The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Breastfeeding

Who fed me from her gentle breast,
And hush'd me in her arms to rest,
And on my cheek sweet kisses prest?
      My Mother.
~Ann Taylor (1782–1866)

The newborn baby has only three demands. They are:  warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breast, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breast feeding satisfies all three. ~Grantly Dick-Read, Childbirth Without Fear, 1959

...a little child, born yesterday,
A thing on mother's milk and kisses fed...
~Author unknown, Homeric hymn, "To Mercury," translated from the Greek by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)

I'm a breastfeeding mom — of course I cry over spilled milk. ~Kristi Cortina, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, TikTok video, 2024, @kristicortinaibclc,

Nursing does not diminish the beauty of a woman's breasts; it enhances their charm by making them look lived in and happy. ~Robert A. Heinlein (1907–1988)

N is for Nipples
Which infants hold dear;
Why fellows should have them
To me's not quite clear.
~Cyril Barnert, M.D., "The A. B. C. of Surgery," 1917

We are willing to give... artificial milk when we cannot do better, but we watch the child anxiously whose wet-nurse is a chemist's pipkin. A pair of substantial mammary glands has the advantage over the two hemispheres of the most learned Professor's brain, in the art of compounding a nutritious fluid for infants. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, "Scholastic and Bedside Teaching," 1867

My son
Is a tiny blast furnace
That burns nothing but his mother's milk.
~Thomas McGrath, "For Tomasito," The Movie at the End of the World: Collected Poems, 1972

A baby sucks a finger as instinctively as the breast — but the breast is better for the baby. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

A day came... when the poor widowed girl pressed a child upon her breast... a little boy, as beautiful as a cherub. What a miracle it was to hear its first cry! How she laughed and wept over it — how love, and hope, and prayer woke again in her bosom as the baby nestled there. She was safe... The child was her being. Her existence was a maternal caress... It was her life which the baby drank in from her bosom. Of nights, and when alone, she had stealthy and intense raptures of motherly love, such as God's marvellous care has awarded to the female instinct — joys how far higher and lower than reason — blind beautiful devotions which only women's hearts know. ~William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair: A Novel Without a Hero, 1848

I have heard men say that a father's feeling towards his child is stronger than a mother's. What will a man not say about women. A man reading this will answer me:  And vice versa. And in many respects he may be equally right. But never, never in his life can a man feel that self-obliterating ecstasy and veneration for the power of life itself that a mother feels when the little human creature she has suffered and feared so much for, is laid in her weak arm, and a greedy little mouth closes over her breast. Surely in that one moment any woman must forgive the man who brought this upon her, even though it means the ruin of her future by ordinary human reckoning. ~Barbra Ring, Før kulden kommer, 1915, translated from the Norwegian by W. Emmé, Into the Dark, 1923

Dora, your years are an achievement, not something to hide... Your breasts are baby-chewed, your belly shows stretch marks — your decorations of honor, Adorable One. Of valor. They make you more beautiful. ~Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love: The Lives of Lazarus Long, 1973

It is absolutely okay to let your baby pacify on your breast even if they are not hungry. It's biologically normal. We have two nipples, and nipples are the original pacifiers. ~Kristi Cortina, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, "Non-nutritive sucking is therapeutic for babies," TikTok video, 2023, @kristicortinaibclc,

The moment she had laid the child to the breast both became perfectly calm. ~Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), "The Secret of Rosenbad," 1962

After the birth of her child Anne was restored to her normal poise... The serenity of her bearing proclaimed that in her motherhood her nature was fulfilled. She had given herself up to the child from the first moment that she held it to her breast. She had found again her tenderness, her gladness, and her peace. ~May Sinclair, The Helpmate, 1906

Breast milk is better than any udder milk! ~Author unknown

There is no substitute for mother's milk. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

MAMMALIA, n. pl.  A family of vertebrate animals whose females in a state of nature suckle their young, but when civilized and enlightened put them out to nurse, or use the bottle. ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, 1911

...a babe at her breast and a new light in her eyes, the light of the dawn of motherhood. ~Dr. R. V. Pierce's Favorite Prescription advertisement, 1899

