What’s Weird About Attachment Parenting and Human Cheese?

May 28, 2012

Ever since Time Magazine published the image on the front cover of the almost 4 year old breast feeding on his very yummy mummy’s teat, I’ve been ruminating about attachment parenting. That picture itself certainly didn’t phase me. It created quite an uproar but it was designed to. It was styled to be a controversial image and they got the reaction they were aiming for.
It’s such a polarising subject, with many attachment parent-ers apparently going underground so as not to be judged by others. I’ve already blogged about us giving each other a break in ‘Why are we our own worst enemies?’ so that is not what I’m talking about today. What I am talking about is the WHY? Why is it seen as weird to breast feed for longer than what society deems as ‘normal’?

Let me preface this by saying I breastfed for 12 months with D Man, and I loved it. I may even go a little longer with KiKi if I have the opportunity to. I personally think it’s kinda funky to breastfeed your kid over about 3. Seeing a full sized child walk up to their mum in public and reaching for a breast is a little confronting for me.
What I want to know is why do I feel this way?

Why is it deemed perfectly acceptable to feed your children toddler formula (man-made milk that doesn’t even taste like milk), or cow’s milk, but odd to give milk from the very species that we are? When you read about all of the health benefits of human milk shouldn’t be bottling the stuff and selling it in supermarkets? Actually, that would probably open up a whole can of worms about ‘mummy farming’ and all kinds of wacky Twilight Zone stuff, but you get my angle, right?

Cow’s make milk to feed their calves, so they can grow into big strong cows. Sheep make milk to grow lambs, pigs make milk for piglets and soy beans make milk for…..well, soy milk is just plain wacky. It’s packed full of phytoestrogens and is actually a known carcinogen. Scientific studies have revealed that it may increase the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer, yet it is hailed as a healthy alternative. I get that mammals have a natural weaning time, if left to their own devices, but why is it that there is a whole industry of other animal dairy products and not so for the very species that would actually best benefit us health wise?
Why is it so weird?

I’m a massive cheese fan, and I’ve wondered for many years about pig cheese. It even sounds challenging, doesn’t it? PIG CHEESE. I love me a bit of goat cheese, and sheep, and I’d even try camel without so much as a flinch, but pig? Yeah, nah, I don’t know. Apparently, pig milk is very high in fats and flavour but it is not economically viable to have a dairy farming pig as they produce less than a quarter of the amount of milk daily compared to cows. So it could be an artisan type thing, no?
Which leads me to my next question – you know where I’m going, right?
What about human cheese?
Aside from the obvious issue of needing quite a large amount of milk to make a decent wheel of Mammenbert (at least 2 litres according to my sources – Mister H on google), why is it such a wacky concept? There was a restaurant in the UK who had breast milk ice cream, called Baby Gaga, on their menu. It sold out, and then they were clamped down on pretty quickly but after extensive scientific testing were allowed to put it back on their menu. I’m certainly not suggesting we all go out, make breast milk ice cream and feed it to our children until they’re 21, but what I am suggesting is perhaps next time you’re quick to judge, you question yourself as to why you feel the way you do.

You may not change your mind, but perhaps, at least you won’t just have a blind opinion. Speaking of opinions, I’d love to hear yours on this subject…..what do you think?

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  • Reply Sharon May 28, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    My first reaction..erky perky, give me Connoisseur Gourmet Caramel Honey Macadamia thank you! Oh sorry, the Baby Gaga was meant for babies wasn’t it..?
    But seriously in the olden days there used to be wet nurses so why not real commercially obtainable mama’s milk? I suppose because like DMan’s dad discovered the logistics of obtaining the amount necessary. Loved the blog x

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys May 28, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      Baby Gaga wasn’t for babies. It was for grown up consumption with a $20 per serve price tag! Thanks for commenting. I love hearing everyone’s thoughts!

