Disneynature's Chimpanzee- Great Breastfeeding Message For Kids and Adults

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Brian and I took the kids to see Disneynature’s Chimpanzee on opening day.  It’s really no surprise we loved it. We knew it was going to show the story of a dominant male adopting an orphaned chimp, and it was truly beautiful. What I was surprised about was how eloquently the documentary covered the topic of breastfeeding.

Oscar, the three-year-old chimpanzee was shown breastfeeding throughout the day. The narrator explained that Oscar eats solid food, but is not nearly to the age of weaning.

Image courtesy of Disney

It showed Oscars mother grooming and giving physical affection to her son while she breastfed him. When I breastfeed Aram there is no difference. It is clearly humanistic gestures like these that will move audiences to help save this species.

I think it is going to be beneficial in the fight to normalize breastfeeding. When children are exposed to positive associations with breastfeeding (even chimpanzee breastfeeding and other animals) it no doubt will help form a positive long-term connection.

This movie may also give some food for thought to adults about the normalcy of extended breastfeeding. Chimpnazees are our unrefuted closest living primate relatives, sharing 98% of the same DNA sequence as a human. Chimpanzees breastfeed their young from to the age of four to six years. Humans should take into account these numbers for what is a biologically normal time to wean, while also considering that Great Apes wean according to gestation length (6 to 1). For instance, a chimpanzee with breastfeeding six times longer than they gestated for. Gorillas 6.4 times longer than gestation. That would mean the average time of weaning for a human being would be 4.5 years.

Hopefully, this information with help people realize that breastfeeding past the WHO or the CDC’s  recommended one or two years (really the fact that the recommendation is constantly changing and becoming longer should make people think) should not be the end-all decision in each family. Understanding breastfeeding for four years may not not be necessary for survival, it certainly should be globally accepted option.

Now hurry and go see Chimpanzee this week! During opening week Disneynature will make a donation to Jane Goodall Institute through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund in order to protect chimpanzees and their habitats, now and into the future.



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