Breastfeeding (with Bridget McGann & Sascha Mayer)
Season 3, Episode 4
Did you know lactation is older than the dinosaurs? Latch onto the mysteries of breastfeeding with help from lactation scientist Bridget McGann and Mamava co-founder Sascha Mayer in today’s episode, which delves into the incredible components of breastmilk, the way that feeding itself influences a baby’s development, the debate between breastfeeding versus formula feeding, and why workplace support for pumping can be the single thing that keeps a mother breastfeeding. Plus: why have we seen so many boobs in bikinis and so few boobs feeding babies?
Citations and further reading:
- Weiss, Robin Elise. (2021). How Labor Choices and Paths Affect Breastfeeding. Verywell Family.
- Breastmilk Production. (2023). Sutterhealth.org.
- Stem cells in breast milk. (2015, August 14). Medela.
- Goldberg, E. (2018, July 11). Baby Formula Industry Has A Long History Of Undermining Breastfeeding Moms. HuffPost.
- Zoo Announces Gorilla Record (Published 1979). (2023). The New York Times.
- UPI Archives. (1980, October 11). What was intended to be an intimate session in… UPI.
- Columbus zoo tried nursing mothers for gorillas. (1980, October 10). Newspapers.com.
- Barriers to Breastfeeding in the United States. (2011). NIH.gov; Office of the Surgeon General (US).
- Kozhimannil, K. B., Jou, J., Gjerdingen, D. K., & McGovern, P. M. (2016). Access to Workplace Accommodations to Support Breastfeeding after Passage of the Affordable Care Act.
- Gupta, Alisha Haridasani and Pearson, Catherine. A New Breast Pumping Law Has Gone Into Effect. Here’s What It Means. (2023). The New York Times.
Ashley: I was nine months pregnant, standing in the shower. My boob in my hand horrified. See, there’s a lot of preparation you need to go through when you’re about to give birth. There’s the baby stuff, you know, setting up the nursery, washing the new clothes, getting all the supplies, but there’s also the biological stuff.
Ashley: I was eating dates because studies suggest that makes for an easier labor. I was going on walks and doing squats to boost my endurance for my upcoming baby having marathon, and I was supposed to be collecting colostrum.
Ashley: Colostrum is the very first milk a newborn ever drinks. It’s gold, not white, and it’s packed with protein, vitamins, and antibodies that help jumpstart the baby’s brand new immune system. The body starts producing it a few weeks to months before giving birth, and people are encouraged to collect it and freeze it so they can bring it to the hospital in case the baby’s born premature or otherwise has issues breastfeeding.
Ashley: So, that’s what I decided to do. I wasn’t sure if I was even making colostrum yet, but just in case I got instructions online about how to hand express it, and I decided to do that after a shower one day. Immediately, and without warning, this golden liquid came out of my nipple and I freaked out.
Ashley: Listen, I’ve had nipples for my entire life and nothing had ever come out of them before. I knew my nipples, I knew what they did and what they didn’t do. And they didn’t do this. My eyebrows might as well have connected to a satellite and started playing Howard Stern. It felt that bizarre. I was supposed to collect colostrum a few times a day from that point on, but I was so disturbed by the experience that I never did it again.
Ashley: I eventually had the baby and breastfed the baby, and things weren’t so weird anymore. But I like to remember that moment to remind myself that this thing that feels so normal now is actually pretty bizarre. I mean, yes, it’s also the most natural thing in the world, and it’s magical and it’s so impressive, and it’s sometimes really hard, but it’s also weird, man.
Ashley: So today we’re gonna explore all of that, the magic, the nature, the hard and the weird. Whether you’re a breastfeeding mom or a man who’s never even thought about it before, I think you’re gonna learn something cool.
Ashley: If you think lactation is weird today, just wait until you hear how it evolved.
Bridget McGann: so about 250 to 300 million years ago, there was a not quite reptile, not quite mammal creature that started excreting fluid from sweat glands, kind of basically, apocrine glands on their underside onto their eggs.
