Socialization of Boys and Girls

Not long ago, families favored boys over girls. A young bride wanted to produce a boy which would increase her own status. A friend told me how her mother had turned her face away, wept, and refused to nurse her first-born daughter in shame that she had not produced a son for her husband, until her aunts and other female relatives urged her to do so. When asked how many bacheh (child, although sometimes taken to mean boy) he has, a father may count only the boys. In my experience, when men recited the list of their ancestors and their lineage, they gave the names of males only. Females asked if I wanted them to list the women too, or just the men. Traditionally, mothers and others tended to male infants more than to female infants, breast-feeding them longer, and responding to their crying. Parents generally provided boys with more food, clothing, medical care, and education than girls (Friedl, 1997). Educated modern couples tend to expend as much care on daughters as sons.

Mothers are the main caretakers of babies, although fathers interact with boys later on. Anthropologist Erika Friedl (1997) found that parents and others in a Lurish village expected girls to be quiet, obedient, helpful, clean, and homebound. From very early on, girls' genital areas are always covered, while little boys may be naked. Mothers taught girls to acquiesce to male domination. Although mothers complained about their sons' devilish-ness, wildness, and destructiveness, they also saw this behavior as masculine assertiveness.

New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

For many years, scientists have been playing out the ingredients that make breast milk the perfect food for babies. They've discovered to day over 200 close compounds to fight infection, help the immune system mature, aid in digestion, and support brain growth - nature made properties that science simply cannot copy. The important long term benefits of breast feeding include reduced risk of asthma, allergies, obesity, and some forms of childhood cancer. The more that scientists continue to learn, the better breast milk looks.

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