Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Culture of Bottle Feeding

I haven't posted much (meaning at all) lately, not because I haven't had anything to say, but rather because I have quite a lot to say, most of it requiring more time to write than I currently have to spare. So I've decided to attempt to break big things up into manageable chunks, and see how that goes. Connect the dots, people!

Civilizations are growth oriented enterprises. Looking at various institutions and measurables, things tend to either be growing, declining, or in a state of collapse, it's rare to see instances where the status quo is maintained. Contrasting with that are foraging societies, which tend to favor stability. In regards to population, a given territory is capable of supporting only so many people; numbers vary depending upon current environmental conditions, but a population of foragers will generally represent the maximum number of people a land base is capable of supporting during the leaner years.

Any number of social institutions or attitudes may manifest with the goal of maintaining a stable population, both in regulating births and attempting to control unnecessary deaths. One thing which is not at all uncommon is to see children breastfed until they wean themselves, which may not occur until they are three or four years old. Breastfeeding women produce higher levels of prolactin, which suppresses ovulation, essentially a primitive form of birth control (primitive in the sense of not involving technology, if that word was going to make someone cry).

I haven't seen a ruling from the Church yet whether it's a violation of the no birth control doctrine to breastfeed a child, particular if part of the reasoning is avoiding an immediate pregnancy. I'd like to know if anyone has specific knowledge of the Vatican's policy towards boobies; I'm not a Christian, but Pascal's wager being what it is I don't want to piss off the Pope. I also would like to know if that would extend to oral/boobie contact which only simulates breastfeeding (my girlfriend is asking).