      Sent from my iPhone

  • Reply Nealie May 28, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Re AP – I think there are two interesting ideas at play. 1. Quite simply, we’ve lost touch with a whole heap of the human experience, not just nuturing. It seems the result of a whole lot of influences from medical “expert” knowledge to the women’s movement, to the industrial revolution. Birth, death & raising our young have all been “taken over” in some respect or another. My personal experience tells me, that when left to their own devices human babies will wean themselves by about 3yrs. Some kids feed longer, but they are the exception. So it seems to me, if you, as a mother, enjoy feeding your kids & practically are able to accomodate it, letting a kid wean themselves seems sensible to me. 2. Public extending BF’ing is such an issue purely because it’s so unusual. I think perhaps people also make a distinction around public BF’ing a toddler because we can argue that toddlers don’t require “on the spot” feeding like bubbies. So I guess I can “understand” people’s reluctance to accept public BF’ing as the norm – it’s more a show of mother/child bonding/emotional comfort then meeting nutritional requirements & that bothers some people, like any kind of PDA bothers them. For me, it makes the act MORE acceptable & I wish I saw more of it. Re commercial breast milk, I have been lobbying food health & safety in NZ for a long time for commerical BM banks. I would love to see us move away from formula (for those babies that don’t require it) & have the ability to feed our own young without reliance on artificial manufacturing (you can’t help but wonder what would happen to the future of the species should all the worlds formula making plants explode in a powdery ball)….& other BM products…as long as they are screened for potential biohazard risks, like other animal sourced products, I’m all for it. Minimising cattle production would be great for our health & great for the environment!!! Win Win!!! So I have no opinion at all on individual women & their BF’ing choices – I know it was a MAJOR struggle for me. But overall I think all families should have access to safe breast milk at the same cost as formula & that we should stop thinking of ourselves as any more than animals on the planet with milk specifically evolved for our consumption, at any age 😉

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys May 29, 2012 at 12:20 am

      Awesome, Nealie. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think you’re absolutely right. If more people did it, it would simply be the norm. It’s a shame that AP’s feel the need to go underground. Great work on the BM bank lobbying. It should totally be available for less than formula. It seems like a no brainer, no? Great food for thought. Xxx

      Sent from my iPhone

      • Reply Nealie May 30, 2012 at 2:33 pm

        hey, just to stir the pot further… know what’s super strange….we hate bf’ing at the mall, but we’re all cool with overweight families taking their overweight kids into the food court for a serious KFC chow down!!!!! talk about all up the wrong way???

        • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys May 30, 2012 at 2:59 pm

          I’m a public BF’er from way back. I figure everyone has seen my boobs from my drunk and disorderly days anyway 😉 You make a strong point, though. I see a lot more of it now we’re in the ‘burbs too. I think very overweight children is a form of child abuse…’s that for a big statement?

  • Reply Sleeping Mom @ Sleeping Should Be Easy May 28, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    I wonder the same thing, though I wasn’t thinking cheese, more like gallons of human milk sold in the grocery! The first thought that came into my mind was maybe they don’t do that for health reasons, but I think a big aspect of it is a “weird” factor that’s difficult to explain.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys May 30, 2012 at 8:55 am

      It’s easy enough to screen for health reasons, but it is high on the weird list. The more I think about it, the more I think it should be available as a formula alternative in supermarkets. It makes so much sense!

  • Reply workingmomwellness July 12, 2012 at 2:39 am

    I loved the term Mammenbert 🙂 Happy you stumbled across my blog so that I was able to find yours. I look forward to reading more!

  • Reply Crista August 1, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog, great stuff! My son who’s 3 1/2 still BFs. Granted, he has done a slow taper (with spikes here and there during growth spurts — both physical and mental) over the past year. After about the first six months, I quit worrying about what people thought about it. It’s funny that I worried about it during the most widely accepted time to do it. Haha, ah well. When he was born, I had estimated that we would BF for the first two years, tops. But, for whatever reason, it would seem more weird to me now to force him to wean vs. letting him do it on his own, when he’s ready. And it IS happening — albeit ever-so-slowly. As for Mammenbert, I’d buy it (for him at least ;). Cheers!

  • Reply Amanda Fox September 30, 2012 at 9:05 am

    I breastfed all three of my children to exactly the age of three. We used that birthday as the “latch off” so to speak. For me, it was time. And just like now – as they are all young adults on the verge of stepping out into the world on their own – I could feel their independence coming. I think left to our own instincts, mothers know what to do and how to act with their children. I was lucky enough to live in a very supportive breastfeeding community. Unfortunately, not everyone is. The more we talk about it though, the more people will know that they have choices. As for the cheese, I think I’d be OK…kinda…yeah, no.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys September 30, 2012 at 9:09 am

      Ok…kinda…..yeah , no. I love it!
      I think I’m going to go longer this time, you know. I was one of the last at 13 months with my son, and I think I was influenced by people around me.

      I think you’re right about instincts…..I need to remember that I already know, so I don’t need advice or books. It’s already within me.

      Not even one little slice of Mamanbert?

  • Reply Wrap it up…..2012 « Keeping Up With The Holsbys December 29, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    […] What’s Weird About Attachment Parenting and Human Cheese? […]

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