International Parenting

I’ve read a few articles recently that I thought were so interesting. Both are about parenting/breastfeeding in other countries. I thought I’d share them here.

This one is about breastfeeding practices in Mongolia. In their culture, breastfeeding is the solution to every whimper a child makes in his first few months. Breast milk is consumed for the first several years of life (and often beyond!), and the general public of Mongolia seems to view breastfeeding as an important and necessary part of childhood. Breast milk is celebrated in Mongolian culture… Mongolians say that the best wrestlers (wrestling is a wildly popular sport in Mongolia) are breastfed well into childhood.

My husband read this article, and now every time I feed T he says, “You’re gonna grow up to be a great wrestler, T!” I, of course, find that adorable. Don’t worry, friends, T will not be breastfed into childhood… We’re planning on weaning around a year. I’ll be honest, though, most of our reasoning for weaning him then is cultural. It’s weird to breastfeed a toddler. Or so I’m told.

The second article I found was also interesting. I stumbled upon it when I googled “Breastfeeding in Africa.” Why on earth would I google “Breastfeeding in Africa?” I’m glad you asked!

A good friend of mine (Rachel) was a missionary in Mali, West Africa for two years. She came by to visit recently and I asked her if mothers in Africa breastfed. She laughed, and explained that most children in Africa are breastfed… that it’s not just the babies. She also told me that in the villages, most women wear long skirts and are topless. Talk about culture shock! That would take some getting used to. But boobs are viewed differently there. She explained it to me this way, “In Africa, legs are like boobs. And boobs are like… arms.” I thought that was too funny.

I won’t lie, sometimes (okay, most of the time) I wish breasts were not over-sexualized in the US. It would certainly make breastfeeding in public much less awkward! I mean, clearly, I’m going to feed T when he needs to be fed. It doesn’t matter that much to me where we are. It does matter to some people though… and I think that’s mainly because our culture is inundated with sex. We forget that God created boobs, first and foremost, to feed babies with. Just my thoughts on the subject, though. Anyways, I thought this article was pretty neat… especially how African women don’t have to learn how to breastfeed. They see it so much throughout their lives that it just comes naturally. If only it were that easy here!


About thedairyqueenmama

First-time Mom & second grade teacher from the great state of Louisiana. Loves coffee. Hates traffic jams.

Posted on July 10, 2011, in Blogging, Breastfeeding, Culture, Family, Parenting. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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