Bridget McGann: Probably to solve a fluid balance problem. The eggs were kind of soft and not hard back then. And we think that that evolved to probably also contain like immune, uh, components, after the fluid and babies would come out and just like, they’d hatch and they’d like lap it up.
Bridget McGann: And if you look at, for example, the platypus, doesn’t even have nipples. It just has like just a surface area and the milk just is excreted out of like basically sweat glands. And that’s basically what a mammary gland is. It’s an, it’s a glorified apocrine sweat gland.
Ashley: 300 million years of evolution to get from double duty sweat glands to purpose-built mammary glands and I was too scared to look under the hood. Geez.
Ashley: Anyway, that is scientist Bridget McGann.
Bridget McGann: I am a graduate student at University of Colorado, Denver, in the anthropology department. I would be what you probably would call a biocultural anthropologist, so it’s like, biology, evolution. In particular I study lactation and how lactation influences behavior in the maternal infant dyad and how that evolved biology interacts with culture.
Ashley: Although Bridget had always been fascinated by science, she didn’t set out to be a scientist. She spent her twenties trying to decide on a career, first as an artist. Then when she realized that wasn’t for her, she did some traveling and made ends meet with hourly jobs.
Bridget McGann: I worked at a Babies-R-Us for a while. and I observed while I was working there, a lot of like, material culture of parenting basically, and like how people thought about what they need in order to raise a baby. And I would sit behind the registry desk reading the books cuz there was like a shelf of parenting books behind there and I’d like read them. And there was only one that mentioned any kind of science.
Ashley: The author was James McKenna, a scientist at Notre Dame, which is in South Bend, Indiana. Exactly where Bridget was living at the time.
Bridget McGann: And he studies maternal infant health, particularly sleep and is a primatologist by trade. And it was like, that was a watershed moment for me. I was like, oh, okay, you can apply science to understanding how babies work.
Ashley: She wasn’t quite ready to start a whole new degree. So to fulfill this intense interest in maternal infant health, she studied as a doula. It was okay.
Bridget McGann: It was a little touchy-feely for me, but I was like, oh, like this culture of how we give birth, and especially how, our healthcare system affects how we give birth. I was like, this is really interesting from like an academic point of view. I wanna study like the science of this. And so I, I went back to school.
Bridget McGann: While I was in undergrad, I really started to see how everything just seemed to go back to lactation. When women talk about like having a birth plan or, different interventions that they do in childbirth, a lot of it seems to be oriented around lactation and like kind of supporting a good start with lactation.
Ashley: Inducing labor C-sections, some medications and tools used during birth and separating mom and baby after birth can all mess with milk production and breastfeeding.
Bridget McGann: I started to see how lactation really shapes the way that infants behave and how much they cry.
Bridget McGann: For example, human milk is digested really quickly. So that kind of explains why babies cry so, so frequently, it seems. Their desire for proximity is related to their need for food frequently to fuel these really rapidly growing brains in the first year. And then from an evolutionary standpoint, feeding frequently is associated with avoiding predation because the mother could never wander very far, uh, cuz we were not like the top of the food chain in an evolutionary context.
Bridget McGann: And it just all seemed to just keep going back to lactation. And I started learning about how, just how little we know about it, about this system.
Bridget McGann: I started to understand it as not just like food, not just as nutrition, but as like behavioral and intensely social in humans and higher apes. And I realized like, oh my gosh, I’m never gonna be bored with this subject. Uh, and so far that has proven to be the case.
Ashley: So let’s talk lactation in a birthing parent that starts way before the baby arrives.
Bridget McGann: The mammary gland goes through kind of like a second stage of development during pregnancy.
Bridget McGann: You will start to produce colostrum in the third trimester.
Ashley: Yes, I know.
Bridget McGann: And then, you have this kind of drop in progesterone at the end of pregnancy that triggers this kind of second stage of development, I guess you would say, in the mammary gland where the, the mammary glands are starting to synthesize mature milk.
