On a quest for birthy clip art?

I suggest not starting with Microsoft. When you search "birth" on the Office clip art page, what do you think are the first 3 images that come up?

The first two are of baby Jesus in his manger. And the third?

All hail the almighty bottle, which still reigns supreme as the ultimate iconic image of all things baby.

Let it be clear that I was not expecting photos of a baby crowning, or a really groovy cartoon placenta. But a bottle? What does that have to do with giving birth, really? The bottle imagery that is so pervasive in this cultures flies in the face of everything the AAP, WHO, and UNICEF attempt to promote about breastfeeding. Here are selected quotes from each organization:

"Human milk is uniquely superior for infant feeding and is species-specific; all substitute feeding options differ markedly from it. The breastfed infant is the reference or normative model against which all alternative feeding methods must be measured with regard to growth, health, development, and all other short- and long-term outcomes."

"Breastfeeding is the ideal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information, and the support of their family and the health care system...recommended by WHO as the perfect food for the newborn, and feeding should be initiated within the first hour after birth."

"The aim is to create an environment globally that empowers women to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months and continue to breastfeed for two years or more. This is optimal infant and young child feeding."

[emphasis mine]

It appears that the birth of a baby and the bottle should not ideally be so mixed up with each other. You can't blame Microsoft...the bottles are everywhere. On baby jammies, on nurse's scrubs, on baby cards, gift bags, decorations, children's books and everywhere in between. Both of my daughters barely even knew how to drink from a bottle as infants, and yet, they both look for bottles when it's time to feed their baby dolls. In our culture baby=bottle, despite all of the world's major health organizations striving to push breastfeeding rates higher over the years.

For Mothering magazine's take on why we need a breastfeeding culture, check out the July/August 2006 issue for a great article and discussion. Here is just a taste.

In the meantime, I propose some new clip art that makes sense.

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