evolution and the survival of the fittest dictates that hormone filled teenaged boys will always find breasts a magnet for their attention; you could take the view that they hold an inner memory of feeding with their mothers or you could see it as they are seeking out those with lovely breasts capable of feeding their young thus ensuring survival and the passing on of genes. Either may be true but my teenaged boys will soon start seeking out breasts as if their lives depended on it and I will wait on the side-lines.

I will hear every word known to man no doubt when it comes to breasts. There will be bangers, tits, boobs, bazoomybawangers (is that one just me?) hooters, airbags, balloons, devils dumplings (Hubbie said this one), melons, baps and many, many more. I will have to guide my teenaged sons through the sea of lust and desire and still remind them to be respectful and to try to talk to women’s faces and not their breasts! I hope my sons will come through the teenaged stage and whilst Hubbie assures me that the fascination for breasts doesn’t go (he quite smugly told me this) it does calm down. My sons will meet that special person and want to start a family (I know any of them could have a same sex partner but they still have to learn to respect women and their bodies) and having had their mother explain about breasts, seen their mother breast feeding and had the purpose of breasts explain from a young age I would hope that they would be supportive to their partners breastfeeding their children. I would hope that they find out that fun doesn’t stop just because children arrive and that babies only need milk for a certain time so breasts don’t have to be off limits and they don’t have to be jealous of the baby’s need for attention. I would hope they would be proud of their partner and do whatever they could to ensure that their partner can breast feed if possible…

I posted on my Facebook page about the conversation I’d had with Tobes and Ollie and it was lovely to hear the responses. Two ladies posted that both their daughters put their dolly’s to their breasts to feed them and this I found fabulous. Will manufacturers now stop selling dolls with the ubiquitous nappy and bottle when there is actually no need for a toy bottle? The move back to breastfeeding is not only altering how we feed babies but also how our children play. They learn by watching and make sense of what they’ve seen through play. Mothers are doing what they can to give their daughters an insight into breastfeeding and this is wonderful but I also feel a sense of responsibility as a mother of sons. It’s my responsibility, and also Hubbie’s, to show, support and also to teach our boys about what breasts are really for so when they become men and later fathers they are able to fully support their partners. Breastfeeding doesn’t begin when a mother gives birth it begins when a child is aware of their mother putting on a strange contraption around her chest and they ask ‘Mummy, what’s that thing..?’



About littlewhitecottage

Emma is a qualified teacher with 14 years of teaching in many different settings. From teaching adults and children at a music school to choosing to work in a demanding primary school that was failing (which meant moving from an outstanding school – her colleagues were aghast!) to running her own sewing business for the last 5 ½ years teaching all ages how to sew: Emma loves to teach.
This entry was posted in Family, Read about me, The random thoughts of me, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Breast feeding doesn’t start when a woman gives birth…

  1. julie murphy says:

    Totally agree . I breast fed both my children .. now grown up. My son used to feed his teddy holding him to his breast whilst I read to him and breast feeding his sister . He was only 3 at time . He has healthy respect and admiration for women’s breasts now . I enjoy reading your blobs and love your work on your page . X

  2. Angela Harrison says:

    I can’t remember my boys ever asking a question about my bra or boobs but maybe that is time fading. I fully breast fed my premature twin boys because I felt it was the right thing to do, but I was a health visitor at the time! Do they respect women? They love beautiful women, they love boobs, they do not hide their sexuality, they both have lovely, long term girlfriends that I believe they treat well. Yes they say some things sometimes that make me shudder. Is that a lack of respect of women or a generational thing? I hope that they understand the role of breasts but can enjoy them too. I also hope that when they become fathers they let the ‘boobs’ go and support their partners. Only time will tell.

  3. Wendy Bilton says:

    Another brilliant blog Emma. I too breastfed both my girls, and nothing upon nothing, can explain what an absolutely lovely feeling it is to breastfeed. I would quite happily surrogate and feed babies by the dozen if I had my way…..!!!
    Ive never been embarrased or uneasy allowing my children to see my breasts. Gosh, they dont have to look at mummys boobs if they dont want to as there are plenty of publications about (and I dont mean top shelf books) boobs in everyday magazines and papers!!!
    I started my family late(r) in life, and I must admit, I was a bit apprehensive telling my mum and dad I was going to breastfeed – not that they (especially my mum) thought it was “rude” or “private” – they were of the old school when things like breastfeeding HAD to be done indoors and not in the Arndale Centre in the middle of Luton. But I didnt care. If my baby needed feeding, I told them to stop shopping, and we would go somewhere to have a coffee and a bun whilst I quite openly popped out the boob and fed!!!!! The funny thing was tho, I think my mum was proud of me – that I didnt have a care in the world about what people thought – God gave me boobs so I could provide a service to my children, and I intended to do just that.
    My dad, bless him, didnt really comment at all. I dont think he was embarrassed either.
    I only came upon one time when I was asked to stop breastfeeding at the restaurant table as I was making other people feel uncomfortable. Well, thats what I was told, anyway. I didnt take any notice and carried on tho, cos thats me. You may be surprised to hear, that the particular restaurant in question was McDonalds – I wrote to the head office and complained, and got a very nice letter back apologising for the way I was treated etc etc.
    I would presume now you could breastfeed anywhere.
    Emma, I could go on about this subject for ages but I wont!!!
    Thank you for your lovely blogs. I do look forward to them 🙂 XXX

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