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Rabbi Shmuley’s hang-up with breastfeeding

June 9, 2010

Not sure why the well-known Rabbi Shmuley Boteach decided to poke this hornet’s nest. But he did. In a column posted on Beliefnet, Boteach urges women to worry more about nourishing their marriage than nourishing their infants. He warns that the birthing process and breastfeeding could hinder a couple’s sex life. He writes:

In my book “Kosher Adultery,” I make the point that infidelity is primarily a sin of omission rather than commission. It is not the bad thing you do that destroys a marriage, but all the good that you fail to do, preoccupied as you are with a sinful relationship that diverts your attention away from your spouse. Similarly, with the example of breast-feeding, a wife who spends a year giving all her emotional and physical affection to the baby has left her marriage a barren wasteland, bereft of romance and affection.

Obviously, breast-feeding is not the same as carrying on an extramarital affair. But when a mother gives her breasts to her son and takes them away from her husband, the effect on the marriage can feel the same.

Seriously? That’s what this blogger asked, too, as she ripped Boteach’s argument to shreds (with plenty of biblical references) on My Postpartum Voice.

Nowhere in this article does the Rabbi refer to biblical verses which support breastfeeding. Nowhere does he prove his reasoning. This type of article is absolutely reckless and stands to set several mothers up to fail in the already shaky realm of breastfeeding. And for that, Rabbi Shmuley should be ashamed of himself despite his barely there attempt toward the end to support breastfeeding as always being best for the baby. Even then he points out that nursing should always be subordinate to the marriage.

Sorry, Rabbi Shmuley, but I have to agree. You are undoubtedly a very helpful and inspiring figure to families on many issues. But on this one, you sound like a putz.

But it gets weirder. Check out this crazy story from Saudi Arabia. Some Muslim leaders are losing their damn minds, too, over breastfeeding.

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