Bridget McGann: And so you have this period of time right after birth where what is colloquially said, um, is that you’re waiting for your milk to come in, but the milk is already in it’s colostrum. And you have for about a week you have this, what’s called transitional milk, where it’s transitioning from colostrum to mature milk.
Ashley: I remember day two in the hospital, suddenly seeing that my baby’s spit up was white instead of gold, and asking all the nurses if my milk had come in. Like, this is so early, right? I didn’t expect this! Just waiting for somebody to tell me, yes, good job. You are the best milk producer we’ve ever had in this hospital.
Ashley: My husband eventually caught on and congratulated me. It wasn’t the same.
Ashley: But also that’s not really how it works.
Bridget McGann: It’s not like it’s a switch. It’s a gradual change where it’s like gradually changing composition. And then you have a period of about eight to 12 weeks after birth where the body is learning to regulate supply and learning to meet exactly the infant’s needs.
Bridget McGann: No more and no less. And then usually kind of, it’s more smooth sailing from that point on.
Ashley: By smooth sailing, Bridget of course, means needing to feed a tiny, helpless organism every two hours around the clock. Doesn’t matter if you’re sleeping, doesn’t matter if your partners turn to help. You are the milk factory, and there are orders to fill.
Ashley: But those breastfeeding sessions, that’s when this process turns into absolute sorcery.
Bridget McGann: Inside the breast, you have these little, they kind of look like, bunches of grapes. They’re, called lobules.
Ashley: The individual grapes in these lobule bunches are called alveoli, just like what you have in your lungs. They do a similar thing too. That bunched up shape is packed with surface area, which is what you need when the goal is to pass things into and out of your blood, whether that’s oxygen into it or milk ingredients out of it.
Ashley: Two hormones come into play right about now. Prolactin tells the alveoli to take in nutrients from the blood supply and turn them into breast milk.
Bridget McGann: Prolactin is triggered by those lobules that I mentioned being empty.
Bridget McGann: And that’s really important because it’s that state of emptiness that tells the brain, Hey, we’re running low on supply here. Please like, you know, send us, some more prolactin so we can produce more milk.
Ashley: That’s an ongoing process, and it’s one reason why people need to use a breast pump when they’re away from their baby. Not only is a full breast pretty uncomfortable, but you also wanna tell your body to keep producing milk for when you return. We’re gonna talk all about pumping at work later. Just you wait.
Ashley: Oxytocin is the other hormone at play here. Here’s where it gets wild.
Bridget McGann: You have tiny little muscles around the lobules that are receptive to oxytocin, which is released from your posterior pituitary gland.
Bridget McGann: And when the infant latches, it starts to suck, it triggers the posterior pituitary gland to release oxytocin, which causes those little muscles to squeeze the milk out into the ducts. Um, so they’re like, you literally have muscles in your boobs.
Ashley: tiny little muscles in your boobs. I’ve been breastfeeding for a year and I did not know this. Something else that’s incredible is all the stuff that’s in breast milk.
Bridget McGann: There are enzymes to help infants digest food. There are immune factors. There are, obviously the microbiome of milk, the, quote unquote, good bacteria, bad bacteria. Of course, it’s not that, um, dichotomous.
Bridget McGann: There are pluripotent stem cells in human milk. And we don’t fully understand even what they’re doing there. but we know that they take root, based on mouse studies at least, um, we know they probably take root in multiple organ systems, including the brain.
Ashley: Pluripotent stem cells are cells that can turn into any type of cell in the body.
Ashley: We had known they were in human breast milk since 2007, but nobody was sure whether they were actually surviving past the baby’s stomach. Scientists used mother mice that were bred with a particular marker gene that would let them track where these stem cells ended up in the baby mice when they nursed.
Ashley: They found the gene not only in the baby mice’s blood, but the lining of the gut, the thymus, liver, pancreas, spleen, and brain.