      "Don't worry, dear," said my mother... "Why, you've got the finest baby in the world. You mustn't excite yourself; but give your whole mind now to turning yourself as much as possible into an animal, a milch cow, pasturing in the meadow"...
      This is the dawn of motherhood... For this tiny creature all knowledge is summed up in its mother's breast... Its lips have a sweetness beyond words, and their pressure is at once a pain and a delight... The sensation which rises from it, and which penetrates to the very core of my life, baffles all description. It seems a sort of centre whence a myriad joy-bearing rays gladden the heart and soul. To bear a child is nothing; to nourish it is birth renewed every hour.
      Oh!... there is no caress of lover with half the power of those little pink hands, as they stray about, seeking whereby to lay hold on life. And the infant glances, now turned upon the breast, now raised to meet our own! What dreams come to us as we watch the clinging nursling! All our powers, whether of mind or body, are at its service; for it we breathe and think, in it our longings are more than satisfied! The sweet sensation of warmth at the heart, which the sound of his first cry brought to me — like the first ray of sunshine on the earth — came again as I felt the milk flow into his mouth, again as his eyes met mine, and at this moment I have felt it once more as his first smile gave token of a mind working within — for he has laughed, my dear! A laugh, a glance, a bite, a cry — four miracles of gladness which go straight into the heart and strike chords that respond to no other touch. A child is tied to our heartstrings, as the spheres are linked to their creator; we cannot think of God except as a mother's heart writ large. There is nothing visible, nothing perceptible in conception, nor even in pregnancy; it is only in the act of nursing that a woman realizes her motherhood in visible and tangible fashion; it is a joy of every moment. The milk becomes flesh before our eyes; it blossoms into the tips of those delicate flower-like fingers; it expands in tender, transparent nails; it spins the silky tresses; it kicks in the little feet. Oh! those baby feet, how plainly they talk to us! In them the child finds its first language.
      Yes... to feed, to suckle! is a miracle of transformation going on before one's bewildered eyes. Those cries, they go to your heart and not your ears; those smiling eyes and lips, those plunging feet, they speak in words which could not be plainer if God traced them before you in letters of fire! What else is there in the world to care about?... The sweet consciousness of a common life is ample recompense for all the trouble and suffering — for suffering there is. Heaven save you, Louise, from ever knowing the maddening agony of a broken breast which gapes afresh with every pressure of the rosy lips, and is so hard to heal — the heaviest tax perhaps imposed on beauty. ~Honoré de Balzac, Letters of Two Brides, 1840, translated by Clara Bell and R. S. Scott, 1899  [De Balzac: "Would it not be a fine thing... if the future antiquarian of dead literatures were to find... this..." Oh, she did. And she loves it! —tg]

      Breast Feeding. This should not be attempted by fathers with hairy chests since they can make the baby sneeze and give it wind...
      Don't breast feed baby after his eighteenth year as this only makes parting harder and his friends at the disco will laugh at him.
      Feeding through the school railings at play-time can give baby lines on his forehead. ~Mike Harding, The Armchair Anarchist's Almanac, 1981

A woman's life isn't worth a plateful of cabbage if she hasn't felt life stir under her heart. Taking a little one to nurse, watching him grow to manhood, that's what love is. We say we love our husbands, we stand up in church saying as how we'll love them forever and ever, till death do we part, but it's our own blood and sinew we really love. ~Carol Shields, The Stone Diaries, 1993

A child not suckled by its mother is unfortunate... ~Christian Augustus Struve, Asthenology: or, The Art of Preserving Feeble Life, 1798, translated by William Johnston, 1801, from an updated edition of the original German

Suck, baby, suck! mother's love grows by giving,
Drain the sweet founts that only thrive by wasting...
~Charles Lamb, "The Gipsy's Malison," 1829

      When the babe, soon after it is born into this cold world, is applied to its mother's bosom; its sense of perceiving warmth is first agreeably affected; next its sense of small is delighted with the odour of her milk; then its taste is gratified by the flavour of it; afterwards the appetites of hunger and of thirst afford pleasure by the possession of their objects, and by the subsequent digestion of the aliment; and lastly, the sense of touch is delighted by the softness and smoothness of the milky fountain, the source of such variety of happiness.
      ....And hence at our maturer years, when any object of vision is presented to us, which by its waving or spiral lines bears any similitude to the form of the female bosom, whether it is found in a landscape with soft gradations of rising and descending surface, or in the forms of some antique vases, or in other works of the pencil or the chisel, we feel a general glow of delight, which seems to influence all our senses; and, if the object be not too large, we experience an attraction to embrace it with our arms, and to salute it with our lips, as we did in our early infancy the bosom of our mother. ~Erasmus Darwin, "Of Instinct," Zoonomia; or, the Laws of Organic Life, Vol I, 1794

Mama Maureen, has no one ever told you how much more sweetly beautiful a full-blown woman is than a maiden? Certainly your lovely breasts have held milk; that's what they're for. Why would I want them to look like marble? — I don't! ~Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love: The Lives of Lazarus Long, 1973

A Wet Nurse ought to have great Regard to her Diet. ~William Cadogan, An Essay upon Nursing, 1748  [a little altered —tg]

Abel is Cain's brother and breasts they have sucked the same. ~Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889)

All being drinks the mother-dew
Of joy from Nature's holy bosom...
~Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805), "Hymn to Joy," translated by Edward Bulwer Lytton, 1844

We all feed from Mother Nature's breast until weaned by Death. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

An honour! were not I thine only nurse,
I would say thou hadst suck'd wisdom from thy teat.
~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, c.1594  [I, 3, Nurse]

My opinion is that anybody offended by breastfeeding is staring too hard. ~David Allen, unverified

What a singular fact for an angel visitant to this earth to carry back in his note-book, that men were forbidden to expose their bodies under the severest penalties! ~Henry David Thoreau, journal, 1852

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published 2007 Apr 16
revised 2021 Jul 26
last saved 2024 Jul 4