Can Boys Nurse Babies?

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Photo by valentinap via Flickr
Photo by valentinap via Flickr

I stumbled across an interesting article by Amy Rawson today. Called “Raising Boys,” her article delineates her attempt to raise boys unfettered by society’s expectations of what a boy should be. Her boys, she says, are free to play with trucks and dolls, to sport long hair and to cry when they’re hurt.

The part of her article that took the most heat, though, was the part where she admits that her two sons pretend to nurse their dolls.

I was not shocked, surprised or offended by that statement. I’ve nursed four boys, and at least three of them have pretended to nurse a doll or stuffed animal at some point in time. And why wouldn’t they? Children learn to parent by watching us, and my boys saw me nursing the new baby many times a day.

Many readers, though, were disgusted by her admission. A sampling:

“Boys acting like they are nursing!? Ok, I think that is a bit extreme.”

“If my girls were pretending to nurse, it wouldn’t be so bad. After all, I nursed mine til they were a year. But, I would be offended if I saw my son “nursing” a baby, I would not if he had a bottle (it can always be a bottle of “breast milk”). They don’t have the “equipment” and I just don’t think it’s right. I think this kind of raising (in the article) may turn him into a “girly man”, and I hate that.”

“Of course a child acts out nursing. Because he saw you do it. He’s testing you to see your response. If you don’t guide them, and teach them, they will grow up as an animal in captivity and will be very sad when they hit the “real world” and probably ill-equipped to cope.”

I’m speechless. Do people really believe this stuff? What’s your take on boys nursing babies?

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