You and me baby ain't nothing but mammals


Let's geek out for a moment here on origins of words. You may be surprised at how empowering this realization is!

I think every one of you reading this knows you're a mammal - but do you know what that means? Mammals are a class of animals, which includes humans.  What separates mammals from other animals is their ability to feed their young from their mammary glands (3)! This term goes all the way back to 1758 when Carl Linnaeus used the Latin word Mammalia (meaning "of the breast")  to describe a class of animals who nurse their children with milk from their mammary gland (1).  This word eventually was shortened to mamma (meaning "breast") and as of the early 19th century, we started using Mammal (1).

This is pretty amazing because it shows us how normal and biological breastfeeding is - so much so that an entire class of animals was named because of this ability. So when we say breastfeeding is normal and biological and that women should feel comfortable nursing their babies in public, whenever and wherever they choose, without covering up, and for as long as they'd like -- this is what we're talking about. We are MAMMALS and mammals nurse their children when they're hungry. Kind of awesome, isn't it? 

Mammal Etymology_milksource.png



(1) Mammal. (n.d.) In Online Etymology Dictionary.  Retrieved from

(2) Mammal. (n.d.) In  Retrieved from

(3) Capuco, A.V. & Akers, R.M. (2009). The origin and evolution of lactation. J Biol, 8(4), 37.