Rabbinic Literature / Talmudic Sages

“For the rabbis, breastfeeding offers a fascinating set of variables for academic investigation”

For the rabbis, breastfeeding offers a fascinating set of variables for academic investigation. First, breast milk is produced by women and for infants, both of which are non-normative rabbinic categories of people. Second, it is the only bodily fluid that is potentially drinkable. Third, the rabbis believe that breast milk is transformed menstrual blood, which allows them to work through various extensions and exceptions to their overall purity system. Fourth, breast milk is only produced for a brief period of time. And fifth, during that short period, breast milk is essential for an infant’s survival.

Jordan Rosenblum, “‘Blessings of the Breasts’: Breastfeeding in Rabbinic Literature”, Hebrew Union College Annual, Vol. 87 (2016), 177.