Ashley: Breast milk was helping these organs grow, not just by fueling them, but by telling them how.
Ashley: Put that way breast milk sounds like a freaking miracle. But there are still a ton of benefits babies can get through the act of feeding itself, whether that’s breast milk or formula.
Bridget McGann: You know, what I always try and point out is that is not just about milk composition. It’s also about all of the behaviors associated with lactation. It’s the holding, it’s the proximity. It’s literally like the jaw development and the, the movement necessary for extracting milk. It like involves literally like all of the muscles of the face and neck.
Bridget McGann: It’s the response that it elicits in the mother. And it’s, you know, kind of manipulating her hormonally and making her more responsive and in tune with her baby in a way that, you know, in an evolutionary context would’ve helped it survive, obviously.
Bridget McGann: And we don’t always know exactly where the biological effects associated with the components of milk end and the biological and behavioral and psychosocial effects associated with the behaviors associated with lactation start.
Bridget McGann: I think it’s a, it’s a very useful thing to know for people who don’t or can’t breastfeed, especially like directly at the breast, how they can understand that even their babies who are not directly breastfed are influenced by this lactation biology and it dictates what they’re expecting from their environment and the kind of care that they need.
Ashley: There is a heated debate in the general public anyway, over the differences between feeding babies breast milk and feeding them formula. From where I’m standing, it seems like breast milk proponents tout the benefits of lower rates of obesity and diabetes, better immunity, and claim there’s a stronger bond between a breastfed baby and mom.
Ashley: While formula proponents say those benefits are vanishingly tiny, and whatever you need to do to feed your baby is fine. That all changes in places that don’t have access to clean water for formula or in the middle of a formula shortage, like the one when I gave birth. But in ideal circumstances, that’s the argument for formula.
Ashley: The differences between breast milk and formula do start to blur when you think about this behavioral element. So much of feeding itself helps babies grow and bond with their caregivers. But one thing that throws a wrench into this live and let live philosophy I’m trying to promote here is capitalism. Formula companies have a long entrenched history of actively fighting against breastfeeding.
Bridget McGann: It’s, you know, $55 billion global industry that obviously has a, like, you know, breastfeeding is not exactly great for their bottom line. And so for a while they were doing a lot of kind of advertising directly to pediatricians and sending formula samples to people before they’d even decided whether or not they were gonna breastfeed.
Ashley: In many places, formula companies would send representatives dressed as nurses to hospitals to give away formula samples and convince people not to breastfeed. And for decades the marketing worked.
Bridget McGann: Countries that have been industrialized and are on the wealthier end have for a couple of generations over the course of the 20th century, basically skipped an entire generation, at least, a generation or two of breastfeeding.
Bridget McGann: And what’s important to understand about lactation in humans is that it is, we think of it as being instinctual. And it is, but it’s also highly social and learned. so if you have an entire generation that just completely forgot how this system works, and you’re now trying to reintroduce it, there’s obviously gonna be like some pushback against that.
Bridget McGann: It’s the lack of understanding and knowledge that, uh, of how this system works.
Bridget McGann: And this is true, even in higher apes.
Bridget McGann: There was a, and there’s a cool story about, of a gorilla at the Columbus Zoo, Columbus, Ohio, who didn’t breastfeed her baby.
Ashley: This was in 1980, and the Columbus Zoo was home to the world’s first gorilla born in captivity. That gorilla had been separated from its mother at birth, and so was every gorilla born since. These gorillas were rare and precious, and they didn’t wanna leave anything up to chance, so the zoo fed them by hand instead of leaving them with their mothers. But in 1980, this new baby happened to get a terrible intestinal infection.
Bridget McGann: And the baby died.
Ashley: The zookeepers thought the infection may have been prevented by the microbes in breast milk.
Bridget McGann: And so with the following baby, they had La Leche League members come into the zoo and like show her how to do it and it helped her learn how to do it. So this is not just like a human thing.
