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Three Lactation Consultants on Breastfeeding Baby Yoda

‘Old Yoda is gross. I would not want to breastfeed old Yoda. But this one is kind of tolerable.’

As you know by now, Baby Yoda has broken the internet.

There are memes aplenty, doctored photos, cookies, tattoos and that woman who clearly underappreciates her bodily organs. Overall, given all the negative shit out there on the internet, ending the decade with a flurry of adorable Star Wars memes seems to offer a bit of hope — a new hope, if you will — for this post-apocalyptic hellhole that we currently find ourselves in.

And, then this happened:

Immediately, a rash of people on Twitter — including men — began adamantly expressing their desire to breastfeed Baby Yoda. Some saw it as a charitable act, as though Baby Yoda might be in need.

Some developed newfound motherly instincts.

And some were offended by the very idea.

A few Twitter users, though, were more intent on trying to figure out the logistics of the whole thing: What kind of nipples he’d like, if he’d take to a bottle and whether or not he bites. They’ve also tried to figure out if he’s mamammlin or reptilian, and whether or not it’s appropriate to breastfeed Baby Yoda in public. Others were concerned about Baby Yoda’s use of The Force during feeding times.

All in all, there are a lot of questions here, so for the women (and men!) out there seriously considering taking on the task of breastfeeding Baby Yoda, I turned to three lactation consultants to show us the ways of The Force.

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On Whether or Not Baby Yoda Even Breastfeeds

Laura Vladimirova, lactation counselor, doula and Women’s Center Director: We don’t know the birth history or familial history of the undeniably cute Baby Yoda. Are Yodas mammals? Do Yodas lactate? Do they hatch from eggs? There does seem to be a Yoda male and female — see Yaddle in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace — but I’m wise enough not to revert to binary thinking, especially in the Jediverse! 

So, with such a plethora of important biological questions, it’s hard to pinpoint how Baby Yoda was fed as Newborn Yoda. But I’d give anything to see Newborn Yoda, who may not be quite as cute because newborns look like old men sometimes — maybe Newborn Yoda looks like Yoda! Anyway, my head is spinning.

If we assume that, in the Jediverse, the Yodas lactate via mammary glands, then we assume that Yoda’s mother — or even Yoda himself — is the one to do the feeding, though the physiological order of things in the Jediverse isn’t so clear. Mammals — and some other classes of animals — lactate in varying places on their bodies for varying amounts of time, with varying caloric and nutritional milk compositions. As Yodas often seem to be capable of wielding The Force, that milk must be one powerful motherfucker!

Where are the Yoda’s mammary glands? Unclear this is. Perhaps they’re somewhere on the upper body area like humans, apes or monkeys. Or maybe Baby Yoda lived in a kangaroo-like pouch. Both of these are ideas I can get behind.

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The Physical Logistics

Cinthia, doula and lactation consultant: Since it’s in that little circle thing, you don’t even have to get up! It can just float over to you. 

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The Ears

Cinthia: The ears just tuck under your armpit, no? They’ll be fine.

Vladimirova: The ears — like a human infant’s ears — are sensory organs for Yodas, and if placed directly tummy-to-tummy or living that pouch-life, Baby Yoda’s ears should pose no problems. 

Bethany Roach, doula and creator of the parenting blog Candorzine: I think that you might do sort of a swaddle to wrap the ears up. Or there are many different breastfeeding positions, so instead of the traditional cradle hold, you could do a football hold under your arm, where he’s latched onto the nipple vertically instead of horizontally, so the ears won’t get in the way. 

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The Claws

Cinthia: The only thing that scared me was those creepy little hands because they had those sharp nails on it. So if the Yoda is grabbing onto the boob, that could potentially be a problem. I mean, does this thing understand you? Can you talk to it and ask it to stop with the claws? Because it was just kind of staring around — it didn’t seem too smart. If he can’t understand you, you’d either have to clip the nails, which everyone is always afraid to do on babies, or you’d just have to get little baby mitts for him.

Vladimirova: Initially, I thought the claws might be an issue, but then I read more about the lactation style of marsupials, like possums. According to a Slate article, baby marsupials have a “massive set of claws, which they use to climb up the mother’s body and into her pouch. Once inside, those who find a teat latch on and don’t let go for two straight months. The nipples swell inside the babies’ mouths, creating a lock so tight that scientists have found that trying to forcefully separate a baby from its mother can result in torn lips and nips.” It’s quite an effective latch!

Roach: All babies have little claws — those nails are so sharp and they’re always scratching your face and boobs, so you could just put socks over his hands. Again, I also swaddling would help here.

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The Possible Teeth

Cinthia: Does he have teeth? Because I couldn’t really tell. Old, gross Yoda has teeth, but I can’t tell if Baby Yoda does. If Baby Yoda does have teeth, you’ve got to wean him off and just pump. I don’t want those teeth on there.

Roach: I breastfed my kids into toddlerhood, so it’s really normal to breastfeed children with teeth. The way a baby latches is that they have to pull the nipple deep into their mouth and past the teeth — that’s not to say that you won’t be bitten, though. 

But there’s a trick to this: Babies are obligatory nose-breathers because they have to breathe while feeding, so, if a baby bites you can pull the baby in close to the breast  — only for a second — so that their nose is covered. Of course, they don’t like this because they can’t breathe, so they reflexively unlatch in a calm, easy way. 

Vladimirova: Most mammals are born toothless because ouch! They then develop baby teeth, and sometime thereon after, they wean. I’m unclear on aging in the Yoda species and developmental milestones, so your guess is as good as mine as to when those teeth came to be (if he even has them yet). One can only hope that if those Yodas are early teethers, the parents have very thick, rubber-like skin and nipples for feeding — otherwise, may The Force be with them.

Baby Yoda Eating That Frog Whole

Vladimirova: The frog is all good by me. Infants explore their world orally — maybe the frog is Baby Yoda’s way of exploring the world, or it could indicate early weaning. But no, I won’t think this way. I’d be heartbroken, like a Bambi-losing-his-mom situation. 

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Baby Yoda’s Sensitivity to The Force

Roach: I don’t know if I’d personally want to breastfeed Baby Yoda. Breastfeeding is hard enough already, so I’d be pretty intimidated to breastfeed a baby with special powers.

Cinthia: It won’t use its powers against me. I am the food source. What’s it going to do, lift me up and squeeze me out? It will love me. Plus, it would also protect me from harm because I’m the feeding source, so if something was coming at me, he’ll just lift it up and make it go away in that adorable way of his.

The Very Idea of Breastfeeding Baby Yoda

Cinthia: I thought, Um, this is really weird, but then I got a look at Baby Yoda and I thought, It wouldn’t be that bad if someone actually had to breastfeed that little Yoda thing! Old Yoda is gross. I would not want to breastfeed old Yoda, but this one is kind of tolerable. Just look at his eyes! He’s way cute — he’s like a little kitty-cat or a puppy; you’d feel really bad if you turned him down. 

Roach: I don’t know that I’d personally go out of my way to breastfeed Baby Yoda. Plus, if you think about that frog, he’s already onto solids, so, if my kid were eating whole frogs, I’d encourage them to move on from breastfeeding.

Vladimirova: This is the best confluence of all of the things that mean something to me: memes, Baby Yoda and discussing lactation. This might be the most important journalistic piece I’ve contributed to in my whole life. 

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