St. Augustine… on breastfeeding?
Huh? St. Augustine had a position on breastfeeding? Evidently so, according to this blog post, that quotes him as saying: “The comforts of human milk were waiting for me, but my mother and my nurses did not fill their own breasts; rather you [God] gave me an infant’s nourishment through them in accordance with your plan, from the riches deeply hidden in creation. You … inspired in those who nurtured me the will to give me what you were giving them, for their love was patterned on your law, and so they wanted to pass on to me the overflowing gift they received from you. It was a bounty for them, and a bounty for me from them; or rather, not from them but through them, for in truth all good things are from you, O God. Everything I need for health and for salvation flows from my God.” Branson Parier writes: Through this lens, breastfeeding stands as a powerful sign that God is the ultimate source of all that is good and that everything that exists is a gift. As a result, the natural fecundity and fruitfulness of God’s creation is something that should be seen as a gift, not a commodity. Breastfeeding thus stands as a perpetual theological questioning of a culture that treats the good gifts of creation as nothing more than commodities or “natural resources” to be packaged, bought and sold. Understood in this light, McNish’s willingness to breastfeed in public is a powerful economic and theological statement… Rather than seeing the world as raw “resources” for our consumption, Christians need to re-train ourselves to see all creation as gifts and signs that point to the God of abundance. Rather than seeing bodies sexualized by consumerism, we need to re-train ourselves to see bodies that inherently bear the marks of a God who gives in superabundance. So next time you notice someone breastfeeding in public, don’t stare. Just say a prayer of thanksgiving to the Giver of all good gifts. Thoughts?