Breastfeeding is the act, or the act with the intention, of feeding or receiving milk from the human breast by suckling directly from the breast's nipple.
A common form of providing sustenance between mother and child, the act of breastfeeding can be practiced by participants of any age, although whether or not the breast provides milk is dependent on the emotional and physical development of the woman. The act of breastfeeding is universally seen as an expression of affection and tenderness between a woman and the individual she is feeding.
Breastfeeding has been depicted in public media for centuries, one of the most prominent examples is the many Christian artworks of the Virgin Mary breastfeeding her son, Jesus Christ. The Qwaser's liken this image to their own reliance on breastfeeding to acquire a woman's Soma to recharge and invigorate their elemental powers.
Due to breasts and nipples, and by extension nipple and breast stimulation, being regarded as a near-universal aspect of human sexuality, breastfeeding in general is considered by some to be mildly exhibitionary, especially in Western societies, due to the act entailing that the woman exposes and feeds her breast to another individual. Public displays of breastfeeding is largely considered taboo in most public forums although, due to recognition of the act being a necessary part of motherhood, practising the act in specified areas or in private is generally accepted as acceptable behaviour by the public, be it nutritional or sexual.
- The word “galaxy” comes from the Greek word “gala” which means “milk”. In Greek mythology, the Milky Way was created when a spray of milk came out of Hera’s breast (wife of Zeus) as she was breastfeeding Hercules (one of Zeus’ many illegitimate sons).
- The oldest known image of the Virgin Mary is found in the Catacomb of Priscilla in Rome. In this wall painting, Mary is breastfeeding baby Jesus.
- Nipple stimulation of any sort is noted in reducing the incidence of breast cancer.
- Breast milk has antibodies that prevent the growth of germs and bacteria, enabling it to be used to treat infections such as ear infections, eye infections, and minor cuts and scrapes. Breast milk can also be used to sooth and aid in the healing of cracked skin. In some rural regions of Africa, breast milk is used to treat snake bites.
- The stimulation of a woman's nipples promotes the production and release of oxytocin and prolactin. During the stimulation of the nipples, large amounts of oxytocin are released to prepare the breast for breastfeeding. Besides creating maternal feelings in a woman, it also decreases her anxiety, and thusly increases human bonding and trust.