Ashley: I found some cringey news articles about this joking around about how the male gorillas were too interested in watching their breastfeeding mothers and blocked the view for the female gorillas and how they got 20 phone calls from women volunteering to breastfeed for the gorilla. What did their husbands and children think? Way to miss the point, reporters.
Ashley: But anyway, the plan seemed to work and the baby survived.
Ashley: But this brings us to society’s perception of breastfeeding and how so many people, especially in the US, consider public breastfeeding, lewd or disgusting, or even an invitation for sexual attention.
Bridget McGann: I’m gonna say 20 14, 15, 16, the Surgeon General came out with a call to action around breastfeeding. And one of the things that they said was that social stigma around breastfeeding was one of the reasons and biggest reasons that people give up breastfeeding before they planned.
Ashley: It was 2011 who’s counting. And the report also points out that, quote, “Although focusing on the sexuality of female breasts is common in the mass media, visual images of breastfeeding are rare, and a mother may never have seen a woman breastfeeding. As shown in both quantitative and qualitative studies, the perception of breasts as sexual objects may lead women to feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public.”
Ashley: That’s right. We’ve seen tits in tiny bikini tops and in wet t-shirts, and even on non mammalian animal characters — looking at you, Venus, the lady Ninja Turtle — but we almost never see breasts used to feed infants. It’s a great big sign from society that breasts are for looking at not for feeding babies.
Bridget McGann: Which is not universal, by the way, in amongst humans.
Bridget McGann: There are some countries where you have a lot of topless beaches and you have a lot more kind of, public nudity that is, you know, appropriate at least in a certain context where like people aren’t freaking out about it.
Bridget McGann: It’s not like men are like losing control over themselves when they see it, it’s just a little bit more normalized, like, oh, this is like a body part. But I have a professor who was traveling internationally and it was a culture where, breasts are not super sexualized and they were kind of making fun of American culture.
Bridget McGann: They were like, your men are like babies. Because it literally was so bizarre to them that our men are so attracted to the breast, which is something that they most, in the context that they live, it’s babies who are attracted breasts because it’s their food source.
Ashley: This sexualizing of the breast seeps into everything. If your breast is a sexual object, then it’s weird to take it out at a restaurant when your baby’s hungry. It’s weird to take it out on an airplane or at a shopping center. It’s especially weird at work. In the work example though, many, many lactating parents have to push through their embarrassment to ask a boss or HR rep for a place they can go to use a breast pump.
Ashley: Babies eat every three hours or so after the newborn stage, which means in order to keep your body making milk on their schedule, you need to continue removing milk every three hours if they’re not around. That means three 30 minute pumping sessions during the workday. Ask me how I know.
Bridget McGann: The biggest cause of people stopping breastfeeding before they planned has to do with having to go back to work in the United States. We are the only country, aside from Papua New Guinea, that doesn’t have some form of paid parental leave, mandatory paid parental leave.
Bridget McGann: Which is just bizarre to me. When, upstairs in Canada, they have over a year of paid parental leave.
Ashley: If you’re breastfeeding and you have to go back to work when your baby is six weeks, eight weeks, 12 weeks old, which are many of the typical lengths of parental leave for salary jobs in the us, breast milk is your baby’s only source of nutrition. So having a place to pump during the work day is crucial.
Ashley: Like it can mean the difference between continuing to breastfeed and giving up because it’s too hard. One study showed that when working women have adequate break time and a private space to pump, they’re more than twice as likely to be breastfeeding their baby at six months as women who don’t have those kinds of accommodations.
Ashley: But the kinds of accommodations you have are crucial. It can’t be just any private space.
Sascha Mayer: You have an apparatus that you’re attaching to your body, so you’re generally more exposed to do that. Uh, you might be transferring the milk from bags to bottles or from one system to another.
Sascha Mayer: If you’re using a pump, it needs to be plugged in. You generally have to be sitting in such a way that you will have good flow between where the pump is set up and where the flanges are attached to your breasts. So it’s just more technical than maybe it, um, some people know if they haven’t done it before, in a workplace or in a, you know, big public location, like an airport or convention center, there just isn’t, or there wasn’t, a space for that. Unless there was a lactation room or now hopefully one of our pods.
