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August 02, 2006

John Calvin, Lactivist

John Calvin, in commenting upon Genesis 21:7 states:

". . .the Lord does not in vain prepare nutriment for children in their mothers' bosoms, before they are born.

But those on whom he confers the honor of mothers, he, in this way, constitutes nurses; and they who deem it a hardship to nourish their own offspring, break, as far as they are able, the sacred bond of nature.

If disease, or anything of that kind, is the hindrance, they have a just excuse; but for mothers voluntarily, and for their own pleasure, to avoid the trouble of nursing, and thus to make themselves only half-mothers, is a shameful corruption."

(Posted on TulipGirl in December 2005. Found quote via Pastor Lane)

This post is part of a World Breastfeeding Week 2006 series.


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"and thus to make themselves only half-mothers, is a shameful corruption."

Wow...that's harsh :).


Posted by: Pete at August 3, 2006 04:40 PM

Wow--how do you find this stuff??

Posted by: Michelle-This One's for the Girls at August 4, 2006 12:10 PM

Michelle, I could say that I read the Institutes along with breakfast every morning, but reality is, usually someone else brings quotes like this to my attention. *grin* This time, it as Pastor Lane. . .

Posted by: TulipGirl at August 5, 2006 10:14 AM

Wow. Amazing.

Posted by: Camille at August 5, 2006 09:04 PM

What a great quote. I am a Lactation Consultant and although there can be initial challenges with breastfeeding, I find that a good number of women stop breastfeeding "voluntarily, for their own pleasure, and to avoid the trouble". It is so discouraging that many women think that a lab can do as well as God in providing nutrition for God's youngest creation. What a short season of self sacrifice it is to breastfeed. If there are problems, God cares and can bring healing and success. I don't believe that if you don't breastfeed, you are a half-mother, but I do believe that, as Christians, breastfeeding our children (if not impossible) is a serious calling.

Posted by: Dana at August 8, 2006 08:03 PM

wow! lol imagine a pastor saying that nowdays!

Go Calvin!

Posted by: Malissa at August 12, 2006 09:54 PM

As a breastfeeding mother of nine months (so far), I find this a little offensive. I feel like it's almost become war between mothers based on how we choose to parent. Instead of offering words of wisdom and advice, it seems that many choose to judge and name call. Things like this, in my opinion, do not encourage new mothers.

I did not have a "disease", yet I still didn't produce any milk or even colostrum for over seven days after delivery. I was forced to use formula while I pumped trying to get that milk to come in, even though I was told not to by the lactation consultant (yes, I used bottles). She went from 5 lb. 9 oz. to 5 lb. 0 oz. in less than one week. She also could not latch on, and I was forced to use a nipple shield for over a month (also advised against by one lactation consultant, thank God for the one who finally suggested it). If it weren't for these things I wouldn't be breastfeeding today, and that is something I'm sure of. I was dedicated to breast feeding, but I can see the other side of this topic. No mother who feels that she is doing her best should be called a "half mother" - I feel this is going against everything Jesus teaches. It's very easy to judge when you don't have to go through it yourself, and considering Calvin was male I can say with certainty that he never went through it himself. I guess this is just one more issue about which I disagree with John Calvin.

Posted by: C. Davis at December 21, 2006 11:39 AM

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