Well there does exist such a food: human breastmilk. Most people are now familiar with the benefits of breastfeeding a baby. But the above benefits of breastmilk are actually specifically related to breastfeeding a toddler (there are many more benefits for breastfeeding an infant).
Perhaps that makes you feel a little less like you've found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? But did you know that 'four years of age' is the worldwide average age kids are breastfeed to?
Breastfeeding a 4 year old is definitely not common in Australia. I'm becoming more aware of the societal norms of breastfeeding. As my daughter grows, and can crawl over to me for a feed, breastfeeding is often more frowned upon than celebrated.
At a Church play group the other week a young mother who was breastfeeding her 15 month old was told, 'it's definitely time to stop!' and even 'that's selfish' by most of the other ladies in attendance. She did stop one week later.
Breastfeeding a two year old might make some of us feel uncomfortable, as does a women that shows too much breast while feeding. I remember many times as a growing girl hearing people I was with suggest a women showing too much breast was disgusting. Breastfeeding women themselves often feel a bit embarrassed about feeding their offspring. Many women breastfeed in parent rooms in shopping centres and churches or at least cover their baby completely with a blanket.
But it's boring breastfeeding staring at a blank wall. And sometimes it's hard to be discreet. My little 8 month old explorer must turn her head when she hears a noise. If I cover her with a light blanket when she's feeding in public she thinks it's the most awesome game ever, the aim of the game, of course, is ripping the blanket off.
Today we do observe women breastfeeding in public spaces. However, most people have never seen the mechanics of breastfeeding. That is, the serene imagine of a baby attached correctly to the nipple and slurping away while snuggling against mum for security and comfort.
In fact, it is commonly believed that the difficulty modern women are having with learning the skill of breastfeeding is the lack of being regularly exposed to other Mums doing it. Women do not have images of a baby attached to the breast stored in their memory that can be easily accessed when they are exhausted and trying to feed their newborn for the first time.
I'm convinced that we are not a culture that enjoys breastfeeding. Statistically, 46.2% of Australian babies were receiving any breastmilk at six months of age and about 14.6% after one year. Breastfeeding a four year old is quite frankly taboo.
The frustrating irony for us breastfeeders is that many ladies today display their voluptuous cleavages for far less important reasons - and are normally accepted for doing so.
Its been suggested that the distaste for breastfeeding in the developed world is due to the 'pornification' of the breast in our societies. Perhaps in countries that view the women's body as existing for sexual purposes it's hard to appreciate the innocent beauty of breastfeeding.
Paul said "to the pure all things are pure, but to the impure nothing is pure" (Titus 1:15).
We must seek purity in our lives, as God command us to. Then we might be able to see that the first function of the breasts is not for sexual fulfilment. Rather to be objects that assist us to love our offspring, through offering them for nourishment and comfort. It's a precious gift God has given us.
Breastfeeding is even a heavenly image. Isaiah 66 describes heaven as the place Christians will drink from the abundant breast of the new Jerusalem and find comfort in her overflowing milk.
I think it is important to be decent, not attention grabbing and definitely not offensive. And sensitive to women that do not breastfeed. Yet I think it is important that we challenge current ideas and practices regarding breastfeeding so health and development is optimised in our society.
What can we do? We can educate ourselves. Women do need to be bold to feed older babies and toddlers in public to make it normalised. We can also encourage younger women to observe our feeds, to assist them later on when it is their turn. Maybe churches could highlight how they are breastfeeding friendly places. Let's all enjoy and benefit from this precious gift that God has given us.
Australian Breastfeeding Association, www.breastfeeding.asn.au.
Christopher West, Theology of the Body, www.christopherwest.com.
Daniel and Danielle Stott are Bible College graduates who live on the southern Gold Coast. Daniel is training to be a teacher and Danielle is caring for their baby daughter. Daniel is originally from New Zealand and Danielle from Melbourne.