Ashley: That is Sascha Mayer and the pods she’s talking about are Mamava pods. You might have seen them in airports. They’re these big, white portable rooms with rounded sides and a smiling logo where the eyes look like two upside down breasts.
Ashley: They’re free and accessible through an app, and once you’re inside, you can lock the door so you won’t be disturbed. The first time I used one was in the Asheville Airport, and I felt like I got secret access to a V I P mother’s lounge.
Ashley: It was clean and spacious and well lit, and there was white noise from fans, so it was this quiet oasis from the chaos that is an airport. And all of that is by design. If you’re stressed, you produce cortisol, which reduces milk production. You need to be relaxed to pump effectively.
Sascha Mayer: It’s like a place designed for, uh, for feeding and, and eating, which is sort of interesting. You don’t think of of that as really needed as much for an infant. But it is just like we have kitchens and dining rooms and places like that for our full grown humans.
Ashley: Full disclosure, Mamava actually reached out to me for this episode. They had seen a tweet thread I’d made about my experience pumping on a work trip, and they were familiar with the podcast, so they suggested I do an episode on breastfeeding.
Ashley: I think they do great work, so it was an easy decision.
Ashley: Part of the work they do is in that conversation with your boss and other higher ups in companies. Because while the most visible pods are in public spaces, the majority of them are in private businesses. If they’re having these conversations to put in a Mamava pod at your workplace, you don’t have to have the conversation about turning the janitor’s closet into a mother’s room.
Sascha Mayer: Sometimes the conversations are, are even more about logistics. Like, okay, do you know that they have to do this three times a day? And do you know if you have a staff and there are three people who are breastfeeding, and you work a nine to five schedule, likely, they’re kind of all gonna need a space.
Sascha Mayer: And so building capacity is something that we talk about as well. It’s like, you know, just not, you can’t, you can’t just wait often. It’s what your, the physiology of your body is telling you when, um, you need to do this.
Ashley: These conversations probably wouldn’t ever happen though if it weren’t for actual legislation telling businesses that they have to have these accommodations. When the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, it included a provision that required employers to provide breastfeeding mothers with quote, reasonable break time and a private space quote, other than a bathroom for one year after their child’s birth.
Ashley: Sascha and her co-founder, Christine Dodson, had been working in a design studio that had them traveling all over the country and needing to pump after the births of their kids. That inspired them to design these pods several years before the Affordable Care Act passed.
Ashley: And when it did, it was the breath of life that made Mamava possible.
Sascha Mayer: Because the design business was focused on human-centered design and solving problems, we actually incubated it in house and sort of worked on it over a number of years in between our design consultancies. And when the Affordable Care Act passed, we got more of a rationale for a business case. You know, like, Hey, now people are gonna need to be in compliance here. We are, you know, primed and ready for this idea to take hold.
Ashley: But the Affordable Care Act left a lot of people out of the legislation. It didn’t include workers who were exempt from overtime pay, which is a lot of workers, 9 million, give or take. It also didn’t really give workers an avenue to go after their employers if they didn’t give them a place to pump.
Ashley: But then there was a baby formula shortage. Then the American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines supporting breastfeeding for two years or more. And the culture shifted.
Ashley: Suddenly there was support for greater legislation protecting breastfeeding parents, and at the end of 2022, Congress passed the Pump Act. One of the important things the Pump Act achieves is that it expands the pumping protections of the Affordable Care Act to overtime exempt, non hourly employees.
Ashley: That extra 9 million who weren’t protected before.
Sascha Mayer: So these would be people like you think of teachers or healthcare providers. Which do tend to be fields that are dominated by women.
Sascha Mayer: And the other key is that you have, as an employee the right to bring a lawsuit if your employer has not made, uh, the accommodation and that has teeth that the other legislation, either on a municipal or state or in the past federal level hasn’t had to the same degree. And I think that’s pretty powerful. Unfortunately, sometimes compliance is what motivates people to do the right thing. But, we’re really happy that finally that legislation got passed.
Sascha Mayer: In the time that my co-founder and I founded, it’s been about 10 years, actually the percentage of new parents who initiate breastfeeding has increased to 84% from 74%. So, um, like 10 points. That is meaningful and obviously not gonna take full credit for that, but there is just a lot of momentum thanks to good legislation, thanks to more women and parents stepping up and saying, Hey, I have this expectation that I’m gonna be supported in this really important activity that I only need to do for one or two years.
Sascha Mayer: Um, it’s gonna benefit all of us in terms of health and, and um, outcomes. And so I think there’s just really good positive momentum there.
Ashley: Taboos around breastfeeding might be some of the most harmful taboos we have. They penalize women in the workplace. They add more judgment on top of the stress of early parenthood. And worst of all, they literally keep helpless newborns from getting the nutrition they need when they need it.
Ashley: These taboos keep us from seeing breastfeeding in our everyday lives, which might change our perspectives and remove the taboo altogether.
Bridget McGann: In my, my understanding of how this system works and the fact that it’s so intensely social in humans and that it’s learned is that the way, if we want to address the social stigma and the shame and the feeling of it being kind of private and something to be hidden away, is that people need to see it and they need to get used to it.
Bridget McGann: And they need to be around it in a day-to-day sort of way in order to understand how it works. And I mean, obviously girls, while they’re growing up, preferably before they become parents, so they’re not having to cram for breastfeeding while they’re pregnant or god forbid when they’ve just given birth.
Bridget McGann: But also, men and little boys, like, why not? When we teach kids how mammals eat, why aren’t we also saying, hey, we’re also mammals. When we’re teaching them about the names of vegetables and healthy eating, why aren’t we also talking about what babies eat? And I’m talking like literally kindergarten. Throughout education, and there are countries who are starting to do this, at least at the high school level, having it integrated into discussions about health and animals and mammals and human nature and normalizing it over the course of their lifetime and giving people the chance to be around it socially.
Bridget McGann: So that means, not forbidding breastfeeding in social and public contexts. It means normalizing it in professional spaces. All these kind of ways in which women end up being isolated from society because they chose to breastfeed or because they don’t feel comfortable going out and about, especially in the early weeks and months, like fussing with the latch or fussing with their pump or whatever and feeling like they’re being stared at.
Bridget McGann: If we want women to feel comfortable being out and about breastfeeding, we need to normalize it for everybody in the society.
Ashley: Thanks for listening. Big thanks to Bridget McGann and Sascha Mayer. You can follow Bridget’s prolific Twitter account at @bridgetmcgann. And you can learn more about Sascha and Mamava, the company she co-founded, at Mamava.com. That’s M A M A V A.com. Also, you should definitely subscribe to the newsletter because Bridget sent me this massive list of fun facts about breastfeeding that I didn’t have time to include in the episode. So I’m gonna send them to the newsletter subscribers instead.
Ashley: Taboo Science is written and produced by me, Ashley Hamer. The theme was by Danny Latka of DLC Music. Episode music is from Epidemic Sound. If you need music for a project, use the referral link in the show notes and the podcast will get a kickback.
Ashley: Last week I got a review from Zygiella in Canada who writes, “This podcast brings together great production value, fantastic guests, and a host that can bring you along the journey with excellent narration. As I was listening, a question would come to my head and it was like she was listening to me. She knows what her audience wants. The conclusion feels so natural. A great science podcast tied up with a nice little bow at the end. Definitely worth a listen.” What a great review Zygiella, thank you. If you’d like to leave a review, you can click the link at the bottom of the show notes and it’ll take you straight there.
Ashley: The next episode is all about nudity, and it’ll be out in two weeks. Hope you tune in. I won’t tell anyone.